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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 16, 2009, 02:40 PM   #126
Sparks2112
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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.
I would submit that by protecting others we are always protecting ourselves. If someone has by their actions placed themselves in the position that they can be legally shot, I'd say they've demonstrated through their actions that they will continue to be a threat in the future. It's pretty well aknowledged that violent offenders don't have sudden changes of heart where they become productive members of society, go to church on sundays, and help little old ladies accross the street (you get the idea).

By retreating when the law is allowing us to defend ourselves and others we're essentially saying "Let somebody else handle it." Now, some of us have better reasons than others for letting somebody else handle it. But that's still what you're doing by retreating in that circumstance.

That having been said, I REALLY don't want to EVER have to shoot ANYONE. Not because of the legal mess it creates, but because I hope I never "take everything a man has or is ever gonna have" to paraphrase Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.

Quote:
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?
Ah, but the shooting of the drunk isn't legal, so it becomes a moot point. I would also say drunks seem to rehabilitate a little easier than violent offenders, though I will conceede that it weakens my above argument. Also I'm a little biased since one of my best friends in High school was killed by a drunk driver and I have very ill intentioned thoughts towards the other individual who was driving the car.

As far as proactive killing being moral or not, I suppose that depends on what side of the concept of the death penalty you stand. Obviously in practice it (the death penalty) doesn't work because of the errors that can be made and the amount of money it takes to follow through with, but the theory is sound IMO.
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Old June 16, 2009, 02:58 PM   #127
Wildalaska
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I would submit that by protecting others we are always protecting ourselves. If someone has by their actions placed themselves in the position that they can be legally shot, I'd say they've demonstrated through their actions that they will continue to be a threat in the future.
Really? Like the drunk who stumbles into the wrong house? Just blast him to protect the public from inchoate future harm?

Is every person who commits a felony equally culpable? How about an "armed" felony? Blanket "deserve to die" culpability? No matter what?

Your view brings back the Bloody Assizes, albiet now its private....

Here: Isn't a retreat, even in one's home, a personal means to determine the true culpability of the criminal actor? if one doesnt retreat, and merely just fires away, doesnt one have a measure of moral culpability in a death? Is it all a question of degree, or a simple act/react? if the latter, why should even the law have nuances?

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Old June 16, 2009, 03:06 PM   #128
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stargazer65 said
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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.
EXCELLENT post. Very well said.
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Old June 16, 2009, 03:21 PM   #129
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This one of those issues where it is way too easy for emotion to overwhelm intellect. When you start talking about "moral obligations" you not only are getting into territories that are way too subjective but areas where you would be making decisions based on emotional responses and speculation. I am one that would very easily "want" to remove some people who engage in such activities from my society but I also understand that it is best to deal with the current situation at hand and go no further. If you start trying to prosecute people for crimes they may or may not commit you are in very dangerous territory. I know I would not want my gun rights removed from me because I fit someone's baseless "profile" of someone that might misuse them.
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Old June 16, 2009, 03:26 PM   #130
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GSUeagle1089 wrote:

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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.
That pretty much expresses my viewpoint. The first reasoning about being a menace judges the heart which I can't see, the latter responds to his actions. I believe we can only be justified responding to his actions. I don't dispute the fact that he may do it again, but I don't believe that responsibility is properly on one persons head.
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Old June 16, 2009, 03:39 PM   #131
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I agree with GSUeagle and Stargazer. We can only respond to a persons actions, and we should do so only when they are a direct threat to a person's life.
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Old June 16, 2009, 05:16 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Glenn E. Meyer
But if you can escape - it proactive killing moral?
I don't think so.

If you (and yours, however defined) are able to escape, then as far as I'm concerned, you ought to do so. If you can't safely do so, then of course, do what you need to do protect yourself from the immediate threat; but no individual has a right to decide that another person deserves to die because he might be a potential threat to someone else.
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Originally Posted by stargazer65
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.
Exactly. We as citizens, as individual humans, aren't entitled to decide who should live and who should die.

What's more, as gun owners, many of us profess a greater concern than usual about the Constitution and the rights it secures to us. Among other things, it secures the right to due process of law to anyone accused of a crime. So, in the first place, how do you "proactively" kill someone without violating their right to due process? And secondly, even within the legal system, there is ZERO provision for taking away someone's life or liberty, without their having been convicted of a crime, just because they might commit one in the future. (Granted, the treatment by the US government of so-called "unlawful enemy combatants" egregiously violates this principle, but that's another subject.) So if it can't be done within the framework of the criminal justice system, how can an individual possibly be justified in doing it? (This, by the way, is why the issue of what any of us thinks about the death penalty is pretty much a red herring. Even if you're in favor of it, that's not a justification for taking the law into your own hands.)

