The right of the burglar

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The right of the burglar

Postby BotoBoto » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:00 pm UTC

A few weeks ago a news bulletin in the news (dutch news) came up wherein an old farmer killed a burglar (on accident) in his home. He was sentenced to a fine of 250 euros. It was because the man (who killed the burglar) had infringed on his privacy.

I have not found anything more lunatic to this day. So if I get my bat out when I find a burglar in my house, I am not allowed to beat him silly, only ask him politely to leave?

What do you think about this?

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby JBJ » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:12 pm UTC

Any discussion of this issue should be prefaced by the applicable laws of that city/state/province/country.
The United States, depending on the state, has several variations of the Castle Doctrine.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:12 pm UTC

There's a key difference between Defence of Property in English law and Castle Doctrine in American law: Although they vary by state, American laws typically do not prohibit lethal force, where English doctrine does. I'm sure the same variations exist across the other European countries as well.

The Tony Martin case is notable in that he was convicted of murder due to the circumstances of shooting the robbers (while they were attempting escape; in the back; he left one for dead on his lawn, etc).

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby BotoBoto » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:20 pm UTC

As I am not knowledgable of the dutch law I cannot give any good examples from our law.

However: I do know that there was also a case in holland where somebody sued a home owner for having a camera on their property to record thieves. because of privacy. In what way do thieves/burglars have any right while they tresspass?

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:24 pm UTC

BotoBoto wrote:What do you think about this?


Do you have a link to the story?
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:24 pm UTC

BotoBoto wrote:As I am not knowledgable of the dutch law I cannot give any good examples from our law.

However: I do know that there was also a case in holland where somebody sued a home owner for having a camera on their property to record thieves. because of privacy. In what way do thieves/burglars have any right while they tresspass?
They still have all their collective rights (trespassing robbers does not give me the right to rape or torture them, for instance); I just have the right to temporarily violate their rights for the sake of defending myself and my property. The degree to which I may violate those rights to this end are highly debatable (see Azrael's case, for instance--where the risk concerning loss of property and life had already passed, but the gentleman still violated their rights).

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Jessica » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:25 pm UTC

BotoBoto wrote: In what way do thieves/burglars have any rights while they trespass?
They have human rights, because they are still human. Just because you break the law doesn't mean you lose all your rights. In the same way it's illegal to set up traps with the intention of killing people who trespass. There are extreme examples you can give where the thieves/burglars should be treated as if they have rights. The major problems are on border cases.

The camera case needs more information. But, if it's illegal to have cameras on your property looking off your property in that location, then it makes sense.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

BotoBoto wrote:However: I do know that there was also a case in holland where somebody sued a home owner for having a camera on their property to record thieves. because of privacy. In what way do thieves/burglars have any right while they tresspass?

I'm not familiar with Dutch law, but if this were true, your privacy laws are more stringent than most -- and a quick google search indicates that your privacy laws are not glaringly draconian when compared to other EU countries. I wonder what the impact would be on CCTV security cameras for businesses, banks, etc? Perhaps it's just a matter of having a permit or license. But without the details, everything is just speculation.

(I'd also like to point out that many such claims regarding outrageous lawsuits are overblown or outright false -- and reputable news sources do occasionally carry them without proper vetting.)

Indon wrote:Do you have a link to the story?

This might be it but the quality is lacking. Can anyone find an english version of http://www.telegraaf.nl/? I can't see one right away, but that's the story's originator.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Mokele » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:16 pm UTC

A few years ago, some elderly sociopath decided to shoot and kill two people who were robbing someone else's house across the road, and a positively frightening number of people seemed to consider this justified. Worse still, the grand jury let him off without even a slap on the wrist (almost assuredly because the victims were illegal immigrants). Of course, if *did* happen in Texas, so it's not all that surprising.

I just cannot comprehend the mindset which views *possessions* as more important than a human life. Threats to your life or the lives of others is one thing, but over mere *things*? If you want to take my stuff, I'll damn well try to stop you, but I sure as shit won't try to kill you over something so trivial.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Vaniver » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:20 pm UTC

Mokele wrote:I just cannot comprehend the mindset which views *possessions* as more important than a human life. Threats to your life or the lives of others is one thing, but over mere *things*? If you want to take my stuff, I'll damn well try to stop you, but I sure as shit won't try to kill you over something so trivial.
Why, exactly, should you value something that harms you more than something that helps you? What is it about human lives that makes them magic? Just imagine you don't see that magic, and it will all make sense.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby EdgarJPublius » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:29 pm UTC

I'm not familiar with the particular case you mentioned (and you're links are broken) but I know similar cases have occurred in Florida and elsewhere.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Admiral Valdemar » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:32 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Why, exactly, should you value something that harms you more than something that helps you? What is it about human lives that makes them magic? Just imagine you don't see that magic, and it will all make sense.


