The right of the burglar

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dedalus
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby dedalus » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:04 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:And my point is if you have malicious intent at all (from trying to take my TV to trying to take my life) and act on it, and I catch you in the act, I will have malicious intent towards you and will act on it.

But just because I have a malicious intent doesn't give you the right to kill me.

H2SO4 wrote:Nothing tells someone to stop what they're doing quite like making them stare down the barrel of a .45. If that person then tries to drop and run, the only thing you have is pulling the trigger. Not everyone is Usain Bolt. Chasing down isn't always a viable option. You'll have to shoot to make sure this guy gets taken. Might it just wound the person? Yes. Might it kill them? Yes. No one is a good enough shot to always be able to make one outcome happen over another. Therefore, if the burglar dies, oh well.

Ummm, if they've dropped anything they've stolen, and are running away, then they're no longer stealing your goods. Ok, so they might be liable for damages, but you're not going to get reparations out of them if they're dead. So you still don't have the right to kill them.

The risk of killing someone is far too much to justify using a gun as a method of making sure someone is brought to justice for the small crimes of trespass and property damage. You're going way too overboard, and if you did something like that, I have no problem saying that you should be put away for 10 years or so for manslaughter at the very least.

H2SO4 wrote:If someone broke into your house, they obviously have malicious intent. If you catch them, that malicious intent can then be directed at harming *you*, not just your property. There's no way to tell the difference in a split second. I'd rather risk killing an unarmed burglar than being the dead homeowner. Maybe that's just me though.

Firstly, there's usually a bit more time then a split second. WHEN it is only a split second decision, then you're well within your rights to pull the trigger. But these cases are few and far between, and rely upon either you getting into a stupid situation in the first place, or the criminal attempting to do something stupid with a gun trained on him. The first case means that the action of pulling the trigger isn't the wrong action, but possibly the actions leading up to it were wrong, in the second case though, then you're within your rights.

But if you have a gun trained on an unwary criminal in the dark, switching on the lights or yelling 'stop or I'll shoot' aren't going to cause most criminals to attempt to draw and fire at you, and more importantly, it's the split second when they DO that you can pull the trigger (and that's plenty of time). 'He might have had a gun, and he might have been able to dodge my bullets and shoot me as soon as he knew about my presence' doesn't cut it.

And just a point; if a burglar is good enough to jump away, turn in midair, pull out a gun and shoot you before you can pull a gun on him, then he's usually got good enough spatial awareness that you won't be able to surprise him. So you're effectively creating another version of the 'torture a terrorist to find a bomb location', in that you're crediting the burglar with bad enough luck/skills that you're able to surprise him, but good enough luck/skills that he's able to do something with a gun trained on him (and possibly various items in his hands) that results in your death, AND, it has to be in a situation where he can effectively dodge your bullets, AND he has to be stupid enough to even try something like that, AND he has to have a want to kill you as opposed to simply escaping. Just way too unrealistic.

H2SO4 wrote:Sorry, this is getting off-topic.

Well, regardless of whether 'you' believe that not allowing gay marriage isn't discriminatory, it's still a fairly dominant view. So the point goes back to the fact that people showing the slippery slope of your initial statement of 'if someone violates my rights I can violate theirs' is a perfectly legitimate argument.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Goplat » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:25 am UTC

dedalus wrote:
H2SO4 wrote:And my point is if you have malicious intent at all (from trying to take my TV to trying to take my life) and act on it, and I catch you in the act, I will have malicious intent towards you and will act on it.

But just because I have a malicious intent doesn't give you the right to kill me.

H2SO4 wrote:Nothing tells someone to stop what they're doing quite like making them stare down the barrel of a .45. If that person then tries to drop and run, the only thing you have is pulling the trigger. Not everyone is Usain Bolt. Chasing down isn't always a viable option. You'll have to shoot to make sure this guy gets taken. Might it just wound the person? Yes. Might it kill them? Yes. No one is a good enough shot to always be able to make one outcome happen over another. Therefore, if the burglar dies, oh well.

Ummm, if they've dropped anything they've stolen, and are running away, then they're no longer stealing your goods. Ok, so they might be liable for damages, but you're not going to get reparations out of them if they're dead. So you still don't have the right to kill them.
Maybe one is prohibited from killing them in the godawful legal system we have now, but in a society of rational people, I figure killing burglars would not only be allowed but encouraged (as it prevents others from being victimized). Do you have any reason why they shouldn't be killed? (i.e. What does society gain from having them alive?)

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby ianf » Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:06 am UTC

Goplat wrote:Maybe one is prohibited from killing them in the godawful legal system we have now, but in a society of rational people, I figure killing burglars would not only be allowed but encouraged (as it prevents others from being victimized). Do you have any reason why they shouldn't be killed? (i.e. What does society gain from having them alive?)


There are three reasons I can think of ...

The person might not actually be a burglar. Suppose that a neighbour was passing by, saw your door open, went in to check, found a burglar, chased them off and then picked up your TV that the burglar had dropped to put it back on the table. At that moment, you walk in and shoot them.

It might be that a burglar adds more to society later in their life. They are going through a bad phase when young, but whilst in prison they start studying and eventually go on to be a medical researcher who cures a variety of deadly diseases.

By increasing the penalty for lesser crimes (like burglary) you reduce the distinction between those crimes and more serious crimes (like murder). If the penalty for burglary is death, then the potential burglar might be more likely to kill when cornered, since at that point they have nothing to lose ... they will die as a burglar so might as well use lethal force to escape since that will not make their situation any worse.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby mister k » Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:19 am UTC

ianf wrote:
Goplat wrote:Maybe one is prohibited from killing them in the godawful legal system we have now, but in a society of rational people, I figure killing burglars would not only be allowed but encouraged (as it prevents others from being victimized). Do you have any reason why they shouldn't be killed? (i.e. What does society gain from having them alive?)


There are three reasons I can think of ...

The person might not actually be a burglar. Suppose that a neighbour was passing by, saw your door open, went in to check, found a burglar, chased them off and then picked up your TV that the burglar had dropped to put it back on the table. At that moment, you walk in and shoot them.

It might be that a burglar adds more to society later in their life. They are going through a bad phase when young, but whilst in prison they start studying and eventually go on to be a medical researcher who cures a variety of deadly diseases.

By increasing the penalty for lesser crimes (like burglary) you reduce the distinction between those crimes and more serious crimes (like murder). If the penalty for burglary is death, then the potential burglar might be more likely to kill when cornered, since at that point they have nothing to lose ... they will die as a burglar so might as well use lethal force to escape since that will not make their situation any worse.


Pretty much this. Because being a burglar isn't the sum total of that human beings life. They have the potential to change and do much good. I would also argue that people resorting to theft is a failing of society, so society actually owes most criminals a debt for failing them. I'm not saying individuals do, but when looking at laws, one has to look at a societal level than an individual level.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby dedalus » Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:11 am UTC

Goplat wrote:Maybe one is prohibited from killing them in the godawful legal system we have now, but in a society of rational people, I figure killing burglars would not only be allowed but encouraged (as it prevents others from being victimized). Do you have any reason why they shouldn't be killed? (i.e. What does society gain from having them alive?)

By your reasoning, not only should burglary be punishable by death, but every citizen who owns a house should be entitled to be judge, jury and executioner of said crime and punishment. That's a pretty sociopathic line to be pushing...
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Dangermouse » Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:12 am UTC

mister k wrote:
ianf wrote:
Goplat wrote:Maybe one is prohibited from killing them in the godawful legal system we have now, but in a society of rational people, I figure killing burglars would not only be allowed but encouraged (as it prevents others from being victimized). Do you have any reason why they shouldn't be killed? (i.e. What does society gain from having them alive?)


There are three reasons I can think of ...

The person might not actually be a burglar. Suppose that a neighbour was passing by, saw your door open, went in to check, found a burglar, chased them off and then picked up your TV that the burglar had dropped to put it back on the table. At that moment, you walk in and shoot them.

It might be that a burglar adds more to society later in their life. They are going through a bad phase when young, but whilst in prison they start studying and eventually go on to be a medical researcher who cures a variety of deadly diseases.

