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GoatLord

On the subject of justifiable homicide

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So there's that thread about the grandfather who defended him and his granddaughter from three lunatics trying to break in and rape the girl. This sort of thing isn't uncommon; intruders set foot on private property, and someone with a firearm shoots and kills said intruder. We can't objectively determine how moralistic this sort of protocol is, so I'd like to hear whether you personally justify murder as an act of self-defense.

Some would argue that it's possible to restrain or simply injure the perp, or that rehabilitation can ultimately turn one's life around. I'll be blunt: I'm not one of those folks. As precious as human life is to me, if someone has devalued life to the point that they can justify stealing, raping or murdering, then fuck you. If your life can be ended in that moment, then good riddance.

We have seven billion people on this planet, and one of the ways in which order can be maintained is to remove individuals who refuse to cooperate with basic societal morals (not killing, stealing or raping). I don't believe such individuals should be killed, but if they find themselves in a situation where they may be killed as an act of self-defense, even if it's excessive, I have no problem with it whatsoever.

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Justifiable homicide I might be able to go along with, but I don't know if it's possible to murder someone in self defense, since murder assumes premeditation.

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GreyGhost said:

Justifiable homicide I might be able to go along with, but I don't know if it's possible to murder someone in self defense, since murder assumes premeditation.


Murder is always illegal. Manslaughter does not require premeditation. Homicide can be justified.

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Catoptromancy said:

Murder is always illegal. Manslaughter does not require premeditation. Homicide can be justified.


I AM GUILTY OF MAN'S LAUGHTER

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GoatLord said:

So there's that thread about the grandfather who defended him and his granddaughter from three lunatics trying to break in and rape the girl. This sort of thing isn't uncommon; intruders set foot on private property, and someone with a firearm shoots and kills said intruder. We can't objectively determine how moralistic this sort of protocol is, so I'd like to hear whether you personally justify murder as an act of self-defense.

Some would argue that it's possible to restrain or simply injure the perp, or that rehabilitation can ultimately turn one's life around. I'll be blunt: I'm not one of those folks. As precious as human life is to me, if someone has devalued life to the point that they can justify stealing, raping or murdering, then fuck you. If your life can be ended in that moment, then good riddance.


Murder as an act of self-defense, well, maybe. Did the old man had the option to "just injure him"? I mean, he could "just" shot them in the legs/arms/whatever. If he indeed had that option, is it justifiable if he choose to kill them instead?

GoatLord said:

We have seven billion people on this planet, and one of the ways in which order can be maintained is to remove individuals who refuse to cooperate with basic societal morals (not killing, stealing or raping). I don't believe such individuals should be killed, but if they find themselves in a situation where they may be killed as an act of self-defense, even if it's excessive, I have no problem with it whatsoever.


Well, "removing" individuals doesn't seem like a solution to me. Yes, you avoid the obvious danger of keeping them on the streets, but I don't see how that is a solution. As someone (I think it was geekmarine) said in this forums, all you're going to end up with is two corpses and a lot of unanswered questions. And at that point you might as well legalize torture: if you know somebody has relevant information about the faith of a couple dozen people, isn't it justifiable to kick the shit out of that guy/gal to save the life of 5, 10, 20 people?

I think the main problem is that we, as humanity, still haven't found the way to deal with some of the nasty thugs out there. We don't know a lot of things, including how to "cure" or "rehabilitate" those people, but killing them is counterproductive. As long as we have the need to resort to a gun to "solve" our problems, we are obviously doing something wrong.

It's really hard to describe how violence can change things. I don't want to sound like a douchebag, but maybe you could try living in a third-world country for a couple of months. Then you will see, violence is never the answer. Murder is not justifiable. Never.

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Only in a country where guns are so ubiquitous does 'justifiable homicide' become such a talking point. Rare exceptions aside, I don't read many stories in the UK of someone killing someone else in self-defense, because it's harder to do when you're not holding the most destructive device ever conceived, barring explosives and chemical weapons. In fact, I don't hear about people having to defend themselves against violent criminals as often as I hear about it happening in the US. I wouldn't want to say strict gun laws are the sole impetus of a peaceful society, but there's certainly a correlation.