One can certainly value a burglar less than their plasma telly. The fact that they do this, though, doesn't mean they would go out of their way to murder the perp either. I'm not going to bludgeon to death a trespasser, but I sure as hell won't invite him in for tea either. And I value what few possessions I have, just not above a person's life, however despicable they may be. Many people use this reasoning for shooting burglars to support their view that terrorists have no rights and should be executed as soon as, because we just know they're evil and bad.

Also, I'm a cynical bastard. I see no magic in most humans.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:34 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Why, exactly, should you value something that harms you more than something that helps you? What is it about human lives that makes them magic? Just imagine you don't see that magic, and it will all make sense.

Look, I know you're trying to make a utilitarian argument, but holy shit. Welcome to society, please play by it's most basic rules.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Yakk » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:47 pm UTC

Such as the basic rule of "don't break into someone's house and take stuff".

There is also the basic rule of "don't kill people for no good reason".

While I personally don't value my stuff (or other people's stuff, generally) enough to kill someone, the "violation of basic rules" happens on both sides when someone uses potentially lethal force to defend property.

Police, for example, are considered justified in using all sufficient force to coerce obedience. If you resist, they can escalate farther than you go.

In effect, someone who engages in sufficient force to ensure their own freedom while not respecting the property rights of others justifies them being killed in most places by the authorities.

The question of "can an individual legally engage in lethal force to defend property" then becomes a question of "how far should the state monopoly on lethal violence go". The Police are possibly better regulated and trained and less likely to abuse the state's granted permission to use lethal force, from a utilitarian perspective. On the other hand, creating a superior caste of individual and defending it by law is generally a bad thing.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Vaniver » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:57 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Look, I know you're trying to make a utilitarian argument, but holy shit. Welcome to society, please play by it's most basic rules.
What makes you think that "people have an unalienable right to life" is a "most basic rule of society," given that society has predated it by millenia? Societies get along, and have gotten along well, when people can forfeit their right to life by breaking other, more important, rules. I'm glad I live in a society where "don't insult the king" isn't a rule, let alone a more important rule than "people shouldn't be executed by the government"- but that doesn't mean society is predicated on people not being executed by the government or each other.

One can argue that the existence of property is a far more important rule than the right to life- and while I doubt I would kill a burglar either, I certainly don't want the burglar thinking that.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:01 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Why, exactly, should you value something that harms you more than something that helps you? What is it about human lives that makes them magic? Just imagine you don't see that magic, and it will all make sense.


It sets a frightening precedent.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby JBJ » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:10 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:One can argue that the existence of property is a far more important rule than the right to life

Let's go back to slavery then. If you make people property, that should solve this entire dilemma.

But since you brought it up, let's hear the argument. Why is the existence of property more important than the right to life?
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Mokele » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:13 pm UTC

vaniver wrote:Why, exactly, should you value something that harms you more than something that helps you? What is it about human lives that makes them magic? Just imagine you don't see that magic, and it will all make sense.


By that logic, it's entirely rational and not the least bit monstrous for the burglar to sneak into your bedroom and shoot you in the head.

Hell, if nothing that doesn't benefit me has value, I can ethically commit mass genocide.

It's not that I don't understand the ethical system that can bring someone to the conclusion that you can kill someone over possessions, it's that I think having such an ethical system makes them a monster.

yakk wrote:There is also the basic rule of "don't kill people for no good reason".


The rule is "don't kill people unless it's the only alternative to being killed". Anything less opens too many loopholes about what is a "good reason".

yakk wrote:Police, for example, are considered justified in using all sufficient force to coerce obedience. If you resist, they can escalate farther than you go. In effect, someone who engages in sufficient force to ensure their own freedom while not respecting the property rights of others justifies them being killed in most places by the authorities.


Wrong. The police can tazer your ass, but they cannot actually shoot you unless you pose an immediate risk to the life of the officer or members of the public. Notice how the cops don't shoot someone just for running away (unless they're black).

yakk wrote: On the other hand, creating a superior caste of individual and defending it by law is generally a bad thing.