"Proactive killing" = vigilantism = murder, as far as I'm concerned. We of all people should have more respect for the Constitutional right to due process than this.
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Old June 16, 2009, 05:36 PM   #133
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Not to be unduly argumentative

because I agree with Vanya's moral argument. Preemptive killing should not be what we're about as a society.

However, the right to due process of law involves the individual's interaction with the government, not with other individuals. Constitutional arguments don't directly apply here.
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Old June 16, 2009, 05:46 PM   #134
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However, the right to due process of law involves the individual's interaction with the government, not with other individuals.
One can posit that due process of law under a framework of rights is a natural evolution from the civilization of interpersonal relationships and the evolutionary mental development of homo sapiens sapiens.

Would the crowd screeching in bloodlust as the executioner holds up the bloody flesh and yells "behold the heart of a traitor" be amenable to the concept of due process?

“Not to go on all-fours; that is the Law. Are we not Men? “Not to suck up Drink; that is the Law. Are we not Men? “Not to eat Fish or Flesh; that is the Law. Are we not Men? “Not to claw the Bark of Trees; that is the Law. Are we not Men? “Not to chase other Men; that is the Law. Are we not Men?”

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Old June 16, 2009, 06:09 PM   #135
Vanya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
However, the right to due process of law involves the individual's interaction with the government, not with other individuals. Constitutional arguments don't directly apply here.
A good point, but I think the argument can be made that they do apply indirectly: as citizens, we have a responsibility to support the rule of law, the basis of which, in this country, is the Constitution. And the application is direct in some cases, at least: it's possible to bring a civil rights lawsuit against an individual in cases of housing or employment discrimination, for example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildalaska
One can posit that due process of law under a framework of rights is a natural evolution from the civilization of interpersonal relationships and the evolutionary mental development of homo sapiens sapiens.
Government in general is exactly that. Humans chose to have governments, and laws, as a better alternative to the whole unregulated-bloodlust, "nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw" thing. It's a pity we need them, but apparently we do...
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Old June 16, 2009, 09:51 PM   #136
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I have a fundamental philosophical problem with the above posts - that yielding to evil is a superior moral choice than standing up to it. That the evildoer enjoys the right of first refusal to anything he chooses to take, and that my obligation is to shrink in deference to his aggression. Nope. I will not ever accept that assumption.
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Old June 16, 2009, 10:06 PM   #137
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I have good neighbors and worthless neighbors. Depends who needs help. As far as someone attacking me or mine, I'm not obligated to back down.
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Old June 16, 2009, 10:32 PM   #138
Wildalaska
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I have a fundamental philosophical problem with the above posts - that yielding to evil is a superior moral choice than standing up to it.
Thats only if you consider that anyone who is a criminal is evil, and retreating instead of killing is not taking a stand.

Dunkirk again.

By the way, are castle doctrines remnants of less civilized times?

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Old June 16, 2009, 10:41 PM   #139
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This is a tough, but good, question. I honestly would probably retreat. Unless it was in my home. If I was at work, elsewhere I currently carry a firearm for my job so this is purely hypothetical, I would retreat. In my own home, I would shoot. I feel that more than just my immediate physical safety is breached when someone forces their way into my domicile. It brings with it a dis-ease that cannot be relieved very easily.
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Old June 16, 2009, 10:59 PM   #140
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I have a fundamental philosophical problem with the above posts - that yielding to evil is a superior moral choice than standing up to it. That the evildoer enjoys the right of first refusal to anything he chooses to take, and that my obligation is to shrink in deference to his aggression.
I have a real problem with the idea that things can be labeled with such base terms as "evil" in the first place. I especially have issues with the term "evildoers" since it is nothing but a manipulative word used to demonize and dehumanize. Is a man who steals to feed his starving child "evil?" I also have issue with the idea that anyone would feel that they are somehow endowed with a duty to "remove" said "evil" from the world.
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Old June 16, 2009, 11:31 PM   #141
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Thats only if you consider that anyone who is a criminal is evil, and retreating instead of killing is not taking a stand.
I cannot think of any more descriptive a term than "evil" to describe the notion of stealing from another.

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Dunkirk again.
Non sequitur.

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By the way, are castle doctrines remnants of less civilized times?
Far from it. They are the sign of a more enlightened state wherein one is not obligated to shrink from aggressors but may freely defend himself and his property.

