Unethical Quote Of The Week: Nautika Harris

miami-teen-home-intruder

“You have to look at it from every child’s point of view that was raised in the hood. You have to understand … how he gonna get his money to have clothes to go to school? You have to look at it from his point of view.”

Nautika Harris (above, right), the cousin of a 17-year-old teen shot dead by a 54-year-old Miami woman as he tried to exit her home, which he had entered to burglarize.

Miami-Dade police say that Trevon Johnson, 17, burglarized the home of a 54-year-old old woman last week.

She was not in the house when the break-in occurred, but after being alerted by her surveillance system, she rushed home and found Johnson climbing out of a window. She shot him dead, and his relatives are outraged.

“I don’t care if she have her gun license or any of that. That is way beyond the law … way beyond,” Johnson’s cousin Nautika Harris told local radio station WFOR. “He was not supposed to die like this. He had a future ahead of him. Trevon had goals … he was a funny guy, very big on education, loved learning.”

And loved burglary, apparently.

There is  a disconnect here, and a deadly one. It is the same cultural malady that caused Michael Brown’s parents, apparently with sincerity, to describe their son as a gentle, lovely young man with a bright future despite his proclivity for getting stoned, shaking down store owners, committing petty theft and battling police officers. Teens who, like Nautika and her dead cousin, have been taught to believe that burglary is a reasonable pursuit in order to “get money to have clothes” do not have a future, and their goals will be blocked by the warped and anti-social ideas injected into them by an ethically stunted environment, encouraged by an entitled, perpetual victim’s mindset.

The community that taught Trevon Johnson that American society was obligated to ” look at it from his point of view” when he was robbing their houses doomed him as surely as his killer’s bullet. The Golden Rule is not “Do unto me as you would want to have done unto you if you were as devoid of civilized values as I am.”

The homeowner did not have to shoot Trevon, and should not have. It was not as if he was discovered in the house while she was there alone; he was not armed; he posed no threat as he tried to escape. Burglary is not a capital crime. She was wrong, and I would have no problem if she were charged with manslaughter for using excessive force, though apparently she will not be. Trevon’s family, however, and his community, have no basis for anger and indignation. Based on the words of his cousin, they taught a young man, because they apparently believe, that committing crimes to acquire other people’s property is reasonable, not at all inconsistent with having “a future” and “goals,” and that the rest of America should accept that.

As long as young black men are taught to think this way, tragedies like this will keep occurring, and people like Nautika will insist that white people just don’t understand.

 

91 thoughts on “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Nautika Harris

  1. http://lawnewz.com/crazy/woman-kills-home-intruder-and-media-actually-outraged-at-her/

    Dan Abrams’ article. Evidently there was a “confrontation” between the child and the homeowner. So she may have been firmly within her rights under the applicable Fla. statutes (thanks Tex).

    Dan’s article also includes a mug shot of the deceased child. Does this mean he was previously charged as an adult? I do not know.

    Interesting there is no discussion of the race of the homeowner. Insofar as she resides in Liberty City, one of the two traditional black areas of Miami (the other being Overtown), I am going to assume she, as was the child, is black.

    • I read that. If someone is crawling out of my home window, and I say, “WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING???”, that’s a confrontation. I don’t assume he attacked her.

      Yes, I assume she’s black, since this didn’t spark immediate riots. Because black lives matter unless they are killed by other blacks (BLMUTAKBOB)

      • 776.013 Home protection; use or threatened use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
        (1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using or threatening to use defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
        (a) The person against whom the defensive force was used or threatened was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
        (b) The person who uses or threatens to use defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
        (2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:
        (a) The person against whom the defensive force is used or threatened has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
        (b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used or threatened; or
        (c) The person who uses or threatens to use defensive force is engaged in a criminal activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further a criminal activity; or
        (d) The person against whom the defensive force is used or threatened is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using or threatening to use force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.
        (3) A person who is attacked in his or her dwelling, residence, or vehicle has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use force, including deadly force, if he or she uses or threatens to use force in accordance with s. 776.012(1) or (2) or s. 776.031(1) or (2).
        (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
        (5) As used in this section, the term:
        (a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
        (b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
        (c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.
        History.—s. 1, ch. 2005-27; s. 4, ch. 2014-195.

        776.031 Use or threatened use of force in defense of property.—
        (1) A person is justified in using or threatening to use force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other’s trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. A person who uses or threatens to use force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat before using or threatening to use such force.
        (2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
        History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1189, ch. 97-102; s. 3, ch. 2005-27; s. 5, ch. 2014-195.