Um, since when is that what a state monopoly on lethal force does?

The cops are no more a "superior caste" by being the only ones who can kill than doctors are "superior" because they need a state license to practice medicine. Or construction workers, because they (or the company) needs a state license.

Hell, even the use of "caste" is wrong, as it implies membership in such groups is heriditary.

vaniver wrote:What makes you think that "people have an unalienable right to life" is a "most basic rule of society," given that society has predated it by millenia?


Irrelevant. Our *current* society is based on this, regardless of your red-herring about the past.

vaniver wrote:One can argue that the existence of property is a far more important rule than the right to life


Only if one is a sociopath.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Goplat » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
Vaniver wrote:Why, exactly, should you value something that harms you more than something that helps you? What is it about human lives that makes them magic? Just imagine you don't see that magic, and it will all make sense.

Look, I know you're trying to make a utilitarian argument, but holy shit. Welcome to society, please play by it's most basic rules.
If someone is breaking into homes, they are not part of society; they are only parasites on it. They don't follow society's rules, and there's no reason why one should have to follow the rules for intra-societal interaction when dealing with them.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby guenther » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:32 pm UTC

I just heard a radio show that talked about how we have different moral systems competing in the brain. They used a thought experiment where you and a group are hiding from enemy soldiers, and you have a baby with you who has a bad cough. You can silence the baby by covering his mouth, but it will suffocate him. But if you let him breath, he'll cough and the soldiers will come and execute everyone, including you and the baby.

The point he made is that there are different parts of the brain that help us make moral decisions. One is more primitive and lights up vigorously when we consider smothering our own baby. The other handles more complex and abstract thought and tells us that the life of the group including you and the baby, has to be more valuable than the baby by itself. So the moral decision comes from a contest between these two systems.

The point to all this is that if we look at this from the perspective of examines beliefs of right and wrong, we miss a big part of the puzzle that guides our behavior. If we ask "How can someone value stuff more than human life?", we assume that our brain as a whole comes up with a single value number each thing. But as described above, different parts of our brain perceive value differently, so the comparison isn't so simple.

I'm speculating a bit since the show didn't cover this specifically, but I'm guessing that "protect stuff from invader" is handled differently than "protect human life". And if we observe that a person let the former override the latter, I'd say it's a bad conclusion to say that the person abstractly values his stuff more than human life. That could be the case, but this example isn't a contest between two abstract thoughts, so we can't be sure. To further speculate, it could be that the person might afterwards decide that he had a right to use deadly force to protect his stuff because subconsciously he has an urge to hold examined beliefs that justify behavior that results from the more primal part of the brain. (I'd guess this is one of the big mechanisms that cause us to change our beliefs in right and wrong over time. We're terrible at predicting our behavior is highly emotional situations, but once we've experienced it, we update our abstract notions of right and wrong)
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Yakk » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:48 pm UTC

Mokele"[quote="yakk wrote:There is also the basic rule of "don't kill people for no good reason".
The rule is "don't kill people unless it's the only alternative to being killed". Anything less opens too many loopholes about what is a "good reason".[/quote]
That is your good reason. Others disagree. Many nations execute people for having killed people in the past, or execute them for other reasons. Or they kill people for being a possible threat. Or they kill people for running away from the police.

The rule varies. The commonality is "for a good reason". What the good reason is, varies by where and when you are.
yakk wrote:Police, for example, are considered justified in using all sufficient force to coerce obedience. If you resist, they can escalate farther than you go. In effect, someone who engages in sufficient force to ensure their own freedom while not respecting the property rights of others justifies them being killed in most places by the authorities.
Wrong. The police can tazer your ass, but they cannot actually shoot you unless you pose an immediate risk to the life of the officer or members of the public. Notice how the cops don't shoot someone just for running away (unless they're black).
First, Tazers are a ridiculously recent invention. And they aren't always around.

And yes, in many areas, the police do shoot to prevent suspects from fleeing. It is legal in many areas.

Second, I said "engaged sufficient force to ensure their own freedom". Tazers are an immediate threat to freedom.
yakk wrote: On the other hand, creating a superior caste of individual and defending it by law is generally a bad thing.
Um, since when is that what a state monopoly on lethal force does?

It hands the right to engage in force escalation to the police, which makes them a superior caste.
The cops are no more a "superior caste" by being the only ones who can kill than doctors are "superior" because they need a state license to practice medicine. Or construction workers, because they (or the company) needs a state license.

