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Thread: The Hobbesian Trap

  1. #1 The Hobbesian Trap 
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    This dilemma is named after the 17th Century political philosopher, Thomas Hobbes.

    Imagine two nations who are not too far from each other, who have a strong distrust of each other. This applied to a lot of the nations near Britain at the time Hobbes pondered the question.

    The first nation thinks the second is likely to attack and invade, and cause enormous harm. The second thinks the first may do the same. Both nations consider a pre-emptive strike. This is a real security dilemma. Yet if either nation actually carries out such a strike, thousands will die, and enormous destruction created. A real lose-lose situation. It gets worse. If nation A thinks nation B is more peaceful, they might consider the possibility that nation B will carry out a pre-emptive strike anyway to prevent nation A doing it first. Both nations will feel the strongest of urges to strike first.

    This situation can happen on a personal level. Imagine you are at home and a burglar breaks in. You pick up a weapon, and go out to confront the burglar. Do you strike first and rapidly or not? You may not need to. You probably will not need to, since the burglar will, at this stage, mostly just want to get the hell out of there. But you may be concerned that the burglar has a weapon also, and may strike first. So do you strike to prevent the burglar being first?

    In most western nations, the legal situation is that you have a right to self defense, but also a duty to exercise restraint. So if you strike first, and seriously harm or kill the burglar, you may be legally culpable. In some parts of the USA, people can strike first legally, even pulling out a gun and shooting the burglar dead, in spite of not knowing if the burglar is a threat or not.

    What do you think? My view is that we all have a right to self defense, but should exercise restraint, only resorting to violence if it is clear that this is the only resort. Do you agree?


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    I'd just lock the door.


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    It is also the idea behind Nuclear Deterence and the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction.

    What is there to say. The problem has been known for as long as we have records. Hobbes was not describing any great new theorum when he mentions it, he was only describing a common political condition that already existed.

    I think everybody has the right to defend themselves. After all the alternative would be to die so there is really no way to stop somebody from defending themself.

    At the same time you can't have everybody running around shooting each other every time somebody twitched. No society would survive that.
    So legally we try to set a balance. Sometimes it actually works for a while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    What do you think? My view is that we all have a right to self defense, but should exercise restraint, only resorting to violence if it is clear that this is the only resort. Do you agree?
    Told this story before......As a student I worked in construction. My employer had a trailer that was constantly broken into. I suggested we lay down a plywood sheet under the window the crooks used to break in from. The only thing was that the board had about a hundred nail spikes sticking through it with the pointy ends facing up. Needless to say we came in one morning to find the trailer broken into again. This time however there was a trail of blood in some freshly fallen snow leading from the trailer to where the bad guy must have entered his vehicle

    We called the police. Cops told us we could be charged, all while they disguised a chuckle. Anyway the perp never showed up at a hospital nor was that trailer ever busted into again. For all I know the guy might have bled out somewhere, he left lots of it at the scene. I was glad because I kept thinking the thief would press charges if caught.

    I always wondered if I could have been found guilty of some type of assault charge. Was I committing a violent criminal act by deliberating placing this board (weapon?) in harm's way? Not in my estimation, I was protecting property. I believe I had that right. Theres usually mitigating circumstances, just have to prove them in court.
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    To zinj

    In my country, that is definitely illegal. It is a crime known as "setting a man trap." Carries strong penalties. I understand why you did it. But probably unwise.

    My belief in self defense cases is that restraint is needed. If attacking someone is permitted when no clear threat is shown, that to me, is an assault.
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    I think in most US states it would come down to whether it was lethal force or not. If those nails were an inch long, something likely to deter but unlikely to kill (barbed wire fences are classic example), it would probably fly. If they were 2.5" or longer (standard size for many security screenings) it would be viewed as lethal. In many states even lethal force is fully authorized to protect property--the issue in that case is a trap can't distinguish between a homeless man trying to survive the weather or someone intended to do harm to people or property.
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    I think this dilemma could (possibly) be lessened if clear communication was a factor, as in stating both your intention that specifying the exact reasons for your intentions. "I'm concerned that you're going to launch a preemptive strike and am prepared to pretaliate before you do so."

    But then, of course, it comes down to a matter of "Do you actually trust what the other person is saying?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    In some parts of the USA, people can strike first legally, even pulling out a gun and shooting the burglar dead, in spite of not knowing if the burglar is a threat or not.
    No one knows if anybody is a threat or not and if somebody has broken into your home than in itself is a threat as far as I'm concerned.
    I'm pretty sure every state here in the US has the law that if someone has broken into your home you are able to use deadly force to remove them.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    What do you think? My view is that we all have a right to self defense, but should exercise restraint, only resorting to violence if it is clear that this is the only resort. Do you agree?
    When it comes to my home and the safety of my family it is non negotiable. If someone has broken in I'm not interested in what they have to say because #1 I don't know how much time I have against them based on not knowing their intentions and #2 they are obviously unstable enough or desperate enough to break into my home, both of those don't really scream "rational person" to me. So, yea, I have no choice but to assume the worst and beat that person until somebody pulls me off of them or I am physically too exhausted to go on beating them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I think in most US states it would come down to whether it was lethal force or not. If those nails were an inch long, something likely to deter but unlikely to kill (barbed wire fences are classic example), it would probably fly. If they were 2.5" or longer (standard size for many security screenings) it would be viewed as lethal. In many states even lethal force is fully authorized to protect property--the issue in that case is a trap can't distinguish between a homeless man trying to survive the weather or someone intended to do harm to people or property.
    One of the cops said that a judge may view boards and nails as a reasonable expectation for a construction site. I don't normally resort to violence and I don't know what I would have done if I had confronted the thief face to face. More than likely I would have let the guy finish his business without trying to provoke something unnecessary. As far as I was concerned the crook had punched us several times when we weren't looking, so turnabout was fair play. A judge probably would have another opinion.

    If you've never been robbed then you don't know how crappy that feeling is. It isn't pleasant, you feel violated and revenge or retribution enters the mind. Couple of buildings over from where I work, some guy got stuck in a ventilation shaft and died trying to break in. Was in there for a couple days before someone noticed. I don't think anyone shed a tear but we all had a laugh. Feeling sorry, offering compassion or just accepting it isn't going to act as a deterrent. Unfortunately some of these guys only understand one thing and they know the risk involved. Can't say a crook doesn't think he/she won't suffer harm during the committing of a crime...that to me is a reasonable expectation on their part and shouldn't be ignored by lawmakers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    I'm pretty sure every state here in the US has the law that if someone has broken into your home you are able to use deadly force to remove them.
    Nope. Look up Castle Doctrine. It ranges State to State from perfectly ok to kill them and make sure their corpse lands inside the door threshold, to completely illegal unless the homeowner can prove he had no way to escape from the home to avoid the confrontation.


    If someone has broken in I'm not interested in what they have to say
    Agreed, their life is forfeit at that point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    My view is that we all have a right to self defense, but should exercise restraint, only resorting to violence if it is clear that this is the only resort. Do you agree?
    On the surface this certainly makes sense, violent confrontations should be avoided if at all possible, however this is always going to be a judgement call of knowing whether such a confrontation can indeed be avoided. One reason for this is that given that most ordinary people don't actually know how to fight or defend themselves their actual best chance of winning/surviving Unavoidable confrontations is to strike first. Yes I know it's kind of counter intuitive to most people's natural thoughts, nobody facing a burglar or attacker wants to think of themselves or put the themselves in the position of aggressor, but the reality is that most one on one confrontations are won the person who strikes first regardless of whether this person is victim or would be assailant.

    Again what I think this comes down to though is some very tough decisions having to be made very quickly about just how much danger someone believes themselves to be in. Is it wrong to kill or seriously wound a burglar or would be attacker yes certainly, is it wrong to do the same thing when in genuine fear for your own or families immediate safety then I think certainly not.

    This is why we shouldn't have laws that say it's ok to shoot or hurt people in set circumstances, we shouldn't also have prohibit people defending themselves. We have to laws that allow the proper circumstances to be considered, and weighted in favour of the victims not the burglars. Nobody can be totally sure of how they might react in any given situation until they are actually faced with it and no two sets of circumstances are identical. We should have some sort of guidelines and advice on how we should deal with such situations but also be tolerant if people don't always make the best decisions in those circumstances.

    We have to remember one simple principle here, if someone comes into your home to harm you or your family then whatever happens to them should and must always be of secondary importance to actually keeping your family safe and I think here the law needs also understand and accept this principle. Restraint if possible, if not then anything, whatever is necessary to protect yourself and family is and must be permissable in law.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Nope. Look up Castle Doctrine. It ranges State to State from... to completely illegal unless the homeowner can prove he had no way to escape from the home to avoid the confrontation.
    I hate to sound conservative but that appears to give the criminal more rights than the victim and is a damn shame.
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    Interesting to see how many people here think it is OK to kill a person before knowing for sure whether he is a real threat. I remember a case here in NZ, where a guy got horribly drunk (and haven't we all done that at some point in time) and forgot where his home was. He fixated on a particular house, thinking that was his home, and found his key would not fit. He smashed a window, under the delusion it was his home, and climbed in. Rather to the horror and fright of the real home owners. They called the police, who sorted it all out. But under certain laws, that drunk guy might have been shot dead. In my view, the act of shooting the drunk would have been murder. Note also that some real and genuine illnesses can also create the same delusion without the guy needing to get drunk first.

    Killing without good reason is, in my own terribly humble opinon, a mark of barbarism. We should have moved away from those behaviours by now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Interesting to see how many people here think it is OK to kill a person before knowing for sure whether he is a real threat.
    Someone breaking into my home is a real threat.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    But under certain laws, that drunk guy might have been shot dead. In my view, the act of shooting the drunk would have been murder. Note also that some real and genuine illnesses can also create the same delusion without the guy needing to get drunk first.
    If the drunk/ill person has broken in what's to stop them from hurting me over them thinking I am in their house? Not murder. Seriously, I am pretty anti violence but I draw the line at my home.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Killing without good reason is, in my own terribly humble opinon, a mark of barbarism.
    I agree, but somebody breaking into your home is a good reason, no matter what the situation. And who is to say you kill the person? maybe you just beat them unconscious

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    We should have moved away from those behaviours by now.
    but not getting drunk and breaking into other peoples' houses?
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    Grumpy

    Someone breaking into your home is probably not a threat to your person. To your property, yes. But stopping a theft is not reasonable grounds for a killing. Most of the time, if someone breaks into your home, all that is needed to get rid of them is the sound of you talking on the phone to the police. They will move out pretty damn fast! The very rare occasions when that is not enough is sufficiently unusual not to justify a killing as an appropriate response to the presence of an intruder.

