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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 17, 2009, 10:19 AM   #151
easyG
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A moral duty to retreat?

NEVER.
Standing your ground when someone is threatening your life, your family, or your property is certainly not immoral.





An ethical duty to retreat?

NEVER.
Standing your ground when someone is threatening your life, your family, or your property is certainly not unethical.





A legal duty to retreat?

Unfortunately, the answer to this one is: MAYBE.
Make sure you know your state laws.
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Old June 17, 2009, 10:47 AM   #152
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Hi everyone, new to to the Forum, 16 yr. Veteran (constant Student) to the world of self preservation and firearms. A lot of great arguments here, my .02 is, I beleive that too many people only worry about themselves, and not care about what goes on around them (other people). This mantallity, is why we are in the world of hurt, we as a society, could have avoided, if we just think about our fellow (law abiding) man/woman. There would be fewer needless victims, if we stopped criminals in their actions, instead of retreating and letting the criminal move on to the next victim. I believe we have a moral obligation to protect inocent life, wether it is our own, or the man next to us. I have seen way to many good people get hurt, because someone didnt want to get involved, reason being, didnt affect them. Criminals are scum of the earth along with pedafiles and rapists, if someone came after me, or some one I Love, or a descent human being, with a weapon, or was puting lives in immenant danger, drop him/her in their tracks, so no innocent people are affected by the Scum bag in the future. Regardless if you could safely retreat or not.
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Old June 17, 2009, 11:02 AM   #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldmarksman
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.
Good point. And it's worth keeping in mind apart from the legal implications, as well: one reason I would always at least attempt to retreat is that if I were pursued as I was trying to get away and I then shot the pursuer, there would be that much less doubt in my own mind, after the fact, that I really did need to shoot to defend myself. Might make it a bit easier to live with...

Quote:
Kinda dumb to do something to protect property when one would end up without any.
So is this one: as a practical matter, shooting someone to protect your property may be a poor choice, since the ensuing legal costs will likely far exceed the value of the property you were "protecting"... So if the actual protection of property is sort of a moot point, because defending it will end up costing you more than not defending it, we're back to the prophylaxis argument, it seems to me: the only reason to shoot a thief is that people who steal deserve to die, because they'll just do it (or worse) again.

Which is an argument I'll go on rejecting, for all the reasons I, and others, have stated above.
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Old June 17, 2009, 11:05 AM   #154
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Welcome DD. You sure don't mind jumping into the frying pan.

You stated that we should drop the criminal in his tracks so no innocent people are affected in the future.

WA stated earlier to someone who said something similar:
Quote:
Really? Like the drunk who stumbles into the wrong house? Just blast him to protect the public from inchoate future harm?
(WA is using sarcasm to make a point)

Remember, you are suggesting dropping him for things he hasn't yet done based on what you think of him. Why not let the police pick him up and the courts decide what to do since you can do that in complete safety as the OP stated. It's not our place to dispense justice single-handedly.
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Old June 17, 2009, 12:04 PM   #155
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Quote:
WA stated earlier to someone who said something similar:
Quote:
Quote:
Really? Like the drunk who stumbles into the wrong house? Just blast him to protect the public from inchoate future harm?
(WA is using sarcasm to make a point)

Remember, you are suggesting dropping him for things he hasn't yet done based on what you think of him. Why not let the police pick him up and the courts decide what to do since you can do that in complete safety as the OP stated. It's not our place to dispense justice single-handedly.
I disagree with this sentiment.
How is the homeowner expected to know that a night intruder is just "Ol' Joe the harmless town drunk"?

"Excuse me mister intruder, are you just lost or confused or do you have a gun and plan to shoot me and rape my wife?"

If someone forces their way in to my home, I'm not going to sit by and wait and see what they have on their mind.
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Old June 17, 2009, 12:13 PM   #156
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The thing is I agree with you EasyG. But what you suggest isn't what this thread is about. If there is real potential danger to me or family, sure I believe that I would be morally justified in shooting. But there isn't any danger, since we can retreat and hide in our room in complete safety with a gun until the police show up. At least that's the way I understand the OP intent.
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Old June 17, 2009, 12:22 PM   #157
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Quote:
How is the homeowner expected to know that a night intruder is just "Ol' Joe the harmless town drunk"?