Hell, even the use of "caste" is wrong, as it implies membership in such groups is heriditary.

I was using caste in a very loose sense. I could quote dictionaries, but that doesn't matter.

And yes, doctors/engineers/lawyers/etc have a certain degree of this, especially insofar as it isn't a pure skills based test (as an example, much of the US switched from "you have to pass the bar exam" to "you have to go to law school, then get work as a law intern, then pass the bar exam", and medical schools produce doctors according to a quota per year to keep supply constrained, etc).

In the police case, the question is even less of one of qualification, and more of "you belong to an elite group who is distinct from the rest of society". It isn't a good feature: I understand why it exists, and it might even be worth the cost, but I'm saying that this particular feature of police-as-special-users-of-force has issues.
Irrelevant. Our *current* society is based on this, regardless of your red-herring about the past.

Not in Texas. Or Florida. Or... Many societies are not based on that.

Your *current* society might take that as a presumption under law; it is quite possible that this is less of a *basis* for your society, and more of an affectation however.
vaniver wrote:One can argue that the existence of property is a far more important rule than the right to life
Only if one is a sociopath.

Well, that depends on what society you are socialised in, doesn't it?

The argument (that property rights are more important than right-to-life rights) is not a silly one. I doubt I agree with it, but the case isn't ridiculous, nor does it require sociopathy (unless you define sociopathy as "disagrees with what my image of my own society is" or the like).

Basically, with "passive" property rights, you can defend the means to continue your own life actively. With "passive" life but not property rights, there is nothing you can do to prevent yourself from starving.

Now, if you are talking about "active" right to life (society will actively provide you with all you need in order to live) -- well, that presumes a fully functioning society capable of generating sufficient surplus to provide for everyone who it deems worthy of possessing rights. There are no societies we know of that provide a universal active right to life, or even a universal uniformly active attempt at a right to life. No society, at this time, is willing to feed, clothe and house the entire world.

Remember: I wouldn't value my own stuff more important than a non-violent robber's. But dismissing those who would as sociopaths is going way too far.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:51 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:If someone is breaking into homes, they are not part of society; they are only parasites on it. They don't follow society's rules, and there's no reason why one should have to follow the rules for intra-societal interaction when dealing with them.


Similarly dangerous precedent. Possibly even moreso, depending on how far you want to run with that logic ("Yeah, I killed him in cold blood, but he was a raging alcoholic, and therefore not a part of society, so it's okay"). You can break laws and still clearly be a part of society.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Dream » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:52 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:What makes you think that "people have an unalienable right to life" is a "most basic rule of society," given that society has predated it by millenia?

Could you please cite some examples of societies that have not upheld some kind of right to life or other? Societies where one individual member of the society can kill another with no sanction whatsoever, even a social one? I think the right to, and respect for life has been around longer than you think. And bear in mind the difference between the state reserving to itself the right to exercise force and the society as a whole condoning murder, because this thread is about individuals killing each other, not states executing criminals. Rights didn't materialise from the ether when people started writing them down in the eighteenth century.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Heavenlytoaster » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:46 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Goplat wrote:If someone is breaking into homes, they are not part of society; they are only parasites on it. They don't follow society's rules, and there's no reason why one should have to follow the rules for intra-societal interaction when dealing with them.


Similarly dangerous precedent. Possibly even moreso, depending on how far you want to run with that logic ("Yeah, I killed him in cold blood, but he was a raging alcoholic, and therefore not a part of society, so it's okay"). You can break laws and still clearly be a part of society.


No no no this argument is incredibly short sighted and misses the entire point, it is very easy to make a very clear distinction between those infringing on others and those not, someone who is actively robbing you is only comparable to a raging alcoholic if they are actively beating you or otherwise acting against you, existence does no such thing.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:00 pm UTC

Part of how to avoid being dealt with in a negative manner (bar fight, house broken into, held at gunpoint, etc) is to make people think you're going to bring a level of violence that's completely unnecessary. People (in most cases) value themselves more than they value beating you up, stealing your things, or trying to kill you, etc. and will stop doing whatever it is that they are doing if the risk to themselves is greater than the reward. This of course means that you might actually have to carry through with the threat. I will say that you can give a reasonable warning to the criminal ("Don't move or I'll shoot!") before actually doing something, that way the ball is in their court, but the right of the homeowner to their property should be greater than pretty much any right the burglar has. The person's a burglar, and no longer a human being (human beings don't steal from others). It should also be noted that it would only apply if the burglar is caught in the act (can't go hunt him down or anything).