    I had an experience once when I was accosted by a person who had come up with the delusion that I had committed an action that harmed him. He was screaming in my ear and hitting me on the chest at the time. I told my wife to ring the police. She came out, into his sight, holding the phone to her ear and describing to the police what was happening. The guy immediately turned and ran off.
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    Grumpy is in the USA.
    They shoot at each other a lot there.
    If you watch the news you wonder how there are any of them left.
    Very violent place.

    I can't wait to visit Detroit again.
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    I like to think it was a typo and the original intention was to allow every single American citizen the right to go around in sleeveless shirts, all the time, regardless of their job or position.
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    In America If there's an Intruder Inside your home you can use deadly force to stop them If so desire.

    If the 2 nations would exchange kings then no one would want to hurt the other.
    When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    Someone breaking into your home is probably not a threat to your person. To your property, yes. But stopping a theft is not reasonable grounds for a killing.
    I disagree. As Dan correctly points out below, here in the USA people like to shoot at each other here. Sure, stopping a theft is not grounds for murder, but who is to say the desperate person in my house doesn't feel that me stopping them is not grounds for murder? So, the very act of me saying "hey stop" could have me fired upon by said intruder. That's why someone breaking in is a real threat.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Most of the time, if someone breaks into your home, all that is needed to get rid of them is the sound of you talking on the phone to the police. They will move out pretty damn fast!
    Different culture here. You could be shot for no other reason than you did call the police.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The very rare occasions when that is not enough is sufficiently unusual not to justify a killing as an appropriate response to the presence of an intruder.
    If you could rationalize with a criminal then there would be no criminals.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I had an experience once when I was accosted by a person who had come up with the delusion that I had committed an action that harmed him. He was screaming in my ear and hitting me on the chest at the time. I told my wife to ring the police. She came out, into his sight, holding the phone to her ear and describing to the police what was happening. The guy immediately turned and ran off.
    That is one instance and not every instance... Don't change the situation. I agree with what you and your wife did, but you out on the street is a far different circumstance than some guy breaking into your house and doing the same thing to you. He's in my house uninvited and violent. I'm dropping that guy anyway I can.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Grumpy is in the USA.
    They shoot at each other a lot there.
    Not this guy. I don't own a gun or will ever own a gun. Out on the street I'm all for passivity and negotiations and civility I have a duty be as such in society, but if it's in my home I guess I turn into an ape complete with grunting and showing displays of force.

    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter
    If you watch the news you wonder how there are any of them left.
    Very violent place.
    there's 300,000,000 of us here. It's going to take a while.
    we need better gun legislation here. Guns are toys now. dangerous toys. They will not over throw the government nor will they protect your family while you sleep. It's time we call them what they are... toys.

    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter
    I can't wait to visit Detroit again.
    I will steer clear. I like to think I'm not violent but somebody breaks into my house that is going to scare the crap outta me and scared, I will do whatever I have to to keep me and my family safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    In America If there's an Intruder Inside your home you can use deadly force to stop them If so desire.
    I hear in Florida they don't even have to be in your house they just have to be black!!

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler View Post
    If the 2 nations would exchange kings then no one would want to hurt the other.
    What? as hostages or what? how long before both kings have gone native and it's like no exchange ever took place?
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post

    but you out on the street is a far different circumstance than some guy breaking into your house and doing the same thing to you. He's in my house uninvited and violent. I'm dropping that guy anyway I can.
    Actually, the action took place on my front porch, which is my house as far as I am concerned. Violence not justified.
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    Anyway, back to Thomas Hobbes, and war.

    He said that there were three reasons why nations, or tribes, went to war.

    1. Material gain. To steal from a defeated enemy. Steal territory and land, material goods, or even women to be sex slaves.

    2. Safety, and retribution. If you think they may kill you, then kill them first. If they have harmed you, then harm them back, in revenge, and to make them think twice before attacking you again.

    3. A credible deterrence. Show the enemy your strength so they will not attack.

    One way of stopping all this is by having a more powerful third party keep control. This is the method chosen by modern nations, with the state controlling the behaviour of its sub sets of population, preventing them fighting each other. This is what Hobbes called Leviathon - the all powerful controller. This system works.

    But how do you stop nations warring on each other?
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    I must make something clear, though, since I realise I stuffed up and did not explain it properly. My apologies.

    The title is "The Hobbesian Trap". The trap consists of the fear of retaliation driving pre-emptive violence. This trap results in more violence and more death than would otherwise be the case. It is a highly destructive 'catch 22'.

    The idea that shooting a burglar falls into this trap is not my idea. I picked that up from reading. The idea is that fear of the burglar attacking drives a person to perpetrating violence first, where it is likely that, without falling into the trap, violence would not happen, and no one would get hurt.
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    As far as home defense in concerned, I agree with the hold-your-fire philosophy. There's too much chance of killing somebody by mistake, even a family member. But as they say, when seconds count the police are only minutes away. The savvy gun owner will retreat to a safe room, call the police, and loudly announce that he has a gun.

    I find the all-powerful,world-wide, Leviathan a frightening proposition. That's scarier to me than a war, or any individual criminal. Nothing could stop it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The title is "The Hobbesian Trap". The trap consists of the fear of retaliation driving pre-emptive violence. This trap results in more violence and more death than would otherwise be the case. It is a highly destructive 'catch 22'.
    It is indeed a dangerous Catch 22. A Major Major Catch 22.
    It is also the main ideas behind John Nash's version of The Prisoners Dilemma.
    In Nash's formulation of the theory he assumed "they" would always betray you.

    It would seem easy to refute this by pointing out that Nash was a paranoid delusional man who spent many years locked in an insane asylum against his will.
    However that would be false. It would be argumentum ad hominem.

    The problem is that Nash's version of the dilemma weights the cost against the benefits.
    The penalty for not defecting instead of the other guy is death, and the defection only need to happen once. Trying to analyse the game as being in a population and using a statistical result does not work. If they always defect the first one you meet will kill you if you don't.
    So if you intend to survive it means you have to betray first, every time you meet a "Them".

    That lead both the USA and USSR into the arms race.

    Crazy insane and driven by paranoia and fear.
    There were at least two times when we were very close to seeing nuclear war. We know about those two times because the two governments involved have admitted them.

    So far the rockets have not been launched, but the threat is still there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post

    but you out on the street is a far different circumstance than some guy breaking into your house and doing the same thing to you. He's in my house uninvited and violent. I'm dropping that guy anyway I can.
    Actually, the action took place on my front porch, which is my house as far as I am concerned. Violence not justified.
    you could've just shut the front door. if he is in your house there is no door to shut... he is already in. different situation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    One way of stopping all this is by having a more powerful third party keep control.
    The UN?
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    Hmmm

    Maybe. At the time, retreating into the house did not seem a great idea.
    However, the point I am making is that killing a burglar without actually finding out if he is a genuine threat is falling into the Hobbesian Trap. You are allowing the situation to escalate. A burglary is one thing. I have been burgled and I know how emotionally destructive that experience is. But an escalation into a man killing is something else. Much worse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Hmmm

    Maybe. At the time, retreating into the house did not seem a great idea.
    However, the point I am making is that killing a burglar without actually finding out if he is a genuine threat is falling into the Hobbesian Trap. You are allowing the situation to escalate. A burglary is one thing. I have been burgled and I know how emotionally destructive that experience is. But an escalation into a man killing is something else. Much worse.
    I see what you're saying and more often than not I would agree with you. but in the scene of a burglar in the middle of the night, stealing from you is THE BEST situation you can hope for in this particular instance. Not knowing this burglar's overall intentions could lead to you being dead because you're going the diplomacy rout. If all you think he wants is to steal from you and you startle him and it ends up that you are wrong then you end up dead. That's a big gamble as far as I'm concerned. especially for some foolish bragging rights in that "you did not escalate the situation."

    I also don't think burglars and nations are equal, especially considering nukes. If the US launches their nukes Russia sees that The US has launched nukes and returns fire. there is a time gap where reactionary decisions are made. in the case of the burglar, there is no time gap. if he shoots you have no other options after you hear the fire of his gun, other than falling on the floor with a bullet wound, that is.
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    To Grumpy

    First, the burglar.
    The number of times a burglary escalates into the burglar killing the householder is minimal, even in the sadly over-violent USA. Burglars try to avoid attention. If he hears a sound, while burgling, he will not react by shooting (except in very rare cases), but by trying to sneak out again. What I would do in that case is simply phone the police. If the burglar hears you talking to the police, he is not going to send a gun shot sound down the telephone line. He will simply make haste outta there.