        I bolded the relevant bits. They seem to conflict given the scenario. We’d need more info before deciding which particular applies to situation.

        • The case law also would be relevant here too. My *guess” is that the first home protection statute presumes that the person is home. For example, if someone enters my bedroom to steal something, and I am startled and use deadly force, I probably won’t be charged with a crime even if the person I kill is a teenager and is unarmed. But, as the facts appear to be here, I rush home after getting an iphone alert that my alarm has been triggered to see someone exiting a window with a bag full of my property, I don’t get to shoot him — because I am in no danger whatsoever. The thief still committed a crime and should go to jail, but the use of deadly force is not warranted at that point. If a physical confrontation ensues, then force most likely would be justified. Jack’s analysis above most likely is correct.

          • Beth, you need to re-read the statute. 776.031(2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. Breaking and entering is defined as a ‘forcible felony’, at least in Texas and that ‘forcible felony’ had already occurred. Therefore, she was within her rights. The use of deadly force may or may not be warranted, but it is absolutely legal.

          • But Beth, you have assumed the kid didn’t jump out of the window and lunge at the woman who was in her back yard. There was a “confrontation.” Who knows, maybe he figured while he was grabbing things, he might as well grab her Glock as well. She may have been diminutive and certainly not as athletic as a seventeen year-old guy.

  2. “You have to look at it from every child’s point of view that was raised in the hood … You have to look at it from his point of view.”

    Really? A call to walk a mile in another person’s shoes? Who is she expecting that of? If she’s expecting it of us, the third party viewers, I just did my mental walk in his shoes…and I’ve decided he’s still completely in the wrong. That he ended up dead of circumstances of HIS making? Nope, he still fails in the analysis.

    If she’s expecting it of the 2nd party in this, the woman who shot the boy, then she’s expecting an awful lot of someone in that situation. At most, I’d expect the homeowner to consider this: “Is this guy and myself in a situation that warrants me pulling the trigger, or can I alleviate this in another way while still protecting my property?” I think that’s a reasonable expectation of this homeowner given her lead time to the confrontation (and assuming that nothing had really escalated greatly between initial confrontation and shooting — such as what happened in the Trayvon Martin episode).

    However, if she’s expecting the 2nd party to consider this kid’s life story compared to her own life story, and the great arc of her community and society in general prior to deciding whether or not to pull the trigger…well that’s just silly.

    “You have to understand … how he gonna get his money to have clothes to go to school? “

    Was he naked during the burglary?

    “I don’t care if she have her gun license or any of that.”

    Which is irrelevant anyway. The gun license doesn’t license anyone to use deadly force in protection of themselves, others, or their property. ETHICS permits someone to use force in protection of themselves, others, or their property. Then, the relevant law (not a gun licensing law) actually encodes the the ethics that permits a person to do so. The 2nd Amendment is only tangential to this issue.

    I think this little poorly-educated teenager is just throwing out current buzz-issues to muddle things further.

    “That is way beyond the law … way beyond,”

    Probably not, not after surveying the relevant statutes.

    “He was not supposed to die like this.”

    He wasn’t supposed to live like that either. But which came first?

    “He had a future ahead of him. Trevon had goals … he was a funny guy, very big on education, loved learning.”

    Evidently he didn’t value that future or those goals very highly.

  3. “There is a disconnect here, and a deadly one. It is the same cultural malady that caused Michael Brown’s parents, apparently with sincerity, to describe their son as a gentle, lovely young man with a bright future despite his proclivity for getting stoned, shaking down store owners, committing petty theft and battling police officers.”

    Here’s a question:

    Do the parents and other justifiers WITHIN these communities say these things because:

    1) They are so unethical or non-ethically educated themselves that they don’t see an issue with the criminal or bad conduct of their children and just think that behavior is part of that community life?

    2) They acknowledge the conduct is bad, but willfully ignore it because they don’t want to admit they were awful parents.

    3) They acknowledge the conduct is bad, but reduce it’s severity through various rationalizations ultimately related to hey “youth will be youth, let him grow up” all while ignoring their role in that growing up process (because we all know, adults don’t accidentally happen).

  4. “She was wrong, and I would have no problem if she were charged with manslaughter for using excessive force, though apparently she will not be. Trevon’s family, however, and his community, have no basis for anger and indignation.”

    You know, Jack, this is actually 3rd cousins twice removed from the Naked Teacher Principle in terms of how the standard is set up and applied:

    Person X did Conduct Y which is disagreeable to person Z; though person Z doesn’t HAVE to react to conduct Y, person Z is Permitted to react to conduct Y, and person X has no right to complain when Z does react to the Conduct.

