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[P]
Freedom vs. Control: Amendment Two In Action

By Crashnbur in Op-Ed
Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 04:14:23 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Ah, Neal Boortz, my favorite opinionist to disagree with. Okay, I agree with him on most of a very large marjority of what he has to say, but perhaps that is why he's my favorite of those that I disagree with. Once in a while he'll come out with an interpretation of a situation, and I can just find very clear reason to oppose. This is not one of those cases. (If after April 10th, use this link, and it's the eighth bolded headline down, "Another Evil Gun Saves The Day.")

Let me fill you in on the details first. In Banks County, Georgia, a man with a history of beating his ex-wife on occasion visited her residence and demanded entry. He was told that she was not there. "Go away." He stays. Apparently he feels as though it's a good time for another wife-beating. The man's sixteen-year-old son is on the other side of the door, and there were two other younger children in the house. The thirty-six-year-old man continues to bang on the door and eventually breaks through. Upon entry, the man's sixteen-year-old shoots his stepfather. One more wife-beater "now taking the eternal celestial dirt nap."


Neal's argument is simple: "Omigod! Two small children in the house! And a gun! ... Don't they know these children could have been hurt?" Note Neal's sarcasm. Without the sixteen-year-old's knowledge of the presence of a gun and his quick thinking, these children were potentially in a much greater danger. However, this is about as far as my agreement with Neal goes. On one hand, the gun has potentially saved their lives and has rid the world of one more person that probably makes the world better off as a result. On the other hand, you have a sixteen-year-old child that is now a murderer, and two small children are witnesses to their older brother killing their stepfather. This could generate severe pschological problems for these kids later on in their lives (probably not so much in the sixteen-year-old, for his mind has had time to develop and accept his environment, and, at his age, he is likely mature enough to sufficiently handle his situation). Police are not planning on filing charges against the stepson, by the way. (Good, I say.)

This is the kind of story that you won't hear from the anti-gun crowd - you know, those that are trying to revoke the second amendment to our constitution. As Neal says, "this kind of story drives them nuts because it puts gun ownership in a positive light." As for my opinion on gun ownership, I think it's fairly simple. I do not care for it. It is not for me. I do not believe in violence, and I would not want the temptation to use it if I were faced with such a situation. That is simply my choice. I do not oppose anyone's right to own a gun; that's their choice. I would definitely advocate properly securing the gun out of the reach of children if a parent or guardian chooses to keep a gun in a household in which children are regularly present. I also advocate properly educating all children of guns, regardless of whether or not one is kept within their reach. One may never know when a gun could be placed within the reach of your child. This is just as serious a matter as drugs and sex. (I would actually argue that sex is not a serious matter; it's just an act that society has deemed bad for no apparent reason. I would also argue that guns are far more dangerous than drugs.)

Back to the gun ownership issue... In the event that someone decides to break into my home, I would rather let the perpetrator get what he/she wants and leave. I will not kill for my stuff, and I do not wish to take someone else's life into my own hands unless I am saving it. This is not to say that I would not defend myself if I knew my own life were at stake, but believe me when I say that killing a person is on the very, very bottom of my to-do list, just below the other four hundred billion things to which I will never get around.

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Freedom vs. Control: Amendment Two In Action | 89 comments (83 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
"Murder" (4.92 / 14) (#1)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 10:38:35 PM EST

On the other hand, you have a sixteen-year-old child that is now a murderer
It doesn't sound like you do, actually. "Murder" is killing somebody wrongfully, not justifiably or, for that matter, accidentally (if you die on the operating table your surgeon may not be a murderer).

This sounds like a killing in self-defense, and apparently the state views it the same way.

Still a horrible experience for the boy, but let's not make it any worse.

Murder is murder. (2.42 / 7) (#2)
by Crashnbur on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 11:02:09 PM EST

Where I come from, killing a man over a "potential" threat is still murder. We do not know that he would have harmed the children. We just know that he wanted in the house. We could always assume things one way or the other...

By legal definition, yes, murder implies unlawfulness. So the kid was protecting himself and his family. That doesn't change the fact that he is a killer though, which was really the point I was making.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Potential? (4.83 / 6) (#4)
by NightRain on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 11:43:25 PM EST

The thirty-six-year-old man continues to bang on the door and eventually breaks through

Ok, a convicted wife beater breaks down a door. Not opens it and walks in unannounced. He breaks it down! If you aren't going to call this a serious indication that he meant harm to someone, I'm quite curious as to what is. Or should we never allow a pre-emptive move, and simply wait for the harm to be done first?


Don't vote, it only encourages them!


[ Parent ]
A world full of killers... (4.33 / 3) (#8)
by Greyshade on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 02:53:59 AM EST

Well, unless you feed exclusively on carrion, I would argue that we are all killers here.

[ Parent ]
Not murder (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by davidduncanscott on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 08:39:33 AM EST

That he has killed, as distinct from murdered, is not in dispute, and I have no doubt that he'll have nightmares for the rest of his life. I don't mean to minimize that, but I don't think it's helpful to brand him a murderer as well.

I can't speak for the law where you come from, but my understanding of the law in most states is that the debate centers on cases of burglary, cases in which the burglar may not even know the house is occupied, or thinks he can sneak in and out without the occupants becoming aware of him. This was a case in which the dead man knew the house was occupied, knew he wasn't wanted, and forced entry regardless. Where I come from, that's usually described as a "home invasion", and the occupants are generally considered justified in doing whatever it takes to stop it, much less in cases where the invader has a record of violence towards the family.

[ Parent ]

Killer == Murderer? (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by j on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 03:39:18 PM EST

It is very important not to blur the line here. As you point out, the boy is a killer. So is every soldier who ever killed an enemy. So is every cop who ever shot a suspect. Does that necesssarily make the murderers? I don't think so. Not as long as they act within the laws governing their occupations.
It is not up to us to decide whether the boy acted lawfully. But if he was, there is no reason to call him a murderer.

[ Parent ]
Where are you from? (4.50 / 2) (#32)
by weirdling on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 07:33:49 PM EST

You must be from one of the few municipalities that do not allow their citizens to defend themselves.
In the real world, what this man did clearly violates the law. In most states, if an intruder is in your house and turns towards you after a challenge, you are free to open fire. This man was ordered away, so was aware that there were people in the house, which constitutes a challenge. He turned towards the person in the house, who, rather heroically, shot the man and averted violence. This hardly constitutes murder, but is a commendable action. The child *must* be told he did the right thing, or he will suffer *serious* psychological trauma. That he will suffer trauma from this event is a foregone conclusion, but if he is convinced and reaffirmed that he did the righ thing, he will not perceive himself criminal, which means he won't become criminal.
I would be interested in knowing your locale so I can verify your facts and also know where not to live.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Second amendment aspects (4.50 / 10) (#3)
by onyxruby on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 11:36:14 PM EST

A "gun" has yet to kill a single person on this planet. Always, there has been a person who caused that gun to fire. To cover the second amendment that you mentioned, remember it is a right to keep and bear arms. Frankly it doesn't matter if anyone likes it or not, as long as a I am of age, sound mind, and am not a convicted felon (read - have lost my rights), I have a right to keep and bear arms.

Now to cover the language of the amendment that can cause confusion:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The second amendment refers to arms, and not guns. Some people construe this to mean we do not have a right to carry firearms or guns, since they are not explicitly named. At the time that this was written, "arms" meant any weapon that was kept at "arms" side. While the gun certainly played a critical role in the revolution, the sword was at it's side. Since society wasn't about to adopt the gun exclusively in combat for at least another century to century and a half after this was written, the term simply referred to any arm side weapon. Consider that even today a revolver is called a "side arm", a direct descendant of the original meaning of the word.