    Second, on Leviathon.
    Not the UN. It has been rendered powerless by the machinations of the powerful nations.
    At the time Hobbes came up with this concept, he was thinking of large nations as being the Leviathon, to keep control within its borders. In today's world, we are talking of the police force. History shows that this works. For example : in the old Wild West, the murder rate is estimated to be 25 killings per 100,000 people per year. Today, in the USA, it is 4.7. The difference was the addition of a potent police force.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To Grumpy

    First, the burglar.
    The number of times a burglary escalates into the burglar killing the householder is minimal, even in the sadly over-violent USA. Burglars try to avoid attention. If he hears a sound, while burgling, he will not react by shooting (except in very rare cases), but by trying to sneak out again. What I would do in that case is simply phone the police. If the burglar hears you talking to the police, he is not going to send a gun shot sound down the telephone line. He will simply make haste outta there.
    How many of your numbers take into account that robberies were committed when no one was home versus invasion robberies?
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    Not sure what the exact figures are. But total burglaries in the USA come to about 700 per 100,000 people per year, while murders run to 4.7. Most of those murders have nothing to do with burglaries (for example, FBI figures show a quarter of murders come from two people arguing, and one pulling a gun on the other). So it would appear that a burglary which ends up with the burglar shooting the householder is a very rare occurence. This rarity makes it non justifiable for the householder to shoot the burglar.
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    What? as hostages or what? how long before both kings have gone native and it's like no exchange ever took place?
    But new kings are always going to be had be either side. Both kings could always visit their kingdoms whenever they wanted to for a short time as well as visitors from their countries could visit them where they reside.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    Not sure what the exact figures are. But total burglaries in the USA come to about 700 per 100,000 people per year, while murders run to 4.7. Most of those murders have nothing to do with burglaries (for example, FBI figures show a quarter of murders come from two people arguing, and one pulling a gun on the other). So it would appear that a burglary which ends up with the burglar shooting the householder is a very rare occurence. This rarity makes it non justifiable for the householder to shoot the burglar.
    I don't know man, I think fear wins that battle. For me it's just too much of a gamble to think he's not some crazed nut job soley there to do harm to my family. perhaps I'm succumbing to the culture of violence here in the US but a dude in my house uninvited just means trouble to me. not sure why he's there but if he wants to live he better gtfo
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    I do not know how violent overall the USA is. Trouble is that violent crime statistics are gathered in all sorts of different ways in different countries, and cannot be compared. However, murders are pretty much unambiguous. A dead body is hard to mistake for anything else.. The USA has 5 times the per capita murder rate of my country. Does this mean it's violent crime rate is also 5 times? I dunno.

    However, it is also true that the number of burglars who are "out to getcha" are few and far between. Burglars are out to get your goods, not your life. The willingness to kill someone simply because he/she is in your house is not terribly ethical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    My view is that we all have a right to self defense, but should exercise restraint, only resorting to violence if it is clear that this is the only resort. Do you agree?
    On the surface this certainly makes sense, violent confrontations should be avoided if at all possible, however this is always going to be a judgement call of knowing whether such a confrontation can indeed be avoided. One reason for this is that given that most ordinary people don't actually know how to fight or defend themselves their actual best chance of winning/surviving Unavoidable confrontations is to strike first. Yes I know it's kind of counter intuitive to most people's natural thoughts, nobody facing a burglar or attacker wants to think of themselves or put the themselves in the position of aggressor, but the reality is that most one on one confrontations are won the person who strikes first regardless of whether this person is victim or would be assailant.

    Again what I think this comes down to though is some very tough decisions having to be made very quickly about just how much danger someone believes themselves to be in. Is it wrong to kill or seriously wound a burglar or would be attacker yes certainly, is it wrong to do the same thing when in genuine fear for your own or families immediate safety then I think certainly not.
    Yeah. For all I know, the guy might be a martial arts master, or trained soldier. If I can get the drop on him, then maybe I'll hold my fire long enough to figure out who he is and what he wants. But I'm not going to risk my life for a stranger who has already shown me a serious lack of consideration by breaking into my home. I really don't owe him that.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Interesting to see how many people here think it is OK to kill a person before knowing for sure whether he is a real threat. I remember a case here in NZ, where a guy got horribly drunk (and haven't we all done that at some point in time) and forgot where his home was. He fixated on a particular house, thinking that was his home, and found his key would not fit. He smashed a window, under the delusion it was his home, and climbed in. Rather to the horror and fright of the real home owners. They called the police, who sorted it all out. But under certain laws, that drunk guy might have been shot dead. In my view, the act of shooting the drunk would have been murder. Note also that some real and genuine illnesses can also create the same delusion without the guy needing to get drunk first.

    Killing without good reason is, in my own terribly humble opinon, a mark of barbarism. We should have moved away from those behaviours by now.
    I don't think defense of life is the only good reason to kill. There is also defense of one's rights. Imagine, in the extreme case, that a woman is about to be raped, but she has reason to believe that her assailant won't kill her when he's done. Wouldn't she still be right to shoot him in order to avoid that, despite her own life not being in jeopardy?

    Now suppose in a very light case, that someone is just going to steal your wallet. Suppose you can stop them by shooting them. The way I see it, you are asserting your right to property.

    I don't think we should have to share the world with people who will attempt to take away our rights by force. It's ok to use force back. And, if necessary, it's ok to send them to the next world (if there is an afterlife.) I consider people who take away your rights to be the one exception to the "right to live". Those who don't value rights shouldn't have rights. Take their rights away for a while, and maybe they might grow to appreciate them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    However, it is also true that the number of burglars who are "out to getcha" are few and far between.
    All it takes is one and I'm not willing to gamble that.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Burglars are out to get your goods, not your life.
    as I said, all it takes is one. few and far between is still a few and there is no way of recognizing the few from the many. Again, that's not a gamble I'm willing to take.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The willingness to kill someone simply because he/she is in your house is not terribly ethical.
    Not willing to kill them because they are in my house so much as it is willing to kill them because they are in my house and I don't know what their overall intentions are. Again, I don't know if they are the majority there to just rob or the few that are their to rob at any and all costs. I can't afford to take that chance when it comes to my family. Call me unethical, my reasons make sense to me.
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    There was a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed simply owning a gun increased your chances of being murdered by double. What do you think happens to your odds when you try to kill a burglar? There may be a reasonable chance that you will succeed, but there will always be a very good chance that you will shoot and miss, or only wound but not disable. The burglar is then put in the position where he has to shoot back (assuming he has a gun) or die. He will shoot back. You then are at serious risk of dying.

    My view is that, overall, pulling a gun on a burglar, as opposed to taking more sensible action like phoning the police, will actually increase your chances of being killed. It is, thus, not self defense. It is idiocy. If the burglar hears you talking to the police, he/she is not going to hang around. That is a much safer and saner course of action.

    Of course, we come back to Hobbes. Pulling a gun on the burglar is the trap. Both of you will take lethal action, and the odds are strong that someone will die. There are always smarter moves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Yeah. For all I know, the guy might be a martial arts master, or trained soldier. If I can get the drop on him, then maybe I'll hold my fire long enough to figure out who he is and what he wants. But I'm not going to risk my life for a stranger who has already shown me a serious lack of consideration by breaking into my home. I really don't owe him that.
    Exactly. It's not a homeowner's responsibility to guess at that point and entirely reasonable that the homeowner assume the worst and respond with whatever force they feel is necessary including lethal force (several times if necessary).
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    That is the vigilante attitude.
    In Prof. Pinkers book on the history of violence, he has a lot to say about the vigilante culture. None of it is good. Vigilanteeism is one of the driving forces for greater violence and much greater numbers of murders. Pinker uses numerous historical references to show the harm to society caused by that attitude.

    The USA still sufferes to some degree from the vigilanteeism of the old wild west. You should note the murder rates that prevailed then. There was one small town, mentioned in Pinker's book, that for a time suffered a murder rate one 1 in 4 per year. Overall, the average murder rate back then was 25 killings per 100,000 people per year, compared to 1.0 in England today, which is a nation without the vigilante culture. The USA today has a murder rate of 4.7, which reflects the vigilanteeism that prevails.

    To put it another way. Cut the crap. When you Americans get over this idiotic vigilante mentality, you will find that murder rates will drop dramatically, and violent crime likewise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Lynx

    That is the vigilante attitude.
    BS. A vigilante actively looks to correct amends and carry out justice on their own. A homeowner having their home broken into isn't actively looking for violence--they are victims of violence making reasonable worst case assumptions about the intent of the invaders and taking prudent and reasonable actions to protect themselves and their property.
    --
    I haven't read Pinker's book, but from how you've presented it, it appears to be another idealistic, naive utopian text loosely woven together by facts. (and I honest don't give two craps about how many burglars are killed entering people's homes--drug crime, accidents and suicide account for most gun problems in the US--all of them solvable).

    Meanwhile castle doctrine has been a basic tenet of human rights for more than 2000 years (in the West anyhow)-- and continues not as a matter of appeal to tradition, but as an entirely reasonable and practical concept that every person deserves a place called home where they can take deadly force, if necessary, to protect themselves and their families. A person's home is where you retreat to, not from, to avoid violence.

    Interestingly it's not only a Western idea, but I saw it in practice plenty in the war zone, where individual homeowners in Iraq were allowed to secure one firearm to protect their homes. (yes yes indeed, a developing backwater nation has more freedoms than some modern nations are wiling to give themselves)

    --
    Where many of the US States get it wrong is they try to extend the castle doctrine outside of the home--something that probably wont change until there's public outcry from a black man is acquitted under the fuzzy "stand your ground" laws after killing a middle class white kid. (unfortunately nothing changes in the US until white middle/upper class is negatively effected).
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; February 19th, 2014 at 06:47 PM.
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    You should read Pinker's book. It is not something waffly and light. It is based on solid data, and heaps of it. His bibliography is as big as his text. The data base is scientific and solid.

    The vigilante mind set correlates throughout history with high murder rates, and excessive violence. It is very tempting for people to be seduced into thinking that taking justice into their own hands is a solution to crime. It is not. It is a way of making crime worse. Of course, it is not just victims of crime that apply the vigilante harm. Criminals themselves use this way of thinking to rationalise the violence they do. "I killed that guy because he was stealing my drug customers off me, so it was justified."

    Violence first began to fall when the first states came into being, and the king or other authority took the role of justice maker. When individuals apply their own brand of justice, murder rates rise. There is little doubt that the vigilante mind set - perhaps we could call it the "Dirty Harry Syndrome" - is more prevalent in the USA than other western nations. This may be the major reason why the USA has 4 times the per capita murder rate of other western nations, as an overall average.

    Individuals who justify taking lethal action against others, when it is not necessary, are exacerbating a nasty situation. If self defense requires a lethal approach then OK. But be very, very sure. If not sure, then restraint is the appropriate response.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Lynx

    That is the vigilante attitude.
    BS. A vigilante actively looks to correct amends and carry out justice on their own.
    I believe we have to make sure our ideas of vigilantes from popular culture (Batman, The Watchmen, etc.) shouldn't cloud our assumptions about what it means to be a vigilante in the "real world".

    The thing about fictional vigilantes is that they have the plot-driven ability of always being in the right and they know exactly what they're doing and able to accept the responsibility of their actions.

    Ordinary people, while meaning well, have a much higher likelihood of actually making things worse, not only for themselves, but for the very situation they're trying to resolve. Remember the adage "violence begets violence". You may think you're being Batman, but you're acting like the Joker.

