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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 12, 2009, 07:51 PM   #101
m&p45acp10+1
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I was raised with the moral of don't look for trouble, and don't wait around for it either.
I stick to that. If my weapon has come out and is firing it is because I had no other option.
If it were a situation of a traffic collision and someone was coming towards my car with a weapon if my vehicle will still drive I am gonna step on the gas and get out of there as quickly as I can. If not then I defend myself.
If onthe street and I see a group of gang bangers down the block I siply cross the street to the other side. (quote from my grampa " It takes a bigger man to walk away. It takes a wiser man to never have walked into it in the first place.")
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Old June 12, 2009, 08:56 PM   #102
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Even if you are armed and have the immediate ability to stop dead someone threatening our life WHY if you have the ability to say slam a steel door infront of you shut wouldn't you?
It may be your only chance ever to use your tactical 870 magnum with powerbeam light, laser sight, extended chamber tube and stock mounted shell carrier legally in an actual defensive situation. Do you really want to pass up that once in a lifetime chance?
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Old June 12, 2009, 09:06 PM   #103
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In MD we have a flight law. And no constitutional right to own or use a fire arm. They even go so far as to call a misdemeanor a felony when considering a firearms purchase. It is my under standing that based on the ruling against DC that a case is being prepared to sue the state for violating peoples federal constitutional rights. As far as amending the constitution, senate leaders just desk drawer veto the bills not even letting them be heard.
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Old June 12, 2009, 11:07 PM   #104
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Even if you are armed and have the immediate ability to stop dead someone threatening our life WHY if you have the ability to say slam a steel door infront of you shut wouldn't you?
Speaking for myself, who said I wouldn't? Who else said they wouldn't, for that matter?
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Old June 13, 2009, 12:25 AM   #105
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Who else said they wouldn't, for that matter?
The nearly 38% who responded that they wouldn't ever retreat.
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Old June 13, 2009, 12:38 AM   #106
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If someone is trying to kill me, I will kill them. Once they try to harm me they lose their right not to get shot. Only cowards retreat.
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Old June 13, 2009, 03:28 AM   #107
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If one has "complete safety," I think they should retreat. (That also includes the "complete safety" of all other innocent parties.)

I can't really think of many situations where that would happen.
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Old June 13, 2009, 04:56 AM   #108
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The OPs/WAs original question is far too broad and ambiguous for a simple yes or no answer, in my opinion; however, the topic is germane.

And concerning "morality/legality":
"We are bound, you, I, and every one to make common cause, even with error itself, to maintain the common right of freedom of conscience." Thomas Jefferson to Edward Dowse 1803
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Old June 13, 2009, 07:30 AM   #109
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Without creating a debate over REX LEX vs. LEX REX, it the King law, or is the Law king, we live in a country (those in the USA) that is defined by the rule of law. In the Castle Doctrine, your home is your "Castle" and you, "King" of it. It's the premise, from British common law, that we get out rights to defend ourselves in our own homes, and those states which have the "stand your ground" clause, it extends to your vehicle and your place of business. It is when you abuse your rights as King, as defined by law, that we find so many times this matter becoming an issue. The moral duty to obey a given law is the duty to do as the law states by reason that it is the law. If the state in which you reside dictates that you have to retreat, then it would be immoral, as far as the law is concerned, not to.

The law in the state which your "castle" resides dictates what is the legal duty of your "kingship" in regards to using force on another human being. Some states have opted to give private citizens the right to choose to decide whether to retreat legally. But here is the quagmire, when do you cross the line, whether legal or not, when do you start playing "God" in relationship to being the one who chooses who lives or dies under your power as "King." At that point, you have set up your own system of ethics and morality, ergo..REX LEX, you define what is law. If your ethics doesn't follow the laws of your state, then you can find yourself under the penalty of the law of the state. In the USA, it is the courts who decides legally who lives or dies.

Criminals often show us that they have no regard for the law, or human life. But as a civil society, we cannot choose that path. And vigilantism is no better, it is anarchy in a system that is defined by laws. When we loose our ethical compass when it comes to "life", then we can find ourselves in the same place.

In the end, it isn't so much about the moral duty to retreat, but how much do you value life. Both yours and others. If it does come down to a choice of whether I or the aggressor lives, I'm sorry, I win. If there is in my power, the ability to allow both of us to escape death, I would take that route. (rant over, stepping off soapbox)

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Old June 13, 2009, 07:50 AM   #110
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The nearly 38% who responded that they wouldn't ever retreat.
There have been a lot of points made for both sides, so I'll attempt to add something new. The above quote makes an inference that is not true, I voted that I NEVER have the moral obligation to retreat. What it did not say is that I would never consider the option and make a decision that might lead to retreat.