Now, to the issue that a gun was used to kill this person who obviously posed an immediate threat to life. Answer this one simple question to yourself, what should they have defended themselves with? You see, regardless of whether you name a kitchen knife or a baseball bat, you are still referring to a weapon. A weapon is something that is used to kill or seriously injure another person. Design is a matter of practical efficiency and safety to the wielder, nothing more or less. The child chose to use the weapon with the best design to neutralize the threat to his families safety, what's the big deal? Would you have considered it anymore humane if his skull had been bashed in with a baseball bat?

Just about a month ago I discussed the matter of shooting the hypothetical burglar who breaks into my home with a hypothetical gun that I do not own with a police friend of my fathers. Simply having a burglar in your house does not give you a right to shoot them, they must present an immediate threat to the safety of those who are in the house. It's a quick way to become a felon yourself, and something to keep in mind if ever you were ever in such a situation.

No gun law will keep a gun out of a criminals hand. By definition, being a criminal, they have chosen to go outside the law. All gun laws do is keep guns out of the hands of honest citizens that are willing to obey the law. Save the redneck flames, I'm certainly no gun nut, I don't own a gun, and don't even have any plans to purchase a gun in the near future.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

People aren't so easily classified (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by driptray on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 01:06:45 AM EST

No gun law will keep a gun out of a criminals hand. By definition, being a criminal, they have chosen to go outside the law. All gun laws do is keep guns out of the hands of honest citizens that are willing to obey the law.

The world is not so easily divided between "criminals" and "honest citizens". People often move between these two categories at various stages of their lives, sometimes crossing back and forth a few times.

There is also a massive amount of criminal behaviour which is unreported (think how often somebody hitting somebody else, or even threatening to hit somebody else, is charged with assault).

So-called "criminals" have not necessarily "chosen to go outside the law". Criminal acts are often impulsive one-offs, or at least rare or spasmodically occurring events in a person's life.

Today's honest citizen may be tomorrow's criminal. It might be argued that possession of a gun might make that transition more likely. More persuasively, possession of a gun may make the sort of small-time, unreported criminal behaviour I mentioned previously escalate to become a more serious offence.

But of course I am not an American, and have no historical, practical, philosophical or emotional attachment to the US 2nd amendment.


--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]
It might be argued (4.25 / 4) (#19)
by dennis on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 11:52:54 AM EST

It might be argued that possession of a gun might make that transition more likely.

It might be argued, but the argument would be false. People who legally own guns have a lower crime rate than non-gunowners.

[ Parent ]

This happens already (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by weirdling on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 07:27:08 PM EST

Non-compliance with gun laws is amazingly high. Women regularly carry guns illegally in many cities. Men who have a high degree of personal risk will often carry them as well. These people are already criminal simply for defending themselves.
This is why statistics concerning defenses with guns are so sticky; in many states, reporting a crime that you successfully stopped with an illegal gun will get you arrested, so most defenses go unreported.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
language of the amendment (none / 0) (#10)
by ODiV on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 04:36:31 AM EST

I think that's the first time I've heard about the word "arms" being arguable. Ever other time I've heard debates on the 2nd Amendment the main language that is brought into question is the "well regulated militia" part. I have no position on this, I just thought since you brought language up, that you'd be interested.

I'm just curious about your position on weapon ownership. What do you think the limit is? You argue that instead of a gun being used, lesser weapons could have been used with the same effect. What are your feelings on more powerful weapons? Bombs, grenades? Just wondering.


--
[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
I'll answer. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by finkployd on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 08:57:52 AM EST

While not directed at me, I'd like to take a crack at this one. This is a common point brought up in gun debates (which I find myself in too often :) and it points to a "where do we draw the line" issue.

My personal belief is that we (private citizens) should be able to keep and bear the same arms that the police and bodyguards of politicians feel are necessary to defend themselves from the criminals element. No more. The police do not need rocket launchers and hand gernades to protect themselves, nor should any private citizen. Obviously handguns, shotguns, and rifles are sufficiant to protect oneself since that is what the people who are most likely to have to need to protect themselves use.

Finkployd
Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Side arms only (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by onyxruby on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 09:14:39 AM EST

Weapons that are used for "personal" use. I don't think a grenade, c-4, rocket launcher, or howitzer would qualify. While I see nothing wrong with an M-16, I don't think you can truly qualify an M-60 as a side arm - even if a person can carry it. I think the language on this is going to be more and more important, especially as technology advances.

Things like tazers were certainly not even conceived at the time of the second amendments writing. How long until some Star Trek loving scientist invents a real world phaser? Better yet, how long until that practical phaser could take down a vehicle? How long until such weapons become the new de facto standard, obsoleting and displacing guns much as they once displaced swords? If such weapons became the true side arm standard, is it right to keep them away from people? While such technology could take decades or more to mature, it's little doubt that something along those lines will be invented. Questions like this will have to come up as technology advances. I certainly dont have the answers.

By the way, while a lessor weapon (kitchen knife) could have been used with the same end effect, it would carry with it a much greater risk. Taking a knife away from someone who isn't trained with it is relatively easy, and you can duck inside the range of a baseball bat. The gun in this case allowed the defendant in the apartment to neutralize the intruder with the least risk to his own safety.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

IANAL (5.00 / 2) (#30)
by weirdling on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 07:24:16 PM EST

I have studied extensively into the writings of Jefferson et al, and it is interesting to note (forget who said it), but one of the framers in personal notes said this provision was to refer to 'such arms as are in common use'. Basically, this means whatever the military thinks is a useful weapon. Certainly, this refers to howitzers, rocket launchers, ground-to-air missiles, etc. There's no question of that. As a matter of fact, until recently, it was *legal* for a person to purchase such items on the open market. They merely needed to file for a special permit to own, which was issued by the BATF, and they could purchase said materiel. These days, the law has changed. It is no longer legal for a company to sell new equipment to citizens, but it is still legal to purchase used equipment; all that is needed is the permit, which involves a stringent background check. That being said, stopping the sale of new equipment smacks of 'infringement' to me, but, hey, that was the Clinton era.
The whole point, guys, was for the citizen militias being able to overthrow overbearing governments. This is adequately clear from any survey of the available literature from the time.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Ummmmm (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by finkployd on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 08:50:26 AM EST

It doesn't even have to be that complicated, this is a very easy amendment to defend.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

This amendment is unique in that it has justification for itself. Reading the letters and other publications of the framers of the bill of rigts indicates that this was because they felt this was one of the most important amendments. In fact there was debate as to whether or not it should be first instead of the current first amendment.

Most importantly, notice the words "the right of the people". Who does the refer to? Well, anti-gun people insist it refers to the govenment, or the militia. However, this would be VERY inconsistant with the other amendments in the bill of rights that use the same wording to define the rights that nobody contests belong to all "the people". I refer you to amendments 1, 4, and 10.

Finkployd
Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
Amended amendment (none / 0) (#87)
by strumco on Thu Apr 19, 2001 at 09:15:53 AM EST

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Hey, whatever happened to the "well regulated Militia" part of that amendment? No-one seems to pay any attention to it. Are "guys with guns" automatically assumed to be militiamen? Do they well-regulate themselves?

DC
http://www.strum.co.uk
[ Parent ]

explanation... (none / 0) (#88)
by Danse on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 03:57:12 AM EST

Are "guys with guns" automatically assumed to be militiamen? Do they well-regulate themselves?

At the time, every man was part of the militia. The phrase "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state", is just their reasoning for the rest of the amendment, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Some would say that this means it's outdated. I don't believe that's true. I think they meant that the populace should be armed not just against foreign enemies, but against the government itself should it ever become tyrranical. Having just fought a war against their own government, they were quite keenly aware that the need could arise in the future.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
An error here (none / 0) (#17)
by wiredog on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 10:49:10 AM EST

Since society wasn't about to adopt the gun exclusively in combat for at least another century to century and a half after this was written

The Constitution was written in 1787. You're saying that firearms didn't replace swords, in combat, until sometime between 1887 and 1938? Believe me, enlisted soldiers in the mid-1800s, or late 1700s, were not issued swords. They were issued smoothbores or rifles. Certainly by World War 1, 1914-1918, the rifle was the primary infantry weapon.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
Phage
[ Parent ]

What I said (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by onyxruby on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 11:12:25 AM EST

What I said was adopt the gun exclusively in combat. Swords were certainly used by cavalry, and those infantry that could get them in the US civil war, and by Japanese officers during WWII just to name a couple of examples. Even today, bayonet training is standard for the military, and the bayonet is an outgrowth of the sword.

