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View Poll Results: Does an Armed Citizen have a Moral/Ethical Duty to Retreat (complete safety)
Yep, at all times 30 13.89%
Nope, Never 92 42.59%
Yep, but only on the street, not in the Home/Business 63 29.17%
I'm not ansering because I dont want to seem either wimpy or bloodthirsty 15 6.94%
I'd rather have pic of you and Spiff iwearing spandex loincloths lard wrestling in a baby pool. 16 7.41%
Voters: 216. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 18, 2009, 10:14 PM   #301
MLeake
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Case in Fayetteville, NC a couple months ago

A USAF sergeant based at Pope went home, found an intruder in his apartment, and ended up shooting the intruder in the ensuing scuffle. No charges filed. DA called it a good shoot.

Not case law, I suppose, because it never made it to court.
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Old June 18, 2009, 10:33 PM   #302
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Quote:
A USAF sergeant based at Pope went home, found an intruder in his apartment, and ended up shooting the intruder in the ensuing scuffle. No charges filed. DA called it a good shoot.

Not case law, I suppose, because it never made it to court.
There's nothing I know of to say that someone coming home to find someone in his house cannot defend himself.

It's just that the fact of a forcible entry would not provide him, under the provisions of the law that refer to an occupied dwelling, with an automatic presumption that deadly force was immediately necessary to defend himself. And in some states he might have an obligation to retreat. I won't even begin to attempt to defend that philosophy.

You are inside, someone is breaking in, and (except in some states) it's presumed to be clear that you are in danger.

Though, if you walk in on someone you didn't expect in your own house, he would sure have some splainin' to do!

By the way, there's nothing more terrifying that I know of.

Last edited by OldMarksman; June 18, 2009 at 10:34 PM. Reason: correction
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Old June 19, 2009, 01:17 PM   #303
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Cautionary note - gene pool

This has been an excellent debate! One cautionary note - posturing about the proactive cleaning of the gene pool type of comments aren't going to fly. People have bit the dust for that and PM'ed us nasty comments. But this is Rich's Castle.

I would opine that the castle laws and shooting intruder laws weren't designed because they valued property over life but because they recognized the threat to you from an intruder or the requirement to retreat. While some might have promoted that folks need to die to save the family TV, I don't think that was the major reason. The laws were to reduce your risk, not give out the death penalty for theft.

Death over property - if a kid steals a Mounds bar or Winnona Ryder sticks a watch in her under pants - do you open fire? Or is it that the intruder is a threat to you - not a prediction of future crime and you are the Wrath of God.

I would also posit that we see a type I emotional reaction - folks see a violation of their home terrority as terrible threat because of an evolutionary bias to protect the nest. It's automatic and sometime precludes rational analysis of all the negative outcomes of shooting someone in the living room if you don't have to.
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Old June 19, 2009, 04:34 PM   #304
Rifleman 173
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I'm really worried about the crowd that wants 2 guys in lard and spandex... Over 10% favor that!! Jeez!!!! I'd sooner see Rosie O'Donnell nude and, if that had been an option, there would be some sickos voting for that one too....
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Old June 19, 2009, 05:39 PM   #305
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Good Lord man! Rosie...au naturel?!:barf: Are you trying to get banned?

Some people just have no sense of propriety.


So...it looks like this thread might be winding down. Maybe I can have the last word:

Yes, there is a moral/ethical duty to retreat.

OK, that's settled, we can close this thread now.
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Old June 20, 2009, 01:07 AM   #306
Dually
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"Legal is between you and your state. Moral is between you and your God." As the first reply stated from "Sarge"

Everyone has different morals. You would be a retard to expect everyone to respond the same way based on morals.


If its legal, I vote Kill the SOB... Reasoning behind my opinion is simple. I don't want to waste tax payer money, the asshat is guilty, and people who have spent more on their educations then I have agreed my actions are protected under the law.
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Old June 20, 2009, 01:59 AM   #307
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now we're nitpicking...

Quote:
His back could be turned to you and he could he holding a gun.
And some folks can draw very quickly from a "hands up" position.
For the back turned part thats why I said "and keeps it turned". Shooting a man in the back, even in Georgia, is going to be a tough one to argue. From that position I can tell whatshisname to not turn around and lie face down til the police arrive. If he even flinches in my direction it's going to be a bad night for him.