By increasing the penalty for lesser crimes (like burglary) you reduce the distinction between those crimes and more serious crimes (like murder). If the penalty for burglary is death, then the potential burglar might be more likely to kill when cornered, since at that point they have nothing to lose ... they will die as a burglar so might as well use lethal force to escape since that will not make their situation any worse.


Pretty much this. Because being a burglar isn't the sum total of that human beings life. They have the potential to change and do much good. I would also argue that people resorting to theft is a failing of society, so society actually owes most criminals a debt for failing them. I'm not saying individuals do, but when looking at laws, one has to look at a societal level than an individual level.


Not to mention the fact that breaking the law does not strip an individual of his/her right to life, under any circumstance. Furthermore, rights are not qualified on some etherial 'benefit' to society nor are they contingent upon debts/contributions.

Not only are castle laws based upon outdated references to English common law from the 18th century, but they encourage violence and undermine society. If Americans were truly serious about reducing violent crimes like Felony theft, we'd double our spending on education, repeal racist drug laws/end the war on drugs, and fight the war on poverty--not legalize a homeowner/felon arms race that lets Texans shoot black people.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:03 pm UTC

Dangermouse wrote:Not to mention the fact that breaking the law does not strip an individual of his/her right to life, under any circumstance. Furthermore, rights are not qualified on some etherial 'benefit' to society nor are they contingent upon debts/contributions.

Under some circumstances. Like it would be better for society for that person to be dead. Like mass murderers. I have yet to see a mass murderer that said they won't kill another person. Heck, I have yet to see a mass murderer that is remorseful for what they did.

Not only are castle laws based upon outdated references to English common law from the 18th century, but they encourage violence and undermine society. If Americans were truly serious about reducing violent crimes like Felony theft, we'd double our spending on education, repeal racist drug laws/end the war on drugs, and fight the war on poverty--not legalize a homeowner/felon arms race that lets Texans shoot black people.

(emphasis mine)
HA. Double the spending on education? If Bush and the Iraq War didn't show you guys that increasing spending != better results, I don't know what will. Maybe this will.
Racist drug laws? Last time I checked, drug laws apply to everyone regardless of race.
The problem with "fighting the war on poverty" is that poverty is always going to exist (barring Communist take-over), just that the definition of poverty changes. A person legally considered "poor" now is the equivalent an upper middle-class family in 1970, adjusting for inflation.
Did you not see that you yourself are being racist here? The last part I bolded is basically you saying only black people steal things.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Goplat » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:23 pm UTC

ianf wrote:
Goplat wrote:Maybe one is prohibited from killing them in the godawful legal system we have now, but in a society of rational people, I figure killing burglars would not only be allowed but encouraged (as it prevents others from being victimized). Do you have any reason why they shouldn't be killed? (i.e. What does society gain from having them alive?)


There are three reasons I can think of ...

The person might not actually be a burglar. Suppose that a neighbour was passing by, saw your door open, went in to check, found a burglar, chased them off and then picked up your TV that the burglar had dropped to put it back on the table. At that moment, you walk in and shoot them.
How often does this actually happen?
By increasing the penalty for lesser crimes (like burglary) you reduce the distinction between those crimes and more serious crimes (like murder). If the penalty for burglary is death, then the potential burglar might be more likely to kill when cornered, since at that point they have nothing to lose ... they will die as a burglar so might as well use lethal force to escape since that will not make their situation any worse.
This sounds plausible, but the problem is - they already do this.
mister k wrote:Pretty much this. Because being a burglar isn't the sum total of that human beings life. They have the potential to change and do much good. I would also argue that people resorting to theft is a failing of society, so society actually owes most criminals a debt for failing them. I'm not saying individuals do, but when looking at laws, one has to look at a societal level than an individual level.
Rubbish. Even the field of psychology, long a bastion of this kind of "criminality is anybody's fault but the criminal's" thinking, is coming around to see what common sense has told us for thousands of years: an individual's tendency to harm society is an immutable trait of that individual, not something learned. It's called "antisocial personality disorder" (personally, I prefer the old term "evil", but no big deal really), and there is no "cure".
dedalus wrote:By your reasoning, not only should burglary be punishable by death, but every citizen who owns a house should be entitled to be judge, jury and executioner of said crime and punishment. That's a pretty sociopathic line to be pushing...
It's actually quite altruistic, as it saves the public the expense of dealing with it through the courts.
Dangermouse wrote:Not to mention the fact that breaking the law does not strip an individual of his/her right to life, under any circumstance. Furthermore, rights are not qualified on some etherial 'benefit' to society nor are they contingent upon debts/contributions.
This is not true even in the criminal-codding US system. The courts can hand our a death penalty (they almost never do, but they can). Besides, just because we do something a certain way, doesn't mean that's the best way to do it - to claim so is to commit the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Jessica » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:24 pm UTC

Goplat. You're suggesting anarchy is a better system to use then the current criminal system.

How do you stop anyone from calling you a criminal and killing you? If every person is able to say who is and isn't a criminal, then I can shoot you because I think that you're a criminal.

The current system isn't perfect. But that doesn't mean that anarchy is a better system.

Also, not all criminals have anti-social personality disorder. In fact, very few people have anti-social personality disorder. Also, the statement that all criminals are innately "evil" is a horribly racist thing to say, among other things. It's prejudicial. It's wrong.

Your world view needs to be expanded. not that you'll listen, but you're really really wrong.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Chicostick » Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:40 pm UTC

Well after a little bit of digging I found the laws here in good ol' Maine:



Current with emergency legislation through Chapter 212 of the 2009 First Regular Session of the 124th Legislature

§ 104. Use of force in defense of premises

1. A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon is justified in using nondeadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other person in or upon such premises.

2. A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon is justified in using deadly force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to prevent an attempt by the other person to commit arson.

3. A person in possession or control of a dwelling place or a person who is licensed or privileged to be therein is justified in using deadly force upon another person:

A. Under the circumstances enumerated in section 108; or

B. When the person reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other person, who the person reasonably believes:

(1) Has entered or is attempting to enter the dwelling place or has surreptitiously remained within the dwelling place without a license or privilege to do so; and

(2) Is committing or is likely to commit some other crime within the dwelling place.

4. A person may use deadly force under subsection 3, paragraph B only if the person first demands the person against whom such deadly force is to be used to terminate the criminal trespass and the trespasser fails to immediately comply with the demand, unless the person reasonably believes that it would be dangerous to the person or a 3rd person to make the demand.

5. As used in this section:


A. Dwelling place has the same meaning provided in section 2, subsection 10; and

B. Premises includes, but is not limited to, lands, private ways and any buildings or structures thereon.



So it looks like if you're given a good enough reason, deadly forced can be used. I already knew this, but I wanted to see the actual law in the books. I knew about it because I actually know someone that shot a person who was on their property and stealing their things. After warning them to leave and get rid of the stuff they started getting aggressive, so the person I know shot them in the leg. The burglar survived (the person who shot happens to be a very good marksman and aimed with care, and the burglar was lucky) and the person I knew didn't have any charges against him.

My home has been broken into and robbed four times. One of these times my neighbors happened to be driving by, and they came back and held the robber up with shotguns until the police arrived. In rural areas like this, the nearest house may be miles away over rough roads. In addition to this, my town doesn't have any police, and the nearest sheriff is about a 40 minute drive away. If you have someone in your home that you didn't invite, thinking about whether or not you're infringing on his rights isn't really an option when the nearest help won't arrive for a long time, and any harm he or she does to you has a high chance of being fatal. It's easier for people who live in more densely populated areas to get over being robbed. They have other people around, help is just a shout away, and police can usually arrive in a short time. Medical services don't take nearly as long either. Out here in rural areas, there is no one that'll help. There is no neighbor who'll notice and call the police. And the police and emergency services won't be there for a long time.

I don't believe shooting first and asking questions later is the right course of action. But if you fear for your safety and there's a burglar in your house, and you asked them to leave and they refuse, by all means use force against them. Also, the threat of violence can be used as well. If you see someone robbing your house, pointing a gun at them and saying "don't move, the police are on their way" is perfectly acceptable to me. You've warned them, you've told them you have a weapon, you've told them not to move or they'll be shot. If they then start edging away or putting their hand in their pocket, shooting them is probably the best option. I know I would pull the trigger. Sure, they may be reaching for a pack of gum, but are you willing to take the risk?