Of course, this gets into the whole "Poor man stealing to feed his family" debate.

Could you please cite some examples of societies that have not upheld some kind of right to life or other? Societies where one individual member of the society can kill another with no sanction whatsoever, even a social one?

It was perfectly legal to kill a man in a duel, but I guess that counts as a social sanction. But here's a question: How is breaking into someone's home not a social sanction to kill the burglar? To relate it to the duel (as both parties agree to the duel knowing full well that they could die), if we officially state it's okay to kill a man who breaks into your house (as I believe Texas has done), then the burglar would implicitly be agreeing to a duel of sorts, knowing full well that he could die.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

Heavenlytoaster wrote:No no no this argument is incredibly short sighted and misses the entire point, it is very easy to make a very clear distinction between those infringing on others and those not, someone who is actively robbing you is only comparable to a raging alcoholic if they are actively beating you or otherwise acting against you, existence does no such thing.


The original argument didn't say anything implying that this exile from society was somehow temporary for the duration of the event, but "I killed him, but yeah, he was berating me and therefore wasn't a part of society at the time," is pretty horrible too.

Edit: In fact, I interpreted his argument as a way less ridiculous version of:
H2SO4 wrote:The person's a burglar, and no longer a human being (human beings don't steal from others).
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:22 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote: The person's a burglar, and no longer a human being (human beings don't steal from others).
Breaking the law does not mean you are no longer human, and saying so is either purposefully inflammatory or so incredibly ignorant that you literally can't participate in this discussion in good faith.

Practical example? Speeding.

Legal example: US Constitution's 6th Amendment, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:29 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Breaking the law does not mean you are no longer human, and saying so is either purposefully inflammatory or so incredibly ignorant that you literally can't participate in this discussion in good faith.

Practical example? Speeding.

Legal example: US Constitution's 6th Amendment, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

There is a difference between theft and speeding. I did not say that breaking the law makes you inhuman. I said (well, meant) that purposefully violating another's basic human rights makes you inhuman. The rights in the 6th Amendment are rights given to people that are convicted of a crime, aka criminals. The UDHR does not apply in the US due to the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:34 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:The rights in the 6th Amendment are rights given to people that are convicted of a crime, aka criminals. The UDHR does not apply in the US due to the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution.
6th Amendment gives rights to people accused of crimes. But let's toss in the 5th and 8th too. And the 9th while we're at it.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby JBJ » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:There is a difference between theft and speeding. I did not say that breaking the law makes you inhuman. I said (well, meant) that purposefully violating another's basic human rights makes you inhuman. The rights in the 6th Amendment are rights given to people that are convicted of a crime, aka criminals. The UDHR does not apply in the US due to the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution.

What about theft from an entity, i.e. stealing from a business? You're not violating another person's rights, but you are violating the legal rights of a corporation.

And the 6th Amendment are not rights given to the convicted, they are given to the accused. You know, due process and all?
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:6th Amendment gives rights to people accused of crimes. But let's toss in the 5th and 8th too. And the 9th while we're at it.

Sorry, that's what I meant.
The Constitution only applies to what government can do to people, not what they can do to each other. Of course, vigilantism is illegal and it can be argued that it's because of those amendments, but I'm pretty sure we can agree on the difference between vigilantism (hunting down people you think committed crimes) and cases like this (man catches man breaking into his home).

What about theft from an entity, i.e. stealing from a business? You're not violating another person's rights, but you are violating the legal rights of a corporation.

Technically that money would ("would have" if we're talking about money that's already stolen) made it's way into private hands, so yes, you are stealing from a person. This however is still slightly different. If you catch the man in the physical act of taking money/products from the business (he's coming out of the vault, or something) then it's the same as if you caught him breaking into your home. If you have evidence that he was slowly embezzling over time, then it's just evidence (such as your TV is missing and you find a man who has your TV somehow) and therefore you personally can't do anything to him, but instead have to turn it over to the government.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:48 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:Of course, vigilantism is illegal and it can be argued that it's because of those amendments, but I'm pretty sure we can agree on the difference between vigilantism (hunting down people you think committed crimes) and cases like this (man catches man breaking into his home).
How about the case we were actually discussing (because it had links and references) -- where a man shot someone that broke into another person's house. How is that different than vigilantism? (Or is trespassing also a violation of your human rights?)