For either situation I have a lot more confidence in my ability to just pull the trigger fast enough (because in either of these two I'll already have the gun on him) that I have fear of his ability to 1) turn/draw 2) sight (maybe) 3)fire. I have one step, he's got 3, 2 at the least.

Quote:
No, I'm not suggesting that the ONLY use for firearms is self defense.
But this IS a "tactics and training" forum, not a hunting or target shooting forum.
And we are talking about the moral and ethical aspects of shooting another person.
Yes, but TFL as a whole is a firearms forum covering all aspects of firearms ownership. So, what did I say to warrant you suggesting that I shouldn't own a firearm? Simply because I have a slightly less itchy trigger finger than yours? Doesn't that seem a little backwards to you? I'd rather not shoot someone I know and I'd rather not shoot even an intruder if I can avoid it without risking my life.




WA posted this in another thread but it still applies and it's something everyone in this thread should turn over in their heads for a minute:
Quote:
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
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Old June 20, 2009, 10:01 AM   #308
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I refrained from posting in this poll due to the broad nature of the question. I have, however, reached a conclusion that I believe fits one of the categories, albeit loosely.

In my particular State, we have a "castle law" and I am glad for it. If I am in my home, and someone forcibly enters, I have no duty to, nor will I retreat. My door is where the line is drawn.

The protection of the law also extends into my surrounding grounds, however, if I can safely retreat into my home, and defend my life from inside my home, I will do so.

You might ask "Why would OuTcAsT not defend his own yard, he has the right to do so" ?

Simple, I feel a firearm is to protect Me, and my families' Lives. The only thing that exists outside my home, are material possessions and, all can be replaced.
I have low-deductible car insurance to replace any of my vehicles, Homeowners and business insurance will cover my other real property. If someone is intent on stealing some of those items, I will call 911, report the crime, and protect my family from inside my home.

"But OuTcAsT, you can legally confront the thief, why cower inside like a sheep" ?

Because to do otherwise might be legally acceptable, it is not , IMO, morally acceptable.

"That makes no sense OuTcAsT, someone is stealing your property, if you attempt to stop him, he might run away, or you might be able to fight him off without having to shoot." (you know, match force with equal force)

I do not like those odds, "Things" are not worth that risk.

"What risk ? You are armed, and proficient in the use of the weapon, If it gets to that point he has forced you to defend yourself, and you are legally justified to do that"

While that looks great in the headlines, the fact is, I had a chance to not shoot someone, and did not take it. Had I not intervened personally, the only thing lost would be "stuff". Now, I have shot someone (and they will likely be dead) I can easily use the law to justify my actions, They, after all, forced me to defend myself. and the cops, and media will have no problem with that. and on TFL I will be a "righteous warrior"
But when the dust settles, and the smoke clears, the reality of what I have done is; I have chosen to kill someone over "Stuff"

While the "spin" may be legal, I choose not to live with the moral reality.

I said it before, and I'll say it again, A Gun is Life Insurance, not Property Insurance.


As to protection in public ? If I can safely retreat, I will. If not, I will stop the threat.
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Old June 20, 2009, 07:46 PM   #309
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Indecent Assault on a Rational Mind

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Alaska
So if I stand in front of your house with a garish poster of Michael More in a spandex thong, are you gonna use lethal force against me.
As far as I can see you, bunky!


I find it interesting the original question was that of moral and ethical grounds, and the thread has been altered into "Does the law say I can (and get away with it.)" How about we live where there is no law? (I'm in PDSR California, that situation is rapidly approaching.)

