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Old March 7, 2006, 12:39 PM   #1
mack59
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This may be controversial but...

This may be controversial but, here it goes anyway.

I've been thinking about training and about using a firearm in self-defense. Now I cannot and will never claim to be the guy one would turn to for answers to questions about training or tactics ect... Yes, I have my opinions, but I recognize that there are many out there who have forgotten more about guns and there use, than I will ever know.

Yet, I was struck by a thought, "ouch", that seems to me to be one of the most, if not the single most, important factor in using a firearm effectively in self-defense.

That is being willing to kill. I say kill, not stop, not being willing to use potential lethal force, but being willing to kill. In my admittedly limited experience I have talked with some who have killed in self-defense, and to a few who have murdered.

Now during that same time, I practised my shooting, and I read about all sorts of training techniques, from shooting schools of different philosophies, to realistic training, to practicing plinking, to the organnized shooting sports. I have read the famous to not so famous gun writers opine on the one hand how one must train intensively, realistically, and under stress in order to even stand a chance of defending yourself in a gun fight - to the opinion on the other hand that a basic familarity with a guns function and a few times shooting targets from 7 to 10 yards and one has a good chance of using a gun effectively in self-defense. Both can point to real life situations that tend to support their opinion. Personally, I've always leaned towards more training is better, though some would say that more of the wrong training can often be worse than too little training.

The thing is though - survivors of gun fights regardless of their training or lack there of have, in my humble opinion, overwelmingly one trait in common - they were willing, when push came to shove, to kill. I think that mindset is the single most important thing one can bring to a fight.

I believe this because the vast majority of human beings by their nature do not want to kill other humans and that they struggle with the thought of killing another person even if it is in self-defense. Even more than stress or any other single factor, I think this affects a persons ability to aim and to shoot. If we subconciously still rebel against the thought of killing another person, we will lose our focus, we will focus on other things instead of the task at hand -we will focus on our feelings, we will focus on our stress or our fears/anger/anxiety, we will find our focus on anything and everthing except our shooting, we will find ways to subconsciously sabotage our shooting. So to use a gun most effectivley in self-defense I would say the essentials are:

1. Be willing.
2. Have a gun.
3. Practice

The type or caliber of the gun and the nature and details of the practice, though not unimportant, are less important.
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Old March 7, 2006, 01:03 PM   #2
hornet41
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this may be----

Not to me!! If you take up arms, you need to be prepared to use them IF necessary. This includes taking human life!!!! I believe "mind set" is as important, if not more so than skill at arms. If you can't take a life, given the right circumstances, you shouldn't carry!! I also believe you should always try your upmost to avoid a circumstance where you might be required to use deadly force. That included running away if necessary!!!! Just my humble opinion!!!
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Old March 7, 2006, 01:04 PM   #3
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"Shooting to stop" is the idea put forth by a lot of gun writers for the simple reason that anyone who kills in self defense should not admit to anything else. This is for very practical reasons if there is publicity and/or a trial. Saying "I didn't want to kill anyone, but I had to stop him" sounds much better than saying "I shot at him fully intending to kill him." At the bottom line, one could mean acceptance of a self-defense claim, the other could mean a conviction for murder or manslaughter.

Anyone who carries a gun must accept the idea that he may kill someone. But acceptance is one thing, welcoming is another. In fact, a few people on this and other sites seem positively eager to shoot anyone who poses even the least threat, an attitude that could end with a funny pain when the needle goes in. One poster said that he practices "turning and firing at the least sound from behind me." Shades of Duck Bill Hickok! How irresponsible and insane can you get?

Carrying (and even owning) a gun is a big responsibility. For the law-abiding citizen, knowing when NOT to fire is at least as important as knowing how to fire. People who say they would respond to a holdup at a convenience store by shooting are talking about placing people in danger who would otherwise not be in danger. Unless you are a LEO, you would be surprised at how much police training goes into when and when not to shoot.

The gunzine gurus' advice is all over the lot. Oddly, almost none suggest even the most basic defense measure, taking cover if you can. Instead they prattle about stances and standing erect while firing back. In a real gunfight, the bad guy would put an end to their writing careers.