Guns at the time of the writing were notoriously unreliable, a secondary weapon was considered a very good idea by most. (To put in perspective, a musket from Napoleons army fired it's lead shot at 400 fps, a paintball gun fires at 300 fps.) It was poor medical care and disease that killed as often as any weapon.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.
[ Parent ]

Deaths in pre-20th century warfare. (none / 0) (#75)
by Alarmist on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 12:23:28 PM EST

Guns at the time of the writing were notoriously unreliable, a secondary weapon was considered a very good idea by most.

Hence the bayonet and other sidearms (hatchets, short swords, and the like).

It was poor medical care and disease that killed as often as any weapon.

Or more often. For every U.S. soldier killed by enemy action during the Spanish-American War, for instance, five were killed by disease.

[ Parent ]

Good point; not true. (none / 0) (#52)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:39:58 AM EST

I have read on several occasions where guns have been fired after dropping or have just mysteriously gone off. Guns are dangerous machines. Most of the time, yes, a person is responsible for a gun's killing, but the fact is that guns only provide a very easy means for the killing, much like prostitution provides a very easy means for spreading STDs. (loose analogy! I like!)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
You have read several, huh? (5.00 / 2) (#61)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:43:10 PM EST

This is known as anecdotal evidence. There's plenty of it on the gun-control side of the debate, but it's mostly put forward by people who don't understand guns. The fact is that there are around 80 accidental discharge deaths a year in the US. Compare that to 50 thousand who die on the highway. Compare it to some 16 thousand who died at the hands of another human. It is miniscule. The costs of having guns freely available are so ridiculously small compared to the benefits: estimated 1.7 million defensive uses *per year*.
Yes, guns are dangerous. They're designed to be. However, my Beretta won't go off if dropped, won't just go off accidentally, has three safeties, one of which is manual, and is one of the most remarkable pieces of mission-critical hardware I've ever seen.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Woohoo! (3.85 / 7) (#5)
by theboz on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 12:07:11 AM EST

Normally I'd be all over this. I'll just keep my post simple.

I am a gun owner and enthusiast. I shoot targets, and keep a shotgun in my bedroom should someone back me into a corner (break into my apartment) and threaten my life, or whatever. I also have a bad temper, but my guns do not come in to play when I am pissed off. I think that the whole, "I don't want one around because I'd use it in anger" is bad logic, because you have knives and baseball bats and don't beat people up with them probably.

Anyways, I'm sure a lot of people will hate me now because I am mature enough to take the responsibility to protect myself, and have a fun hobby, while staying safe. Oh well, they can all bite me. :op

Stuff.

Well... (none / 0) (#51)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:37:56 AM EST

If I had made the argument that you countered, I would have a decent response. But since I did not make that argument that you implied, I don't really know how this fits with my article.

I guess I can tell you that, in my article, I did not say that I disagreed with your choice to own guns. I simply said that I have made the choice not to own a gun. I respect your choice, and I am not trying to make it for you. You should have that same respect for me, I think.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Calm down, again (none / 0) (#73)
by Miniluv on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 09:50:49 PM EST

You should have that same respect for me, I think.
Where the hell did that come from? He stated he owns a gun, made several points regarding common faulty arguments used by typical gun-control proponents, and told them all to bite him.

How is that not respecting your decision to not own a gun?

My slippery slope leads to a gooey-centered strawman.



[ Parent ]

What I don't get. (4.50 / 2) (#9)
by ODiV on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 04:30:08 AM EST

So you're in favour of gun ownership, but you definately believe that they should be kept in such a manner so that children can't get at them. How does this story help that position at all? The kid got the gun. If no adults were home and the gun was properly secured, then the kid wouldn't have even touched it. The abusive adult would've continued unhindered, etc... Where's the argument? I don't see it.


--
[ odiv.net ]
I am not in favor of gun ownership. (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:32:08 AM EST

I am in favor of an individual's right to choose. I am an individualist, an objectivist. I clearly stated (or so I thought) that I do not advocate owning a gun. However, I also clearly stated that it is not my duty to make that choice for anyone other than myself. I can be on either side of the issue, but until any particular gun is pointed at someone for unjust reasons, then I have no qualms with anyone owning a gun. (The dilemna then falls to definining just and unjust reasons.)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
It was probably his (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:38:58 PM EST

In most states, a kid of sixteen can own a rifle or shotgun, known as a long gun, legally. He can't buy it, but he can get it as a present. At the age of eighteen, he can buy his own long gun. At the age of 21, he can buy a handgun.
I'm against trigger locks or any other form of retentive devices. The reason is simple: there are a heck of a lot fewer accidental discharge deaths than deaths in automobiles. More kids die in five-gallon buckets in the back yard than die from accidental discharges. More kids die from eating/drinking household poisons than accidental discharge. If we don't insist on stronger controls for these, why guns?
Further, a locked gun is next to useless to its owner. With seconds to react, getting the gun out to present it to the intruder is a very important thing. Fumbling with a lock isn't going to look very good as a reason for death on your tombstone.
There are solutions that do not require very much time and are relatively simple to use, but they all are expensive, reducing the availability of a gun to poor people for self defense, which is something Clinton's attempt at outlawing cheap guns would have done.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
A comment about the kids... (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by Zeram on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 04:44:14 AM EST

On the other hand, you have a sixteen-year-old child that is now a murderer, and two small children are witnesses to their older brother killing their stepfather. This could generate severe pschological problems for these kids later on in their lives

Ignoring the bad spelling, I take some issue with that statement. For thousands of years humanity has been ruthless in it's perpetration of crimes against each other. Through out history children have witnessed the grandest of atrocities that we are capable of commiting, and yet human society has yet to completely fall apart.

Witnessing horrible acts of violence at a young age is a very transformative experience. I am not going to put any sort of right oir wrong slant on it one way or the other. My point is however that this kind of thing can teach kids two things. The first is that sometimes violence is the only option that you have. And second that it is always the last option. Any given experience can teach a positive or a negitive lesson. I personally hope that all three of the kids recive conseling that helps them understand why killing in general is bad but in the specific can be justifable.
<----^---->
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
A few points (4.44 / 9) (#12)
by finkployd on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 08:31:55 AM EST

I don't think any of us want this to turn into an all out gun/anti-gun battle, so my personal opinion aside, let me just comment on some of the aspects of this.

The child: 16 is a tough age to say whether or not one is old enough to have access to a gun. Is the 16 year old in question mature enough to understand gun safety? Is he mature enough to understand what morally and legally justifies this form of self defense? Possibly, but only a parent who is highly involved with the 16 would possibly know. I know 16 year olds who grew up with responsible gun owners and are themselves responsible. I know 30 year olds who are not. While age plays a role in this, I don't think you can say a 16 year old is not mature enough without knowing him/her

The shot: Was this justified? In every state that allows guns for self defense but Maryland (where you have to legally retreat from life threatening danger without standing your ground even in your home) this would be legally justifiable. Was it morally justifiable? I don't know. Only the people involved have a feel for this man and what he is capable of and what he would most likely do. However, I think it is safe to say no good would have come of him entering the home and it would have likely ended with suffering and possibly death on the part of innocents.

You views on gun ownership: I tend to agree with most of what you said, and I will go a step further in that I support mandatory safety and competancy testing for anyone wanting a gun. I tend to oppose most gun control measures but that one just makes sense. I also respect your decision not to own a gun and even more your decision not to oppose other's right to own one.