In a SD situation my only moral obligation is to take care of myself, my family, and to avoid injury to any innocent third parties. I am not obligated to retreat from a situation where I could do so safely IF someone/some people are acting in a manner in which deadly force is justified.

In Texas basically a violent crime directed towards an "innocent party" (or limited property theft) is the only justification for deadly force. If someone has done something to fit under that umbrella of pretty specific crimes I hope to be able to assess the entire situation and make a decision that is the most likely to get me and mine home safely without my actions causing any innocents harm. One possible action would be to hole up, take cover, and protect me/mine only without any aggression towards the actor in question...but again, I have NO MORAL obligation to do that.
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Old June 13, 2009, 09:22 AM   #111
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+1 Sigma 40 Blaster

I am also one of the people who chose "No, never." I really don't feel it should be my moral responsibility to protect an attacker. The BG chose to create the situation, and bears full responsibility for what happens to him from that point.

WA didn't create a category of "There should be no legal nor moral responsibility to retreat, but I would if I could do so safely and ethically."

More to the point, in the few occasions where I have had force used against me in my adult years, belligerents have walked away unharmed; in most cases talked down, in another case choked out but otherwise unharmed, in another case punched once and convinced to desist, and in yet another case double arm-barred and held for the police. In the funniest one, I just made the guy miss with a couple of haymakers by the simple expedients of sidestepping and ducking under - the guy decided at that point that he'd mistaken me for somebody else, and left without me having to lay a hand on him.

Point being, I've never voluntarily inflicted more than the absolute minimum of damage.

Now, before you think I go looking for trouble... one of those guys assaulted a woman in broad daylight in downtown Orlando. (Note: any number of business suited attorneys just walked by; this was just outside the Federal courthouse building on Hughey - I was headed there to meet the regional Navy officer recruiter; it amazed me how many people just kept going, not saying a word, and apparently not calling the cops because they never showed up)

Another attacked me when he showed up after the fact, when his girlfriend and I had a fender bender, before the police showed up (she was cited for pulling out of a parking lot onto a highway directly into traffic, go figure).

Another was a 250lb former football player who had a beef with a 130lb, asthmatic friend of mine and chose to attack him in front of me.

Yet another was just some drunk who started a brawl outside a Hooter's as I was leaving; I think he really did mistake me for the guy he was fighting - that's the one I intimidated just by avoiding his punches.

Recurring themes to those guys, though: immature, not too bright, drunk on one or two cases, but most of all not armed. The presence of a weapon would have drastically changed scenarios, and upped the odds of either or both of us receiving severe injuries. However, I could not have retreated from any of them. A couple were surprise attacks on me directly, and the others were on smaller, weaker victims, and I could not have retreated in good faith.

Do I think I had a moral duty in any of those real-world cases to retreat? No, in fact in some cases it was the opposite. Did I make a conscious effort to inflict minimal damage? Yes.

So, if WA wants to add a category, "No legal or moral duty to retreat, except when doing so is safer for bystanders, but moral duty to use minimal force to achieve necessary end-state," then I'll go with that.
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Old June 13, 2009, 09:34 AM   #112
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Legal or moral duty to retreat?

Yes, when out in the public (if you are armed).

At home? The only duty to retreat, will be for me to get behind some kind of cover (if at all possible) before I have to do something I really don't want to do.....
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Old June 13, 2009, 12:09 PM   #113
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The only duty to retreat, will be for me to get behind some kind of cover (if at all possible) before I have to do something I really don't want to do.....
I agree with your position. And I notice at the end of your statement, that you are using a "social" reasoning. And that's not a bad thing either. Training yourself to key on when a person will become, or has already become "asocial" or "antisocial" is one of the keys to your safety. Many folks train and live in various levels of "social" engagement, like the fight at the bar. I don't want to kill you, but I will beat the crap out of you. There are various levels from verbal to mild violence to even fist-t-cuffs...it's when a person crosses that line to "asocial" behavior that has to be keyed on. That's the moment in time when you have to make the life or death decisions.
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Old June 13, 2009, 12:10 PM   #114
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The question should not be whether you have a moral duty to retreat, because you don't, period. You have a moral duty to protect yourself and your loved ones in the best manner possible.

Now, you have to use wisdom and common sense to determine how you best protect yourself and them. It simply makes more sense, a lot of the time, to retreat. Each situation is unique, and it's impossible to predict whether or not it is the better choice to fight, retreat, or hide, or something else entirely.
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Old June 13, 2009, 05:23 PM   #115
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For reasons previously given, I will retreat if at all possible, but in retrospect my previous response didn't really answer the poll question. That being do I have a moral responsibility to retreat?

I believe I do.

Regardless of what the law allows, I have enough respect for life to want to avoid taking it, particularly if I can do so without risk to myself, as the original question posited.