If you have never had your house broken into, you can't really understand what it feels like. Coming home to busted open doors and ransacked furniture is a violating feeling. You can't feel secure in your home for months after, every time you come home you have to search around first in case there's someone inside. You fear for your own safety at night, knowing someone could break in at any time. It's a very violating feeling. As far as I'm concerned, someone who decides to violate another person like that deserves to be harmed. Yes, I know ethically and all that it's probably wrong. But if I see someone burglarizing me and they give me even the slightest reason, I will shoot them. They come into MY home and take MY things, without caring about what it took for me to earn those things, or how miserable and violated I'll feel? They could intentionally inflict such awfulness on another human being? Well then, they don't deserve the life they have. They checked their rights in at the door. I will not hesitate for a second to put a bullet in them.

The idea that they have the right to life after they barged into my home and refused to listen to warnings is idiotic. In fact, it is simply ignoring the truth, because the truth isn't very nice. Some people are just plain old evil. They're bad people. You can say "well what drove this person to this terrible thing? We should care about all their bad circumstances!" Large amounts of people will have bad circumstances at some point in their life. Most people don't lower themselves to taking other people's belongings. Two wrongs do not make a right. Sure, the criminal in question may have had bad things happen to them. But this does not justify them in doing bad things to other people.

I know the next argument will be "well that applies to the victim too! You can't harm people just because they're doing bad things!" But there's a difference between a druggy who made his own bad choices and someone who was living a perfectly normal and decent life and came home to find someone destroying the life he had made.

"Society failed them" is always the excuse I see. It is not their fault that they stole from you! They were driven to it because no one would hire them after they failed that drug test! And they only started doing drugs because... well because they wanted too! If drug tests didn't happen, then they would have had a job and they wouldn't have robbed you, so it's the companies fault! I've seen people I know make terrible decisions and end up in jail after a series of bad things happening to them. And those bad things were always their fault. One particular person strikes me as a good example, he was in my high school class. He was given tons of special education and aid. Some very good teachers encouraged him to pay attention in school and do the right thing. He had plenty of opportunity, and plenty of good things to have in his life. He even had plenty of money to have an adequate lifestyle. There were really no hardships in his life. He chose to start doing drugs, he chose to start dealing them. He consciously made every single decision that led to a down turn in his life, even with society giving him everything that they can be expected to give, even with society warning him that the path he was taking would only turn out bad. And he took their good will and kindness and told them to stuff it. He was recently arrested after robbing a bank at gunpoint after some drug debts caught up to him. So was that societies fault, after he chose to refuse all of their help because he thought he knew a better way?

I don't think so. And sure, maybe that burglar in your house was failed by society. But how exactly are you going to figure that out in the few seconds you have to decide whether or not he's going to hurt you?

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:01 am UTC

Goplat wrote:Maybe one is prohibited from killing them in the godawful legal system we have now, but in a society of rational people, I figure killing burglars would not only be allowed but encouraged (as it prevents others from being victimized). Do you have any reason why they shouldn't be killed? (i.e. What does society gain from having them alive?)


Seriously? "They've committed a criminal act, so they should die"?

This is what happens when you dehumanize people. You start killing them off for increasingly trivial reasons.

H2SO4 wrote:HA. Double the spending on education? If Bush and the Iraq War didn't show you guys that increasing spending != better results, I don't know what will. Maybe this will.

Indeed. What would work far better would be to modernize education, throwing out hundred-year-old rote memorization methods in favor of better techniques, and to also have a less anti-intellectual culture, in addition to increasing educational funding and equalizing it across districts.

H2SO4 wrote:Racist drug laws? Last time I checked, drug laws apply to everyone regardless of race.

Disparate impact. Plus, the "War on drugs" really doesn't go after white-collar drugs like abused pharmaceuticals, which would have a disparate impact against wealthier demographics. That is to say, drug laws aren't equally applying to everyone, because only some drugs are being seriously targeted for enforcement.

H2SO4 wrote:The problem with "fighting the war on poverty" is that poverty is always going to exist (barring Communist take-over), just that the definition of poverty changes. A person legally considered "poor" now is the equivalent an upper middle-class family in 1970, adjusting for inflation.

Well, to start out, a whole 10% of your poor are elderly. They've spent their entire lives building up their wealth, so they should hopefully at least reach 1970 levels by now. (Amusing side note: This figure would be five times higher without Social Security)

Also, America has a tiny population density. Yak farmers on the Tibetan Plateau would have fairly high living space (also, obviously: not overcrowded), but so what? Not a measurement of standard of living.

Also, they fail at nutrition forever. Poor kids eat more meat because the meat they eat is cheap. Also, unhealthy. Also, your study's "89 percent" figure is outright fraudulent: 89 percent of all American households, not just the poor, get enough to eat. Also, while the average caloric intake is high, the poor have a vastly higher chance of needing to sell of their stuff or starve than anyone else, obviously. Your study trivializes it as 'temporary food shortages'.

I could keep going, but after finding the first blatantly wrong citation, I kinda started to lose interest in spending time further discrediting a Heritage Foundation article.

H2SO4 wrote:Did you not see that you yourself are being racist here? The last part I bolded is basically you saying only black people steal things.


Disparate impact. Poor people disproportionately commit certain crimes. Persecuting the poor who commit those crimes persecutes those demographics who commit those crimes.

Kinda like how having a death penalty for financial fraud would target a disparate amount of white people, and might in that respect be questionable.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby dedalus » Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:55 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:Under some circumstances. Like it would be better for society for that person to be dead. Like mass murderers. I have yet to see a mass murderer that said they won't kill another person. Heck, I have yet to see a mass murderer that is remorseful for what they did.

You're still not answering the second point, aka that allowing Joe citizen to play judge jury and executioner for everyone else is just... terrible.

H2SO4 wrote: Double the spending on education? If Bush and the Iraq War didn't show you guys that increasing spending != better results, I don't know what will. Maybe this will.

There's no relationship between the spending-result ratio of a war and that of education. So your parallel to Iraq is meaningless. As for the paper you talked about, it's from a biased source, but more importantly, you can't say 'here tax dollars were spent on "education" (my quotation marks), and no real results were achieved, therefore spending has no benefit.' Correlation does not imply causation, and I would argue that those tax dollars weren't spent properly on education. Other people have already talked about modernising education, but spending on schools needs to get better teachers and better facilities; these alone promote learning. Remember that in this situation we're talking about increasing education of the lowest fraction of students; generally these kids go to schools that don't get much in the way of funding, and don't have teachers and principals that are motivated enough to get people interested in schooling. And to be honest, half the time there's an entire block of red tape between schools having a chance to get funding and schools actually being able to do worthwhile things with said funding. But yes, increased spending on education is needed, especially in primary and preschool education.

I think Indon did enough in tearing apart any credibility that paper had, and you're going to need some fairly unbiased sources before you start saying that increasing social services and education, and reducing the need or want for burglars to burgle, has no effect on the amount of burglaries committed. People don't just rob houses for the adrenaline rush.

Goplat wrote:
ianf wrote:
Goplat wrote:Maybe one is prohibited from killing them in the godawful legal system we have now, but in a society of rational people, I figure killing burglars would not only be allowed but encouraged (as it prevents others from being victimized). Do you have any reason why they shouldn't be killed? (i.e. What does society gain from having them alive?)


There are three reasons I can think of ...

The person might not actually be a burglar. Suppose that a neighbour was passing by, saw your door open, went in to check, found a burglar, chased them off and then picked up your TV that the burglar had dropped to put it back on the table. At that moment, you walk in and shoot them.
How often does this actually happen?

If it happened once, it happens too often. Also, how easy would it be for me to invite Bob over, say that he was trying to steal from me, and then kill him? Openly encouraging people to shoot one another for any reason is... Openly encouraging people to kill one another. And I'm pretty sure that's something society wants to do the direct opposite of.

By increasing the penalty for lesser crimes (like burglary) you reduce the distinction between those crimes and more serious crimes (like murder). If the penalty for burglary is death, then the potential burglar might be more likely to kill when cornered, since at that point they have nothing to lose ... they will die as a burglar so might as well use lethal force to escape since that will not make their situation any worse.
This sounds plausible, but the problem is - they already do this.