To answer the question, I can't justify killing someone in defense, where non-lethal options could have been just as effective. Though I'm open minded enough to understand why Badass Grandad did what he did to protect his granddaughter. It's not his fault that he was raised in a culture that embraces guns, capital punishment, and legislation that was written in the 18th Century.

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Correction: violence can be the answer if it's performed correctly and with the will to go down all the way. Killing one thug -> not the answer. Killing all or most thugs: getting there. Usually, mass persecutions of this kind are called "pogroms", and there have been successful ones in history, in the sense that they pretty much destroyed the ability of the targeted group to resist, and is some cases, it simply ceased to exist.

So, if violence is targeted and complete, it can indeed bring the intended results, assuming of course that you can accurately identify and track all those that really belong to the offending group at once.

Sadly, the targets of "successful" pogroms were almost always easy-to-catch, non-resisting groups like Jews, Left sympathizers, etc. Partial pogroms (or "half-assed violence", if you prefer) almost always have the opposite effect of strengthening the targeted group by creating sympathy for it and counter-reaction (e.g. if the state methodically arrests and expels or interns all illegal immigrants, with no regard for political or social cost, it will eventually succeed. If some random fascists kill an immigrant here and there, it will only raise society's antifascist sentiment, and create sympathy groups for illegals, which is what happened in Greece).

Gandhi's idea non-violent resistance actually relies on the principle that unless your opponent has no moral qualms about wiping you out completely, his acts of aggression will always be partially effective and allow plenty of boo-hoo guilt-ridden counter-actions afterwards.

DoomUK said:

To answer the question, I can't justify killing someone in defense, where non-lethal options could have been just as effective.


The problem is that to merely "incapacitate" or disabling someone without killing him, takes a lot of specialist training (martial arts, police training, hand-to-hand combat etc.) and constant practice, as well as an above-average physical condition. It's preposterous to expect every law-abiding citizen to be conditioned to the levels of proficiency required to pull this off all the time, when even professionals like cops, bodyguards, etc. would have trouble to constantly assure a "bloodless takedown" of perp. Even worse, defending against multiple motivated and coordinated attackers, even if they are unarmed is something that only very few martial arts masters can pull off.

I was always puzzled by this stance, as it practically leads to a situation where as long as you can get enough people to gang up on someone (unarmed), you can kick the living shit out of him and he'll have no right to pull a weapon on any of you, because you were all "unarmed". Throw in dilution of responsibility and mob/pack mentality, and you really have a disturbing picture there.

In any case, for the most law-conscious of us here, you'll be relieved to know that self-defense (and even the right to kill another man in special circumstances) is generally something accounted for in most Constitutions. The right to exercise violence and Deadly Force is still a state monopoly, which can however be warranted not only to members of the Armed Forces and Law Enforcement, but also to private citizens in special circumstances. But it is always -always- derived from the State's monopoly and can only be granted -and revoked- by the State, make no mistake about it.

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There have been interesting cases of justifiable homicide vs murder. Such as a bar fight where a guy was jumped by 2 other men. Well the victim lost the fight, but he went to his truck, grabbed his gun and killed the two robbers.

He claimed self defense. The judge didn't see it that way. The fight was over. The victim was no longer in danger, even if it was 1 minute later.

There was another case where a boy shot and killed someone that broke into his home. The judge saw it as he wasn't in danger. You didn't have to kill him... just call the cops. My Arkansas uncle lives in an area where cops say have a gun at home, don't be afraid to use it.

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Learn Krav Maga, Aikido, train after learning these martial arts and then you can counter a foe without killing it.
Another way is learn martial arts pressure points, but keep in mind, these are extremely dangerous as they can paralise or even kill depending on what point has been hit and should only be used in a state of life and death.

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All this talk about learning martial arts and being the next bruce lee or super-stealthy ninja assassin type that can disarm and disable opponents with few, carefully placed blows is purely theoretical.

Are you certain that, despite all your training, when the shit hits the fan, that your body won't simply paralyze, as you're overwhelmed by the unmistakable initial stiffness of adrenaline pumping through your veins? Even if you practice martial arts at a sports level, a street fight or a mugging is nothing like it, especially one you didn't anticipate.

Are you sure that you could put your training into practice when taken by surprise by multiple attackers (as the typical mugging or break-in is most likely to be)? You won't be playing for "points" here, and nothing guarantees you that your opponents, even if they started out unarmed, won't prefer shanking you if you put up too much resistance.