You views on home entry: In a case where I arrived home and saw someone burst through my door carrying something of mine, I would not stop them (as you said I will not kill for my stuff). If I saw someone driving off in my car I would not try to stop them with lethal force, same reasoning. However, someone breaking into my home while I am there is a different matter. I'm not going to trust in the good will of a burgler that he/she is only after my stuff and has no plans to attack/rape/murder myself or my family. By entering my home they have legally shown intent to "deal" with any resistance in their attempt to steal my stuff, if that even is their goal, I don't know. I also don't plan to find out.


Let's keep this one civil people, gun owners are not barbarian rambo wannabees who feel they can shoot anyone because they have a gun, and anti-gun people are not criminal loving wackos who want to keep honest people from defending themselves. The vast majority of each group are intelligent, well meaning people who simply disagree.

Finkployd
Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
Aha. (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by Crashnbur on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:26:10 PM EST

Just as you say that only those close to the boy gunman should be able to accurately judge the boy, the same should hold true for the man entering the home. You claim that we should keep an open mind with the boy's actions, but then you take sides against the man entering the home. What's with the double standard?

As for your views, I can respect that. You back up your argument with good reasoning, reasoning that I feel lies within me, as well. Ideally, I would not have to retaliate against a burglar - I would wait for him to leave, or perhaps he would leave anyway when he finds out that there is a potential for resistance. However, I can agree with you in that, if I felt that my life were threatened, no matter how much I would ideally not do so, I would probably defend myself, violently if necessary. I would go so far as to say that this should not be necessary, and perhaps I should not think like this (morals speaking), but everyone breaks their own morals once in a while. I don't see myself as any different, and certainly not as perfect, so I will not try to act like the better person. (Sorry if I gave that impression, anyone..)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
IHBT... (none / 0) (#79)
by beergut on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 01:57:23 PM EST

Just as you say that only those close to the boy gunman should be able to accurately judge the boy, the same should hold true for the man entering the home.

Fine. But, we can no longer ask the man why he repeatedly beat his wife and (her) kids, and why he kicked in the door that day. We can only presume that the intent, on his part, was to cause damage and suffering.

We can evaluate the boy, though, because he survived the incident. He protected himself, his siblings, and his mother (it was not clear to me from the article whether or not she was home at the time). He killed a man, true, but we can at least judge whether or not he made the right choice, and if he was mature enough to have made that decision.

That we can judge the boy, however, is a moot point. The deed is done. He and his family are alive, and the attacker is not.

You claim that we should keep an open mind with the boy's actions, but then you take sides against the man entering the home.

Given the man's history, his agitation at the time that he forced entry into the home, and the fact that he forced entry into the home, we can only assume that he was not about to deliver a dozen roses to the family and sing them sweet love songs and cook them a delicious meal.

What's with the double standard?

Reality.


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

back up, step aside, start over. (3.14 / 7) (#20)
by Defect on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 12:44:21 PM EST

This is not a story that argues the right to bear arms, this is a story that brings into light the deficiency of the local law enforcement.

The story involves an, apparently, extremely violent man (must have been incredibly dangerous to morally warrant death) who has been known (?) to beat his wife on several occassions. Where are the police? Why is this man not in jail? Why didn't the children call the local police? The 16 year old knows how to shoot a man, but he doesn't have any idea how to pick up the phone and ask for help?

The kid panicked, and did the first thing that came to mind. Which was to fatally wound another man. He panicked and killed someone. There are probably dozens of things he could have done besides shoot his step father. Calling the police being the most obvious, and probably the best, choice. If he hadn't had a gun, would he have called the police? It's too late to tell now.

The point is, the kid panicked, and as a result chose the last resort option to end the situation. That behaviour is generally looked down upon, especially, and all the more obviously, when it involves killing someone. Chances are, this wouldn't have happened without the gun. It was easy to kill him, and quickly stop the intrusion. The fastest and simplest solution is not always the best. And in this case, in my opinion, it wasn't.

And now for my obligatory disclaimer:
I do not own a gun, i don't push for them to be illegal, but i can't see any point in the public having them other than for hunting. They are useless, except to kill or wound.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Missing info (none / 0) (#21)
by finkployd on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 01:22:05 PM EST

Unless you know something I don't, we don't have all the facts here. Perhaps the kid DID call the police. Perhaps this guy wasn't as violent as the story was making it out to be and the kid was just looking for an excuse to shoot him? We don't know.

This story isn't a good example of anything, pro-gun or anti-gun. It's just an unfortunate event and until I actually know the facts of the case (if ever) I don't plan to pass judgement on anyone involved.

Last thought though, the average nationwide response to a 911 call is 45 minutes (and there have been cases of NO response in large cities). 911 is NOT an effective method of dealing with a home invasion or immediate threat. I would never stake my life on the assumption of a fast response.

Finkployd
Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
info (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by Defect on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 02:18:20 PM EST

taken from http://www.mainstreetnews.com/Active/Banks.html

Man killed in shooting
A 36-year-old man died early Tuesday morning after reportedly being shot in an apparent domestic dispute late Monday night in Banks County.
West Turpin, Commerce, was shot three times by his 16-year-old stepson, according to Banks County Sheriff Charles Chapman. Chapman said Turpin, who is separated from the boy's mother, broke into the Hwy. 59 residence where she resides with her three children.
The sheriff said that the 16-year-old and two younger siblings, ages 10 and 4, were home alone when Turpin reportedly began beating on the back door and then the front door. He said that the 16-year-old said that he told his step-father to leave, but that Turpin allegedly kicked the front door down and entered the home, which is when he was shot. He was shot once in the leg and at least twice in the upper portion of his body.
The children then went to a neighbor's house and called 911. Turpin was taken to BJC Medical Center, where he died shortly afterwards. Chapman said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist in the investigation, which is still on-going. The sheriff said no charges have been filed yet in the shooting.
Chapman added that law enforcement officers had been called to the Hwy. 59 residence in the past and that Turpin had been arrested previously on domestic dispute charges.
I looked that up after i posted. It puts a different slant on the whole thing now, the kid shot the guy 3 times and then called 911. I still stand by much of what i said the first time though, as the police were a valid option.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
I disagree (none / 0) (#27)
by Rasvar on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 05:18:54 PM EST

It is not said in the story, but likely, that the stepfather did not wait very long after the 16 year old requested that he leave before he busted down the door. At that point, he kicked in a door[an inherently extreme act of violence] and the 16 year old shot him three times. If I were shooting someone, I would probably shoot until they were down.

Truthfully, no mention is made of the time period everything took place in or the state of the stepfather, ie intoxicated, on drugs, just angry. I don't think you can judge this kids actions unless all the facts are known.

[ Parent ]
True. (none / 0) (#66)
by Crashnbur on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:20:39 PM EST

But my argument still stands strong, even with this news article. Maybe everyone else doesn't agree with it, but it hasn't changed my point of view any. :-)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
info (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by hadashi on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 01:03:43 PM EST

Ok, he shot him three times. So what?

Look, the entire point of using a gun is to kill the attacker - period. Anyone who has silly ideas about "I'm going to point this at the person and they'll just lie down meekly on the floor" has never been faced with that situation.

I have. It doesn't work that way. If the attacker immediately gives up (hands go up in the air, fall down on the ground), fine. If they turn and run you should not fire. But, if they are closer than 20 feet away then you'd better fire or they will be on top of you very quickly.

The boy did just what he had to do. This is especially true when faced with an enraged attacker who has a lot of adrenaline in his system; he won't necessarily feel the pain. Also, if the handgun is of a small caliber it could easily take that many rounds to bring a person down. A 9mm sounds big to most people, but I feel it is the bare minimum necessary for personal defense. I recommend at 10mm or .40 caliber or bigger. .357 magnum or .44 magnum is best.

And always shoot to kill. You are not the police; you are defending yourself. You'd best take it seriously. The police will do a good job defending you, but only if they are present. Otherwise they are there to take notes and zip up your body bag. It is foolishness to assume that the perp "might not hurt you". Yeah, and they might kill you.