Actually, usually robbers don't shoot people. It's fairly rare for someone to get shot in a holdup because the robber knows that people are told to worry about justice, retribution and getting your stuff back after the fact. If the robber comes into a store with the mentality that 'anyone with access to a gun who can draw it on me will kill me', then they're going to shoot first and ask questions later after ANY sudden movement. And sudden movements will happen.

mister k wrote:Pretty much this. Because being a burglar isn't the sum total of that human beings life. They have the potential to change and do much good. I would also argue that people resorting to theft is a failing of society, so society actually owes most criminals a debt for failing them. I'm not saying individuals do, but when looking at laws, one has to look at a societal level than an individual level.
Rubbish. Even the field of psychology, long a bastion of this kind of "criminality is anybody's fault but the criminal's" thinking, is coming around to see what common sense has told us for thousands of years: an individual's tendency to harm society is an immutable trait of that individual, not something learned. It's called "antisocial personality disorder" (personally, I prefer the old term "evil", but no big deal really), and there is no "cure".

I know people who have served time for armed robbery and have gone on to become good people and do a lot of good. I'm not actually going to name names, because I don't have the right to push this information around on the internet, but it does happen. Basically, everything you just said in that last page is false.

dedalus wrote:By your reasoning, not only should burglary be punishable by death, but every citizen who owns a house should be entitled to be judge, jury and executioner of said crime and punishment. That's a pretty sociopathic line to be pushing...
It's actually quite altruistic, as it saves the public the expense of dealing with it through the courts.

Ok, you're just a sociopath. We have courts for a reason: because Joe Citizen does not have the capabilities to decide whether Bob should be punished by death under the laws of whichever country. Especially not when they're in a bloody emotional situation like a robbery.

Dangermouse wrote:Not to mention the fact that breaking the law does not strip an individual of his/her right to life, under any circumstance. Furthermore, rights are not qualified on some etherial 'benefit' to society nor are they contingent upon debts/contributions.
This is not true even in the criminal-codding US system. The courts can hand our a death penalty (they almost never do, but they can). Besides, just because we do something a certain way, doesn't mean that's the best way to do it - to claim so is to commit the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.

To redefine: 'breaking the law does not automatically strip an individual of his right to life'. There are very specific circumstances where it can, and it requires a full court of law to determine guilt and hand out the verdict.

Btw, if you're going to push this line of thought, then next time you absent-mindedly walk out of a shop without paying for something, next time you test a grape in a fruit store to see if you want to buy it, hell... technically next time you open a consumable item in a supermarket whilst you do your shopping without having paid for it at the time, then someone should pull out a gun and shoot you. Because all of those are small variants of theft. And if you extend the metaphor to trespassing, I'm sure that you've walked over private property at some point in your life.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby ianf » Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:17 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:
ianf wrote:The person might not actually be a burglar. Suppose that a neighbour was passing by, saw your door open, went in to check, found a burglar, chased them off and then picked up your TV that the burglar had dropped to put it back on the table. At that moment, you walk in and shoot them.
How often does this actually happen?


Well, my example was clearly an exaggeration to illustrate a point. My argument is generally that vigilante action will result in people making mistakes in the heat of moment and people losing their lives (or being injured) because of it. The general public will only find themselves in that situation a few times in their lives (hopefully never) and will not usually have any training for such situations.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:19 pm UTC

dedalus wrote:You're still not answering the second point, aka that allowing Joe citizen to play judge jury and executioner for everyone else is just... terrible.

He's not playing it for everyone else. He's playing it for the guy that just broke into his home, threatened his security, and apparently not waiting for the police.
What's terrible about "Hey! There's a guy in my home that I did not let in, and he's making off with my stuff! Hey you! Don't move or I'll shoot! *BLAM* I TOLD YOU NOT TO MOVE!"
It becomes the fault of the robber for not doing what the homeowner with the gun wants (assuming a reasonable threat is made, so nothing like "Eat this cyanide or I'll shoot!").

dedalus wrote:There's no relationship between the spending-result ratio of a war and that of education. So your parallel to Iraq is meaningless. As for the paper you talked about, it's from a biased source, but more importantly, you can't say 'here tax dollars were spent on "education" (my quotation marks), and no real results were achieved, therefore spending has no benefit.' Correlation does not imply causation, and I would argue that those tax dollars weren't spent properly on education. Other people have already talked about modernising education, but spending on schools needs to get better teachers and better facilities; these alone promote learning. Remember that in this situation we're talking about increasing education of the lowest fraction of students; generally these kids go to schools that don't get much in the way of funding, and don't have teachers and principals that are motivated enough to get people interested in schooling. And to be honest, half the time there's an entire block of red tape between schools having a chance to get funding and schools actually being able to do worthwhile things with said funding. But yes, increased spending on education is needed, especially in primary and preschool education.

So the American Legislative Exchange Council is biased?
Spoiler:
A new study conducted and released on August 25, 2000, by the American Legislative Exchange Council (the nation’s largest bipartisan, individual membership association of state legislators, with nearly 2,400 members across America) found that there is no correlation between increased spending and student performance. The study reported on state education performance, noting that Minnesota’s public school performance ranked highest in the nation spending at an average of $6,245 per student and the District of Columbia’s public school performance ranked last—even with spending $8,670 per student. According to ALEC Chairman Ray Hynes, “This study shows the path of least resistance fails our children, and that throwing more money at the problem is not the answer.”

This is from a source that's biased the other way the talks about the same paper on poverty I quoted you. Note that they really don't dispute the numbers, but merely try to provide an explanation.


I think Indon did enough in tearing apart any credibility that paper had, and you're going to need some fairly unbiased sources before you start saying that increasing social services and education, and reducing the need or want for burglars to burgle, has no effect on the amount of burglaries committed. People don't just rob houses for the adrenaline rush.

Nor are burglars always poor people.

If it happened once, it happens too often. Also, how easy would it be for me to invite Bob over, say that he was trying to steal from me, and then kill him? Openly encouraging people to shoot one another for any reason is... Openly encouraging people to kill one another. And I'm pretty sure that's something society wants to do the direct opposite of.

IF. People tend to recognize a neighbor in the second it takes to draw a gun, point it at someone, say your threat ("Don't move or I'll shoot!") and call the cops.
The police would be able to figure out Bob wasn't trying to steal from you. Let's see, no broken windows, no alarm tripped, the doors weren't forced, neighbors say your garage door was closed the whole time, Bob's car is off, and many other indications that Bob wasn't trying to steal from you.

Actually, usually robbers don't shoot people. It's fairly rare for someone to get shot in a holdup because the robber knows that people are told to worry about justice, retribution and getting your stuff back after the fact. If the robber comes into a store with the mentality that 'anyone with access to a gun who can draw it on me will kill me', then they're going to shoot first and ask questions later after ANY sudden movement. And sudden movements will happen.

And if they go into the store with the mentality that 'no one has a gun, so I'll wave mine around to get what I want,' the rate of crime will go up. I'd rather have jumpy burglar with high chance of being dead than a burglar able to get whatever he wants. To show what taking guns from innocent civilians does, think of how low the death toll would've been at Virginia Tech had students been allowed to carry firearms.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby dedalus » Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:00 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:He's not playing it for everyone else. He's playing it for the guy that just broke into his home, threatened his security, and apparently not waiting for the police.
What's terrible about "Hey! There's a guy in my home that I did not let in, and he's making off with my stuff! Hey you! Don't move or I'll shoot! *BLAM* I TOLD YOU NOT TO MOVE!"
It becomes the fault of the robber for not doing what the homeowner with the gun wants (assuming a reasonable threat is made, so nothing like "Eat this cyanide or I'll shoot!").


In the scenario you described (which is completely different to simply shooting a burglar as soon as you see him, which is what Goplat was implying ), there's three possible cases:
A. You make your threat, he continues to try to escape with your stuff. Within this case there's a lot of different scenarios, e.g. someone who can run much faster then you escaping with thousands of dollars of cash and jewelery stuffed into his pockets to someone trying to stumble out of your house with a television. Both of them are pretty stupid (on the burglars behalf), however in the case of the second you can catch him and retake your things quite easily, so there's no need for you to fire.