Under what grounds is shooting someone morally and ethically justified? Or do I have the original intent wrong?
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Old June 20, 2009, 09:00 PM   #310
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Post # 308

Well said, Outcast.
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Old June 21, 2009, 05:37 AM   #311
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legal duty

Thank you for the welcome... I'm not suggesting being a judge jurror and executioner. I'm simply stating, that, if someone were to attack myself, or a loved one, or any descent being for that matter. And the attacker had a weapon or was choking them or any causing them bodily harm or possible death, I would not think twice to shoot... PO's have other means to stop an attack and the training to deploy those means, average citizens dont have the same level of force continuim(pepper spray, Baton then firearm) If they did, we probably wouldnt need the police.... I would shoot to stop the attack, I was tought and I train 2-3 shots, Center Mass, where the lungs and heart is located....
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Old June 21, 2009, 08:55 AM   #312
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We are all citizens

To me it comes down to being a good citizen. Just as the police have the responsibility to enforce the law, so do the citizens. Sure, you then throw yourself into the mercy of the legal system and all that it may involve, but you are still a citizen. I do not think I could do nothing.
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Old June 21, 2009, 03:32 PM   #313
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I wish I had come earlier to the thread because it's a pretty big bite to read all at once.

This goes back to the first few pages.
All morals are individual/personal. by that I mean that morals deal with how the individual deals with the world around him.
Yes there are other definitions for morals, but that's the one I'm using right now.

Given that, all morals are "derived". They are derived externally from family or society or a book etc. Or morals are derived internally through reflection, reason, or revelation.

In any of those cases those morals "could" be absolute. By that I mean applicable to all individuals and in all situations.
Among the reasons I qualify absolute morals are the facts that on many occasions those morals that have been proclaimed as absolute have been proven to not be so. Divine rights of kings, slavery, the ability to kill people who wore the wrong clothing, were all considered moral absolutes at one time or another. Absolute morals derived externally or or from revelation are very prone to this type of error, because they don't admit to challenge.
Absolute morals also tend to be unwieldy when applied in novel situations. Javert was absolutely right to pursue Jean Valjean, but Valjean was much more important to society as a mayor and businessman than in prison. (That of course ignores the subtext that Javert was driven by petty jealousy and pride, not respect for the law) Sorry about the pun.

Which brings us to absolutes hand maiden, relativism. The two are not mutually exclusive. It can be a moral absolute that it is wrong to steal and at the same time morally absolute that it is right to steal a loaf of bread to feed a starving child. There is no dichotomy. Instead there is a hierarchy of absolutes. Moral relativism is the exercise of that hierarchy.

I for one, think we have an absolute duty to retreat. We can debate at what point retreating becomes untenable, but I hope we can agree that taking a life when we don't have to is repugnant.
Arguments against this point seem to focus on extending the "have to" into some future necessity. We can't see into the future, the baker might have shot Valjean and through that act condemned several "innocent" lives to death.

I also believe that we have an absolute moral duty to defend our own lives and the lives of others. If that requires the use of deadly force, then we are morally bound to do so.
Once again the argument is not against the absolute, it is whether the situation meets the requirements.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Mis%C3%A9rables
If you haven't read the book you should.

In my opinion Emanuel Kant is the go to guy for the philosophical debate.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Kant

Just like to point out that "situational ethics" is a Christian concept.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_ethics
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Old June 21, 2009, 04:12 PM   #314
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"For what is humanity itself, but justice" (Lactantius, Divine Institutions)

Is taking a life, other than in the most extreme circumstances, justice?

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Old June 21, 2009, 05:21 PM   #315
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I can't imagine a circumstance that justly warrants taking a life that is not extreme. Why would someone take a life? It would either be because it is a moral person who judges that it must be done to save innocent life, or someone acting immorally.

This is in my judgment of course. Now I do realize that a moral person could make a misjudgment(and be innocent even though he wrongly takes a life due to the circumstance), but again we are still talking about an extreme circumstance.
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Old June 21, 2009, 05:23 PM   #316
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Quote:
"For what is humanity itself, but justice" (Lactantius, Divine Institutions)

Is taking a life, other than in the most extreme circumstances, justice?
Plato's cave is claustrophobic. That's why so many people try to get out of it.
Interpreting shadows flickering in the fire light is all well and good, except that the flames don't stay the same after we've gone to all the work of telling each other what they mean.
Plato tells us that we can't get out of that cave. If we try to escape all we really do is go deeper into the cave. Much of human philosophy argues that Plato was a silly troglodyte, or that we should just enjoy the fire and toast marshmallows.