    In short, while the idea of vigilantism comes from a noble place, in practice it's often not a good idea and so for that reason the idea should be discouraged.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    I believe we have to make sure our ideas of vigilantes from popular culture (Batman, The Watchmen, etc.) shouldn't cloud our assumptions about what it means to be a vigilante in the "real world".
    I haven't seen any of those...seriously. (I see one or two movies a year...and it's usually sci-fi or something about the sea)

    People that immediately come to mind are people like Bernhard Goetz, with a flavoring of Wyatt Earp, Zimmerman, and the Black Panthers. It's never someone in their home shooting an intruder.
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    Skeptic, I might get to it, since I like figures and facts as much as most people. On the other hand I know it's rather easy to make them fit a preconceived notions that don't gibe with practical issues.

    I sometimes wonder how people like Pinker come to be. Beneath the fact and figures, has he ever felt the dread of someone invading his personal home, where where he and his family sleep and should feel the most secure of all places. Or does he live in that academic fantasy land where cops are mind readers and can instantly teleport where needed to protect people. Or has he every lived like where where I live (20 miles from a State Capital mind you), where in the best weather, assuming I get to a land line phone (there is no cell phone coverage), interface with a dispatcher trying to sort out two counties and a 20 minute response time--a person (me or my beloved wife) is effectively left entirely to their own devices. Does he have any idea how to use a firearm? Or had to live with one at arms reach for his very survival? Or learned to use it safely carried day after day after day without mishap or misunderstanding? I'm guessing not and to put it rather cruelly think he's more likely just another egg head who's never really had to struggle working WAY out of his field of expertise. Yes I'm being a bit ad hom here...but still, this is one area where practical life experiences DOES matter.

    If self defense requires a lethal approach then OK. But be very, very sure.
    On the street in peacetime sure. Once someones broken into my home IS NOT the time to BE VERY VERY sure...it's the time for action.
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    I have had a couple of trips to the USA. Know what my nightmare was, when I was there?

    I recalled an incident in my youth, when I was walking home very briskly from a late university lecture, in the dark. An older woman was walking ahead of me, same side of road, going the same way, but more slowly. When I passed her, she shied away from me with fright. Left me feeling pretty bad, since I have no desire to frighten anyone, let alone old women.

    Anyway, this image stuck with me. When I was in the USA, I had this nightmare of myself similarly frightening an American woman (without meaning to), and having her respond by pulling out a gun and shooting me. In the light of recent events, like the Zimmerman case, I could see her killing me and then getting off scott free by saying it was self defense.

    Anyway, the point is that people who are too free with guns and "self defense" are just going to add to the level of violence, and cause killings to rise. Shooting a person who invades your home is excessive. The odds are massively against that invader being a threat to your life. Such vigilante actions are not going to help, and will make your society even more violent than it is now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    There was a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed simply owning a gun increased your chances of being murdered by double. What do you think happens to your odds when you try to kill a burglar?
    I don't own a gun.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    There may be a reasonable chance that you will succeed, but there will always be a very good chance that you will shoot and miss, or only wound but not disable. The burglar is then put in the position where he has to shoot back (assuming he has a gun) or die. He will shoot back. You then are at serious risk of dying.
    why would he shoot back if all he wants to do is run away cause his burglary was thwarted?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    My view is that, overall, pulling a gun on a burglar, as opposed to taking more sensible action like phoning the police, will actually increase your chances of being killed.
    there's more than one way to kill an intruder.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    It is, thus, not self defense. It is idiocy. If the burglar hears you talking to the police, he/she is not going to hang around. That is a much safer and saner course of action.
    You and I just differ. Talking on the phone to the police may not always be the safer way. As I said that could in itself get you shot. Not every burglar follows the Hobbesian play book. you don't know what kind of mentally unbalanced psycho is breaking into your house. I can't chance it.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Of course, we come back to Hobbes. Pulling a gun on the burglar is the trap. Both of you will take lethal action, and the odds are strong that someone will die...
    Not according to your burglars just run away theory
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Lynx

    That is the vigilante attitude.
    In Prof. Pinkers book on the history of violence, he has a lot to say about the vigilante culture. None of it is good. Vigilanteeism is one of the driving forces for greater violence and much greater numbers of murders. Pinker uses numerous historical references to show the harm to society caused by that attitude.

    The USA still sufferes to some degree from the vigilanteeism of the old wild west. You should note the murder rates that prevailed then. There was one small town, mentioned in Pinker's book, that for a time suffered a murder rate one 1 in 4 per year. Overall, the average murder rate back then was 25 killings per 100,000 people per year, compared to 1.0 in England today, which is a nation without the vigilante culture. The USA today has a murder rate of 4.7, which reflects the vigilanteeism that prevails.

    To put it another way. Cut the crap. When you Americans get over this idiotic vigilante mentality, you will find that murder rates will drop dramatically, and violent crime likewise.
    I think it shows more that we don't have any faith in our justice system, which is just one more reason NOT to call the cops until your work has concluded.
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    As i pointed out earlier, the statistics show that burglars are not normally murderers. In fact, they would very, very rarely be murderers. In the USA, there are over a million homes burgled each year. There are about 16,000 murders, and almost none of those murders are associated with a burglary. The motives for murder tend to run high to disagreements between people who know each other, arguments, spouse murders, criminals killing each other etc. Almost none are a burglar killing a householder. There was an article in the American Skeptic mag on this, quoting FBI figures. From memory, I do not think burglar killing householder was even mentioned in their statistics.

    All of which shows that killing a burglar is not self defense. It is idiocy.

    You asked why a burglar would shoot back. If you shot first, it would be self defense. If you did not appear holding a gun, or other weapon, he would have no reason to physically harm you.

    It is also true that most burglars do not carry a gun. So here is a question for you. What would make burglars more likely to carry a gun?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Lynx

    I have had a couple of trips to the USA. Know what my nightmare was, when I was there?

    I recalled an incident in my youth, when I was walking home very briskly from a late university lecture, in the dark. An older woman was walking ahead of me, same side of road, going the same way, but more slowly. When I passed her, she shied away from me with fright. Left me feeling pretty bad, since I have no desire to frighten anyone, let alone old women.

    Anyway, this image stuck with me. When I was in the USA, I had this nightmare of myself similarly frightening an American woman (without meaning to), and having her respond by pulling out a gun and shooting me. In the light of recent events, like the Zimmerman case, I could see her killing me and then getting off scott free by saying it was self defense.

    Anyway, the point is that people who are too free with guns and "self defense" are just going to add to the level of violence, and cause killings to rise. Shooting a person who invades your home is excessive. The odds are massively against that invader being a threat to your life. Such vigilante actions are not going to help, and will make your society even more violent than it is now.
    You are talking two different situations. one is you walking out in public and one is some dude breaking into your house. they are not the same situations. I agree, don't kill the person briskly walking past you on the street. But if some dude breaks into your house, smash him up. That's much different than walking past someone in public.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    As i pointed out earlier, the statistics show that burglars are not normally murderers.
    You know there are three types of liars right? #1 liars #2 damned liars #3 statisticians - mark twain


    "Not normally" is not the same as "NOT murderers" I'm not gambling my safety on "not normally"


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    In fact, they would very, very rarely be murderers.
    still not the same as "not"



    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    In the USA, there are over a million homes burgled each year. There are about 16,000 murders, and almost none of those murders are associated with a burglary.
    A million homes a year a burgled while the owners are away, I'm sure. ... what happens when the owners are home where are those stats?



    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The motives for murder tend to run high to disagreements between people who know each other, arguments, spouse murders, criminals killing each other etc. Almost none are a burglar killing a householder.
    again, perhaps those numbers represent burglaries that happened in an empty house. of the burglary murders, how many happened when a home owner surprised a burglar? Find those numbers and perhaps you'll have an argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    There was an article in the American Skeptic mag on this, quoting FBI figures. From memory, I do not think burglar killing householder was even mentioned in their statistics.

    All of which shows that killing a burglar is not self defense. It is idiocy.
    I think interpreting stats which may not tell the whole story is idiocy.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    You asked why a burglar would shoot back. If you shot first, it would be self defense.
    not if he broke in.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If you did not appear holding a gun, or other weapon, he would have no reason to physically harm you.
    unless he's a 3rd striker and doesn't want you narcing to the cops.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    It is also true that most burglars do not carry a gun.
    according to who? if they don't carry guns then they aren't shooting back and I'm even more likely to prevail.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    So here is a question for you. What would make burglars more likely to carry a gun?
    loaded question (no pun intended )
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    Grumpy

    Burglars prefer to raid empty homes, and an experienced burglar will go to some length to find empty homes. But it is also true that they are often wrong. As I understand it, when a burglar discovers that the home he has raided is occupied, his normal response is to get the hell out of there.

    My 'loaded' question has the answer : a burglar is more likely to carry a gun if he has an expectation that he may confront a householder with a gun. In other words, places where guns are common will have burglars who carry guns.

    If a burglar does not carry a gun, and you shoot him, then in my opinion, you just committed the moral equivalent of murder. It is not self defense if the burglar cannot harm you. If you have the gun, and he doesn't, you can threaten him, and force him to stay still till the police arrive.