  5. Not another Trevon! I can hardly wait. The predictable cortege of race pimps will show up in this woman’s neighborhood, screaming “no justice, no peace!” and a big fat lawsuit awaits. No mention of his sociopathic behavior will be made of course.

  6. This brings me back to the “over incarceration” canard. Had he not been killed, and the police had shown up (they were responding but got there after the homeowner) before he managed to scamper away, this child would pretty surely have been facing at least juvenile hall. Maybe he would have been tried and sentenced as an adult if he’d already been booked previously. How is this “over incarceration?” How is this systemic racism? I’m going to guess the homeowner, who has a home and a job and a gun and enough money to have things this child wanted to steal and have a security system in place and monitored, grew up in the ‘hood since she’s still living there. She found a way to live her life without being incarcerated.

    Anyone? Anyone? Beuhler?

  7. Jack said, “As long as young black men are taught to think this way, tragedies like this will keep occurring, and people like Nautika will insist that white people just don’t understand.”

    The destruction of intelligence and dumbing down of our citizens was started years ago; we are seeing the results of that now.

  8. Beth wrote: “My *guess” is that the first home protection statute presumes that the person is home. For example, if someone enters my bedroom to steal something, and I am startled and use deadly force, I probably won’t be charged with a crime even if the person I kill is a teenager and is unarmed. But, as the facts appear to be here, I rush home after getting an iphone alert that my alarm has been triggered to see someone exiting a window with a bag full of my property, I don’t get to shoot him — because I am in no danger whatsoever.”
    __________________

    I thought of that too. Then I thought that a seeing device in her home is an extension of her own eyes. What matters is not that she was out when the main part of the robbery occurred, but that for whatever reason, and through whatever mechanism, she returned to her home.

    It seems that for the intruder – and this I agree with – nearly all his rights were surrendered when he broke in. If he would do that, he might do anything else.

    Even if he were leaving while in the process of a robbery, and yet was still there, he might have posed a danger and he might also have had a weapon. She could not know and it is not really her business to have to investigate. He might have decided to turn around and attack, or to take out a weapon and attack, or come back momentarily with a weapon and attack.

    Everything hinges on the assertion ‘in no danger whatsoever’. It seems more in keeping with the facts that, as it pertains to criminals, there is no telling what they might do, what drug they are on, and how crazed and psychotic they are. Thus it is reasonable to assume, especially with a young male, that ‘I AM in great danger’.

    It is likely that she will regret her decision for the rest of her life given the social shaming (and social danger) that may arise, and it is also likely that she acted in the heat of the moment, and maybe even vindictively (if that can be ascribed as a motive in this case), and yet it is quite likely best for all concerned that this kid was killed, and that all thieves who break and enter know that such a fate may await them.

    If it happens that thieves are given special rights, then they will take advantage of those rights.

    Seems to me that the principle of home protection trumps almost all other concerns.

  9. Dragin wrote: “A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. Breaking and entering is defined as a ‘forcible felony’, at least in Texas and that ‘forcible felony’ had already occurred. Therefore, she was within her rights. The use of deadly force may or may not be warranted, but it is absolutely legal.”
    _______________________

    He could have been making off with objects of great value which may never have been recovered, and so to stop him with bullets and to prevent that, is in fact reasonable, if somewhat callous.

    But let’s say that a thief was making off with the equivalent of 3 or 5 years of my hard labor. Is it reasonable to stop him by any means? I think that yes. Then it does seem to me that the victim has the right to use any means at all to stop him or her.

    To stop someone from escaping from the forcible felony, and with the property in question, is valid cause and seen in this way was warranted.

    • No. You’ve got this all wrong. Even if the person takes your life savings (e.g., Bernie Madoff), you don’t legally or ethically get to shoot him in the head. The test for home invasion involves one of fear and personal safety — that is why deadly force is allowed. The question turns on whether the homeowner felt personally in danger when she saw the thief exiting her window. If he rushed her, pulled a weapon, or something along those lines — I would agree that she had a right to pull her weapon and shoot. But if the thief did none of those things, then the homeowner should be charged with a crime. Stealing is never punishable by death (nor should it be), unless it is armed robbery or the thief enters the home while the homeowner is present.

        • Beth wrote: “Stealing is never punishable by death (nor should it be), unless it is armed robbery or the thief enters the home while the homeowner is present.”

          This is true, on the face. However, she DID come home and she WAS there when the felony was on-going. He could have had a weapon, and he could have done her physical harm, and he could have in his possession a valuable object.