It is true that the boy will probably need some counseling; the incident I went through did not necessitate the firing of the weapon (the perp did run away immediately), and I still get shaky when thinking about it.

Would I have shot him? Damn right, that's why I pulled the gun. When I'm protecting myself and my son I'm serious about it.
-- If the .sig fits...
[ Parent ]

Two major errors, and possibly a third (none / 0) (#28)
by weirdling on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 07:12:42 PM EST

First, the local police will not be able to respond quickly enough in most cases. Also, it is an entirely idiotic assertion that a person can react with a cool head when someone is threatening his *mother*. That aside, it presents the second point, which is to say that guns are routinely used to defend homes and property, with extremely positive effects, generally involving very few shots fired and certainly very few fatalites. The reasons are too complex to discuss here, but suffice to say that a properly used gun will sincerely improve your personal safety. Anyway, it is standard practice to respond immediately with a weapon and then call police, because the very first thing that must be done is the threat must be neutralized. The man in question had a well-known violent past and forced entry. Morally, there is not a single argument against his immediate death. Legally, there is very few places in the US that would even question the killing. Some places would question the three shots, which brings me to the third possible error, that someone later on in this tree made, and that is that, as far as I can tell, the calibre of the bullet in questioned isn't mentioned. If it was a .22, it takes a minimum of three shots to ensure the neutralization of the threat. My .40 S&W, with many times the power and frontal area, takes at least two shots to guarantee neutralization.
I could quote chapter and verse, but I realise that you are happy with your life, but please understand that guns as defensive arms are very effective, and there is plenty of reason to keep them.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Re: back up, step aside, start over (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by sigwinch on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 07:18:42 PM EST

This is not a story that argues the right to bear arms, this is a story that brings into light the deficiency of the local law enforcement.
<sigh> This seems to be a standard point in any right-to-bear-arms discussion/flamewar. I'll try to reply with minimal flamage.

First of all, the police can rarely help this sort of situation. They simply cannot get there fast enough to help. Even if they respond in two minutes, that's too late. It doesn't matter how good they are, or how much they care, it's just a simple matter of logistics that getting anywhere takes several minutes minimum, and that's too long.

Take me, for instance. I'm a 6 ft. tall man, ~230 pounds, and moderately strong. I could break down a door, sprint across the room, and kill a scrawny 16 yro with my bare hands in << 1 minute. I can't imagine why I would want to, but I could, and there are deranged people who *do* want to. In that sort of situation, the kid either has to run, be a martial arts expert, or have a gun. The latter is the cheapest and most reliable solution.

Secondly, the police (in most jurisdictions, at least from what I've heard) have no legal obligation to help you. If you're skin is the wrong color, you live in the wrong part of town, they're busy guarding something important like a parade, or they just don't feel like it, they can ignore your call. You can argue about this all you want, but the simple fact is that south-central LA (and many other parts of many other cities) would not be a demilitarized zone if the cops gave a damn.

The point is, the kid panicked, and as a result chose the last resort option to end the situation.
He was a scared 16 yro who had a few seconds to evaluate the moral calculus. You're hypothesizing a strong man, with great charisma, and a tolerance for considerable personal risk, who could have talked/intimidated the attacker out of belligerence. Sure, there are people who could have handled the situation without killing, but we shouldn't expect everybody to do that. IMO, this is passing the responsibility from the attacker to the attacked. (Kind of like the burglars who are injured while stealing, and sue the property owner.)
Chances are, this wouldn't have happened without the gun. It was easy to kill him, and quickly stop the intrusion. The fastest and simplest solution is not always the best. And in this case, in my opinion, it wasn't.
The man had a positive moral, legal, and game-theoretic duty not to attack the kids. It was evil, unlawful, and plainly suicidal, yet he chose to do it anyway. That's the essence of free will: you can do whatever you want, even if it's really, really dumb. Breaking down someone's door is the personal-relationship equivalent of strapping JATOs onto your car, and should earn the man a Darwin Award. As for the kid, his duty was to defend himself and the younger householders in his charge, and IMO he did so admirably.
[Guns] are useless, except to kill or wound.
Or to give the holder a position of such strength that civilized behavior is the only reasonable course. It may seem paradoxical, but being able to kill can mean you don't need to, just like being able to sue can mean you get a quick out-of-court settlement with mutually acceptable terms.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

I agree, somewhat. (none / 0) (#48)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:30:00 AM EST

The kid did resort to killing the man, a resort that is most often punishable, if not by imprisonment or worse at his age, then by some other form of fairly severe punishment. I would not be surprised to hear of lawsuits concerning this child in the near future.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
doubtful... (none / 0) (#89)
by Danse on Sun Apr 29, 2001 at 04:35:16 AM EST

It seems like the police and community in this case are actualy sane.




An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
The Police... (none / 0) (#76)
by Alarmist on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 12:32:02 PM EST

...are not omnipresent, nor omniscient, nor even always on the side of what we might call justice.

The kid panicked, and did the first thing that came to mind. Which was to fatally wound another man. He panicked and killed someone. There are probably dozens of things he could have done besides shoot his step father. Calling the police being the most obvious, and probably the best, choice. If he hadn't had a gun, would he have called the police? It's too late to tell now.

One of the reasons why so many people in the United States feel the need to own a firearm is because they think that the police cannot protect them.

This may be a correct or incorrect perception of reality, depending on your locale, but it always involves waiting for law enforcement to arrive and do its job. In the time it takes for the police to get there, the miscreant might have seriously injured or killed someone, and gotten away. Law enforcement is then no deterrent.

Were I in a situation in which I was confronted in my own home by someone willing to hurt me or people I care about, I would not call the police at once; instead, I will defend myself--and then call the police. I don't have time for them to get the dispatch, send out a squad car, have them find my apartment, and enter. I might be dead or incapacitated by then. I need defense right away, and I'm not going to get it unless the cop is standing in my living room.

Maybe the kid panicked. Maybe he would have called the cops if he hadn't had a gun. But the kid did the right thing: when presented with an obvious threat to his welfare and that of his younger siblings, he shot the intruder. He defended his life and that of his relatives.

He doesn't deserve jail time for that. He deserves a medal.


[ Parent ]

funny (none / 0) (#80)
by Defect on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 02:12:01 PM EST

That seems to be a common argument against my comment. But notice the first thing i said was "This is not a story that argues the right to bear arms, this is a story that brings into light the deficiency of the local law enforcement." Most comments thus far have only served to strengthen that point.

If law enforcement was efficient and fair, then ideally it should always be an option before killing someone, no?
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Law enforcement... (none / 0) (#81)
by beergut on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 02:45:54 PM EST

The judicial system, I'm afraid, must also be involved in your point.

If this man had been arrested several times for this sort of thing (which he reportedly had), he should not have been on the street in the first place.

However, it was probably a case where the woman knew that, if she pressed charges, he would likely get probation. Then, she would be in grave danger, having now "caused" this man to have a criminal conviction on his rap sheet.

If law enforcement was "efficient", he would have been shot in the front yard of the place after his first offense. Arrest? Trial? What's that stuff for? Shoot him and get it over with. "Efficient" law enforcement is not desirable. Efficient protection is.

Also, for law enforcement to be able to defend this family, logistically (let alone legally, wherein it has been judged to not be the mission or responsibility of law enforcement to defend, or guarantee a speedy response to, a citizen in distress), the police would have had to have been in the house when he broke in. I don't know about you, but I don't have a personal cop who follows me everywhere I go, and who protects me. That cop, being a citizen, would also have to have his own personal police escort.

The police, even with a five minute response (very, very seldom achieved), cannot provide the same level of protection as a bullet. A cop may be able to reach the scene in a few minutes, but a bullet will reach the scene in a matter of fractions-of-fractions of a second.

How much more efficiency would you like?


i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Trauma (4.33 / 3) (#25)
by Woundweavr on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 04:19:16 PM EST

On the other hand, you have a sixteen-year-old child that is now a murderer, and two small children are witnesses to their older brother killing their stepfather. This could generate severe pschological problems for these kids later on in their lives
I'll put aside the fact that a sixteen year old is not necessarily a child. I'll put aside the semantics of murder.