In the first case, there could often be other means of reclaiming your things, e.g. calling the cops and chasing, getting in a car and chasing, or yelling out and chasing and hoping that someone else helps as well. Actually shooting (depending on the situation) is legit in some of these, but firing a warning shot or aiming for the legs is always the best alternative. As he gets further away this may become harder to do (the second, at least), but so does shooting him period. The main point is that 1. you shouldn't shoot with the intent to kill, and 2. you're taking a necessary action to protect your property rather then actually being judge, jury and executioner. Also, the number of times that someone actually makes a break for it with your stuff when you're close enough behind to shoot them is pretty small.

B. He drops and runs. As I said before, he might be liable for damages, but he's not going to be paying up if he's dead, and even if he was brought to justice he'd never get a death sentence for burglary. So no, you don't have the right to kill him for trespassing and trying to steal your property. You shooting him doesn't do you any feasible bonus, so there's no reason for it.

C. He turns and tries to fight. If you have a gun trained on him and he tries to draw on you, sure, shoot him. That's self-defence.

In all three cases, you shouldn't be shooting him unless it's the only way to prevent loss of property or life. And even if it's loss of property, him running off with 50 dollars you'd left on the kitchen table doesn't warrant killing him. So you need to take into account that your insurance could well cover it, or it mightn't be a massive loss to you. And in none of these cases are you playing judge jury and executioner. What Goplat suggests; that you should be allowed to shoot any burglar on sight, is just wrong.

Regarding increased spending: The spending is being done wrong. And this is getting off topic.

H2SO4 wrote:Nor are burglars always poor people.


And? You're hardly rebutting the point I made.

H2SO4 wrote:IF. People tend to recognize a neighbor in the second it takes to draw a gun, point it at someone, say your threat ("Don't move or I'll shoot!") and call the cops.
The police would be able to figure out Bob wasn't trying to steal from you. Let's see, no broken windows, no alarm tripped, the doors weren't forced, neighbors say your garage door was closed the whole time, Bob's car is off, and many other indications that Bob wasn't trying to steal from you.

Ok, so you need to plan a bit more then inviting Bob over for dinner, then pulling out a pistol and popping him one in the face. But, Goplat's idea was that simply because he was robbing you you should be allowed to shoot him, which is easy to fake, rather then actually having to prove that you needed to shoot him in self-defence.

H2SO4 wrote:And if they go into the store with the mentality that 'no one has a gun, so I'll wave mine around to get what I want,' the rate of crime will go up. I'd rather have jumpy burglar with high chance of being dead than a burglar able to get whatever he wants. To show what taking guns from innocent civilians does, think of how low the death toll would've been at Virginia Tech had students been allowed to carry firearms.

Ok, firstly, burglars in America don't go into a store with the mentality of 'no-one has a gun'. The difference between normal society and what Goplat proposed was that suddenly the burglars would have the assumption that anyone who HAD a gun, given the opportunity to use it would kill them. Which means that the burglars have a much higher propensity for killing people who they think might try to 'make a move'. Which in turn leads to much more innocent deaths, as well as more burglar deaths. Personally I feel safer at home with the knowledge that the first thing anyone invading my house thinks isn't 'I should go to all the bedrooms and slit everyone's throat, or else anyone who wakes up will stick a knife in mine.'

Oh, and as for your 'taking guns from innocent civilians': let's compare the American figures for handgun mortalities in 1995 with the Australian ones. In America, with a population of ~270 million at the time: 15551. In Australia, population ~20 million: 591. Accounting for population, we're about half the death rate of yours, AND, the American figures are purely for firearm homocides, whereas the Australian figures are for all firearm deaths (if we check for ALL firearm deaths, it goes up to 35000, which means Australian firearm homocide rates are approximately 1/4 that in America). If people weren't able to readily get access to firearms in America, chances are that Virginia Tech would never have happened. The only Australian school shooting I can remember is Monash, with a death rate of 2.

Oh, and finally, are you REALLY promoting that students should be bringing guns to school??? Are you out of your damn mind??????
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:50 pm UTC

dedalus wrote:In the first case, there could often be other means of reclaiming your things, e.g. calling the cops and chasing, getting in a car and chasing, or yelling out and chasing and hoping that someone else helps as well. Actually shooting (depending on the situation) is legit in some of these, but firing a warning shot or aiming for the legs is always the best alternative. As he gets further away this may become harder to do (the second, at least), but so does shooting him period. The main point is that 1. you shouldn't shoot with the intent to kill, and 2. you're taking a necessary action to protect your property rather then actually being judge, jury and executioner. Also, the number of times that someone actually makes a break for it with your stuff when you're close enough behind to shoot them is pretty small.

You've never been in a high stress situation with a gun before, have you? You don't really aim. Aiming takes too much time. You instinctually aim (your gun is roughly pointed at him) and pull the trigger. That's all you really can do. If he's running, it's hard to hit the legs. For one, because they're moving. Two, they're small. Regardless of what movies show you, gut shots aren't that fatal. There really aren't any vital organs that can't survive in non-whole parts.

Anyway, there's too much involved in shooting accurately to be able to eliminate all mistakes. If the robber is dead, it's practically impossible to discern from "He was shooting to wound and he missed/he slipped/the robber moved into the shot at the last second on accident" and "He shot to kill" short of multiple shots in the chest/head. If you're going to say it's not right for a man to kill a burglar breaking into his home, you're saying it's not right for homeowners to use guns in defense of their homes. When you say that, you are saying that it's not right for a homeowner to defend their home how they see fit, and that's not right.

B. He drops and runs. As I said before, he might be liable for damages, but he's not going to be paying up if he's dead, and even if he was brought to justice he'd never get a death sentence for burglary. So no, you don't have the right to kill him for trespassing and trying to steal your property. You shooting him doesn't do you any feasible bonus, so there's no reason for it.

(snip)

In all three cases, you shouldn't be shooting him unless it's the only way to prevent loss of property or life. And even if it's loss of property, him running off with 50 dollars you'd left on the kitchen table doesn't warrant killing him. So you need to take into account that your insurance could well cover it, or it mightn't be a massive loss to you. And in none of these cases are you playing judge jury and executioner. What Goplat suggests; that you should be allowed to shoot any burglar on sight, is just wrong.

Nor will he pay up if he doesn't get caught. Which, oddly enough, is about 88% of the time.

dedalus wrote:And? You're hardly rebutting the point I made.

I'm just because someone has money doesn't mean they won't steal.

dedalus wrote:Ok, firstly, burglars in America don't go into a store with the mentality of 'no-one has a gun'. The difference between normal society and what Goplat proposed was that suddenly the burglars would have the assumption that anyone who HAD a gun, given the opportunity to use it would kill them. Which means that the burglars have a much higher propensity for killing people who they think might try to 'make a move'. Which in turn leads to much more innocent deaths, as well as more burglar deaths. Personally I feel safer at home with the knowledge that the first thing anyone invading my house thinks isn't 'I should go to all the bedrooms and slit everyone's throat, or else anyone who wakes up will stick a knife in mine.'

Of course they don't go in with that mentality. Because people could have a gun. If you make guns a crime, then only criminals will have guns.
I feel safer knowing that if I hear a mysterious noise downstairs that I can just reach over to my nightstand and cock my .45, just in case the burglar happens to be someone that I wouldn't be able to best physically.

Oh, and as for your 'taking guns from innocent civilians': let's compare the American figures for handgun mortalities in 1995 with the Australian ones. In America, with a population of ~270 million at the time: 15551. In Australia, population ~20 million: 591. Accounting for population, we're about half the death rate of yours, AND, the American figures are purely for firearm homocides, whereas the Australian figures are for all firearm deaths (if we check for ALL firearm deaths, it goes up to 35000, which means Australian firearm homocide rates are approximately 1/4 that in America). If people weren't able to readily get access to firearms in America, chances are that Virginia Tech would never have happened. The only Australian school shooting I can remember is Monash, with a death rate of 2.

Actually, Virginia Tech happened because students were allowed to have guns. Look at it this way: How many cases are there of a person running into a school and shooting it up? Many. How many cases are there of a person running into a military base and shooting it up? None. People who want to hurt people go where people won't hurt them back. People who want to hurt people will find a way, either through the legal or illegal means (because if marjiuana and cocaine don't show you that making it illegal will not eliminate people who want it getting it...). I'd rather have it be through legal means because that means that innocent civilians can have it too.

dedalus wrote:Oh, and finally, are you REALLY promoting that students should be bringing guns to school??? Are you out of your damn mind??????