"Excuse me mister intruder, are you just lost or confused or do you have a gun and plan to shoot me and rape my wife?"

If someone forces their way in to my home, I'm not going to sit by and wait and see what they have on their mind.
If its Spiff, a warm floor to curl up on......

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I do too......
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Old June 17, 2009, 12:37 PM   #158
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But there isn't any danger, since we can retreat and hide in our room in complete safety with a gun until the police show up. At least that's the way I understand the OP intent.
But how can you be sure that you actually are in no danger just because you have a gun and are hiding in your room?

Suppose the intruder is in the other room setting your house on fire?
Suppose he has a gun and starts shooting through the walls?

Unlikely?
Sure.

But IMO thinking that you're "SAFE" in one room of your house while an intruder (whom you have no idea whatsoever is planning) is in another room in your house is foolish at best.
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Old June 17, 2009, 12:44 PM   #159
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Most progressive states have some form or another of Castle Doctrines, which eliminate the Legal Duty to Retreat in ones home, and frequently a place of business.

Many other jurisdictions have extended that Doctrine into Stand your ground laws applicable to areas outside the home.

There fore, the armed citizen, under these laws, has no legal duty to retreat, even if he can do so in complete safety.

But does he have a moral/ehtical duty to do so? I postulate that the responsible armed citizen does. Vote and discuss.

Please note: The poll question is: Retreat with COMPLETE SAFETY

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emphasis mine

I'm only dealing with the situation as it was put forth, I'm not dealing with other what ifs.

By the way that was a hilarious thread WA posted, everyone should read it if you haven't yet.
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Old June 17, 2009, 01:32 PM   #160
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Quote:
But IMO thinking that you're "SAFE" in one room of your house while an intruder (whom you have no idea whatsoever is planning) is in another room in your house is foolish at best.
I agree. The only thing more foolish is to try to clear one's house alone when you have no idea what the threat is or how many BGs are out there.

If someone sets the house on fire or starts shooting through walls, I'll still be safer hole up in a room than wandering around the house looking for bad guys as I can always exit the room to outside the house without confronting the BG.

Quote:
Unlikely?
Sure.
Now apply that same quote to the odds of being killed or injured while attempting to clear your house by yourself. It no longer applies.

So while it is foolish to think you're 100% safe anywhere in your home if there is an armed firebug breaking into your house, you're still much safer than you would be confronting the armed firebug.
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Old June 17, 2009, 01:41 PM   #161
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Quote:
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 hope y'all will forgive this long post, but there are a number of points I wish to clarify before addressing "Morality".

First of all, the tactical situation plays an important part in decision making. As a reminder, to justify lethal force one must have at least a reasonable belief that their life is in immediate danger from one or more others.

Thus, WildAlaska's ad absurdum examples of 9 year-olds, drunks and poverty-stricken children committing misdemeanor thefts are not applicable. Nor are we talking minor trespassing on your property or other petty crimes.

"Retreat" differs for each individual too. Someone like PlayboyPenguin probably has far more options in retreat than I do with bad knees and either of us has more options than my visually-impaired 87 y/o mother.

If the situation is one where I have a legal right to be where I am and I am confronted by someone intent on armed robbery (knife, gun, steel pipe, chain, etc.) or who, by words, gestures or actions makes it clear he intends to either kill me or do great bodily harm, then lethal force is but one answer (albeit an effective one) to the situation.

We are all endowed with a modicum of brainpower and that must be used to size up the situation based on the facts as known at the moment and any amount of that uncommon common-sense we possess.

In a situation where one is confronted in the parking lot of a grocery store by a knife wielding subject who demands not money, but the bags with bread, fruits and meat he may be attempting to feed himself or family. Jumping inside the car and locking the doors to avoid shooting him may be the better decision.

"Retreat in complete safety" is something of a question-begging term. What is "complete safety"? There is an online video I've seen (and can't find now) where a woman retreated into a busy market to avoid an assailant. It shows her enter and approach several employees a moment before the thug runs in and beats her to the floor with fists and feet. No one in the store does anything effective to stop him.