          In recognition of this (though her actual motive may have been different), to bring a charge against her would have no legal base, or a scanty one.

      • I think you’re still arguing only the legal aspect of this scenario. Alizia is expanding the topic into the realm of pure ethics now. In a surprise, she’s opening the discussion in a way that we may find enjoyable.

        I do think it is worthy to go down this potential rabbit trail. She does bring up a valid concern. The thief is the one assuming all risk here. It’s like the issues I have with punishing arson. It’s hard to consider a fair balance in that instance… When you burn someone’s house down, you’ve effectively destroyed their lives all the way up to actually killing them. But then again, the sentencing is incredibly light compared to the effect on the victim.

        In Alizia’s opening of the discussion, I don’t think you can rebut by reiterating the statutes surrounding various self defense laws. You may need to get to the first principles in this and show why values are ranked as they are. I for one am not convinced but am sympathetic to her notion that the thief is the one who chosen to ruin someone’s life, quite devastatingly I might add, even though it is only material.

        • (Oh, it’s no surprize really. Everything that I think about, and all my ideas and concerns, can be seen by an intelligent, open-minded person as being interesting and considerable: relevant to the issues discussed, though I am obsessive and over-enthusiastic.

          I often encounter people, I won’t mention names though, whose minds seem to turn in established ruts and when they are challenged to expand they react: ridiculing, putting down, net-woking among their chums (those who think in similar ruts) to block that person from expressing themselves. It feels so ‘American’. It is a dynamic that is common in social arenas. That ‘blocking’ motive is wicked and ugly, Tex. It is harmful. I mean to ideas, to conversation, to exchange.

          Sound familiar? 😉

          I am not here for ‘enjoyment’. It sound pretentious, I know, but I am interested in taking these issues and all issues to their ultimate points. To do so means engaging in all manner of different and seemingly disparate issues and questions. That you can’t do that, or won’t, or can’t see its value, is your problem. Too bad for you.

          Come at me, I’ll come back at you.)

        • Tex wrote: “In Alizia’s opening of the discussion, I don’t think you can rebut by reiterating the statutes surrounding various self defense laws. You may need to get to the first principles in this and show why values are ranked as they are. I for one am not convinced but am sympathetic to her notion that the thief is the one who chosen to ruin someone’s life, quite devastatingly I might add, even though it is only material.”
          _______________________

          My limited understanding of the principles of jurisprudence, and I am not sure if this is an American emphasis or part-and-parcel of English or Roman law, is that ‘property’ has a very high value. And so it should. It is second to the person himself, it seems to me.

          In the example I cited – even if it could only be supposed that the thief would get away with a valuable thing not his – seems a sound base to dis-enable him from getting away. Stopping his ‘immanent forcible felony’.

          It is a hypothetical example since no one knows what her motive for shooting was. But if it were her motive it seems defensible to my mind.

      • What I proposed was different. You example is not a good one because it is not ‘in the heat of the moment’. Obviously, when you discover you’d been robbed by Bernie Madoff you cannot go and shoot him.

        I said, in a comment addressing Dragin, that she could have been motivated by the fear that the thief was getting away with something of tremendous value to her. Let us say a jewel worth a million for the example.

        If she allowed him to escape, he could 1) hide it, 2) lose it, 3) damage it. Thus – and in my view and according to my own sense of the ethical – her motive to shoot him (and any time a gun is fired one must assume the shot one will die)(no ethical ‘wounding shots’) would be justified.

        He surrendered nearly all his rights when he broke and entered, in my view.

        I based my assessment on this: “A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

        The immanent commission was on-going, and not after the fact. In lieu of this statement (if indeed it is ‘the law’) she is justified to stop him from his immanent commission, and thus to protect her property.

        This argument seems to me sound, given what I quoted.

  10. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/03/15/a-miami-woman-killed-a-teen-burglar-as-he-fled-her-home-should-she-be-charged/
    _________________________

    I think I see where this is going: empathy will tilt toward to ‘poor disadvantaged child criminal’. Then, it will begin to become established that if you shoot to protect yourself in your own home it may be YOU who has to face devastating legal charges, years of litigation, social shaming, someone trying to get even with you, and much else.

    So, with that in mind, you will be advised NOT to protect yourself, and possibly not to keep a gun handy. If the law does not stand behind you – clearly and obviously – you are on your own, a ‘rogue’. A gun-nut.

    I notice an undercurrent here: the movement to rid people of their weapons. It is likely connected with that government movement to place restrictions on gun ownership. First step: bring charges against people who shoot an invader. Suspect the home-owner. Pity the criminal.