The notion that one must shrink from aggressors and submit to their tender mercies is what I would consider less civilized.
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Old June 16, 2009, 11:34 PM   #142
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I have a real problem with the idea that things can be labeled with such base terms as "evil" in the first place. I especially have issues with the term "evildoers" since it is nothing but a manipulative word used to demonize and dehumanize. Is a man who steals to feed his starving child "evil?" I also have issue with the idea that anyone would feel that they are somehow endowed with a duty to "remove" said "evil" from the world.
Let me see if I have this correct. Property doesn't belong to me if someone else decides he needs it more? The right to own property is superseded by someone else's desire to illegally take it from me? Absurd, and repugnant to me. I hold the right to own property to be as sacred as my right to defend my life, and consider anyone who would decide to steal it as evil. Yes indeedy.
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Old June 16, 2009, 11:59 PM   #143
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I cannot think of any more descriptive a term than "evil" to describe the notion of stealing from another.
The 9 year old that steals a candy bar. The starving children who glean the stalks from the field. The homeless alcoholic who finds a wallet and keeps the money.

All evil?

Quote:
They are the sign of a more enlightened state wherein one is not obligated to shrink from aggressors but may freely defend himself and his property.
Really? Studied up on the history of the castle doctrine have you? recent development in the more civilized law?

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I hold the right to own property to be as sacred as my right to defend my life, and consider anyone who would decide to steal it as evil. Yes indeedy.
Ergo, death is a justifiable to protect your property. The evil toddler that wanders over to your house and steals an apple should be shot? As burgeoning evil?

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Old June 17, 2009, 12:18 AM   #144
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Let me see if I have this correct. Property doesn't belong to me if someone else decides he needs it more? The right to own property is superseded by someone else's desire to illegally take it from me? Absurd, and repugnant to me. I hold the right to own property to be as sacred as my right to defend my life, and consider anyone who would decide to steal it as evil. Yes indeedy.
Huh? Of course your property belongs to you, even after someone else decides they need it more. I don't think anyone is saying differently. If it is recovered, the police return it to you.

And your right to own property certainly isn't superseded by someone else's desire to illegally take it from you. Who said that?

I wonder if you consider someone who commits a simple theft evil, what word do you reserve for folks like Adolph Hitler or Charles Manson?

People who steal can be evil, but stealing in and of itself does not make them so.

Some folks might also say that someone who would kill to protect property was evil.
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Old June 17, 2009, 01:09 AM   #145
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I think the assumption in the OP is "If you could shoot LEGALLY". Shooting a 9 y/o kid steeling a candy bar is far from legal. So why did u bring that up WA?

IMO if it is legally right to shoot a "BG" then it should morally be too. For me, the term BG denotes here some one who is in the act of a violent felony with third party. We have plenty of BGs here who "steals" (read rob on gun point) one off his/ her possessions specially cell phones, wallets etc & are pretty much trigger happy.
If I see them doing this with someone, will I shoot? NO but IMO since at that time it would be legal to shoot them, it would be morally right too. I may have my other reasons for not getting involved, but not because of "the moral duty to retreat".
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:12 AM   #146
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MO if it is legally right to shoot a "BG" then it should morally be too.
Trying to equate legality with morality is a very weak position to be taking. Do you consider adultery moral...it is legal. Do you consider lying to be moral...it is legal. Do you consider greed a moral aspect of humanity...it sure is legal.
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Old June 17, 2009, 07:00 AM   #147
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Some folks might also say that someone who would kill to protect property was evil.
And should that someone actually do so, criminal, except in Texas at night when "necessary" and under some limited circumstances, in Georgia.

Kinda dumb to do something to protect property when one would end up without any.

Anti-gunners have often mischaracterized castle laws as permitting the use of deadly force to protect property, but the intent is generally to establish a presumption for justification of self defense. The principle goes back about 4000 years.
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Old June 17, 2009, 08:59 AM   #148
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csmss wrote:
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The notion that one must shrink from aggressors and submit to their tender mercies is what I would consider less civilized.
I'm not suggesting submission to the BG. He's not a threat to me in my "retreat" as I understand the OP. I'm just suggesting that the moral thing to do IMO would be to let law enforcement and the justice system deal with him.
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Old June 17, 2009, 09:40 AM   #149
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I'm just suggesting that the moral thing to do IMO would be to let law enforcement and the justice system deal with him.
I have almost no faith in the justice system's ability to properly handle most violent offenders...
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Old June 17, 2009, 09:54 AM   #150
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The notion that one must shrink from aggressors and submit to their tender mercies is what I would consider less civilized.

Two different things. The duty to retreat "to the wall" was incorporated in the common law numerous centuries ago to provide a means of establishing whether one who had committed homicide had done so in consensual combat, had committed murder, or had been forced to kill for the legitimate purpose of self-preservation. How else would people know? Sounds very civilized to me.

Didn't apply in the home.

Submission is something else entirely.

Today some states have "stand your ground" laws. These obviate the need for proving, in a defense of justifiability, that safe retreat was not a viable option.

Just thinking aloud, they may--conceivably--have the unintended effect of making it more difficult to establish that the use of deadly force was immediately necessary as a last resort if retreat has not been attempted, however.
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