Jim
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Old March 7, 2006, 01:20 PM   #4
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Killing is a serious matter, something that every gun owner needs to think about. Rambo types will be quick to say they will have no problem killing, however it is like a virgin saying they will have no problems having sex....YOU DON'T KNOW. From the guys I know (Vets and LEOs) who have killed someone, it is a life changing event. The good thing is for a civilian gun owner, you usually shooting at someone who intents to do you and your family harm. Big things are pratice, be mentally prepared, be sure of your target, and if you do need to shoot someone dead, don't look at his face.
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Old March 7, 2006, 03:17 PM   #5
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Killing someone/injuring someone is simply an effect from "shooting to stop the threat"....When you have a hostile individual closing ground on you with the intention of causing you (or a loved one) harm, what is it you really want that person to do? You want them to stop that attack. It doesn't always necessarily mean that you want them dead....I certainly would rather not kill a person if I didn't have to, if I could EFFECTIVELY stop them in some other way...But then again, shooting a person in the leg isn't always as EFFECTIVE as shooting them b/t the eyes...

Thats something that I try to engrain into my brain, as should most people...Cause God forbid, if that day comes when you're on the stand convincing the jury that it was self defense, they won't digest your comment about "I shot him b/t the eyes because I wanted him dead" as well as your comment "I was forced to shoot to stop the threat against my family and I"....
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Old March 7, 2006, 03:34 PM   #6
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Anything worth shooting once is worth shooting twice?

Does anyone think this is accurate? Or does it really depend on the situation.

(This is assuming you are in real danger. Bad guy CLEARLY has a Knife or Gun)
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Old March 7, 2006, 03:48 PM   #7
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My perspective--after years of reading, researching, serving in the military, speaking with those who've been-there-done-that--is that most people don't give the question enough serious thought. The question is, "Am I willing to do what it takes to stop an attack, even if it means the BG might die?"

Killing your fellow human being is not a normal human behavior, despite what cynics might say. Sure, there are the exceptions like Charles Manson, but those are the exceptions. Even hurting (not killing) someone is not a normal human behavior. If killing and hurting were normal behaviors, we wouldn't have societies.

Realistic training is an aid to overcoming that inherent unwillingness to hurt and/or kill. But it's just an aid. Many people physically engage in all kinds of training, but they don't mentally engage in it. Those are the people who "game" the training. Without the mental engagement, without giving the matter some serious thought beforehand rather than just a superficial "I'll go Bronson on anyone who sneers at me" response, those people are very likely to hesitate if the bad time comes. They will likely hesitate because they will now have to answer the question they have basically avoided for so long.

Even realistic training and some serious time spent contemplating and answering the question are no guarantees that you will respond with lethal force to an imminent and deadly threat. But I think your chances of properly recognizing, evaluating, and responding will increase if you commit yourself to realistic training and contemplation. You will become, in effect, safer for yourself, your family, and your community while at the same time doing the same for them.
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Old March 7, 2006, 03:49 PM   #8
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Kesser...one thing I do know is once I get past that first pull of the trigger, that "Ohh my Gosh this is it" first shot, training should hopefully take over. Most of my SD drills on the range consist of double taps to the COM and zippers.
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Old March 7, 2006, 04:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
That is being willing to kill. I say kill, not stop, not being willing to use potential lethal force, but being willing to kill.
This was presumably decided when you purchased a gun...
Quote:
to me to be one of the most, if not the single most, important factor in using a firearm effectively in self-defense.
Is placing the first round exactly where you want it...

Remain calm and make it happen!
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Old March 7, 2006, 04:25 PM   #10
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Duplicate... sorry
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Last edited by Pointer; March 8, 2006 at 01:23 PM.
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Old March 7, 2006, 08:18 PM   #11
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Mack, . . . one of the things we learned in Viet Nam, . . . you can teach some people to use a weapon and they will do a seriously good job of defending themselves and those around them.

We also learned that there are some folks who simply are not made up of the genes, moxy, protoplasm, . . . whatever, . . . that can and will take another's life, . . . regardless of the situation. They sat and cried, . . . crawled under the bushes, . . . got up and ran, . . . among other things.