    As I have said all along, self defense carries a responsibility to exercise a degree of restraint. Killing someone when it is not needed is not self defense. It is murder, whether the law agrees or not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    Burglars prefer to raid empty homes, and an experienced burglar will go to some length to find empty homes. But it is also true that they are often wrong. As I understand it, when a burglar discovers that the home he has raided is occupied, his normal response is to get the hell out of there.
    If that's the case, then a burglar that is still in my house and has not gotten the hell out can easily be spotted as not typical

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    My 'loaded' question has the answer : a burglar is more likely to carry a gun if he has an expectation that he may confront a householder with a gun. In other words, places where guns are common will have burglars who carry guns.
    Which is why you have to kill that guy who breaks into your house.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If a burglar does not carry a gun, and you shoot him, then in my opinion, you just committed the moral equivalent of murder. It is not self defense if the burglar cannot harm you.
    I think you're wrong. You think a gun is the only way to harm somebody? you're wrong

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If you have the gun, and he doesn't, you can threaten him, and force him to stay still till the police arrive.
    this is true, assuming you don't get scared and shoot first... assuming you have a gun

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As I have said all along, self defense carries a responsibility to exercise a degree of restraint.
    which takes into account that you are going to be of sound mind in a situation that will clearly have you scared out of your mind


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Killing someone when it is not needed is not self defense. It is murder, whether the law agrees or not.
    I agree, but you can't tell just on the face of the situation if it's needed. So since this guy struck first by breaking in, it's not murder
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    Skeptic's rules for burglary:

    I present "gentleman and burglar"

    "excuse me, Mr. burglar, sir. I've noticed you have broken into my house. are you simply a burglar? or do you mean to harm me or my loved ones?"
    "I assure you I am only a thief."
    Well then, I shall put my side arm away and thank you to leave my house as i retrieve the door for you"
    "thank you."
    "no, thank you"

















    Tonight on the 5:00 news a Homeowner was shot and killed during a robbery. His lasts words were "he said he was only a thief" so now the local authorities are on the lookout for a thief, a murderer AND a liar. listen to our tips to learn how to protect yourself. Stay tuned.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Lynx

    That is the vigilante attitude.
    In Prof. Pinkers book on the history of violence, he has a lot to say about the vigilante culture. None of it is good. Vigilanteeism is one of the driving forces for greater violence and much greater numbers of murders. Pinker uses numerous historical references to show the harm to society caused by that attitude.

    The USA still sufferes to some degree from the vigilanteeism of the old wild west. You should note the murder rates that prevailed then. There was one small town, mentioned in Pinker's book, that for a time suffered a murder rate one 1 in 4 per year. Overall, the average murder rate back then was 25 killings per 100,000 people per year, compared to 1.0 in England today, which is a nation without the vigilante culture. The USA today has a murder rate of 4.7, which reflects the vigilanteeism that prevails.

    To put it another way. Cut the crap. When you Americans get over this idiotic vigilante mentality, you will find that murder rates will drop dramatically, and violent crime likewise.
    The trouble here is that you only count one thing. The sum quality of life in a country depends on more than that. Just because you're alive doesn't mean your life is great.


    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    Burglars prefer to raid empty homes, and an experienced burglar will go to some length to find empty homes. But it is also true that they are often wrong. As I understand it, when a burglar discovers that the home he has raided is occupied, his normal response is to get the hell out of there.

    My 'loaded' question has the answer : a burglar is more likely to carry a gun if he has an expectation that he may confront a householder with a gun. In other words, places where guns are common will have burglars who carry guns.

    If a burglar does not carry a gun, and you shoot him, then in my opinion, you just committed the moral equivalent of murder. It is not self defense if the burglar cannot harm you. If you have the gun, and he doesn't, you can threaten him, and force him to stay still till the police arrive.

    As I have said all along, self defense carries a responsibility to exercise a degree of restraint. Killing someone when it is not needed is not self defense. It is murder, whether the law agrees or not.
    Even in the small towns around where I live, there have been several violent home invasions. A man who used to live in my neighborhood was killed a few years ago by some drug addicts who robbed him at gun point in his own home. After they got what they wanted, they killed him. As a general rule, if a burglar isn't wearing a mask and you see their face, you should assume there is a 0% chance they won't try to kill you. Burglary simply carries too long a prison sentence in the USA for them to take the risk of letting you live.

    I can see the vigilantism angle too, though. I got my car broken into three times in three months when I used to live in Portland, OR. Apparently the crime carries nearly zero penalty if they don't actually steal anything. But all three times I had to get my glass replaced. I'd have loved to catch them in the act while carrying a gun, and shoot them right through the head.

    I honestly totally hate people who cause me that kind of grief. At the time I really couldn't afford to replace my glass. They had no business doing that to me, and if it had cost them their life (or if another of their victims had shot them) I wouldn't have shed a single tear.
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    Kojax

    I trust you will recognise the emotional tone of your response. While that is understandable, it is not helpful. If the aim is to reduce the level of violence in society, we have to think clearly and impartially. Meaning dump the emotion. The data shows that the vigilante approach exacerbates the level of violent crime in society.

    To Grumpy.

    Skeptic's rules for handling a burglar in your home.

    Sneak very quietly to the phone. Dial 911.
    Get the police and report the burglar in your home, and urge them to get there real quick.
    If the burglar confronts you, tell him that the police are on their way.
    Burglar runs for his life and the home owner is unharmed.

    Grumpy's rules for dealing with the same.
    Pull out gun or other weapon.
    Charge at the burglar.
    Get shot or whacked over the head in retaliation.
    Funeral for grumpy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Sneak very quietly to the phone. Dial 911.
    Get the police and report the burglar in your home, and urge them to get there real quick.
    That would fail near immediately for where I live. Best case would be 20 minutes and several minutes trying to give instructions how to get to my home because Garmin will lead them a half mile from my house. (VERY common problem for rural Americans).

    My off the cuff approach when I was living in Kentucky and a van parked in my drive and I noticed three men on my back deck checking one of the windows. I grabbed my gun, went out the front door and from cover at the side of the house said loudly something like: "I'm armed and a Soldier. You have 30 seconds to leave before I open fire."

    If they been inside the house their first warning would have been a gun shot and one of them down. It's that simple. It's not the time for 20 questions or trying to guess their motive.

    They fled with combination of F word and "we don't mean to trouble" etc. The situation was dealt with; I never reported the incident because it would have been a waste of the cop's time and mine. My anecdote is one of the crimes prevented.

    I think Pinker might be confusing vigilantism, perhaps deliberately to titillate and sell books, with a strong sense of individualism that still exist (thankfully) in America.
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    Lynx

    I do not object to someone firing a shot into the air, followed by a verbal warning. No one gets hurt and the situation is fixed.

    However, when the first 'warning' is a bullet through someone's chest, that is murder. In my country, if a householder discovered a burglar indoors, and shot him dead, that householder would find himself doing very serious time as a murderer.

    Pinker gave an interesting example to illustrate a point against the vigilante idea. The problem is that 90% of murders are done by people who think they are administering justice, even if their definition of 'justice' is warped. This is why people who have the vigilante attitude often end up committing murder. The example was a man who discovers another man in bed with his wife, and shoots, and maims the man bonking his wife. Now look at the viewpoints.

    1.. The husband thinks he is a victim, and is administering justice. When the husband is dragged before a court and convicted to hard time, the husband will believe he has become a victim a second time.

    2. The man who bonked the wife and got shot will consider himself the victim because he got shot. He will consider the conviction as true justice.

    The husband is the vigilante, and will probably believe for the rest of his life that he did the right thing. Yet he would be wrong. It is this self justifying attitude that makes vigilantes into potential murderers.

    Now think of Grumpy finding a burglar in his house, and attacking that burglar with gun, knife, club or bare fists, and killing the burglar. If that happened in my country, Grumpy would be arrested, charged with murder and tried. He would end up doing at least 10 years in prison. The idea that it is self defense would be thrown out because there was no clear reason to believe Grumpy's (or anyone else's) life was threatened.

    How the USA may deal with it differently, but I think the USA has a way to go yet to become a truly civilised western nation. After all, it still practices the death penalty, and still uses torture - both marks of barbarism. It is also a lot closer to its vigilante past, in which a very large number of murders per capita happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Lynx

    I do not object to someone firing a shot into the air, followed by a verbal warning. No one gets hurt and the situation is fixed.
    Because you don't know anything about guns and self defense. I do from a lifetime of doing and teaching it. There are few situations where warning shots are appropriate, such as when faced with an unlikely but possible threat, and when there is time to escalate and make sure the possible threat actually is aware they are in danger themselves. In my situation, I was able to give a verbal warning while putting myself at relatively low risk (by cover and concealment) without firing a shot. Sorry, but strangers already inside a house DO NOT fit a warning shot scenario--they have forfeited time and prudence for the homeowner because at that point they have to be considered a serious threat to life--a completely reasonable, upheld by more than 2000 years of law (Castle doctrine predate Roman laws) is a lethal response based on self defense. First shot is to kill--no if, ands or buts about it. And virtually no jury in the world is going to blame the homeowner for that action unless it was very clear the thieves were trying to escape.

    And just in case it's missed in the conversation, in the US, most countries in Europe, and where I've been in the Middle East, there's a sharp distinction between threat to property which usually doesn't merit a lethal response, and a threat to life which does. Castle doctrine simple gives the doubt and great discretion to someone in their own home--a presumption of high threat to life that allows for a lethal response. If for example that same group I encountered had been stealing from my garage, it wouldn't have merited a lethal response.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; February 20th, 2014 at 08:37 PM.
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  62. #61  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Kojax

    I trust you will recognise the emotional tone of your response. While that is understandable, it is not helpful. If the aim is to reduce the level of violence in society, we have to think clearly and impartially. Meaning dump the emotion. The data shows that the vigilante approach exacerbates the level of violent crime in society.
    You have already been shown that this is not an example of vigilantism.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To Grumpy.

    Skeptic's rules for handling a burglar in your home.

    Sneak very quietly to the phone. Dial 911.
    Get the police and report the burglar in your home, and urge them to get there real quick.
    If the burglar confronts you, tell him that the police are on their way.
    Burglar runs for his life and the home owner is unharmed.
    Assuming the burglar is also thinking clearly and impartially. but probably not since clear and impartial thinking would've led him to NOT breaking into your house.

    I noticed "loudly" speaking to police on the phone is no longer protocol... Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy's rules for dealing with the same.
    Pull out gun or other weapon.
    Charge at the burglar.
    Get shot or whacked over the head in retaliation.
    Funeral for grumpy.
    #3 is wrong... Don't charge, that's crazy. Ambush!! That's the way to go.
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    Lynx

    Your castle doctrine is an American weirdness. It is not a part of law in any other developed nation, at least in the form you describe. The standard wording of self defense law, everywhere except the USA, is to the effect that such defense is permitted where a clear threat exists to the life of the person acting, or someone close to him, but not if such a clear threat is not present.

    In other words, if you surprise a burglar, and he does not do anything that can rationally be interpreted as a threat to your life, you cannot in law use lethal force. Any civilised nation will treat you as a murderer if you do. Here in NZ, we recently had a case of a farmer who fired a shotgun into the back of a thief making off with his quad bike. Fortunately, he did not kill the thief. Both thief and farmer paid the price in law, and the farmer was not able to claim self defense because his life was not under threat. Loss of property is not sufficient cause to permit lethal force. Only a direct threat to life.