    The facts hear seem to be: a person of color (not a white lady) who got frustrated that her house was broken into numerous times, who set up her own surveillance system so SHE could protect her home, her property. She did so, and now she is the suspect.

    They are not sure if he actually stole anything, so we can assume the fellow broke in to make a peanut butter sandwich?

    Poor little bugger ….

    • Bad slippery slope argument. Being inside or outside the house is a material difference. An intruder inside a house with you is an inherent threat, justifying self defense. An intruder leaving a house with the owner outside is no threat at all. The woman would have no good reason to shoot a 35 year old—the fact that its a kid just makes the clear ethical course more obvious, or should. Empathy has nothing to do with the basic issue, but when the escaping intruder is a kid, it should be more obvious. Again, a police officer couldn’t shoot someone in this scenario.

  11. I agree that if one holds to your interpretation of the event/confrontation that her decision to shoot is questionable. But much – if not everything – depends on things that are not yet fully known:
    ______________________

    From the WashPo article: “There is little clarity in the reports of what happened that afternoon after Jenrette rushed home. It’s unclear whether Jenrette called the police or whether they were automatically called to the house by the alarm system. A police statement said she “arrived prior to the officers and began to inspect the exterior of the home, when a confrontation occurred with the burglar. The homeowner produced a firearm and shot the subject.”

    “Other news reports quoting police said she “went room to room” searching the house before finding Johnson, according to WSVN.”

    “She observed a subject exiting the home through the rear,” Miami-Dade police spokesman Daniel Ferrin told the television station. “At that point there was some type of a quick confrontation.”
    ________________________

    I was thinking about what you say: the police could not shoot in that case. I assume you are right: they would likely not have shot (as per the rule books) if he ran away and did not appear to have a weapon.

    But I would argue that the homeowner has more rights in this case, because it is her home, her property. She is on her land, and it is her home that is being attacked.

    The police operate within statistical situations. They cannot have ‘ownership interest’ in someone else’s property.

    I recognize that my view is draconian, and may not accord with the way the law in this region is written (though it might), but in fact I am inclined to want to shift the ‘ethics’ here (ethics as agreements in a given society) toward a zero-tolerance attitude. I seem then to side with Drummond: the right to protect one’s home and hearth is an old old convention.

    It is interesting to me that as I come to understand ethics as you present them, I wonder if you are offering, overall, your personal sense of the ethical? or if you are translating a ‘general, social sense’, or if you are translating a specifically American grasp of ethics?

    If you are translating a ‘generally accepted set of norms’, I will suppose that those norms can and do shift: on one hand (in one time) toward one pole (say leniency) and then back toward intolerance and harshness. But there is no Universal Rule. That means that much of this present conversation has been, overall, one of sentiments. Drummond: the absolutely intolerant brandisher of a 12-guage shotgun who relishes shooting a ‘POS’. Beth: the queasy liberal who would not know how to formulate a rigid, unforgiving posture. Extraterrestrial: who holds to the value of the possibility of ‘transformations’ occurring in a person’s soul and can’t seem to relate to the notion of intolerance.

    Each of these attitudes – and mine too – seem to arise from a whole other group of tenets and predicates.

    I support, then, a social ethic and a Golden Rule ethic that would become far more harsh and far less forgiving. And in many other areas and arenas I am attempting to define, and institute, a harsher and harder overall ethic. My relationship to ethics is just as valid as anyone else’s (unless someone can produce an ethical standard, which they cannot).

    • But I would argue that the homeowner has more rights in this case, because it is her home, her property. She is on her land, and it is her home that is being attacked.

      And ethically, and in sensible states, leghally, you would be wrong. Police are law enforcement officials and trained. They have MORE leeway to use deadly force, not less, than ordinary citizens. Your version of ethics is “Gotcha!”: Ha! You’re on my property and even though you haven’t threatened me, I can still kill you!”

      This is the plot of “Sleuth.” And it’s a murder mystery.

      • I agree – certainly – that in all public situations, in shopping centers, on the highways – that police should be relied on to deal with criminal issues. (Except where it happens that there is no police and a citizen, trained well or badly, has a weapon or the will to do something).
        ______________________

        Jack wrote: “Your version of ethics is “Gotcha!”: Ha! You’re on my property and even though you haven’t threatened me, I can still kill you!”
        ________________

        I see your point, but your point is made through a form of hyperbole, too? More precisely it seems to be like this: ‘My house has been robbed continually. The police could not be relied on in the past to stop the invasions. I set up my own surveillance system which alerted me. And in the course of protecting my home there was an altercation and I shot the criminal’.