We also learned, . . . oftentimes there are no signs ahead of time who will be which that are 100% dependable.

If they have the mindset to defend themselves, . . . training will give them the tools to do it, . . . if they are basically non-fighters, . . . no training will be sufficient.

I was one of the fortunate few who found out that I could and would, . . . but never did have to do it. There are times when I sit and think about some of the events there, . . . and I just am truly thankful I was spared both ways.

Oh, . . . and yes, Kesserman, . . . ammo is cheap, . . . life is expensive, . . . if you stop to observe the cumulative effect of each individual round on your bg, . . . you may not get to see much past the first round, . . . because he just may empty his magazine or cylinder into you, . . . and that will most likely ruin your whole day.

May God bless,
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Old March 7, 2006, 09:09 PM   #12
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Good info here:

http://killology.com/

I've read Col. Grossman's books "On Killing" and "On Combat" and found them excellent.
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Old March 7, 2006, 09:14 PM   #13
mack59
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Chris1911 - I understand the shooting to stop ethical, moral, and legal part - the difference between murder and self-defense, but what I was however imperfectly trying to articulate was the stark reality we face when we point a gun at another human being and pull the trigger, knowing that in "shooting to stop" we are realistically confronted with the fact that we are essentially shooting to kill a human being - shooting COM or to the head because killing the person is the quickest and surest way to end/stop the threat.

WhyteP38 - I think you expressed what I was trying to say better than what I did.

Pointer - I respectfully disagree - I know and have known people who have bought guns for many reasons other than self-defense and who only as a second thought - add or say - of course I'd use it to protect myself and my family. Some of those individuals have not seriously confronted or answered the question - Am I willing to kill someone. Also I know some people who have bought guns for self-defense who actually believe that if they show the gun it is enough and they don't keep it loaded and others who say things like, well I'd just wound them if I had to. Those individuals have not really answered the question. Are they stupid or unthinking or are they just in denial? Are they not really confronting and trying to answer the question because they don't want to deal with it.

The example that most sticks in my mind is an article I read written by an individual who had been there and done that. First in the military and then as a civilian police officer he had confronted armed individuals and had shot and killed them. He then related that after those experiences, as a trained and tested individual, he had again found himself confronting another armed man. Except that this time he found he was not able to shoot, luckily he survived because of his partner. What I take from that is that one must first be willing to kill, if necessary. That it is not a decision that we make once and forget; and that all the training, posturing, talk, and planning don't amount to a hill of beans if one cannot answer yes to the question, am I willing to kill another human being. It is true that we cannot, with one hundred percent certainty, truly know our answer to that question until we are faced with that situation. But the answer, I believe, makes all the difference. Because if our answer is not certain, we will hesistate, we will shake or flinch, we will lose our focus and instead of concentrating on hitting the target we will concentrate our focus on our feelings of fear, rage, or disbelief- on the fact we are about to act to take a human life - we will be essentially disarmed - a prey animal with a gun.

Dwight55 - thank you for your service. Thank you for sharing your experience.
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Old March 7, 2006, 11:02 PM   #14
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Dwight55 said,
Quote:
Mack, . . . one of the things we learned in Viet Nam, . . . you can teach some people to use a weapon and they will do a seriously good job of defending themselves and those around them.

We also learned that there are some folks who simply are not made up of the genes, moxy, protoplasm, . . . whatever, . . . that can and will take another's life, . . . regardless of the situation. They sat and cried, . . . crawled under the bushes, . . . got up and ran, . . . among other things.

We also learned, . . . oftentimes there are no signs ahead of time who will be which that are 100% dependable.
There it is, Bro, and damn well said.

I don't doubt that kind of thing happened in wars before Viet Nam, but I
wasn't there to see it.

I saw it in Viet Nam. It created a sad state of affairs.

Walter
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Old March 7, 2006, 11:07 PM   #15
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WhyteP38 wrote, "Killing your fellow human being is not a normal human behavior, despite what cynics might say."

I may be a cynic, and this might seem to contradict what I said before, but I don't think it does.