College students (not high school or elementary students) after a little more paperwork, but yes. What's wrong with people defending themselves? Currently, it's legal for students to own handguns and rifles on-campus at University of Utah, and just rifles on-campus at BYU, and there haven't been any shootings there. Virginia Tech? No guns. No shootings? Whoops.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:31 pm UTC


1.The plural of anecdote is not 'data'.
2.Are you including shoplifting into the same argument you're advocating for burglars?

I shoplifted once. It would've kind of sucked to have gotten shot at the age of 10 over a package of M&Ms. It would've sucked to have been dehumanized for the event, too, had anything else happened to me.

H2SO4 wrote:How many cases are there of a person running into a military base and shooting it up? None.

Did you just not notice the whole Fort Hood thing a little while back?

'Cause that's exactly what happened. To Fort Hood. A little while back.

H2SO4 wrote:College students (not high school or elementary students) after a little more paperwork, but yes. What's wrong with people defending themselves? Currently, it's legal for students to own handguns and rifles on-campus at University of Utah, and just rifles on-campus at BYU, and there haven't been any shootings there. Virginia Tech? No guns. No shootings? Whoops.


The UT clock tower sniper took out a good share of people and was dispatched by police, not by private citizens.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Chicostick » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:42 pm UTC

On the idea that guns should be made difficult for people to get is one that gets batted around frequently. The idea is that if guns are hard to get, less criminals will have them so gun related crimes will go down. The problem with this theory is that criminals tend to not follow the law. That's why they're criminals.

Going through criminal channels could net you a stolen gun with no questions asked. I'm sure it would probably cost a bit more money (I don't know from experience, I'm just assuming they would charge more as the gun was difficult to obtain) but you would get it no questions asked. You could then go do what you want with it. If someone is actually considering committing a crime with a gun, then I think little gun control laws won't mean that much to them. They are already considering murder, a few little bits of red tape won't be much of an obstacle.

The only people that would be prevented from getting guns easily are people who follow the law. Law abiding people would follow the rules, and some might decide that going through the process it takes to own a gun isn't worth it and won't have one. Then, criminals can go into a situation with confidence, as they know all their victims will be relatively unable to defend themselves.

I remember reading a story about one town in Georgia (I think the name was Kennesaw or something like that) that created an ordinance that made it mandatory for all citizens to own a gun. After this ordinance was put into place, crime steadily decreased over time. Gun related incidents so far: zero.

The thing is, guns are not random, impossible to control objects that will eventually go wild and kill. They're just simple hunks of metal and wood, designed to shoot things at other things. They won't do so if there's no bullets in them, and if they're properly taken care of no one will be hurt by them. If there is worry about children gaining access to them, then those children should be properly educated in gun safety and the guns should be locked away. I have personally shot a variety of firearms, and have never had any injuries or problems from them, because my father taught me to treat a gun with great respect and caution. His favorite rule was "always treat a gun like it is loaded, and never relax and forget that what you're holding could kill people. Guns are dangerous, but only if you're careless."

My high school used to allow guns to be brought to school. They could either be kept in your car, or if you road a bus, checked into the nurse's office to be retrieved on leaving. Lots of people hunted around there, I live in a rural area of the state and hunting is a pretty common thing. Most students walked around with very large knives on their belts, not to scare people or look tough, but because they often used those knives for things and keeping it on their belt made sure they wouldn't lose it.

Allowing guns to be brought into schools, however, is an iffy idea. My campus allows guns to be brought in, but they have to be kept in the armory, and can only be taken out with proof that the student is going to be hunting or doing some other activity off campus. I feel like a lot of my peers can't be trusted with guns. I can already see some drunken fool deciding to take his gun out for a stroll to shoot a squirrel or something.

Anyways, to go back to the subject to "the right of the burglar," as long as the burglar is given fair warning that they stand a chance of being shot if they take a certain action, then I feel it's fine to shoot them. To me a thief is the lowest of the low, someone who has decided to be a parasite of society. Having one of them dead and not clogging up our prisons doesn't seem so bad to me.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:College students (not high school or elementary students) after a little more paperwork, but yes. What's wrong with people defending themselves? Currently, it's legal for students to own handguns and rifles on-campus at University of Utah, and just rifles on-campus at BYU, and there haven't been any shootings there. Virginia Tech? No guns. No shootings? Whoops.
I'd ask you show a little care in handling this issue, as it's a sensitive topic--your words could easily be taken as to imply that what happened at Virginia Tech was their own fault for not allowing guns on campus. Not that this is what you wanted to imply at all, but a little thoughtfulness can go a long way.

Anyway, the only relevant question is this: Does widespread gun ownership and lax gun restrictions curtail gun violence?--The answer is clear. No, it doesn't. Cite.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby dedalus » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

H2SO4, I'm not pushing for tighter gun restrictions in the US (not in this debate, at least), nor am I saying that self defence cannot be a legitimate exoneration of manslaughter.

H2SO4 wrote:If you're going to say it's not right for a man to kill a burglar breaking into his home, you're saying it's not right for homeowners to use guns in defense of their homes. When you say that, you are saying that it's not right for a homeowner to defend their home how they see fit, and that's not right.

Obvious strawman is obvious? I'm saying it's not always right for a man to kill a burglar breaking into his home, and I've given clear examples of when it is, and when it isn't. If what you say is true about gut-shots not being fatal (which from a .45 I find rather hard to believe) then that counts as 'shooting to wound' as well. But the point remains that I was only talking about 'shooting to wound' in the very few circumstances where it WAS viable. Aka; thief is running down the drive with your rather expensive grandmothers jewellery after you've yelled at him to stop and possibly fired a warning shot. You don't have a split second to react, you have considerably more time. Now, if you're going to invent cases where you may have a split second to react, and the burglar has things on him which you can't replace nor have good hope of getting back, then there may be ones where I just say 'shoot and hope that it's not fatal', but if you remember, we got onto this argument from Goplat's idea, which rather then trying to mitigate damage is instead 'shoot for the head, and kill the fucker'. And that's just wrong.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:18 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Anyway, the only relevant question is this: Does widespread gun ownership and lax gun restrictions curtail gun violence?--The answer is clear. No, it doesn't. Cite.


Well, the question, though I question its' relevance to this topic, is more complicated than that. There are other forms of violence than gun violence.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby The Great Hippo » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:21 pm UTC

Indon wrote:Well, the question, though I question its' relevance to this topic, is more complicated than that. There are other forms of violence than gun violence.
Oh, that's fair--a step back would be to analyze gun ownership statistics compared to violent death statistics in certain states. I just thought I'd throw that out there since H was claiming that the presence of guns curtails gun violence (spree shootings in particular)--statistics clearly indicate that the presence of guns increase gun violence, overall.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Dangermouse » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:39 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:
Dangermouse wrote:Not to mention the fact that breaking the law does not strip an individual of his/her right to life, under any circumstance. Furthermore, rights are not qualified on some etherial 'benefit' to society nor are they contingent upon debts/contributions.

Under some circumstances. Like it would be better for society for that person to be dead. Like mass murderers. I have yet to see a mass murderer that said they won't kill another person. Heck, I have yet to see a mass murderer that is remorseful for what they did.

Not only are castle laws based upon outdated references to English common law from the 18th century, but they encourage violence and undermine society. If Americans were truly serious about reducing violent crimes like Felony theft, we'd double our spending on education, repeal racist drug laws/end the war on drugs, and fight the war on poverty--not legalize a homeowner/felon arms race that lets Texans shoot black people.

(emphasis mine)
HA. Double the spending on education? If Bush and the Iraq War didn't show you guys that increasing spending != better results, I don't know what will. Maybe this will.
Racist drug laws? Last time I checked, drug laws apply to everyone regardless of race.
The problem with "fighting the war on poverty" is that poverty is always going to exist (barring Communist take-over), just that the definition of poverty changes. A person legally considered "poor" now is the equivalent an upper middle-class family in 1970, adjusting for inflation.
Did you not see that you yourself are being racist here? The last part I bolded is basically you saying only black people steal things.


No.

Rights are not qualified on what is good for 'society'. They exist independent of social or political qualifiers. Even a mass-murderer still has a right to life--just lock him up for life.

