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 ]