My response is that killing your fellow human being may not be "normal", like eating, but it is pretty common and the killing instinct is not far below the surface. Most of us have been conditioned to think of killing as wrong, which is why military recruits have to be re-conditioned to kill when ordered or when it is necessary. But the basic instinct of self-preservation is that if faced with a choice of killing or being hurt, physically or otherwise, most people will not shrink from killing. And we will use whatever weapon we can find, which is why gun control laws don't prevent murders. Even minor inconvenience can cause murder - a woman kills her child for crying; a man shoots his girlfriend for threatening to leave him.

Some psychologists say that the basic instinct in mankind is the seeking of power. I agree. Even the most basic instinct, sex, is deep down about power. Robbers don't point guns at people because they need money, but because it gives them a feeling of power. Men don't rape women because they need sex, but because it is an exercise in power.

Women don't use their "wiles" on men because they want something, but because that is the way they attain power over the stronger male. And yes, many people carry guns, not because they are concerned with a real threat, but because it gives them that feeling of power. People become police officers, not to protect and serve, but because they want the power of a badge and gun. And for those who can't have real power, there is a big market in fake badges and blank firing guns so people can pretend to have power. The body building industry thrives on the desire to be strong, to have power. The automobile industry sells ever larger trucks and more powerful SUVs because their customers want power, want to feel they dominate the wimp in the Honda Civic.

Guess why .500 S&W revolvers and huge monster rifles sell so well.

Jim
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Old March 8, 2006, 12:03 AM   #16
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Old March 8, 2006, 08:02 AM   #17
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Wanting to kill and willing to kill are extremely different.

I don't want to kill any animals. But if one runs out in front of my car and there's noplace else to go, well, I'm very willing to.

I don't want a root canal. But if I get an infected tooth, I'm willing to have one.

I don't have any interest in killing anybody. Better things to do. But if someone gives me no option, then I'm willing.

Something curious. In your "limited experience", you know more than 1 person who's murdered and more than 1 who's killed in SD ?

I don't know ANYBODY who's done either. Sheltered, I guess.

I have a pretty strict policy in the area of violence. You do something violent that's unprovoked to me or to somebody else and I hear about it, you're snipped out of my life, using whatever force is required. You steal from or defraud me or somebody else and you might get one more chance.

Anything else I don't care about.
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Old March 8, 2006, 09:06 AM   #18
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invention_45 you asked -

Something curious. In your "limited experience", you know more than 1 person who's murdered and more than 1 who's killed in SD ?


Well, I believe my personal experience is quite limited - I have never had to resort to using a gun in self-defense. The last time I recall having to activley defend myself, over ten years ago - I did so by shutting a door in an intoxicated gentlemans face.

I have a brother who is a police officer and via him I have also talked to a few other officers and that accounts some small part of the information. The larger part of my contacts however, I have made through my work. I work as a counselor and in that capacity I have ended up working with a wide range of individuals over the last 20 years. I've worked with gang bangers (real and wannabes), convicted murderers and child molestors, (as well as non-convicted ones), criminals and noncriminals, from almost all walks of life, (college professors, police officers, judges, business owners, athletes, military veterans, drug dealers - a lot of those - as well as just your everyday white or blue collar working man. So I have heard a lot of peoples stories and pain over the years. I think I have gotten fairly good at shifting the BS from the truth for the most part. Also when working in Addictions one comes to build relationships with people who are members of the 12 step community - some have been there and done that too. A good man I knew, (he's gone now), - English and immigrated to the States after WWII, served in the British Army during WWII - saw active combat from Africa all the way through Normandy to VE day. Not many of his friends made it. To listen to his memories of his unit liberating a Nazi concentration camp was painful.

So, a lot of my associations are though my work - and for the most part I am fairly safe - I try to stay aware of the person I'm with - I also know that for the most part that by the time the individual is seeing me they either really want help or they at least want to try to play the game, because I have something they want. I would say though that there are many recovering alcoholics and addicts I would trust a heck of a lot more than your average joe on the street or even your average co-worker.
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Old March 8, 2006, 09:38 AM   #19
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My response is that killing your fellow human being may not be "normal", like eating, but it is pretty common and the killing instinct is not far below the surface.
There are actually two points here to address, and I'll address the second one first because it's the easiest to address. I agree that the "killing instinct is not far below the surface." Humans are omnivores. (For any vegans out there who don't believe me, simply look at the biological construction of homo sapiens sapiens.) If you look at human diets across the world, you'll see we eat just about anything that can't get away from us. Those are plants and animals. We even eat things that can kill us if not prepared properly, such as blowfish. To eat animals, we must first kill them, and that instinct is indeed in us.