How can you possibly equate war spending in Iraq, a country fractured by deep religious and political divides that span hundreds of years, with spending for public education? This is quite possibly the most illogical and asinine argument I've read on these boards.

Business leaders across the country, especially in research and technology sectors, frequently bemoan the fact that US public school graduates need a better primary education to be competitive in the global labor market. Some schools may not need more money, but urban schools and schools in areas that have been obliterated by the onslaught of globalization (light manufacturing like Textile mills in SC comes to mind) absolutely need more money simply to pay the power bills. No, we shouldn't simply 'throw money' at the problem, but money is a huge component of the solution (raising teachers salaries, requiring higher levels of college education to teach, facilities upgrades etc). I'm a masters student and I think i'd make a damn good teacher, but I'm not even considering that career path because in Montana, the starting pay is 21k a year!!!

Fuck that

Spending in education is literally a direct investment in future economic growth and prosperity for the country, and education is likewise the biggest factor in determining whether an individual 'turns' to crime in his or her lifetime. Republican congressmen who are mad that the DoE prevents the bible from being taught as a textbook can cherry pick numbers all they want, but at the end of the day the irrefutable truth is that education prevents poverty and it prevents crime.

Do you know why a person is legally considered 'poor' when they would have been considered upper middle class in 1970? Income is utterly irrelevant without the context of costs of living--with these costs taken into account, real incomes have stayed flat or even declined.

And yeah, drug laws are racist. Crack and Cocaine are literally the same drug chemically--the only difference is that Cocaine is used primarily by educated white people in a private environment (in your house). Crack is a street drug used primarily by poor black people. Guess what? Crack users generally get double the jail time of cocaine users! (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=17122621)

The 'last part' you bolded says nothing of the sort; it was a reference to the fact that the castle law in texas came into being after a man shot and killed a black high school student through his front door (the student was selling goods door to door for a school fundraiser). The man argued self defense, lost in court because he clearly broke the law; gun loving texans had the law changed.

The bottom line is that society is irrelevant and morality is irrelevant when deciding the 'rights' of the burglar--the only thing that matters is an equal application of the law and the rights granted to every person by the law, regardless of circumstantial qualifiers.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:01 am UTC

dedalus wrote:Obvious strawman is obvious? I'm saying it's not always right for a man to kill a burglar breaking into his home, and I've given clear examples of when it is, and when it isn't. If what you say is true about gut-shots not being fatal (which from a .45 I find rather hard to believe) then that counts as 'shooting to wound' as well. But the point remains that I was only talking about 'shooting to wound' in the very few circumstances where it WAS viable. Aka; thief is running down the drive with your rather expensive grandmothers jewellery after you've yelled at him to stop and possibly fired a warning shot. You don't have a split second to react, you have considerably more time. Now, if you're going to invent cases where you may have a split second to react, and the burglar has things on him which you can't replace nor have good hope of getting back, then there may be ones where I just say 'shoot and hope that it's not fatal', but if you remember, we got onto this argument from Goplat's idea, which rather then trying to mitigate damage is instead 'shoot for the head, and kill the fucker'. And that's just wrong.

To clarify, gut shots are fatal if left untreated, just like if you got shot in the leg. The average time I'm finding of surviving gut shots (of course, the source is Yahoo! Answers, so that's why I'm not linking it), if left untreated, seems to be 15 minutes. It really all depends on what's hit. Of course, that's if left completely untreated. The time gets long as medical treatment of pretty much any kind is administered.
And I was talking about how because aiming takes a lot of precision, it's impossible to eliminate all errors. You could jerk the gun at the last second, you can pull the trigger instead of squeezing, you can close your eyes at the last second in anticipation of the noise, you can be a little shaky from the adrenaline rushing through your body, just to name a few things that can make you not 100% accurate. Because that happens, it's practically impossible short of multiple shots to the chest/head to discern "shooting to wound" from "shooting to kill". Which brings me back to my "strawman". If shooting to wound is okay, you have to say it's okay if the person dies from the gunshot.

h, that's fair--a step back would be to analyze gun ownership statistics compared to violent death statistics in certain states. I just thought I'd throw that out there since H was claiming that the presence of guns curtails gun violence (spree shootings in particular)--statistics clearly indicate that the presence of guns increase gun violence, overall.

Actually, statistics point to no correlation. <- (They're going for lowest crime rate being #1, in case you were confused, and DC with the strictest gun laws is number 51 for starters). Or, depending on what you think of Jon Stossel's investigative reporting, the lax gun laws prevent crime. He brings up a good point about how at the Appalachian School of Law a man opened fire but two students who had guns were able to subdue the guy before he killed any more.
Simply put:
Virginia Tech: No guns, 32 people dead in one spree.
Columbine: No guns (well, it's a high school, so understandable), 15 people dead in one spree.
University of Texas: No guns, 16 people dead in one spree.
Appalachian School of Law: Guns, 3 people dead in one spree.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:07 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:Actually, statistics point to no correlation. <- (They're going for lowest crime rate being #1, in case you were confused, and DC with the strictest gun laws is number 51 for starters).
Violent deaths would be a more accurate gauge of the impact of guns--after all, your statistics provide no information on how many criminals were killed by guns--only how many criminals acted despite the widespread presence of guns.

And anecdotal evidence is anecdotal. When we're talking about widespread policy, I want to know the impact that widespread policy will have on everyone, not singular incidents.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:13 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Violent deaths would be a more accurate gauge of the impact of guns--after all, your statistics provide no information on how many criminals were killed by guns--only how many criminals acted despite the widespread presence of guns.

And anecdotal evidence is anecdotal. When we're talking about widespread policy, I want to know the impact that widespread policy will have on everyone, not singular incidents.

Why wouldn't violent crime be a more accurate gauge? If strict gun laws correlates to high crime rates, why would you want that? I'd rather have low crime rates with criminals wounded, scared shitless, or dead than high crime rates with innocent people wounded, scared shitless, or dead.

If you want, we can gather all the data on shootings and draw pretty well-informed speculations from there. That's pretty much what every study you'll ever see is.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:43 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:Why wouldn't violent crime be a more accurate gauge? If strict gun laws correlates to high crime rates, why would you want that? I'd rather have low crime rates with criminals wounded, scared shitless, or dead than high crime rates with innocent people wounded, scared shitless, or dead.
Ah, right. You're the forum poster who thinks that people deserve whatever they get, and that we shouldn't strive to minimize abuse, but just make sure the right people are getting abused.

Beg your pardon.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby dedalus » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:33 am UTC

H2SO4 wrote:If shooting to wound is okay, you have to say it's okay if the person dies from the gunshot.

Define 'okay'. If someone shoots with the intent to wound, and the person dies from their wounds, and the person firing the shot did all they reasonably could to minimise the chance of a fatality, and if they needed to fire that shot, then they shouldn't be held accountable for the damage. But if someone obviously didn't shoot with the intent to wound (aka a shot to the head from 3 metres), and they didn't need to actually kill the person for their own safety or for the safety of an irredeemable item, then they should be held accountable.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby mister k » Mon Dec 07, 2009 10:11 am UTC

Please stop having an argument about gun control. Its somewhat irrelevant. Whether the burglar or yourself posess a gun certainly limits options, but has little to do with gun control.

First of all, please don't make the mistake of believing that anyone is claiming that killing an invader into your home is categorically wrong. I don't think anyone has said that. If one has a gun, I can imagine in a stressful situation one might use it on an intruder without due care, and that'd probably be ok if they were aggresively invading your home. That might be an argument against owning a gun, of course, but thats really another issue. What I am arguing against are people who seem to think that killing someone who has broken into your home is super fine no matter the circumstances. Not only that, indeed, but its a rational, moral action to do. I really don't see how this is remotely justifiable.

Ignoring Golplats ludicrous comment that all burglars are unchangably evil (seriously dude, are you just a gigantic troll, or do you really believe that?), burglars are people who have made a very bad choice. They are in the wrong, there is no doubt of that, and I do not claim they did not have a choice. Of course they do, everyone does. When I blame society, I mean that society has led them to the point where they have made this choice. Burglary is a high risk occupation after all, for not particularly brilliant rewards, so someone has taken a bad route to get there. This route is no doubt inspired by a failing in the society in which this person lives. The notion that this person is iredeemable is absurd. The most important point here is that even if this person is an iredeemable felon, you are in no fit state to judge that. I am really opposed to the notion of individual citizens playing judge jury and executioner. Yes, defending yourself is fine, and in the stress of the moment, defending your home can be equivalent to self defence. But we are having a disucssion in a detached setting, and some posters still seem to think that killing is super fine.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

So sorry just to clarify a matter here, do those advocating some sort of "Castle Rule" still hold to the drab and antiquated notion of rights being inalienable save through the strictest due process by the State?