Even if you identify the situation and you're standing off in an uneasy, tense silence....are you sure that you can overcome the initial tension before the attack? Can you read the imperceptible cues that your "foe" standing in front of you is about to attack? Will you take the initiative and attack first?

Even if you are not surprised and can take initiative, are you sure that you'll be able to see all of your attackers to avoid a nasty attack from behind when you least expect it?

Lots, lots of things to take into consideration. OK, if you're a Delta Force or Ranger type pentathlete that goes through a combat course everyday, can walk silently on a terrain of dried leaves and can do three backflips at a finger's snap, maybe you have a chance to actually kick butt with your bare hands even in a multi-attacker mugging.

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I believe its justifiable to defend yourself by any means, if your life or another's is in mortal jeopardy. Though I think killing should be avoided, it is the only way in certain situations. For example, I don't think anyone would object to killing a captor, in a hostage situation, if it means getting away.

One thing though, in a situation where you're attacked, its in your best interest to be as finishing as possible. If the attacker was to die in the process, than so be it. If you're on the defensive, I believe its excusable if you accidentally kill the belligerent person.

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There is justifiable killing; justifiable murder is a different matter entirely. Not all killing is murder, after all. As stated, murder is premeditated. Someone breaks into your home and you shoot to kill, that's not murder, justified or no, because you were merely reacting to an immediate threat. Sorry, I realize going on about semantics may rub some people the wrong way, but I feel the need to bring it up because it's an important distinction to me.

Let's consider this hypothetical scenario. You find out from a third party that a person known to you has been making threats against your life. You two have a history such that you have reason to believe he may try to make good on those threats. You have no evidence, however, and so know the police won't take your accusations seriously. Is it then okay to sneak into this person's house in the dead of night and kill him in his sleep before he can make good on his threats? Just a hypothetical, because that's closer to "justified murder" than killing someone purely in self-defense in the heat of the moment.

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Another example of "violence that solves": the way counter-terrorism and special police units operate, usually involves taking out all attackers at once or within a VERY small window of time, and most of their modus operandi is actually positioning and getting locks on the perp's position. When the command comes to actually go in, everything is over in a few seconds. They even use remotely triggered sniper rifles for this purpose, if a visual with every target is possible.

Why all that hurry? Because if you slack about, attack too late or let the perps move, retreate and barricade themselves, then you'll have a shitstorm and a protracted gunfight, with hostages dying etc., a perfect example of "violence that doesn't solve".

In any case, self-defense, and defense in general, should be mostly about a strong deterrence, rather than an effective last-ditch (potentially lethal) response. After all, the best battles are those you don't actually have to fight. This goes for countries and private citizens alike.

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J.B.R said:

Learn Krav Maga, Aikido, train after learning these martial arts and then you can counter a foe without killing it.
Another way is learn martial arts pressure points, but keep in mind, these are extremely dangerous as they can paralise or even kill depending on what point has been hit and should only be used in a state of life and death.

Maes said:

All this talk about learning martial arts and being the next bruce lee or super-stealthy ninja assassin type that can disarm and disable opponents with few, carefully placed blows is purely theoretical.

Forget theoretical, I'd just call it a fantasy. It takes less than a second to get a fatal wound. Disarming somebody is a last resort. You don't go "that guy over there has a knife, I'm going to take it from him", the thought process is "there is a knife in my face and I will die if I don't get it away from him immediately". Throwing yourself into a situation like that goes against the point of self-defense, to prevent yourself from getting hurt.

The first way to tell whether or not somebody has any idea what they're talking about when it comes to self-defense is whether or not they seriously think that's feasible. You never start an encounter, you escape from one if it's at all reasonable to do so, and if you're caught in one, you end it as quickly as possible, as safely as possible, with as much force is necessary. If that means you need to punt them in the crotch, fair game. If you're holding scalding-hot coffee, that's a weapon. If it's possible you or somebody is about to be horribly maimed or killed, and you can for-sure stop it, that's what you do. Well, nobody else is your responsibility unless they're your kid, but most people would not want to act any other way so it's not even worth even pretending they would.