Cannibalism, however, is extremely rare in human societies. I would classify it as not normal. There is a demonstrable difference between killing and eating animals, and killing and eating our fellow human beings.

And now for the first point: killing your fellow human being is pretty common. I read or hear statements like this a lot, but so far I've never seen any statistics about it. There are hundreds of millions of people living in the U.S. How many, as a percentage, have murdered someone (as opposed to justifiable self-defense or military combat)? Not every murder is committed by a fresh murderer. Instead, many murders are committed by people who have murdered before. What this means is that the number of people who are murdered rises faster than the number of newly minted murderers.

In any large group of people, you will have a small percentage of abnormal ones, the crazies. So while you have people being murdered every day, which makes murder somewhat common, you may have a very small percentage of people who are murderers, which would make the condition of being a murderer abnormal. If the condition is abnormal, it seems fair to say killing your fellow human being is not normal.

Being common and being normal are not the same things. Something like murder can be abnormal but common because we don't have adequate safeguards in place. But that still doesn't make it normal.

I've never seen any stats on this subject, so I can't say with absolute certainty that the percentage is very small. But in 45 years, and after serving in the military and speaking with people who have been in combat and LEOs who have put their lives on the line and doing my own research into the topic, the impression I've gotten is that people who can commit murder are pretty rare.

I think it's rare for a reason, and that same reason is present in most people: There's a natural inhibition against killing your own kind. That inhibition can be overcome by normal people if they need to defend themselves or are trained to fight in combat, in which we tap into that killing instinct normally reserved for use against the animals we eat. But it's still an inhibition that is present in most of us. It can help us form enormous societies and accomplish great things, and it can work against us when we need to defend ourselves.
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Old March 8, 2006, 10:58 AM   #20
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It was well said, "there is a difference between wanting to kill and willing to kill".

A hugh difference. Also, there is a big difference between 'armed and willing to kill' .vs. 'armed and unwilling to kill'. Not trying to disparage anyone, but a good example of armed and unwilling to kill is the Tacoma Mall incident. The CCW holder drew his pistol when he confronted the shooter, then reholsterd and began to try to talk to him. The BG then shot him 5 or 6 times. If he had been "willing to kill" he probably would have dropped the BG and ended a very dangerous situation.

Anyone who carries a SD pistol MUST consider all of the posible ramifications of getting into a shooting situation. You may get hurt. You may get killed. You may miss. You might hurt or kill a bystander. You will be detained, questioned, maybe arrested, possibly prociuted, probably sued (depending upon the locale). If one is not willing to deal with all of thie excess bagage and stand up for doing the right thing, maybe SD carry isn't for them.

I'm cetainly not advocating against SD carry, I carry a SD pistol, teach pistolcraft, and work towards better and more (gulp) liberal gun laws. But I do see a lot of posts in which the poster seems to think that every violent encounter is quickly and painlessly resolved by the mere presence of an armed good guy, and everyone heads happily into the sunset. Unless you have made the decision to be 'armed and willing to kill', carring a SD pistol might not be the best idea. Pointing a loaded pistol at a career BG and not be willing to pull the trigger may well result in the gun-grabbers' stupid refrain of, "the gun will be used against you".
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Old March 8, 2006, 11:20 AM   #21
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mack: Thanks for clarifying that. I wasn't trying to criticize. I just was wondering if my view of that sort of thing was skewed since I have never run up against it in 52 years.

Wyo: I've sure thought about the matter a lot over the 5 years I've had my CCWL. I'm aware that I might not be ABLE to kill if the matter ever comes up, for practical reasons. Such as I can't shoot in time. And I suspect that reality dictates that of all the circumstances I might find myself in that would require killing, the situation being just right for me to successfully defend myself using deadly force is pretty unlikely. That's why I really try to focus on avoiding problems.