        I see the invasion AS THE THREAT. It is in itself threat incarnate. But you choose, for your specific reasons, to minimize a break-in/invasion to something far less than a threat. To do so in retrospect is not hard, and is tempting, but I assume this was an ‘in the moment’ issue. For that woman, at that time, in those circumstances, the threat was right there.

        When you say ‘in sensible states’ you indicate there are non-sensible ones, and that if they have laws that give much more right to a homeowner (to protect, to fire on, to use violence to end an assault)but that they are ethically in a questionable territory.

        But there you have the ethical issue as a moral or internal stance, mediated by a sentimental posture (though it could also be a reasoned one), which will act to change the law to favor the ‘rights’ of break-in criminals. Ethical attitudes shift from time to time, and region to region.

        I agree that the police – in public spheres, in special situations, on the highways, etc. – are the ones that have to be relied on, and should be relied on. Yet I still hold to some perhaps more ancient, more ingrained attitude that the homeowner will defend both his body and his possessions with more zeal, and that this is right and good. A policeman is an employee, and employees cannot have ‘ownership interest’.

        I would also defend ‘a greater good’ of knocking power of defence back into the homeowner’s camp and away from civic authority. Could lead to greater chaos in some situations, but to less crime.

        Can’t think of a great deal more to say but it is a very interesting question, overall.

        • ‘My house has been robbed continually. The police could not be relied on in the past to stop the invasions. I set up my own surveillance system which alerted me. And in the course of protecting my home there was an altercation and I shot the criminal’.

          I don’t see a difference. How often the home has been robbed shouldn’t doom a non-violent burglar?

          • I see and acknowledge you overall point: restraint would have been better.

            Since you asked me that question, and I am always tantalized by the theoretical abstraction, I would say the following:

            Any thief would do well to know that it is possible a homeowner has been robbed before, and he should assume this. He MUST assume (in his chosen trade, as it were) that any trespassing will ‘doom’ him as you say. He MUST NOT be allowed to assume that there will come upon him no severe reaction.

            If more thieves understand this, and if more of them hear of the consequences, maybe they will take up another line of work?

      • I do have one other question, one that has been on my mind for some time:

        On what is your system of ethics based? Social convention? Reasoned opinion? A specific philosophical or ethical school? Do you argue (defend your ethics I mean) as a singular person or do you speak for a community?

        How do you establish a basis for your ethical principles? How do you decide on them?

        • All of that is answered on the various resources on the site. I’d check out the ethics decision-making formulas.
          I use many systems, because no system works in all cases.

          Abstract philosophical systems have limited use in real life. In general, the objective here is to apply ethical reasoning, problem-solving and objectives as often as possible, and to recognize how often decisions should be made based on ethical values rather than emotion or rationalizations. There are often more than one ethically justifiable solution to an ethical problem. It is also usually not hard distinguishing the non-eithical and unethical responses from the ethical ones.

          The human race is in general agreement regarding what are ethical as opposed to unethical values: experience as a species has made that clear. In most cases, all legitimate ethics systems will reach the same result. The approach here is that the process and the goal–an ethical society—is more crucial than the tools used to reach a diagnosis.

          Of course, I speak only for myself.

    • I’m not in favor of letting people commit crimes. I’m just trying to target the causes of criminality rather than just the criminals themselves.

      As far as norms are concerned, I do understand where you’re coming from, because I am actually a very intolerant person, and quite wrath-responsive–just on a sophisticated level. If a person attacks me and makes me feel unsafe, my first instinct is to help them feel more at ease and less threatened, so they can relax and be reasoned with. If that doesn’t work, my next instinct is to incapacitate them using any means necessary. Fear, pain, existential angst, anything that disrupts the mind. If I can’t deal with a human as a person, my instinct is to treat it like a dangerous animal, so I project the impression of “harmless if unprovoked, potentially deadly if threatened” that is so popular among civilized wrath-responsives. Despite this, I’ve learned to walk the line between treating humans as people and treating them as animals, so as not to dispel the possibility of them starting to act like people again.

      In addition, however intolerant of wrongdoing I am, I am not a fan of collateral damage (that sounds obvious to rational people, but many wrath-responsives are such fans). I prefer to hone my weapons of assassination such that not even the target dies, rather only the parts of them that harm others. The best way to do that is to anesthetize the mind, so that it doesn’t consider me a credible threat even as I attack aspects of its functioning. Most people don’t have the kind of finesse, and sometimes those that do find themselves in a situation without an opportunity to exercise it, so they have to make do with physical force. I don’t fault them for that.