However, I think you overestimate the importance of the psychological problems. I am not saying that it won't generate issues. However, being beaten my this man, not only this time but in the future would certainly also cause issues. At least they know they won't be beaten by this man again, which provides some closure.

Me? Overestimate? (2.00 / 1) (#47)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:28:01 AM EST

As a psychology major (intended), I do not believe that I have overestimated psychological problems. I simply have an open mind, and after careful consideration, the article that I wrote was the conclusion that I came to. I will grant that the boy is not a murderer (by legal definition). That does not keep him from being a killer.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Good, you should be able to provide proof (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:29:05 PM EST

Show how a legal killing in defense of his mother will result in him being unable to function in society. Further, show how seeing his mother beaten and possibly killed would have affected the kid. Compare the two. Decide which is the better outcome. Then remember that psychological profiles differ; some people would not be able to live with having killed someone and some would not be able to live with having done nothing. I am in the latter camp.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Thank you. (none / 0) (#65)
by Crashnbur on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:17:46 PM EST

Which is exactly why I left the psychological bit out of my article. Thank you for proving my point.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
What point? (none / 0) (#70)
by weirdling on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 12:20:54 PM EST

I didn't prove anything other than a skepticism in my basic nature; I simply asked you to prove some statements that you had made where you cited yourself as an authority.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Generally speaking (3.00 / 1) (#74)
by Miniluv on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 09:56:57 PM EST

The human psyche is built not to commit homicide. Severe psychological trauma is the standard response to commiting homicide in non-sociopathic personalities. This is not a bad thing, but it is something to remember when contemplating the effects of killing, even in self-defense.

The evidence is out there in a number of forms, including psychological journals, accounts of the aftermath written by various people who've killed in self-defense, in law enforcement, and in time of war.

My slippery slope leads to a gooey-centered strawman.



[ Parent ]

Of course (none / 0) (#86)
by weirdling on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 05:16:14 PM EST

The trauma exists. My question is which is greater, the trauma from killing a man you likely hate or living with yourself for not having defended your mother? I think it's a slam dunk on the side of defending the mother.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
too much sheltering... (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 03:37:30 PM EST

There is way too much sheltering in the world today. I think Crashnburn has it completely wrong, completely. He thinks the actions of the 16 year old will cause serious psychological trauma to him and the younger children. I completely disagree. I think children NEED to be exposed to the cold hard realities of the world they live in if they are to be able to deal with it when they grow up. People kill, steal, rape, etc., hiding these facts from children only makes them too weak to deal with these things.

Maybe witnessing violence as children will create some violent tendencies in these children, Crashnburn says he's a psychology major and I'll take his word for it that this is true. However, is this necessarily bad? Of course not! Violence sometimes needs to be met with violence, people who are capable of violence have a better chance of defending themselves when the need arises. Of course, this needs to be balanced with kindness and compassion.

Our world is not a utopia, it is a cold, mean, unforgiving place. Life is difficult, people need to learn to deal with it.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Trauma was already done (4.00 / 2) (#26)
by Rasvar on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 05:08:48 PM EST

I doubt the kid would have shot the stepfather if it wasn't for the acts that he had already commited on his mother and, more then likely, himself. I don't call that murder, I call that self defense.

In the event that someone decides to break into my home, I would rather let the perpetrator get what he/she wants and leave.
In the past, I would have agreed. However, everyday I hear of a senseless home invasion where the criminal breaks in and kills or injures the victims for no reason. I do not currently own a gun. However, if I hear of an event close enough to me, I will probably go get one. I am now of the opinion attack the intruder while I can. If he is in my house, I fear for my life.

I do not know if this kid had any gun schooling. I don't know if it was stored away from the small children. The story does not give this info. That would be a bit of a concern to me; but, everything did end as it should.

Murder, self-defense, KILLING. (1.00 / 1) (#46)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:26:27 AM EST

I don't care what you call it. The boy may not be a murderer by legal definition, but the boy is a killer by killing a man. Right or wrong, who's to say? Is it wrong to beat an ex-wife? Sure. Is it wrong to kill a man? Sure. Is it wrong to kill a man for beating an ex-wife?

Are we abandoning the ages-old doctrine that "two wrongs don't make a right"?

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
When is killing acceptable? (5.00 / 1) (#53)
by LocalH on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:15:20 AM EST

    Is it wrong to kill a man for beating an ex-wife?
Take it a step further: Is it wrong to kill a man for beating an ex-wife when said man is directly threatening your life?

If my life is threatened, and only one person is going to walk away, I'm going to do my damndest to make sure that person is me.

[ Parent ]
Moral absolutism (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:26:50 PM EST

Your problem is that you've made two morally absolute statements: it is wrong to beat a wife and it is wrong to kill.
The problem with this is that there are going to be hundreds of cases where you'll have a schism to deal with, and so your moral system is not effective at dealing with this situation.
So, I propose an alteration: is it wrong to beat a wife? Yes. Is it wrong to muder? Yes. Is it wrong to kill one person who is threatening the life of another? No. Never has been and never will be.
Life is not sacrosanct.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Two wrongs don't make a right. (none / 0) (#64)
by Crashnbur on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 01:16:35 PM EST

The point is that two wrongs don't make a right. I don't care what the situation, murder or killing is never right. To take one's life, to end one's existence, is never right. I don't care what the reason for doing so may be. Hell, even if he puts a knife to your mother's neck and you shoot him between the eyes, you have still done a greater wrong. You have killed the man, while he had only threatened to kill your mother. Sure, life isn't fair like that, and legally you have done nothing wrong, but our legal system is so FUBAR that I would not like to think about what our lawyers and governers have to say about it.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Killers repeat (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by weirdling on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 01:13:17 PM EST

So, to extend your moral absolutism, the next time this guy kills, you are indirectly responsible. In a karmic system, you get karma splatter because you had not the courage to end his life before he could repeat.
Case in point: a young rapist murders his first victim. He wanders into my house to attack my wife/girlfriend/mother/sister. I shoot him when he gets violent and refuses to leave. He *never* rapes and murders again, as there's six feet of dirt over his cold, dead corpse now.
Second scenario: I don't shoot him, he rapes whomever is in my apartment, kills her and me, and leaves. Now, he's raped and murdered twice. He does it three more times before someone finally runs him down and puts him in jail. He gets out in twenty years with good behavior and does it again.
Now, you're going to tell me that it is more moral to stand by and let someone dear to me get raped and murdered, allowing that man to live, when he is far more likely to repeat his acts than anything else, when I have the ability to stop him now and *forever*?
I have always had a problem with people who refuse to defend themselves and theirs; it seems wrong to me, but I believe in one person's ability to live their life as they find it. The problem comes in your last sentence, in which you show that you wish to put your version of morality on the rest of us, and that is wrong. The reason those laws are the way they are is that the majority of people in the US still believe an individual has a right to defend himself and any other person and to use deadly force if necessary to do so.
The funny thing is that those law-abiding citizens who are willing and able to use a gun in self-defense make life much safer for you who don't while exposing themselves to personal risk to do it, both risk of the criminal, which is of no concern to this type, and to risk of being painted as an immoral person for having the cojones to kill someone that is an evil person by people such as yourself. That is a far bigger risk. You can actually go to jail in some municipalities for defending yourself and others. That is what is seriously wrong with this system.
'Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...'

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
your logic (none / 0) (#83)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 03:28:26 PM EST

is so FUBAR it's not even funny, it's down right irritating. You're so absolutist, it's really ridiculous.

With your logic, defending yourself would be impossible. Rapists and murderers would eventually rule the world because everyone thought it was wrong to defend themselves.