Let us also be clear on one thing - this discussion of so-called "proactive killing" goes beyond self-defense. When defending myself, I will use all the skills I can muster, recall the training and practice I've had in order to stop this person from seriously injuring me or killing me. If lethal force is legally justifiable then the employment of that force isn't a question. The question is whether lethal force was gratuitiously applied.

Defending one's self with the goal of killing your opponent goes beyond self-defense. The goal is to cause the threat to cease as quickly as possible. Since lethal force may legally be used, I'm not overly concerned about the perpetrator's survival, but my own. If he survives his wounds that's an acceptable outcome. If he does not survive, then he instigated his own demise by committing a violent act.

The Morality or Ethical Question
I'll be blunt when it comes to being in one's own home or similar place (e.g. hotel room) and someone unlawfully enters the place with a criminal intent. There is, I believe, a moral duty to enforce the concept that your domicile is an inviolable sanctuary from the public and especially from those with a criminal or violent nature. Even Biblical passages support the notion that a "thief in the night" may be killed by the resident of a home without it being a proscribed murder. You can work out why there is a moral duty to enforce this concept on your own, I am sure.

In a working environment or public venue, there are more variables and questions that must be addressed. And I believe that the tactical situation will also aid in dictating whether retreat is a moral decision or not.

Supposing someone with a knife or club attempts to carjack your vehicle at a 4-way stop sign. Given the choice between shooting and simply driving off, the latter choice may be the moral one. He does not have the capability of injuring you as you put distance between you.

Likewise, if you are in a business and near the east exit when a man near the north entrance begins to rob the business, slipping out the east door to call 911, be a witness or to protect yourself may be the most prudent thing to do.

The morality question becomes murky when we introduce an actor like James Huberty who committed the San Ysidro, Ca. McDonald's shootings. You're near the east exit and the first indication of danger is hearing gunshots. The source is a man who has entered the north entrance and is shooting anyone nearby. Even as you assess your options, bodies are hitting the floor.

In this case, WA's question of a "moral duty to retreat" must be weighed against the moral duty to stop multiple murders. Or, to put it another way, is it moral to allow innocent people to be slaughtered so you may escape, when you have the means to stop the slaughter?

Self-preservation is a natural instinct and is legally permitted. But morally, each person has to answer the question of whether they can live with their decision. This is not to suggest some foolhardy attempt to be a hero or that getting out of the killing zone is an act of cowardice. Tactical considerations aside, if one is well armed and elects to flee when ample opportunity to end the tragedy exists, then that person has to live with the moral repercussions of allowing innocents to die for their safety.

We can also argue whether a violent criminal, by their own actions, have declared contempt for the laws and morals of civilized society and deserve every single legal and moral consideration in how that society treats them.

As for me, I don't see a moral or ethical duty to retreat except in very limited circumstances.
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Old June 17, 2009, 01:45 PM   #162
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Quote:
Does an Armed Citizen have a Moral/Ethical Duty to Retreat (complete safety)
Yes. No. Maybe. On every other Tuesday, but only when it is dark and there are no moose bedded down outside on your escape route. etc...

Define "complete safety".

There is an exception for every rule. Wait, what about the exception of there being an exception to every rule?

Regardless of the legal views on these matters, each individual person will have to determine his/her own beliefs concerning the possibility of "retreat".

If one is ever faced with a situation where one is even contemplating "retreat", I seriously doubt that one would even begin to understand all of the "facts"/variables that are coming into play at that moment in time; and which way the ball bounces from there.

Is there a "right" answer? Or a "wrong" answer to this question? Depends on who you ask; including yourself, especially yourself.
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Old June 17, 2009, 01:53 PM   #163
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WildAlaska's ad absurdum examples of 9 year-olds, drunks and poverty-stricken children committing misdemeanor thefts are not applicable. Nor are we talking minor trespassing on your property or other petty crimes
Really? Such ad absurdum examples are in response to the "shoot all the evil ones" posts, are they too ad absurdum...or are you letting your personal bias show throw?