      The concept of a person’s home and possessions being a sort of extension of their body as far as threats go is a valid one, especially in areas of the world without adequate or reliable law enforcement. A threat to one’s territory and the fruits of one’s labor is not so different from a violent threat, especially in areas with more poverty, where it is harder to recover from theft.* If there is no mechanism, whether state-sponsored or individually maintained, to defend against criminals, then there will be no way for people to make a better life for themselves. (This is the flip side of “sacred hospitality” that is similarly important in harsh areas.) I don’t necessarily condemn a person for punishing a home invasion in progress with deadly force, but I do rebuke any person who, in their attempts to save themselves from cognitive dissonance, celebrates as though something constructive had happened. Destroying a person to prevent them destroying oneself isn’t constructive, though it may be completely justified.

      What, then, do I support? I support using violence, even deadly force to stop crimes, provided they are shaped in such a way that a perpetrator has opportunities at all points to surrender (or be captured), but will meet with more resistance and eventually destruction if they press on. The United States police seems to do a decent job of that. In the short term, violence may be necessary to protect people, but that doesn’t make it something to celebrate.

      In the long term, we should be addressing what leads to crimes. Generally speaking, the lack of other options, or a lack of confidence in those options, will lead to people developing a sense of entitlement, the idea that the world at large owes them easy sustenance, and so they can prey on strangers secure in their rationalization. If we open up other options, give them confidence, and dispel the idea that stealing from others is the same as collecting on a debt, we can steer people away from committing crimes on either end of a gun. You can call it a “transformation” but it’s more useful to think of it as a software update.

      As a side note, I also find it intriguing that people consider the death penalty to be ethically different from permanent torture, or an oubliette. I guess that’s because not many people consider ethics from the perspective of humanity as a gestalt consciousness.

      *I am aware that emotionally and ethically equating theft with violence seems to be a lesser case of equating ideological disagreement with violence. The bold line I draw is that the world is a better place when people have to work through disagreements, but a worse place when people get stolen from, even though both situations can make people feel threatened.

      • “I also find it intriguing that people consider the death penalty to be ethically different from permanent torture”-–what??? They are completely, utterly different. Ideally, capital punishment is painless. Torture is nothing but pain. Capital punishment ends life. Torture makes life unbearable. Everybody dies; capital punishment just speeds up the process. Everybody does not endure endless torture. Capital punishment is necessary to establish the ultimate in the spectrum of punishment so other crimes can be punished proportionately. Torture has been determined by courts and philosophers to be cruel and unacceptable for civilized cultures.

        I find it intriguing that you would find this intriguing.

        • Perhaps it’s because we’re not on the same page as to what aspects of a person’s existence are significant. Upon reflection, I think it’s because I consider giving up on mentoring and educating a person in your custody to be unequivocally unacceptable, a declaration that they are simply not a conscious entity, so the distinction between different ways of treating them as a non-person seems somewhat trivial in comparison to abandoning them in the first place. Being a nurture-user does influence the way I tend to prioritize different values.

          • Sorry, that’s nuts, and hints of narcissism and a misunderstanding of ethics. The fact that its no different to YOU is irrelevant. Ethics requires considering the differences to the individual executed or tortured.

            • I’m not sure where you get narcissism from. I’m trying to understand your point of view to see if it’s better than mine.

              Maybe I misunderstand the rationale behind a death sentence. If a person is to be executed, they are probably imprisoned and therefore cannot directly harm society. If we are willing to actively oppose their desire to continue existing when they are already helpless, why would we worry about actively opposing their desire to not be in pain? It would certainly be unhealthy and unethical to make a habit of torturing people simply because we’re angry with them for having hurt people, but why would it be better to simply kill them? That’s why I assert that they are ethically very similar. They are both states of being that people don’t want that are being forced on them anyway because of their antisocial past actions.

              I’d be willing to bet that there are a significant number of people who would choose torture of finite duration over death, and who would not regret their choice afterward. In fact, there are many people who have chosen it, though in most cases admittedly it wasn’t artificially designed torture. Who says that a painless death is always preferable to a life of pain? Pain can be overcome.* Death, not yet.

              “Everybody dies; capital punishment just speeds up the process.”

              Just because everybody dies doesn’t make it okay to kill people. That excuse could be used for a serial killer equally effectively, and is therefore worthless as an argument excusing capital punishment. That’s a terrible rationalization, and a nihilistic dismissal of ethics. I may be nuts, but that’s either hypocrisy or mere sloppiness. I believe it’s the latter, but try being more humble and respectful when you criticize people, because they will be more inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt when you screw it up. You’re right most of the time, but people don’t always listen to you because you take it for granted.