But in the unlikely event I'm faced with the need to defend myself, and in the less likely event it can be done successfully, I'm absolutely, positively willing to do so. I'm adamant that nobody is going to seriously injure me or worse if I have anything to say about it, and there's no limit to what I'll do to stop it.
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Old March 8, 2006, 11:35 AM   #22
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It's true, many people's subcontious would not allow them to kill. Some war films touch upon the subject, in Saving Private Ryan one man is unable to kill. It's hard to overcome the fealings, I myself find it hard to kill animals even at times, suppose it depends how you were raised, but even an animal only has one life that your are ending. If the idea of killing stirs you up its probably not a bad thing, when youre looking down someones gun and you have to take their life, youll probably have less fear, if youre realy concerned about not being able to defend yourself my sugjestion would be to go hunting, if you have respect for the beauty of animals and fauna once you overcome the tension in taking an animal youll be closer to taking a human.. not that its a good thing, i may hunt but dont like to take the life, i personaly prefer shooting at range environments but still find it thrilling to hunt
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Old March 8, 2006, 12:29 PM   #23
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Let me start by saying i am not a minister or rabbi, just educated. Let's look at the words we use. The word kill. Why don't we use the word murder. The Old Testement when translated into English gives light on the subject of word choice. Specifically in the ten commandments, the mistranslation for this discussion lays in the sixth commandment ...You shall not murder. Many early versions of translation say You shall not kill. (check it out, it's cool) Properly translated later it once again became You shall not murder. I don't believe anything is chance in the bible, and it is worded on purpose.

Taking this a step farther, does this mean it is ok to kill, if it is not murder?

The bible makes a diferentiation between kill and murder specifically and on purpose. Murder is taking a life in sinful action, denying another the sacriment of life. When another decides to murder someone, can the person being murdered murder the murderer back? It sound rediculous doesn't it.

Instead they use the gift that God has given us, the ability to protect life.

The reason I bring up this religious look on the subject, is that our secular life gives us the opposite message. Secular belief devoid of a creator, does not differentiate between the words, and they are blurred together many times. We are brought up without paying attention to one above that matters. This leads to our morals, ideals, and in the end our actions!!!

Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this, hoping it does not offend anyone here.
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Old March 8, 2006, 12:46 PM   #24
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That is very interesting! Thanks 'mama.
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Old March 8, 2006, 01:01 PM   #25
mack59
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invention 45 - no offense taken - I thought it was a legitimate question.

There is a big difference between being willing to kill and wanting to kill.


biglabsrule - I feel you are right that it is a good thing that killing even animals is not an easy thing - I think we would be a better society if everyone at one time in their life had to kill or slaughter an animal and process the meat. It seems that some people are so insulated from the realities of life and death.

Regarding the previous discussion on the commonness of killing human beings - I beleive it is not a common thing when you look at the population of the country and then you consider the number of murders in a given year - it is uncommon. Killing people is abnormal - especially if one is talking murder. While I do believe that virtually anyone is capable of murder and such evil, I also believe that the vast majority of us will never murder, or even have to kill in self-defense.

That is not to say that there aren't some individuals who not only kill people, but who actually enjoy it, there are those individuals out there. Most murderers are socio-paths, who have no feelings or real regard for others, if you have something they want, they don't care, they will do whatever gets them what they want without regard for whoever gets hurt or killed in the process. I see a lot of socio-paths/individuals with anti-social personality disorder every year - the vast majority are mostly law abiding and will never kill anyone, primarily because they don't see it as being in their best interest to do so - they see the consequences, (jail, prison, death penalty, loss of job, loss of money, loss of freedom, social isolation), as far outweighing the benefits. Also most of these individuals would not necessarily take pleasure in killing - killing would simply be a means to an end. There are however those rare individuals who actually do take pleasure from killing - I thankfully have never personally met one - at least that I know. Those individuals are the truly scary ones. The ones that enjoyed war cause they got to kill people, or who liked being an officer or border patrolman because they had the chance to shoot people, or who become mass murders - like Bundy, Gacy, Dahmer, or Pedro Lopez.
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