    Those people who exercise lethal force in non self defense situations (where their life is not clearly at risk) are no better than common murderers.

    Researchers have discovered that 90% of those who commit murder do so believing they are applying their own version of justice. Your arguments are little different. Such arguments do not stop those people being murderers.

    I have already pointed out that the vast majority of burglars have no interest in threats against anyone's life. They are only interested, if surprised, in getting the hell out of there. To use lethal force against such a person is murder. Pure and simple - murder!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Lynx

    I do not object to someone firing a shot into the air, followed by a verbal warning. No one gets hurt and the situation is fixed.
    That bullet has to come down. what skull does it come down on?

    However, when the first 'warning' is a bullet through someone's chest, that is murder. In my country, if a householder discovered a burglar indoors, and shot him dead, that householder would find himself doing very serious time as a murderer.
    So what you're saying is burglary is legal in New Zealand.. good to know.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Pinker gave an interesting example to illustrate a point against the vigilante idea. The problem is that 90% of murders are done by people who think they are administering justice, even if their definition of 'justice' is warped. This is why people who have the vigilante attitude often end up committing murder. The example was a man who discovers another man in bed with his wife, and shoots, and maims the man bonking his wife. Now look at the viewpoints.

    1.. The husband thinks he is a victim, and is administering justice. When the husband is dragged before a court and convicted to hard time, the husband will believe he has become a victim a second time.

    2. The man who bonked the wife and got shot will consider himself the victim because he got shot. He will consider the conviction as true justice.
    Who cares about the criminal's point of view? but again you have changed the situation. walking in on your wife cheating is not the same as someone breaking into your house who may want to kill you and rob you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptic
    The husband is the vigilante, and will probably believe for the rest of his life that he did the right thing. Yet he would be wrong. It is this self justifying attitude that makes vigilantes into potential murderers.
    Again, using vigilante wrong and have changed the scenario.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Now think of Grumpy finding a burglar in his house, and attacking that burglar with gun, knife, club or bare fists, and killing the burglar. If that happened in my country, Grumpy would be arrested, charged with murder and tried. He would end up doing at least 10 years in prison. The idea that it is self defense would be thrown out because there was no clear reason to believe Grumpy's (or anyone else's) life was threatened.
    A stranger is in your house... what other reason is he there if not to harm you in some way? As another person posted, It's not my job to get into his head.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    How the USA may deal with it differently, but I think the USA has a way to go yet to become a truly civilised western nation. After all, it still practices the death penalty, and still uses torture - both marks of barbarism. It is also a lot closer to its vigilante past, in which a very large number of murders per capita happen.
    Can't argue with you there. but I will continue to argue on the intruder in my house angle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Sorry, but strangers already inside a house DO NOT fit a warning shot scenario--they have forfeited time and prudence for the homeowner because at that point they have to be considered a serious threat to life
    I could not agree more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    And virtually no jury in the world is going to blame the homeowner for that action unless it was very clear the thieves were trying to escape.
    I Think Florida is trying to create an exception. That dude who killed a black kid at a convenience store continued to fire on the SUV as it fled the scene and yet he only got 3 years...
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    Grumpy

    You and Lynx appear to be trying to create your home as a kind of sacred exception to the general law. There is no reason to do that. If your life is threatened, it is threatened. If it is not, it is not. Makes no difference whether that is in your home or on the street.

    Self defense is responding to a threat. If there is no threat, there is no self defense. Imagining a threat because the man you imagine is a threat happens to be in your home, does not make it a threat. If the result is you kill someone, and there is no threat, that is murder.

    What if the man you killed was a diabetic, on the verge of unconsciousness (which happens) and enters your home out of confusion? Do you think that killing him is OK?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    You and Lynx appear to be trying to create your home as a kind of sacred exception to the general law. There is no reason to do that. If your life is threatened, it is threatened. If it is not, it is not. Makes no difference whether that is in your home or on the street.
    you and I disagree. out on the street it takes much more for your life to be threatened. in your own home it doesn't take much. And yes my home is an exception to law that's why it's my home and not out in public. Lynx has written about the castle doctrine several times now. It's very simple to understand and yet you have ignored it completely every time.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Self defense is responding to a threat. If there is no threat, there is no self defense. Imagining a threat because the man you imagine is a threat happens to be in your home, does not make it a threat. If the result is you kill someone, and there is no threat, that is murder.
    an intruder in my home is a threat. I'm not sure how anyone could see it any other way. Perhaps you're playing devil's advocate?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    What if the man you killed was a diabetic, on the verge of unconsciousness (which happens) and enters your home out of confusion?
    Then it really sucks that this day is not his day. His day went from bad to worse.

    Do you think that killing him is OK?
    Yes. I don't know his medical history. If he's acting loopy in my house after he's broken in How do I know it's diabetes and not him all cracked out on PcP looking to slay the dragon in this cave? sucks for him. I'm dropping him.
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    Grumpy

    I understand the castle doctrine. I just do not agree with it. Killing a human being is such a serious thing that it over-rides all sorts of emotional crap about homes and so on. Do you not understand that to take the life from another human is to commit a deed that is absolutely dreadful? Even that of a burglar?

    Your home is important to you, sure. But not so important that you should be able to commit murder to retain your image about home and safety.

    My view is simple. There is no god. There is no after-life. Our life is what it is about. It is all we have, and all we will ever have. That applies to each and every human on this planet. To take a life is to destroy everything that person ever will have. Even a burglar deserves to have his life regarded as "sacred".

    After all, the American constitution talks of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Even though the subsequent actions of the politicians who wrote that shows them to be total hypocrites who do not apply what they say. Nevertheless, a human life is the most precious thing that exists. To kill someone because he is in your home is dreadful.
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  69. #68  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    After all, the American constitution talks of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Even though the subsequent actions of the politicians who wrote that shows them to be total hypocrites who do not apply what they say. Nevertheless, a human life is the most precious thing that exists. To kill someone because he is in your home is dreadful.
    When someone enters your home uninvited, they don't have your best interest in mind. While killing anyone is not good, it may be the best choice for the safety of yourself and your family. It doesn't matter what the purpose of the person is when they become a clear and present danger you need to be able to take action of some kind to protect yourself.

    Your point of view that a human life is the most precious thing that exists is not shared by everyone. I would expect that anybody breaking into your home does not share that sentiment. While my preference would never be to kill anyone else, I really don't want anyone else to kill me and mine. Sometimes you have to make the hard choice in time to save yourself. Where are you going to draw the line. My preference is to practice a high level of personal security that starts with making my home very tough to crack and when I'm out and about, maintain a high level of awareness. But no matter what you do, stuff can go bad on very short notice. We live in a dangerous world and some us are better survivors than others.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    I understand the castle doctrine. I just do not agree with it. Killing a human being is such a serious thing that it over-rides all sorts of emotional crap about homes and so on. Do you not understand that to take the life from another human is to commit a deed that is absolutely dreadful? Even that of a burglar?
    Do you not understand that the only thing worse than taking someone's life is having yours taken? Self preservation takes precedent over all else. Someone breaks into your house you have no idea if they are a burglar or a murderer, that in itself is a threat and self preservation takes immediate precedent.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Your home is important to you, sure. But not so important that you should be able to commit murder to retain your image about home and safety.
    It's not murder if you are protecting yourself from an intruder. You're ignoring the fight or flight syndrome. some people can't run first, nor should they have to in their own home.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    My view is simple. There is no god. There is no after-life. Our life is what it is about. It is all we have, and all we will ever have. That applies to each and every human on this planet. To take a life is to destroy everything that person ever will have. Even a burglar deserves to have his life regarded as "sacred".
    I agree but it's not up to me to care more about the life of a burglar that the burglar does for his own life. Because I agree that human life is sacred and all you get is one, I would never do something to jeopardize that life, like, say for example, break into someone's house. I can look out for other people as well. What I can't do is dismiss my own right to life. My life is more important than yours, especially if you are breaking in, pure and simple.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    After all, the American constitution talks of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Even though the subsequent actions of the politicians who wrote that shows them to be total hypocrites who do not apply what they say. Nevertheless, a human life is the most precious thing that exists. To kill someone because he is in your home is dreadful.
    The fact he is in your house is second to the threat that he poses by being in your house. So he is being killed for the immediate threat he poses, not for his physical location. Him being in my house only strengthens the threat he poses.
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    The flaw in your logic is simple. A burglar is not there to harm you. He is there to steal your goodies. The number of burglars in any one year that perform bodily harm on the people who live in the homes they invade is miniscule. If you encounter a burglar in your home, the probability that he is going to harm you is so low that it is simply ludicrous to claim you need to kill him to save yourself. That claim is bullshit.

    As I told you, to use lethal force and claim it was done in self defense requires a certainty that you were in danger of serious harm. Without that, you are a murderer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The flaw in your logic is simple. A burglar is not there to harm you. He is there to steal your goodies. The number of burglars in any one year that perform bodily harm on the people who live in the homes they invade is miniscule. If you encounter a burglar in your home, the probability that he is going to harm you is so low that it is simply ludicrous to claim you need to kill him to save yourself. That claim is bullshit.

    As I told you, to use lethal force and claim it was done in self defense requires a certainty that you were in danger of serious harm. Without that, you are a murderer.
    I wouldn't assume a home invasion to be a simple burglary, but someone in my home for no reason that's good for me. If I had a gun I might not shoot him, if he surrenders and waits for the police to show up. If he tried to run I probably would not shoot to kill, even though I might be giving him the opportunity to sue me, I'd shoot him in the ass. I'd actually prefer to pepper spray him and zip tie him or duct tape him and then wait for the police. If all those options were not available to me, I'd try to do whatever was available for me to take him down.

    By the way what would you do, if you were confronted by a home invader in your home?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The flaw in your logic is simple. A burglar is not there to harm you.
    The flaw in your logic is that you can't tell the difference between a simple burglar, a murderer, or a desperate thief who had no idea he was capable of murder until you showed up. If you know for a fact that he is burglar and that's it, well then, sure, what you're saying is technically correct, but you have no way of knowing that if it's just some dude in your house, so now the threat of more than burglar is present again.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The number of burglars in any one year that perform bodily harm on the people who live in the homes they invade is miniscule.
    Is that because the owners are not home or because the owners had no confrontation with the burglar? What is the violence rate when someone has been confronted or "found out?"