Basically, nobody's a superhero. Trying to be one is what gets innocent people killed, be it yourself or others. All because you tried to shoot the gun out of their hand or rub their erogenous zones until they passed out or whatever other silly crap comes up in fiction.

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It's been said in different ways here and other places, but here's my take:

If I can be 100% sure that:
. Injury vs. shoot-to-kill will 100% prevent any harm coming to me or my family,
. My attempt at an injurious shot will be 100% accurate,
. I have enough time to calculate and aim said shot,

then, yes, absolutely try to stop them vs. kill them. In all other cases, I will be doing by best to prevent harm to me and mine. The way I see it, a person loses their "rights" when they decide to invade my home, and threaten my loved ones. Why should such people have any protection under the law? You smack mosquitos, you don't let them land and bite.

Their circumstances, and their state of mind cease to be important, when they choose to take away the freedoms of the innocent.

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Maes said:

a "bloodless takedown" of perp.

So long as I'm the last one standing, I don't know that the takedown necessarily has to be bloodless.

geekmarine said:

Let's consider this hypothetical scenario. You find out from a third party that a person known to you has been making threats against your life. You two have a history such that you have reason to believe he may try to make good on those threats. You have no evidence, however, and so know the police won't take your accusations seriously. Is it then okay to sneak into this person's house in the dead of night and kill him in his sleep before he can make good on his threats? Just a hypothetical, because that's closer to "justified murder" than killing someone purely in self-defense in the heat of the moment.

If there's no evidence of death threats or prior conflict with the deceased, you're going to have a hard time convincing a jury the killing was justified, especially if your third party informant is the prosecution's star witness, since he secretly wanted you and your victim to stop sniffing around his girlfriend.

Akira_98 said:

rub their erogenous zones until they passed out

STAND BACK! I HAVE A BLACK SATIN BELT IN KAMA SUTRA!

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Zed said:

Murder as an act of self-defense, well, maybe. Did the old man had the option to "just injure him"? I mean, he could "just" shot them in the legs/arms/whatever. If he indeed had that option, is it justifiable if he choose to kill them instead?


You watch too many action 'murican movies. A single unlucky shot in the leg or arm can make you bleed out in few minutes.

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j4rio said:

You watch too many action 'murican movies. A single unlucky shot in the leg or arm can make you bleed out in few minutes.


And that's why all talk about "more humane" or "restrained" self-defense options without specific training in "less lethal" or "mostly harmless" takedown techniques (which are very unlikely to be properly taught to you and practiced to a useful level unless you're a cop, and even less likely to be implemented in an actual fight by an average Joe), is pointless. Let alone that any competent gun instructor will tell you that "going for the foot" is just wishful thinking.

Even if you do have a gun and know how to shoot it in the general direction of the perp (or at least somewhere on his body, rather than at the walls or ceiling), are you going to keep it on you all the time, loaded & armed just in case? Even in your house?

Which makes me wonder how grandpa had the time to ready his gun...did the crooks really take their sweet time breaking in, giving him ample time to prepare or is grandpa like Doomguy, readying a weapon in mere seconds from thin air?

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Maes said:

Which makes me wonder how grandpa had the time to ready his gun...did the crooks really take their sweet time breaking in, giving him ample time to prepare or is grandpa like Doomguy, readying a weapon in mere seconds from thin air?


Or what actually happenned was the manipulatively looking female lured the unsuspecting socially prospering male citizens home where granddaddy was already prepared to blast them. Find a motive and case solved.

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Maes said:

Which makes me wonder how grandpa had the time to ready his gun...did the crooks really take their sweet time breaking in, giving him ample time to prepare or is grandpa like Doomguy, readying a weapon in mere seconds from thin air?


I don't think any of the articles I saw mentioned it, but he probably heard what was going on, then found whatever gun he used (also haven't seen that mentioned) and loaded it. When I was in high school, we had a break-in, and my mother had decided she was going to get a gun in case she was home if it happened again. It was just some old, fucked up break-action, but she kept it under her bed and had 4 mismatched shells in her nightstand. It would have been a surprise to everyone involved as to what came out of the end of the barrel if it ever needed to be fired.

Though she was nuts and probably shouldn't have been allowed to have it. Pretty sure she wasn't, actually.