I would contend that it is not permissable to shoot a burglar. It is permissable in a number of cicrumstances to shoot, or otherwise defend, those who pose an imminent threat to you in your home. For a simple burglar, who is only concerned with making off with your property, the right of the homeowner merely extends to trying to stop him and using minimal (i.e. stoping short of firearms or swords) to do it. Even if one was to accept one forfeits one's rights in doing certain actions why are these disportionate to the rights they are infringing upon? Why if somone is merely violating my right to property, do I assume the perogative of being able to violate his right to life. If anything it hardly seems a fair trade off.

But of course the idea of a trade off is so absurd, that's simply not how rights work. The Right of the Burglar is one of a tresspasser with intent of theft, I think that is a reasonable definition for an ideal legal system; in that, a burglar is merely somone breaking into a home who's going to appropriate your belongings if he can. They do not pose an immediate threat to you as a person either harmfully, or lethally. The only privelage you have is to defend your property, to prevent them from thieving and stop their escape. In doing this one can only use the minimal ammount of harm possible. There's no reason for you suddenly to be allowed to use lethal, grave or otherwise potent force against him when he poses no such threat to you.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Indon » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:35 pm UTC

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:So sorry just to clarify a matter here, do those advocating some sort of "Castle Rule" still hold to the drab and antiquated notion of rights being inalienable save through the strictest due process by the State?

It took me a moment to realize that you were being sarcastic.

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:There's no reason for you suddenly to be allowed to use lethal, grave or otherwise potent force against him when he poses no such threat to you.


Here's a thought: Under the justification you describe, could an individual use less lethal force (such as a taser or mace) in an attempt to disable a burglar?
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby stevey_frac » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:25 pm UTC

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:I would contend that it is not permissable to shoot a burglar. It is permissable in a number of cicrumstances to shoot, or otherwise defend, those who pose an imminent threat to you in your home.

The only privelage you have is to defend your property, to prevent them from thieving and stop their escape. In doing this one can only use the minimal ammount of harm possible. There's no reason for you suddenly to be allowed to use lethal, grave or otherwise potent force against him when he poses no such threat to you.


While I do hold that there is no reason to use lethal force against a thief, Some state laws do permit this.

For example, 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."

It's not a matter of IFF person intends physical harm against you, it's a matter of IF harm OR Felony THEN Lethal force (in some places, not all)

As Thievery is a felony once you cross a certain dollar amount, and seeing as most homes have more then that in them, you could argue convincingly that you thought he was going to take you to the cleaners, and justify lethal force.

Personally, I would think that your house contents should be insured, and people lives, both mine and the thieves, are worth more then the contents of my home, or even the home itself. If you tell the thief 'Take what you want and leave, i won't interfere' He's probably not going to kill you. I'd give you better odds on surviving that then in fighting the thief unless you are trained in combat, Ex-military or police or something.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby Dazmilar » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:49 pm UTC

A lot of this seems to boil down to what percentage chance you're willing to risk dying in your own home because of possible rights of someone invading it. Having never been the victim of a robbery, I think I might shout a warning before opening fire, or fire a warning shot, more so out of fear of shooting at a person rather than some obligation to make sure this isn't one of the nice burglars who won't harm me or my family. But I can understand the idea behind not making it mandatory to follow certain steps when you're protecting your home and family. It isn't a question of a "split-second" decision. It's just a case of what percentage chance I'm willing to risk harm? Attempting to discern if I'm dealing with someone who might kill me or just someone who wants my tv, could lead to my harm. Shouting a warning or firing a warning shot might scare off some people but not others. The Castle rule isn't negating the alleged criminal's right to life, merely elevating the safety of the victim and their home above it.

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:I would contend that it is not permissable to shoot a burglar. It is permissable in a number of cicrumstances to shoot, or otherwise defend, those who pose an imminent threat to you in your home.


The burglars don't wear jerseys to identify themselves from those who pose an imminent threat.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby dedalus » Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:22 am UTC

Dazmilar wrote:
Whimsical Eloquence wrote:I would contend that it is not permissable to shoot a burglar. It is permissable in a number of cicrumstances to shoot, or otherwise defend, those who pose an imminent threat to you in your home.


The burglars don't wear jerseys to identify themselves from those who pose an imminent threat.

That being said, this imminent threat normally comes down to circumstance rather then the burglar himself; most burglars don't actually intend upon killing you and your family in their sleep, most burglars don't intent upon attempting to steal your stuff without anyone noticing, and as soon as they're seen simply saying 'it's a fair cop, guv' and going to jail. But most burglars aren't going to do something stupid like try to attack someone with a gun pointed at their head. So yeah, on average you can tell who poses an imminent threat simply from the situation you're in, and your actions are going to be fairly independent of the identity of the actual burglar.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:00 am UTC

Azrael wrote:
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.


My problem with the European example (and most likely here in Canada, too) of prohibiting deadly force, is that there is rarely room for leeway if things get out of hand. It is not unreasonable for someone to be killed with a 1-2 punch. Or by being pushed then falling down the stairs. You could beat someone until they are unconscious, this would be fine, as self-defense. But if you happen to land a blow to the temple, that's 20 to life. I think "reasonable force" is a better standard than "non-lethal force."
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:00 pm UTC

dedalus wrote:Define 'okay'. If someone shoots with the intent to wound, and the person dies from their wounds, and the person firing the shot did all they reasonably could to minimise the chance of a fatality, and if they needed to fire that shot, then they shouldn't be held accountable for the damage. But if someone obviously didn't shoot with the intent to wound (aka a shot to the head from 3 metres), and they didn't need to actually kill the person for their own safety or for the safety of an irredeemable item, then they should be held accountable.

"Permissible" would be a better word for me to have used there instead of "okay".

Even a headshot from three metres could be an accident. The burglar maybe tried to duck under the shot. Maybe the homeowner tried to shoot in the shoulder but missed.

The Great Hippo wrote:Ah, right. You're the forum poster who thinks that people deserve whatever they get, and that we shouldn't strive to minimize abuse, but just make sure the right people are getting abused.

Beg your pardon.

I don't appreciate the misrepresentation. I say that if abuse is going to happen, it shouldn't be the wrong people getting abused. I don't enjoy anybody getting abused in any matter, but if some abuse has to happen (like in this situation, where either property is stolen or a guy is hurt), I'd rather it not be innocent people.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:56 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:I don't appreciate the misrepresentation.
And I don't appreciate the lying. You've made it abundantly clear in other threads what your position on who deserves what is--are you lying now or have you radically changed your view?

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:12 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
H2SO4 wrote:I don't appreciate the misrepresentation.
And I don't appreciate the lying. You've made it abundantly clear in other threads what your position on who deserves what is--are you lying now or have you radically changed your view?

Neither. I don't like it when innocent people get abused, and if the criminal can get abused I'd rather have that, but if the innocent person didn't protect himself enough to stop the robber or at least help the robber get caught (multiple stories about burglars being caught when they go to the hospital for gunshot wounds and the like), then that's their fault for not using their rights.
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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:24 pm UTC

H2SO4 wrote:Neither. I don't like it when innocent people get abused, and if the criminal can get abused I'd rather have that, but if the innocent person didn't protect himself enough to stop the robber or at least help the robber get caught (multiple stories about burglars being caught when they go to the hospital for gunshot wounds and the like), then that's their fault for not using their rights.
The Great Hippo wrote:Ah, right. You're the forum poster who thinks that people deserve whatever they get, and that we shouldn't strive to minimize abuse, but just make sure the right people are getting abused.

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Re: The right of the burglar

Postby H2SO4 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:40 pm UTC

"Their fault" does not mean they shouldn't get it back. And again, it's not that the right people are getting abused, but that the wrong people aren't.
"Wrong" in this case means the people that don't deserve abuse.
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