Quote:
I'll be blunt when it comes to being in one's own home or similar place (e.g. hotel room) and someone unlawfully enters the place with a criminal intent. There is, I believe, a moral duty to enforce the concept that your domicile is an inviolable sanctuary from the public and especially from those with a criminal or violent nature. Even Biblical passages support the notion that a "thief in the night" may be killed by the resident of a home without it being a proscribed murder. You can work out why there is a moral duty to enforce this concept on your own, I am sure. My emphasis added
Cant have it both ways, can you. On one hand, you call certain factual scenarios ad absurdum, on the other hand you recognize the existence of such scenarios.

Quote:
As for me, I don't see a moral or ethical duty to retreat except in very limited circumstances.
Yet you say in your poll response there is No Duty...

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Old June 17, 2009, 02:01 PM   #164
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Is there a "right" answer? Or a "wrong" answer to this question? Depends on who you ask; including yourself, especially yourself.
Yes..

The right answer: there is a duty....only the circumstances change to define how that duty applies...

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Old June 17, 2009, 02:25 PM   #165
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The only thing more foolish is to try to clear one's house alone when you have no idea what the threat is or how many BGs are out there.
I totally disagree.
This is a myth that law enforcement personnel constantly repeat.
Fact is that folks have been "clearing" their own homes for thousands of years, and typically with more success than failure.

Quote:
So while it is foolish to think you're 100% safe anywhere in your home if there is an armed firebug breaking into your house, you're still much safer than you would be confronting the armed firebug.
Again, I totally disagree.
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:28 PM   #166
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Let me overly simplify my position.

If someone is demonstrating themselves to be violent, I believe a duty exists to remove the threat by shooting to stop (not kill). I'm not suggesting anything other than not letting the problem be passed on to someone else.
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:35 PM   #167
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If someone is demonstrating themselves to be violent, I believe a duty exists to remove the threat by shooting to stop (not kill). I'm not suggesting anything other than not letting the problem be passed on to someone else.
Absent an immediate need to protect himself or someone else or to effect an arrest of someone who presents an immediate danger to the public, no sworn officer is empowered to employ deadly force against someone because he is "demonstrating" himself to "be violent."

From what would a citizen derive such a duty?
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:49 PM   #168
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This is a myth that law enforcement personnel constantly repeat.
Fact is that folks have been "clearing" their own homes for thousands of years, and typically with more success than failure.
It isn't a myth and it is not only LE that recommends not clearing your house on your own. It is demonstrable fact. Lots of folks have tried the exercise of getting a friend to be the armed intruder while the homeowner attempts to take him out. Both are armed with airsoft guns. The result is normally not pretty for the homeowner.

Now if you're talking about taking out an unarmed drunk who happens into the wrong apartment, sure, apartment dweller 1, drunk 0. But the odds of anyone taking out an armed opponent waiting for them somewhere in a darkened house is slim.

The reason homeowners are generally successful is that most burglars are not armed and will flee at the sight of an armed homeowner, not because it is so easy to clear one's abode against an armed opponent.

So if the bg is armed, I'm still safer avoiding him. If the bg is breaking in to set my house on fire, I'll call the fire department and leave through the window.

I would be very surprised if you could find one recognized security expert who recommends trying to clear one's house on their own. I've seen articles that give tips on how to do it, but I never recall seeing one that doesn't start with the recommendation that you not do it if you have the choice.
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Old June 17, 2009, 02:57 PM   #169
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I totally disagree [with the statement that the only thing more foolish is to try to clear one's house alone when you have no idea what the threat is or how many BGs are out there].
OK. Informed people are in complete agreement, however.

Quote:
This is a myth that law enforcement personnel constantly repeat.
I don't know whether law enforcement personnel constantly repeat it, but that it is not a myth is substantiated by (1) the fact that expert professional training instructors give that advice and (2) the fact that the results of force-on-force training and simulations prove it convincingly and overwhelmingly.

This is one of a number of informed posts on the subject. There have been others:

Quote:
Posted by Fiddletown:

What I've been taught in the various classes I've taken, and what I teach as an NRA certified instructor, based on the NRA syllabus, is that if you hear a noise --

[1] You investigate as best you can from a place of safety inside the house with your family. You wait and quietly listen. Does the sound repeat? Can you begin to identify it? Can you positively identify it as something innocuous? If the sound is clearly from outside, you may look out nearby windows.