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If you encounter a burglar in your home, the probability that he is going to harm you is so low that it is simply ludicrous to claim you need to kill him to save yourself. That claim is bullshit.
    You apparently have this gift to be able to tell a thief from a murderer. Perhaps police departments should hire you so you can just point thieves and murders out on the street, that way we don't have to catch them in the act.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    As I told you, to use lethal force and claim it was done in self defense requires a certainty that you were in danger of serious harm. Without that, you are a murderer.
    Some strange dude is in my house... I am certain my life is in danger. Prove it's not. his mere presence is proof enough for me, especially since this is the only life I have and I need to protect it.
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    Grumpy

    I have no weird talent to tell a burglar from a murderer. However, I have a respect for data. That includes good data on statistics and probability. Statistically speaking, very few murders are done by burglars, meaning that the probability of a burglar being a threat is very low.

    If you kill someone who is no threat, that is murder. If you kill someone where the probability of him being a threat is very low, that is also murder.

    I have also read interviews with burglars who have been caught. Their methods are now well known and do not include violence. A burglar has only one interest, and that is theft. The interviews show that the vast majority of burglars will simply flee if discovered. If you interfere with that fleeing process, there may be violence, but that is violence you instigate with your interferance. If you then kill the burglar on the grounds that it got violent, you are a murderer, since you began the violence.

    Lethal force in self defense is only justifiable if there is no choice. Discovering a burglar is something that leaves you plenty of choice. Letting him flee means you are not putting yourself at risk, and you are not committing murder.

    The very common American trait of believing you need to take lethal force in creating our own justice, also called vigilantism, is a trait that leads to the exacerbation of violence across the board, and is a major reason why the USA has such a massive, and reprehensible, murder rate. More civilised western nations trust their police forces more.
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    skeptic

    If I grew up and lived in New Zealand, I might feel much as you do. But here in the states, every city has serious gang and drug problems and these types of people would step on your life and not give it a second thought. Many people here get killed in home invasions.

    Next the people here know that a large percentage of the population is armed, so if they are going to invade a home they will most likely be armed also. A home owner that takes the time to determine if the intruder is violent or not can be dead in a blink of an eye. But just saying, the people in the states that invade homes know what the score is before they break in, and that putting themselves in lethal danger is part of the game they are playing. I would not lose any sleep if I had to kill any of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    I have no weird talent to tell a burglar from a murderer. However, I have a respect for data. That includes good data on statistics and probability. Statistically speaking, very few murders are done by burglars, meaning that the probability of a burglar being a threat is very low.
    Which is completely besides the point because there is no way to know they are one. Such foolish notions work great from an ivory tower -- they don't work when one's scared crapless and aroused from a sound sleep, your place of sanctity and safety from someone breaking into your home. At that point lethal force is not only reasonable it should be the default response. It's not a matter of fuzzy headed and redefined vigilante justice (I guess is sells books though), it's a simple matter of self-defense.
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    To Grumpy

    The term 'many' referring to murders by home invaders is an exaggeration written up by the news media, who know that describing atrocities sells newspapers. The actual percentage of burglars or home invaders who perpetrate violence is very, very small.

    To Lynx

    Low probability events do not need to be prepared for. I do not wear a crash helmet out of doors in case a meteor falls on my head. I do not buy national lottery tickets in the expectation of becoming rich. The rational person respects the laws of probability. As a man who has a good knowledge of and respect for the principles of science, you should also have a knowledge and respect for probability.

    If a person kills a man who has a very, very low probability of harming him, then he is a murderer. No ifs and buts. He is a low life, scum sucking, evil murderer. It does not matter that the person killed is a burglar. Murder is murder.
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    I don't value my property over the life of a fellow human being. You may deduce from this what I shall not do. I doubt many of you can deduce what I shall do.
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    If that is your system of values, then I respect it. I will not try to predict what you would do if you see a burglar. I can only predict my own actions, and I would call the police.
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    If someone is prepared to break into your private property with the intention of stealing your valuables, how can you be sure NOT to also assume they're prepared to kill you to get what they want?

    Or am I being overly cynical/pessimistic?
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    There is a big difference between a home invasion and burglary.
    If they are breaking in while you are there it is a home invasion.
    If they have already left when you come home it is burglary.

    If they are trying to run out the back door when you are opening the front door I don't think shooting them is quite fair.
    If they turn around and come after you it becomes debatable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    If someone is prepared to break into your private property with the intention of stealing your valuables, how can you be sure NOT to also assume they're prepared to kill you to get what they want?

    Or am I being overly cynical/pessimistic?
    Perhaps not. However, as pointed out by skeptic, there is very little chance that the thief will kill you. Further, I am comfortable staking my life on my ability to size up the intruder in 2 or 3 seconds. If I can do that with a client when the only think at stake is a sale, I believe I'll be well motivated to get it right when my life may be in danger.
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    I question the idea a lot of people have that a gun is an answer too. If the gun is not out and aimed you might not have time to use it.
    If the person you are defending yourself from is within a room's length of you they can cover that distance in 2 seconds, likely less.
    If they are armed with a knife or club there is a good chance you will be seriously injured or killed before you can fumble your gun out of its holster.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Kojax

    I trust you will recognise the emotional tone of your response. While that is understandable, it is not helpful. If the aim is to reduce the level of violence in society, we have to think clearly and impartially. Meaning dump the emotion. The data shows that the vigilante approach exacerbates the level of violent crime in society.

    We disagree more fundamentally than you know, then. I don't see violence as a bad thing. I don't want violence reduced. I think the alternative to violence is unjust peace.

    It is almost always possible to prevent a confrontation by simply conceding to whatever unfair and ridiculous demands a potentially violent person lays upon you. Likely one of the reasons unarmed home owners die less often than armed home owners is because they are not in a position to resist the assailant's demands, and so they don't resist, and consequently don't die.

    But they should resist!!! The whole world is better if people resist rather than passively submit to injustice.

    Consider the situation in Ukraine right now.

    Scenes From Ukraine


    Some people will only just see violence happening, and mourn for the dead. I see a group of people who are finally standing up for themselves. I think this is the first glimmer of true hope that country has had in a long time, because now there is potential for things to improve if the people stand their ground and see this through to the end. A nation that shows it can't be pushed around won't be pushed around. But any time you stand up for yourself you have to expect there may be unpleasantness. You can't be afraid of it.

    The picture I just linked for you is beautiful to me. Absolutely beautiful.




    edit: noted that the second part of Skeptic's post was addressed to Grumpy, not me.
    Last edited by kojax; February 21st, 2014 at 10:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Grumpy

    I have no weird talent to tell a burglar from a murderer. However, I have a respect for data. That includes good data on statistics and probability. Statistically speaking, very few murders are done by burglars, meaning that the probability of a burglar being a threat is very low.
    well since you have no weird talent your data means jack all. It's not an either or situation... either a burglar OR a killer breaks into your house. they could be one and the same and you can't tell. Not knowing means THREAT.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If you kill someone who is no threat, that is murder. If you kill someone where the probability of him being a threat is very low, that is also murder.
    No it's not. you said it yourself. Life is sacred and I'm not gambling my life to even the best of odds.

    Quote Originally Posted by skepic
    I have also read interviews with burglars who have been caught. Their methods are now well known and do not include violence. A burglar has only one interest, and that is theft. The interviews show that the vast majority of burglars will simply flee if discovered. If you interfere with that fleeing process, there may be violence, but that is violence you instigate with your interferance. If you then kill the burglar on the grounds that it got violent, you are a murderer, since you began the violence.
    A burglar who steals can be trusted with telling the truth in an interview? That's really great for burglars. BUT as previously stated (even by you) you don't have magic powers showing you who is a burglar and who is a killer. So stats on burglars mean nothing when you have absolutely no idea who is in your house. It would be optimal to not give him a chance to run, but if he does, I would not shoot someone in the back, if that's what you're getting at.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Lethal force in self defense is only justifiable if there is no choice. Discovering a burglar is something that leaves you plenty of choice.
    What's more justifiable than protecting yourself in an unknown dangerous situation? in the best scenario he's a burglar, but as stated, you really don't know, he may be a Charles Manson disciple for all you know.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Letting him flee means you are not putting yourself at risk, and you are not committing murder.
    assuming that that is actually what he will do if given the chance. but can you afford to give him that chance if it means your life when you're wrong? I say no.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    The very common American trait of believing you need to take lethal force in creating our own justice, also called vigilantism, is a trait that leads to the exacerbation of violence across the board, and is a major reason why the USA has such a massive, and reprehensible, murder rate.
    Not provable. and still not vigilantism

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    More civilised western nations trust their police forces more.
    What does that tell you about our view of our justice system?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    The rational person respects the laws of probability.
    you think a burglar is of rational mind?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    If a person kills a man who has a very, very low probability of harming him, then he is a murderer.
    That's assuming that you know for a fact that the the intruder is a burglar and nothing worse. but you have no way of knowing this. Whoop his ass!

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    No ifs and buts. He is a low life, scum sucking, evil murderer. It does not matter that the person killed is a burglar. Murder is murder.
    How do I know I killed only a burglar and not ted bundy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    If someone is prepared to break into your private property with the intention of stealing your valuables, how can you be sure NOT to also assume they're prepared to kill you to get what they want?

    Or am I being overly cynical/pessimistic?
    If they're a thief what would keep them from stealing your life?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    If someone is prepared to break into your private property with the intention of stealing your valuables, how can you be sure NOT to also assume they're prepared to kill you to get what they want?

    Or am I being overly cynical/pessimistic?
    Daecon

    Any sane individual makes important decisions based on probability all the time. If I decide to drive to town, it is on the high probability that no one will come at high speed at me on the wrong side of the road.

    This is no different. Not killing a burglar, because the probability that he intends you harm is very, very small, is a sane and rational decision. Killing him because there is a vanishingly small probability he might do you harm is just plain crazy. Not to mention very, very unethical, to the point of being an evil act.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    If someone is prepared to break into your private property with the intention of stealing your valuables, how can you be sure NOT to also assume they're prepared to kill you to get what they want?