There are times when violence is the only acceptable answer. For example, had the Nazis not been met with forceful resistance, the world would be run by hitler's children today. If you disagree, you're just plain fucking retarded.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

This kid is a hero, not a murderer (4.00 / 3) (#33)
by weirdling on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 07:47:51 PM EST

This kid refused to be a victim. He refused to stand by while his mother was accosted and abused. I say we laud his behavior and tout it as the standard of human behavior. That a kid of sixteen was capable of taking such action shouldn't really be surprising, though. Kids as young as twelve are capable of making these kinds of decisions, psychologically, and a sixteen year old is old enough to go to war, so I don't see why he shouldn't be able to have a gun. In most of the US, sixteen is the age where it is lawful to own a long gun, so his possession of that weapon is not illegal. Most likely, it was a .22 semi-automatic rifle, of which I own two. I just don't like people judging the kid who haven't been in that position and have never faced eminent peril of life and limb or potential loss of a mother.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Not hero, not villain. (none / 0) (#38)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 06:35:21 AM EST

The right attitude (perhaps impossible in those circumstances) would have been to dial 911 or whatever emergency services are availabe, call for the police, or fight back with all your might. The life of the worst scum is valuable something, and should be taken only if there are not alternatives left. When a gun is available so readily and easily all the less definitive alternatives for self defense are baypassed for the easy way out. The most intriguing thing is that most happy gun owners call themselves Christians. They either have not read the Bible or have not read what Moses got os what Jesus said. Your assertion about children as young as 12 being able to make this kind of judgments as such tender age just collides with real life. If Columbine, child soldiers in thirld world countries and the like have thaught us something is that a teenager does not have the proper preparation to take the reponsibility to handle and use any kind of arms. That you say the contrary after such well publicized events is amazing.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
Calling 911? (none / 0) (#39)
by espo812 on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 08:11:49 AM EST

In some areas, there is a long wait while calling 911. Plus it takes time to get police and such time to respond. In the mean time there is a wife beater in your household by foce. I agree, lethal force should be a last resort. However I do think it should be kept as an option.

The most intriguing thing is that most happy gun owners call themselves Christians. They either have not read the Bible or have not read what Moses got os what Jesus said.
Origionally the Bible stated "Thou shall not do murder." Not "Thou shalt kill." There is a difference.

espo
--
Censorship is un-American.
[ Parent ]
Freudian slip? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by LocalH on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:17:57 AM EST

    Origionally the Bible stated "Thou shall not do murder." Not "Thou shalt kill." There is a difference.
Of course, you meant "Thou shalt not kill." :)

[ Parent ]
Ok... (none / 0) (#40)
by weirdling on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:47:31 AM EST

For starters, I am agnostic, not Christian, but there is nothing in the Bible to prevent one from defending one's self.
Second, people who insist that in cases like these some other option should be tried first simply do not understand the dynamics. In a case where you are facing a violent intruder, you have precious few seconds to act. You don't have time to think. You don't have time to consider other alternatives. That is why the law is the way it is; it recognizes the fact that *perceived* threat is the order of the day, not actual threat. In this case, the perceived threat was very high.
I strongly disagree that the life of a scumbag is worth something. Fewer of these people is a good thing, not a bad thing. More people standing up for themselves is a good thing, too, and, often, a gun is the only way a weaker person can protect himself.
Time after time, in study after study, it has been demonstrated that simply having a gun in your house increases your safety and lowers forced-entry crimes. Homeowners rarely shoot the wrong person. Accidental discharge deaths amount to around 80 a year, of which just 36 are children. However, there are, according to conservative estimates, 1.7 *million* defensive uses of guns. You are 163 times more likely to save your life than be killed by a criminal. Guns work as a defense. People don't kill wontonly. The statistics are against your statement. Most people *do* call the police, if possible, and limit their response to neutralizing the threat. <Statistics from John Lott's excellent book, 'More Guns, Less Crime'>
I expect in a future reply, you will explain to me how the actions of two sociopaths are germaine to this discussion? I also hope for some actual data on why teenage soldiers seem inept at making decisions based on the moral standards they are given. Since our military accepts (or used to) as young as sixteen, I don't exactly see what your point is.
So, that you make such an ill defended point I find amazing.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
I say we ignore it completely. (none / 0) (#45)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:24:46 AM EST

By presenting this kids actions as some sort of trophy, we would essentially be telling every kid in American that it is okay to pick up a gun and shoot your abusive parents, sisters, brothers, whatever. However, by pointing out that the act of killing another man, no matter the circumstance, is wrong, we may at least hang on to some sense of morality. Maybe.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
But, in this instance, it wasn't wrong (none / 0) (#55)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:10:33 PM EST

Telling kids violence is always wrong is bad for them. It has a lot to do with the bully culture currently around, as law-abiding kids won't defend themselves for fear of punishment. However, if the concept of a 'legal fight' were re-introduced, we'd find a lot less bullying as the kids who are being bullied vastly outnumber the bullies.
Then there's the other problem: in this case, the kid did the right thing. Even if you tell kids he did the wrong thing, everyone has their own moral compass, and if a lot of kids think he did the right thing, they're going to disbelieve you on a lot of other subjects, as well. Hypocrisy is the fastest way to completely losing influence with children.
So, a more intelligent response is to say that in this situation, it was ok to use violent force and that the kid did the right thing. This won't result in a rash of killings, but it will result in less victimization.
'Violence is always bad' only hurts the weak.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Is this a good thing? (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by anthrem on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 08:59:02 PM EST

I would like to say that this is a good thing. In the movie 'Cobra', starring Sylvester Stallone, when he has blown the bad guy away in a hail of cheesy dialouge and bullets, he is questioned by a reporter.

"What about the criminal's rights? Did you violate his civil rights?"
(Stallone grabs the reporter by the collar, pulls him over the covered corpse of one of the criminal's victims, and pulls the sheet back, showing the reporter one the murdered hostages)
"What about his rights?" grumbles Stallone, and walks away....

I should probably be shot for making a point with a Stallone movie, but I felt this was a pretty clear idea of what society feels about laws. We make laws, but the vigilante that goes against them to do the 'right' thing, even if it is against the law, is a hero.

I wonder if this is not a fundamental struggle that we fight in ourselves as human beings. Do we have compassion, and try to understand the motives that cause people to do the things that they do? Or do we punish people, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? At times, both can seem right, because at times the personal violation is so great that it feels that there is no way to remedy the wrong unless an equal show of force is done. This is the reason that the death penalty exists today. Many still feel that the use of the death penalty, while not a deterrant, still gives the family of the victim the ability to move on with their lives.

Me, I have a hard time, because I faithfully send my dues to the ACLU every year. One of the main purposes of the ACLU is to preserve and protect the 10 amendments. All of them. I believe in freedom, and so I support the group that fights for freedom. Even for Nazis and white supremecists.

However, I don't like guns. I never have fired one, and I think that they are probably unnecessary in today's world for the average citizen. Is this situation a good one? I tend to agree that even though the children are alive, they will be affected by the death of their father, no matter whether they see it as a murder or a self defense situation. Violence is not a solution, and I am not sure how this situation could have been de escalated without the use of violence. It appears to be an unfortunate situation that couldn't be avoided. I only hope that the 16 year old goes to seek some mental health treatment, otherwise he could grow up to be the same violent person his father was. That is the biggest concern here, in my mind



Disclaimer: I am a Buddhist. I am a Social Worker. Filter all written above throught that.
About rights. (none / 0) (#37)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 06:24:14 AM EST

If you dont' respect the rights of a criminal (the worst scum) there is no guarantee your rights will be respected. A criminal will break the law, guns or no guns, but in places where there are no guns the violent dethsd during roberies will decresase dramaticaly. In the UK the average rate of gun related deaths is around 60 per year. I guess that is the US average for a far shorter period (night, week?). In the UK you could be beaten to death and that becomes national news, in the US I guess that hardly makes page 3 of a tabloid. That is the difference, you can only live it to appreciate it.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
and in other communities (none / 0) (#42)
by Sikpup on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:22:28 PM EST

where EVERYONE owns a gun, the crime rate is 0. There are some counties in various states where everyone has guns and no crime - would you rob a home where you know for a fact that your potential victim will be armed? No, you buy your weapon and go to a city with the tightest gun control laws around, like NY city or Washington DC. You can be nearly certain that any potential victim will be unarmed, giving you a huge advantage.