[2] If you can't identify the sound and believe there is a danger, you assure that your family and any known visitors are all together and with you in a place of safety. You arm yourself. You call the police. You maintain telephone contact with the police. And you wait.

[3] You do not go anywhere to investigate, because --
(a) If you go looking, and there is indeed a BG there, you will be at an extreme tactical disadvantage. You can easily be ambushed or flanked. You may also have given a BG access to family members to use as hostages. Or there maybe more than one.
(b) When (whether you called them or they were called by a neighbor who may have also seen or heard something) the police respond, they don't know who you are. You are just someone with a weapon.
And here we have an example of what can happen if you go out to investigate. The BG was outnumbered. The BG brought a knife to a gunfight. The BG was on unfamiliar territory. But the BG also had a significant tactical advantage and won the fight.

Massad Ayoob tells a story about the National Tactical Invitational, an annual competition in which some 130 of the top shooters and firearm trainers participate by invitation only. One of the events is a force-on-force exercise using simunitions in which the competitor must clear a house against a single "BG." According to Mas, during the first seven of these annual events, not a single competitor "survived" the exercise. The tactical advantage of the ensconced adversary is just too great. And remember, these competitors were highly skilled, highly trained fighters.
There is an update to the Ayoob report somewhere but it does not change the gist.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...4&postcount=25

Quote:
Fact is that folks have been "clearing" their own homes for thousands of years, and typically with more success than failure.
Basis? Seems to contradict the expert opinion....
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Old June 17, 2009, 03:00 PM   #170
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Quote:
Absent an immediate need to protect himself or someone else or to effect an arrest of someone who presents an immediate danger to the public, no sworn officer is empowered to employ deadly force against someone because he is "demonstrating" himself to "be violent."

From what would a citizen derive such a duty?
North Carolina law.

In NC, if someone is even attempting to break in to your home, and you have reason to believe that the person intends to commit a felony once inside your home, you have just cause to actually shoot them.
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Old June 17, 2009, 03:03 PM   #171
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Fact is that folks have been "clearing" their own homes for thousands of years, and typically with more success than failure.
Got a stat on that?...... Never mind, thread drift.....

What amazes me is that anyone would WANT to confront a violent person except as a last possible resort when you have exhausted all means to get away.

Beyond morality...who wants the hassle...are some of y'all that eager to cap someone?

I sometimes look askance at folks who have appointed themselves "sheepdogs".

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Old June 17, 2009, 03:07 PM   #172
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It is demonstrable fact. Lots of folks have tried the exercise of getting a friend to be the armed intruder while the homeowner attempts to take him out. Both are armed with airsoft guns. The result is normally not pretty for the homeowner.
The problem with such training is that it not totally realistic.
The "intruder" knows how many folks are in the building, he knows their weapons, and he knows that they are going to come looking for him....so he just hides and waits and the results are really whoever gets off the first shot.
But a real intruder does not know the layout of your home, he does not know how many occupants there are, he does not know the armament of the occupants, he does not even know if the occupants are aware of him or not, he does not know that anyone will even come looking for him, ect...
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Old June 17, 2009, 03:11 PM   #173
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I sometimes look askance at folks who have appointed themselves "sheepdogs".
Actually, I AM the sheepdog of my own home and of my family.
Cops generally do a great job of catching the bad guys....after the crime has been committed.
The notion of encountering an armed homeowner is much more effective of actually PREVENTING the crime.

I've got to ask....are you, or were you ever in law enforcement?
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Old June 17, 2009, 03:12 PM   #174
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In NC, if someone is even attempting to break in to your home, and you have reason to believe that the person intends to commit a felony once inside your home, you have just cause to actually shoot them.
This is what I'm trying to get at...

Why....why the hell would you EVER shoot someone...unless...

You (or another person but thats another story) are in imminent danger of having deadly force excersized up you and you can't get away...In other words, you aren't the cornered kat?

Save society? Who appointed you to make that call...the mere fact of gun ownership? Or...

Simply because you can...

Give me one good reason otherwise

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Old June 17, 2009, 03:14 PM   #175
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there is no moral duty to retreat.

if someone claims that, then kudos to them for feeling
good about being "the bigger person" and standing down.
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