Lactantius was anti-cave. Justice was an absolute, and divinely directed. I think Jeremy Bentham would have beaten him up and taken his lunch money.
That's not to say utility is the be all and end all of justice, just that we have to consider the source.
If we consider justice to be human and imperfect I'm all for Lactantius.

Quote:
Now I do realize that a moral person could make a misjudgment when he is put in an extreme circumstance,
That's why one of the considerations in self defense is did the person have reasonable fear. Sometimes that's expanded to did the person honestly believe there was danger.
Basically being scared gormless is an excuse for homicide. Or at least extenuating.

Last edited by Buzzcook; June 21, 2009 at 05:28 PM.
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Old June 21, 2009, 05:27 PM   #317
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Quote:
If we consider justice to be human and imperfect I'm all for Lactantius.
Thats why we are arguing over circumstances?

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Old June 21, 2009, 05:46 PM   #318
dipper
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Quote:
But does he have a moral/ehtical duty to do so? I postulate that the responsible armed citizen does. Vote and discuss.
Yes, I agree Wild, the responsible armed citizen does have a duty to retreat.
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Old June 21, 2009, 05:47 PM   #319
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I am a bit late to this one but some interesting comments for sure. As to moral duty I will speak to my own in that if I can safely retreat (and not endanger loved ones by leaving them to the BG's whims) then I will. I probably wouldn't shoot someone over property (unless guarding a nuke) and I would not want to shoot if I could avoid it. My $.01.
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Old June 21, 2009, 05:57 PM   #320
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Ok here's a what if that actually happened.

A kid I worked with was accosted in the street by a man with a knife.

In this scenario we change the kid or the assailant, to fit our argument. If we make the kid weaker and the assailant stronger we make an argument for use of force. If we make the kid stronger (or faster), we argue that the use of force is unnecessary.
stargazer65 brings up an option that it is possible that the kid was stronger than the assailant, but believes that the opposite is true, thus use of force is forgivable.
I suppose we could examine the motives of the assailant, but unfortunately for him he's just a plot device.

If we use my 95 year old mother-in-law in place of the kid, and she's packing heat. It really doesn't matter how weak the assailant is, we would all say that she had a reasonable fear of harm. Granny is free to blast away.

If we use what actually happened with the kid being a 270 pound exercise freak, army ranger vet, and occasional professional K1 fighter and the assailant being a very inebriated person with a table knife, I think we might agree gun play would be a bit excessive.

The kid shoved the drunk and that fellow fell into the gutter.
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Old June 21, 2009, 06:06 PM   #321
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Tennessee Gentleman, I think we can argue that there are occasions where stopping a theft would justify the use of deadly force.
What if old Jean Valjean wasn't stealing bread from a baker, but instead was stealing bread from a family that needed bread to keep their own children from starving?
Earlier someone mentioned that stealing a horse in the wilderness was the same as murder. If we accept that some possessions might mean life or death to their owner if stolen, then I think the use of deadly force is arguably acceptable.
But those instances would be very rare.
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Old June 21, 2009, 06:42 PM   #322
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzcook
If we accept that some possessions might mean life or death to their owner if stolen, then I think the use of deadly force is arguably acceptable.
Agree. Lots of latitude, however I am talking about things that could be replaced fairly easily but that is just my opinion.
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Old June 21, 2009, 09:33 PM   #323
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I think too many people are trying to read too much into the question. If someone is breaking down your front door do you shoot through the door or wait until they break through the door to make sure it is not your wife who locked her keys inside. Or better yet you are cruising the neighborhood in your car and someone walking along beside the road pulls a gun on you. Do you stop and have a shootout or do you floor it and get away?
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Old June 22, 2009, 12:42 AM   #324
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In my home, if my roommate doesn't immediately recognize the sounds of me coming as in the door as being me, I hear a hammer being cocked and a voice says, inquisitively, "John?"

None in my home are going to shoot at bumps in the night, unless we are positive its a threat, and we have visually identified them as such.
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Old June 22, 2009, 09:55 AM   #325
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
That's very wise especially considering that the "bump" might be a roomate curled up on the kitchen floor sleeping off a bender.
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