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:52 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:How about the case we were actually discussing (because it had links and references) -- where a man shot someone that broke into another person's house.

How is that different than vigilantism?

I took the subject line to mean in general, and the OP was solely providing an example.

Was the man caught in the act? Were there people in the home? Could the people, if they were there, defend themselves as effectively? If the answers to those questions are "Yes" to the first and then "No" to either one of the latter, then I don't see a problem with it. I see this as really nothing more than a Neighborhood Watch program on steroids in action. More power to him.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:56 pm UTC

Go read the article.


As for the elephant in the room, how is it that breaking any one of your rights allows you to break any one of mine back? Besides saying it's so, find a legal precedent besides self defense which has a very limited circumstance and allowable response. Castle doctrine refers to self defense in response to violent attack, not property crime.

For the extreme: If you steal my stuff, and I catch you, can I enslave you?

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:04 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:There is a difference between theft and speeding. I did not say that breaking the law makes you inhuman. I said (well, meant) that purposefully violating another's basic human rights makes you inhuman. The rights in the 6th Amendment are rights given to people that are convicted of a crime, aka criminals. The UDHR does not apply in the US due to the Supremacy Clause in the Constitution.


If you kill a convicted murderer without state sanction, you have committed murder yourself.

As such, our civilization quite clearly still considers even heinous criminals human, and your position on the subject is very much an extreme one.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby stevey_frac » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

According to castle doctine in the state of North Carolina:

"A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using any degree of force that the occupant reasonably believes is necessary, including deadly force, against an intruder to prevent a forcible entry into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder's unlawful entry (i) if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder may kill or inflict serious bodily harm to the occupant or others in the home or residence, or (ii) if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder intends to commit a felony in the home or residence."

As burglary is a felony, Castle Doctrine appears as though it DOES provide for the use of deadly force for stealing even if you do not believe the thief poses a threat to yourself.

I'm not saying I agree that that is a good thing, I don't. But at least in that particular state, it seems to be allowed.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby ianf » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:29 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Castle doctrine refers to self defense in response to violent attack, not property crime.


The big problem is that in a real world situation, crimes are not clearly delineated. You come back into your house after a night out and find someone standing in the middle of your living room - you don't know what his intentions are. Or you wake up and there's a stranger in your bedroom, will they run out when you wake up ... or will they try to knock you out ... or will they pull a gun and then torture you to get the PIN numbers for your credit cards?

It's all very well saying do X for a violent attack or Y for property crime, but in the split second when you have to decide what to do you might not know what you are facing. Of course, if someone is running out of your house carrying your telly, then it's obvious what the situation is and it would be wrong (in my opinion) to respond disproportionately. But in many cases you just don't know ... and you might be better off assuming the worst and responding accordingly.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:19 pm UTC

ianf wrote:
Azrael wrote:Castle doctrine refers to self defense in response to violent attack, not property crime.
The big problem is that in a real world situation, crimes are not clearly delineated..
I absolutely agree and have no problem with castle doctrine at all. Nor do I have an issue with other interpretations, like the European examples, where deadly force is prohibited. I *do* have an issue with you shooting someone outside your home for having violated another person's home.

My argument as of late in the thread is regarding the complete dehumanization of criminals -- which, as Indon pointed out, is an extreme view.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby stevey_frac » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:28 pm UTC

Based on the fact that convicted criminals are only guilty by legal definition, and there have been many instances of people convicted and then the conviction overturned by new evidence found later that proves they were not guilty how can you say a convict isn't human? Does the person become human again if their conviction is overturned? To bad if you shot them before that could happen, eh?
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Duban » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:37 pm UTC

The burglar forfeits his own life when he invades another person's household. By invading someone's house illegally he knowingly risks his own life and forcibly imposes risks on innocent bystanders. The people of the house have no way of telling how dangerous the burglar is, only that he has obvious malicious intent. So It's the burglar's responsibility to know the consequences for trespassing and risking others.

If the burglar gets shot for taking a stupid risk it's entirely on him for his risk, and not on the shooter for assuming the worst of an obviously malicious movement. I see how this can be hard to understand in cultures without this "rule", but in areas where it's a known rule the burglar should have no excuse to not be shot.

Also traps are illegal because they don't discriminate between the malicious intruder and an innocent or unknowing person passing by.
Last edited by Duban on Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:50 pm UTC, edited 4 times in total.
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