Anyone who assumes cowardice or a lack of resolve to protect on my part would be making an erroneous assumption. Under the right circumstances, I would not hesitate to use deadly force. It is simply that my set of circumstances is a bit more narrow than some others who have posted responses.
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Old June 13, 2009, 05:33 PM   #116
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Only cowards retreat.
So definitionally, the British at Dunkirk were cowards. They should have stayed in France, been killed or capture. That would have deprived the UK of manpower needed later in the war.
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Old June 13, 2009, 05:41 PM   #117
Donn_N
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So definitionally, the British at Dunkirk were cowards. They should have stayed in France, been killed or capture. That would have deprived the UK of manpower needed later in the war.
It would also make George Washington a coward. He spent quite a bit of time retreating.
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Old June 13, 2009, 09:23 PM   #118
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Retreat is simply a tactic which is neither courageous nor cowardly in and of itself. It depends upon the situation, and if used properly it may be both wise and courageous.
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Old June 13, 2009, 11:53 PM   #119
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IMHO

If life is in the balance mine or an innocent person I will pull the trigger! If not I will lock on target and wait to see what happens? To posses the ability to kill a human is a heavy load? This my brother and sisters is something I hope that none of us ever have to deal with. If it happens I hope we will do what is the right thing? If I have to kill did I have to kill ? Just my humble opinion?
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Old June 16, 2009, 12:12 PM   #120
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Well, i thought about this, and then had to consult our greatest source of modern wisdom...

...We all saw what happened to Peter Parker when he decided "Hey this isn't my problem." and stepped off to the side. Because of his decision Uncle Ben got a cap busted into him and now Aunt May sleeps alone at night...

Seriously though, we had a little girl (Esme Kinney) murdered here not too long ago. Anyway, the guy who did it had a rap sheet a mile long, and had served time before for manslaughter and arson. There were many opportunities where if citizens had been armed while he attacked them perhaps he wouldn't have had a chance to be acquited of so many other charges (propositioning a minor, rape, buglary) that would have put him back in prison where he belonged.

So, for those of you who retreat when you're able to do so. What happens if the person you could have stopped goes on to kill a 13 year old girl jogging around a park? Doesn't a moral obligation exist to remove dangerous elements from society if the situation is presented to us?

And please, let me be clear, I'm not going out and looking for trouble. And I pray each and every day that I NEVER fire a shot in anger. I just would hate to not do something that allows a criminal to go on to commit horrible crimes...

It's an interesting question either way.
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Old June 16, 2009, 01:04 PM   #121
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What happens if the person you could have stopped goes on to kill a 13 year old girl jogging around a park? Doesn't a moral obligation exist to remove dangerous elements from society if the situation is presented to us?
Sorry, pull your head out of fantasy realm and stop watching Minority Report.
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Old June 16, 2009, 01:17 PM   #122
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
I personally haven't been given the wisdom or authority to remove dangerous elements from society at will, I would normally defer that to the justice system and ultimately a higher power.
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Old June 16, 2009, 01:19 PM   #123
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I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that if person is willing to commit violent crime A. they're likely to go on to commit violent crime B.
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Old June 16, 2009, 02:08 PM   #124
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Doesn't a moral obligation exist to remove dangerous elements from society if the situation is presented to us?
The interesting question is to where this view is operative. In our scenario, you are in a situation where a threat of grievous bodily harm does exist and you could use a potential level of lethal force to stop it - but you could also retreat.

If the goal is to protect yourself - and retreat is effacious - do you have the moral authority to use potentially lethal force? That's the question.

The self-defense discussions have never overtly taken the position that you should remove dangerous elements as a preventive measure. It is always to protect yourself.

By extension of prediction - if you had a car accident when you were hit by a drunk driver and you did survive - you know predictively that this driver will do this again - should you have the moral obligation to execute him or her on the spot? Drunks kill lots of folks.

No one is saying that if you need to protect yourself - you shouldn't. But if you can escape - it proactive killing moral?

Note - this is an interesting question and we expect reasonsed discussions - pure blood lust and clean the gene pool, HOOHA - isn't going to fly. Let's keep it on a quality plane. Thanks.
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Old June 16, 2009, 02:24 PM   #125
Tucker 1371
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No one is saying that if you need to protect yourself - you shouldn't. But if you can escape - it proactive killing moral?
If you ask me, no, proactive killing is not moral. Your reason or justification for using deadly force should never be "he was a menace/threat/danger to society". However, "He was an immediate threat to me and/or my family" is just fine IMO.

But what about "he was an immediate threat to someone else"? Tough call. If it's just the loss of someone else's property (i.e. thug @ 7/11), then I'm calling the police and standing down. If he's a direct threat to another person's life, I will act only if I can do so with ZERO collateral damage.
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