    Or am I being overly cynical/pessimistic?
    Daecon

    Any sane individual makes important decisions based on probability all the time. If I decide to drive to town, it is on the high probability that no one will come at high speed at me on the wrong side of the road.

    This is no different. Not killing a burglar, because the probability that he intends you harm is very, very small, is a sane and rational decision. Killing him because there is a vanishingly small probability he might do you harm is just plain crazy. Not to mention very, very unethical, to the point of being an evil act.
    you keep changing the dynamics of the situation to fit your conclusions. this is nothing like someone breaking into your house
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    Where does this story fit?
    Is it OK to shoot people for robbing somebody else's house?
    I am including a clip from a Wikipedia article about such a case.

    Joe Horn shooting controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    The Joe Horn shooting controversy refers to the events of November 14, 2007, in Pasadena, Texas, United States, when local resident Joe Horn shot and killed two men burgling his neighbor's home. Publicized recordings of Horn's exchange with emergency dispatch indicate that he was asked repeatedly not to interfere with the burglary because the police would soon be on hand.[1] The shootings have resulted in debate regarding self-defense, Castle Doctrine laws, and Texas laws relating to use of deadly force to prevent or stop property crimes. The illegal alien status of the burglars has been highlighted because of the U.S. border controversy.[2] On June 30, 2008, Joe Horn was cleared by a grand jury in the Pasadena shootings. ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    If someone is prepared to break into your private property with the intention of stealing your valuables, how can you be sure NOT to also assume they're prepared to kill you to get what they want?

    Or am I being overly cynical/pessimistic?
    Daecon

    Any sane individual makes important decisions based on probability all the time. If I decide to drive to town, it is on the high probability that no one will come at high speed at me on the wrong side of the road.

    This is no different. Not killing a burglar, because the probability that he intends you harm is very, very small, is a sane and rational decision. Killing him because there is a vanishingly small probability he might do you harm is just plain crazy. Not to mention very, very unethical, to the point of being an evil act.
    This is true, however I believe you can't really determine the probability of a burglar's intentions because you simply can not know the chain of events that lead to the situation of him invading your home. It probably isn't possible to have any idea of just how desperate such an individual would be under the circumstances, nor their reaction to being discovered in mid-burgle.

    Rationality under such circumstances could very well "go out the window" and the intruder may panic and make all the worst decisions possible, turning a home invasion into a manslaughter. (Is that what it's called when it's a spur-of-the-moment killing and not premeditated?) On being discovered and identified, the brain may decide on "fight" rather than "flight" which could end up leading to the death of the victim.

    Saying that "the probability that he intends you harm is very, very small" is, I believe, to be a rather idealistic viewpoint and may not reflect the psychology of an intruder in the event of being caught in the act.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Daecon View Post
    If someone is prepared to break into your private property with the intention of stealing your valuables, how can you be sure NOT to also assume they're prepared to kill you to get what they want?

    Or am I being overly cynical/pessimistic?
    Daecon

    Any sane individual makes important decisions based on probability all the time. If I decide to drive to town, it is on the high probability that no one will come at high speed at me on the wrong side of the road.

    This is no different. Not killing a burglar, because the probability that he intends you harm is very, very small, is a sane and rational decision. Killing him because there is a vanishingly small probability he might do you harm is just plain crazy. Not to mention very, very unethical, to the point of being an evil act.
    This is true, however I believe you can't really determine the probability of a burglar's intentions because you simply can not know the chain of events that lead to the situation of him invading your home. It probably isn't possible to have any idea of just how desperate such an individual would be under the circumstances, nor their reaction to being discovered in mid-burgle.

    Rationality under such circumstances could very well "go out the window" and the intruder may panic and make all the worst decisions possible, turning a home invasion into a manslaughter. (Is that what it's called when it's a spur-of-the-moment killing and not premeditated?) On being discovered and identified, the brain may decide on "fight" rather than "flight" which could end up leading to the death of the victim.

    Saying that "the probability that he intends you harm is very, very small" is, I believe, to be a rather idealistic viewpoint and may not reflect the psychology of an intruder in the event of being caught in the act.
    He doesn't understand this even though it's been explained many different ways.
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    I understand your points just fine. But you guys seem to have no appreciation for statistics.

    Let me re-state. There are roughly 150 burglaries in the USA for every murder. I have seen the basic FBI statistics on those murders, which were published in the American Skeptic mag. The type of murder was broken down, and murder of householder by burglar was so rare it was not even mentoned. It is clear that this kind of incident, even in the murderous USA, is of vanishingly low probability.

    Yet you guys seem to think it is OK to kill someone to prevent a possibility that has only (maybe) a million to one probability. Do you not see how downright sick that is?

    By that logic, I should be able to shoot dead any drunk person I see, because he might drive his car into me.
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    Oh of course killing should be an absolute last resort, but remember that this person is deliberately invading your private property.

    There's nothing "accidental" about the situation of being burgled, it's a deliberate, vindictive, malicious and premeditated act and (in my opinion) deserves a response with neither ruth nor mercy.

    But then I'm well-know for being ruthless and merciless when it comes to people like that. "If you can't incapacitate, decapitate."
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post

    Yet you guys seem to think it is OK to kill someone to prevent a possibility that has only (maybe) a million to one probability. Do you not see how downright sick that is?

    .
    I'm thinking that those odds probably change depending on whether you stand up to your assailant, or sheepishly give into their demands. If they're armed and you stand up to them, the odds are much higher that they will attempt to kill you.

    I think you should still stand up to them anyway, though.
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    I repeat, none of my possessions, even those of great sentimental value, are more valuable than a human life, even if that human is currently infringing on my property rights. This, for me, is at the core of my humanity and is non-neogtiable. If they make clear there intent is to physically harm me - and I have no means of assessing the extent of that intended harm - then I shall defend my right to life. Since I am old and decrepit this means I may have to use deadly force, since I lack the skills and strength to overcome all but the weakest most inept burglar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I understand your points just fine. But you guys seem to have no appreciation for statistics.

    Let me re-state. There are roughly 150 burglaries in the USA for every murder. I have seen the basic FBI statistics on those murders, which were published in the American Skeptic mag. The type of murder was broken down, and murder of householder by burglar was so rare it was not even mentoned. It is clear that this kind of incident, even in the murderous USA, is of vanishingly low probability.

    Yet you guys seem to think it is OK to kill someone to prevent a possibility that has only (maybe) a million to one probability. Do you not see how downright sick that is?

    By that logic, I should be able to shoot dead any drunk person I see, because he might drive his car into me.
    Chance of becoming a of victim of violent crimes during an burglary is 7%, or about one in four times someone is home according to US Department of Justice.
    http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/vdhb.txt

    (I wonder if the book numbers are cherry picked to fit his idealist views of the world).

    That 25% chance that me or my family will become a victim of violence is one I'm not taking...that's a chance no one should be willing to take. What is sick is willing to forfeit the right or unwillingness to defend oneself--it's akin to putting the home invader's life over the suffering of your wife being raped, or you being raped. Sorry that's not going to happen in my home...or most parts of the US.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I understand your points just fine. But you guys seem to have no appreciation for statistics.
    you're stats don't tell the whole picture... you're stats don't actually tell us specifically who has broken into our homes.

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Let me re-state. There are roughly 150 burglaries in the USA for every murder. I have seen the basic FBI statistics on those murders, which were published in the American Skeptic mag. The type of murder was broken down, and murder of householder by burglar was so rare it was not even mentoned. It is clear that this kind of incident, even in the murderous USA, is of vanishingly low probability.
    Let me ask again. Do those stats discuss those (small percentage of ) burglars that killed people? If not, all you have is a bunch of numbers that represent nothing specific. If every single one of those murdered people happened because they woke up or addressed the burglar then that changes the stats dramatically doesn't it?

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Yet you guys seem to think it is OK to kill someone to prevent a possibility that has only (maybe) a million to one probability. Do you not see how downright sick that is?
    there are no stats to support this claim. truth is, is you don't know what the stats are when it comes to foiling a robber mid job

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    By that logic, I should be able to shoot dead any drunk person I see, because he might drive his car into me.
    and now yet a new situation you have presented... somebody drunk is not trying to hurt me nor will they attempt to if I interrupt them mid drunkenness. Why would I interrupt their drunkenness? , it has nothing to do with me. Drunkenness is a state of being not an action taken like robbery. I should be able to shoot them while they're driving the wrong way? So I should pull a gun in public and shoot through the glass of a moving car... not the same thing as beating somebody in my house whose intention is to harm me in some way or another.
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  99. #98  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Lynx

    Your one in four figure is not one burglary in four causing harm to the householder. It is one burglary in four happening while someone is at home.

    Now let me give you more accurate statistics. As I said before, the number of householders murdered by burglars or home invaders is so low that it does not even appear on the FBI statistics. Yet there are something over 2 million burglaries each year, and 16,000 murders. FBI stats showed murder situations that had only 100 per year, so we are talking 100 or fewer.

    That is a maximum of one burglary in 20,000 resulting in the murder of the householder. And you guys want to kill to avoid that low probability. If you are serious, you are seriously mentally ill.
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  100. #99  
    AI's Have More Fun Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Lynx

    Your one in four figure is not one burglary in four causing harm to the householder. It is one burglary in four happening while someone is at home.

    Now let me give you more accurate statistics. As I said before, the number of householders murdered by burglars or home invaders is so low that it does not even appear on the FBI statistics. Yet there are something over 2 million burglaries each year, and 16,000 murders. FBI stats showed murder situations that had only 100 per year, so we are talking 100 or fewer.

    That is a maximum of one burglary in 20,000 resulting in the murder of the householder. And you guys want to kill to avoid that low probability. If you are serious, you are seriously mentally ill.
    How about the statistics for how many home invaders are killed each year by home owners. I doubt if your going to see a very big number. Being ready to defend yourself doesn't mean you are going to jump at a chance to kill a burglar. Although it's always better him than you if there is going to be a death.
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  101. #100  
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    I think the preparedness to kill a home invader comes down to a lack of empathy, respect and compassion towards someone who's actively breaking into your home to steal your things and stuff.

    Is that really such an unreasonable viewpoint to have towards such a person?
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