Anyways, it doesn't take that long to load if you keep it under the bed or in a nightstand or something. Even the bigger dumbasses I've met never kept their guns loaded though. Almost always kept in the bedroom because, well, most people are worried about break-ins at night.

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Maes said:

Which makes me wonder how grandpa had the time to ready his gun...did the crooks really take their sweet time breaking in, giving him ample time to prepare or is grandpa like Doomguy, readying a weapon in mere seconds from thin air?

Maybe he kept one in the safe, which is as good a place as any for a loaded gun. As for the "break in", that apparently started with a knock on the door and one intruder claiming to have car trouble, then all three barged in when the door was opened.

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A man takes three hostages; a man, woman and child. He threatens to kill all three if his demands are not met, and refuses to negotiate. Guy walks in with a .45 and blows his brains out. The three hostages are rescued and are unharmed.

Of course killing another human being is justifiable.

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Fisk said:

A man takes three hostages; a man, woman and child. He threatens to kill all three if his demands are not met, and refuses to negotiate. Guy walks in with a .45 and blows his brains out. The three hostages are rescued and are unharmed.

Of course killing another human being is justifiable.


But what about the man's rights? Did his background and social status play a role in his actions? Did his father/mother abuse him as a child? What about the psycho-socio-economical aspects of it all?

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Maes said:

But what about the man's rights? Did his background and social status play a role in his actions? Did his father/mother abuse him as a child? What about the psycho-socio-economical aspects of it all?


IMO such things go out the window when you start taking people hostage and threaten to kill them.


What about if a kid kills his or hers parents after years of abuse? Lets say the kid has been physically and mentally abused for years and has tried several times to get out of the situation with no luck. If taking the life of the abuse parent or parents is the only way out, wouldn't the murder be justified?

Personally I would have to say that it would be justifiable murder. Child abuse is probably one of the biggest problems handily anyone talks about and far to many kids are trapped in abusive households. It's also true that everyone can only take so much before they push back.

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Obviously, dining at strangers' houses should be banned.

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Maes said:

But what about the man's rights? Did his background and social status play a role in his actions? Did his father/mother abuse him as a child? What about the psycho-socio-economical aspects of it all?


Came in expecting to unleash rage at such a ridiculous post. Saw it was made by Maes, leaving confused now. Why should it matter? If someone murders your family does it in any way shape or form make it excusable if this murderer was abused as a child?

OP: You give up your right to life when you intrude on someone's property and try to rape someone. It's ridiculous that this is even a debate. Murderers, thieves, rapists-anyone who breaks into someone's house are all scum. Killing them in the act prevents harm to society and to your family. There's so much victim blaming in society it's disturbing. If a stranger breaks in my house. I don't know their intentions and I'm not gonna risk the safety of my family to find out. I feel that anyone on the opposite side of the spectrum on this issue would change their minds once they become a victim of a home intrusion.

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j4rio said:

You watch too many action 'murican movies. A single unlucky shot in the leg or arm can make you bleed out in few minutes.


Well, yeah, that's indeed correct, but I mean something a little bit different: the intention. Yes, his grand-daughter was about to be raped, and he did what he considered the best: he grabbed a gun (to be honest, even a person like me, who is absolutely against any kind of violence, would have taken that decision). The thing is, most people in that situation don't think "I'll try to use this gun to stop them", but instead "I'm gonna blow the shit out of those bastards". But yes, as some of you said, in the heat of the moment we don't use to think rationally, so honestly, at this point I'm not even sure what to think.

babo said:

Came in expecting to unleash rage at such a ridiculous post. Saw it was made by Maes, leaving confused now. Why should it matter? If someone murders your family does it in any way shape or form make it excusable if this murderer was abused as a child?


I might be wrong, but I think he was being sarcastic?

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dew said:

That's intense.

I feel sorry for the daughter. Other than that, I'd happily sear a rapist's genitals, especially if the victim was a minor. Would be a good way to cool down and relax after a hard day of work. Shame he strangled the guy to death, would have been far more suitable to leave him with a burnt patch where his genitals once were.

I'm kinda iffy on rape accusation, though. False claims are thrown around a lot. I want to be clear - It's not right to sever someone's genitals. I can however see that satisfaction in doing so to a man who raped your child and couldn't condemn someone for it.

I think my position comes mostly from my frustration with rapists serving less jail time than potheads.

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