Also, armed civilians are the ultimate deterent to government. One of Hitlers first actions was to implement and enforce a national firearm registry. Shortly thereafter, all of those firearms were seized. Can't say that this made Nazi Germany a better place. Canada is now moving to implement a national firearm registry - I'm not up to date on the status of that.

Firearms are a tool like any other. It does happen to be one that is more easily abused than others.



[ Parent ]
Where do you get your data? (2.00 / 1) (#57)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:23:17 PM EST

The UK has a *higher* gun-related crime rate than the US, despite the idiotic gun control measures. The UK has historically under-represented crime. They have recently been brought under fire for this practice, and were forced to estimate the actual crime, finding it to be *higher* per capita than the US, if reported by US standards of crime reporting. <Source is America's First Freedom>
Anyway, in John Lott's book, 'More Guns, Less Crime', he clearly disproves this argument. Crime always goes down when citizens legally own guns and always goes up when they don't. Since England has outlawed guns, their crime has skyrocketed. Since Australia outlawed guns, their crime has started increasing, despite the fact that it had been decreasing before. Every single state in the US that has enacted concealed-carry permits has seen crime go down.
Please, guys, I know you hate guns, but at least start with decent statistics...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Re: Is this a good thing? (none / 0) (#41)
by SEAL on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 04:18:56 PM EST

I tend to agree that even though the children are alive, they will be affected by the death of their father, no matter whether they see it as a murder or a self defense situation.

True, but they would also be traumatized by seeing their father beat the living crap out of their mother on a regular basis. And that's just up till that point. Who knows if this time would've resulted in the mother or a child being the one killed?

I don't claim to know what the "proper" solution was, since I'm not in that teenager's shoes. But I'll guess that it wasn't the first time he had feared for his life due to his stepfather.

- SEAL

It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
[ Parent ]

Aha. (none / 0) (#44)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:22:36 AM EST

You could refer to comments I made on my web page today. Link ahead:

crash.neotope.com/#0412e

I basically contested the morality of protecting the amendments in every case, arguing that in several cases, protecting one man's rights can be in violation of another. In such cases, who defines the double standard, and who fights which side?

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
who started it? (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 03:41:55 PM EST

Maybe your mom told you that "it doesn't matter who started it" one too many times. The truth is, it does matter.

When someone is infringing on the rights of another, the infringed has every right to do whatever it takes to stop the infringer.

Slaves on slave ships every now and then were able to revolt against their captors and kill them. They had every right to do that. According to this bullshit logic you keep using, they should have let themselves be beat/raped/killed/forced to labor etc., because defending themselves would have been wrong.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

untrue (5.00 / 2) (#82)
by Ender Ryan on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 03:12:22 PM EST

"Violence is not a solution"

This is simply not true. Violence is in fact the best solution to many of life's problems. It always has been and always will be. That fact alone is why violence is and always will be such a problem, because IT WORKS for many situations.

You see, when you're 12 and a bully keeps beating the tar out of you, the absolute best thing you can possibly do to deter him is beat the living shit out of him. Give him a real reason to quit fucking with you.

If a country has natural resources that you would like to acquire complete control over, you attack and take over that country.

If another drug dealer moves into town and is taking your business, you "pop a cap in his ass".

If someone is breaking into your house to beat/rape/rob/kill you, your best defense is to kill him/her first.

If your country is under attack by crazy nations trying to take over the world, dropping a couple atomic bombs sure does the trick.

You see, violence IS a solution, sometimes the best solution, sometimes the easiest, sometimes the worst solution, sometimes counter productive. It's no different than any other solution to a problem.

In this situation, it was almost definately the BEST solution. What alternative was there? It's unfortunate that a 16 year old had to make such a decision, but despite what everyone says, he will learn from this, and so will the younger children if they have it explained to them properly.


-
Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

We are Kuro5hin!


[ Parent ]

Nice libel! (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by seebs on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:01:17 AM EST

The kid is not a murderer; murder is a much stricter word than "killing".

Has he killed? Yes. Has he murdered? No.

Anyway, go read John Lott's _More Guns, Less Crime_. The point of the gun isn't that you expect to actually shoot someone; it's that the knowledge that some number of otherwise harmless people have guns reduces the *initial* incidence of violent crime.

And before you start quoting badly-researched statistics, *read the book*. He did a much better job than you did on analyzing facts, rather than making ill-informed guesses about how things work out.

Untrue. (1.66 / 3) (#36)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 06:17:47 AM EST

The countries with more violence in the world are the ones with more guns. Period.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
Re: Untrue (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by hadashi on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 01:11:37 PM EST

*ahem*

Corellation is not causation.

There are many other factors involved; history of the culture, moral ethics in place, etc.

The presence of a device that accelerates metal slugs to a high velocity does not cause violence. To say it does is stupidity.

If it did, then why don't we hear of mass killing in Switzerland, hmm? Because of culture, not the presence of the machine guns Swiss citizens are required to have on hand.
-- If the .sig fits...
[ Parent ]

Good offtopic point! (Nice save, though) (2.00 / 1) (#43)
by Crashnbur on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:19:34 AM EST

If you had read any of my previous comments, this has already been covered. Not only are you correct (but only in legal terms, and only because the kid has not and will not be convicted), but you are also drawing attention to an argument that I did not care to present here. Sure, good comments, but what does it have to do with gun control?

Anyway, good save with the links. I personally believe that if guns did not exist, gun deaths would be reduced drastically. :-) (That's something Dubya would say.) I also believe that the argument that robberies would skyrocket is a ridiculous one. Are we really so petty and material that our measly possessions are worth more than human lives? Such humanitarians, we humans are.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Read the book (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by weirdling on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 06:17:42 PM EST

Honestly, read 'More Guns, Less Crime'. While the non-existence of guns would result in fewer gun deaths, murders would not necessarily go down. It's called the substitution effect.
Anyway, guns are here to stay and cannot be removed from society, as England is busily proving right now. However, guns in the hands of citizens significantly *reduce* gun-related deaths. That is John Lott's conclusion, and he has spent much of his recent life doing regression-analysis on vast amounts of data to prove it.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Sadly, I agree (to a point) (3.00 / 1) (#69)
by Crashnbur on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 11:07:58 AM EST

Without society agreeing completely, or without a government on the verge of totalitarianism, guns cannot disappear completely. Again, as I stated in my article, I do not oppose anyone's right to own a gun. I oppose to anyone owning the gun for moral reasons, and ideally they could be demolished, but I'm not an idealist - I'm a realist. I know that they will not be destroyed or rid of in a blink of an eye, and in the mean time, I don't care to take them away from everyone. If they are to be reduced in population, and if society is to benefit from their reduction, then I'll be all for it. However, as things stand now, I'm nearly convinced that our society is still spiraling outward very uncontrollably (in many other aspects of life, not just guns ownership). :-)

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
You offer insult rather than argue the subject? (3.66 / 3) (#68)
by Crashnbur on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 08:05:12 PM EST

You have just committed the cardinal sin of argument. When someone is arguing a point, argue the point back. Do not lower yourself to personal attacks or false accusations; that simply makes you look like an ass.

I made no ill-informed guesses on anything; I merely shared my opinion. I made no assertions on "how things work out;" I only shared my opinion. This is precisely why this is an "OP-ED" piece; because I shared my opinion.

If you would like to argue your point, argue your point. Do not accuse me of writing about what I did not intend to write about. I knew what I was writing when I wrote it, and your attempted insults do not stack up with the subject at hand.

crash.neotope.com


[ Parent ]
Freedom vs. Control: Amendment Two In Action | 89 comments (83 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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