              *If pain is physiologically disruptive to the brain’s functioning in a way that cannot be compensated for, it goes beyond mere pain and into trauma, i.e. physically harming the brain indirectly. That’s just a slow death of the consciousness with torture included, so it would be pointless to include it in the comparison between death and torture.

          • That’s my position, and reason for supporting it. I don’t think most people or policy makers have thought about that reason, but it’s the best one. If the ultimate evil is only worth X punishment, then the less than ultimate evil is punished by X-1. If X is life imprisonment, then by the time you get to just plain old fashioned murder, you have light sentences like we see in Europe, and life’s value is set very, very low–hence euthanasia and abortion. I’ve written about this many times. I don’t care if executions are reserved for sane people who cook no less than 100 children alive and eat them because they taste good—society has to set an upper limit that forfeits the right to live in society.

            • Thinking about it, I cannot see execution as the ultimate punishment, possibly because it IS humane. It is simply doing away with the problem.

              The ‘upper limit’ – if it is execution – is surely an upper limit of sorts but not enough of one. If one were really to define an ‘upper limit’ it would be as the Medieval era devised and also turned into a spectacle: ferocious tortures and slow, lingering death, in a shared social process.

              And instant death would amount to a form of leniency.

              (You have reminded me of the Second Essay in ‘Genealogy of Morals’ in which punishment is dealt on). It is a complex subject.

              Extraterrestrial feels that as long as the person is sentient and conscious that s/he is ‘worth some effort’, and recognizes a moral obligation, and I suppose he would define an ethical platform supporting this idea.

              Frankly, I tend to see the route of torture, then, as an extension of the ‘allow me to influence you’ platform. ‘Since I could not get through to you by all normal means I am now forced to employ abnormal means’. ‘Be happy that I am not executing you’.

              I follow Nietzsche insofar as I see that culturally, and civilizationally, our very ‘self’ and the way we are, is in numerous senses a result of long and exquisite social tortures. Torture, pain, discomfort and suffering have always been a backdrop to conscious existence. ‘In The Penal Colony’ (Kafka) is a restatement of the thesis of On the Genealogy of Morals, and society is a specialized machine which imposes its values in us. The involution of values, the transvaluation, is to turn the Machine against the operator of it. (Shoot a thief, go on trial).

              I find that both of you are very inclined to a form of faith in man and the individual and I am inclined to desire to locate the source of it.

              When one thinks about the social function of the spectacle of torture, it is less for the ‘benefit’ of the one tortured and quite directly a warning to those watching. Too, they get the pleasure of witnessing an enactment and, as with Tragedy, the cathartic resolution.

              (Please, no one should think that I practice such arts. Even ‘Resurrected Today’ aka ‘Zoltar!’ will vouch that, though he surely deserved it, I did not drop him down into the oubliette to be gnawed by rats.)
              ___________________

              To establish and to construct ‘the ethical man’ is no simple feat. If the essence of an ethic is in the individual capable of being ethical, it presupposes a tremendous work and a fantastic backdrop of culture, sensitivity, aspiration, value, and the capacity to think – and to imagine – at very advanced – sophisticated – levels. An ethical man is the ultimate work of art.

              One might desire to inculcate virtue, but inculcation can only mean coerce or induce. In the sense that both Jack and Extraterrestrial seem to indicate, it is nothing less than bringing a superior sort of man into existence – somehow. This is the essence of many many questions and problems that we deal with.

              (The Christian Idea, in its most essential, and most quintessential, and most mercurial, has to do with a capacity to grasp ‘faith’ and also ‘grace’. This turns back to Burgess and ‘A Clockwork Orange’: What transforms a man? Certainly not coercion.)

              What feature of man, what skill, what aptitude, what characteristic, what sentiment, what process of mind and emotion can produce – can nourish and augment a spirit capable of advanced ethical distinction?

              • That’s another good point; execution is a rather tame “upper limit”.

                I think the reason I don’t give up on people is that I realize how easily other people could give up on me. You may have noticed that I have trouble making myself understood (it used to be much worse). How could I expect people to make the effort to understand and help me despite the gap between our paradigms if I did not extend to them the same or greater effort? It’s easy to dismiss people like me as incomprehensible, gibbering horrors from beyond the stars, hence my name. It is not one I chose lightly, for it describes me well. I would be betraying myself and ethics if I turned away from others when I know how hurtful that is to a person, whether they recognize it or not. Do we owe it to others to always reach out to them? Quite possibly. Regardless, we absolutely owe it to ourselves. Therein lies my “faith”.

                What can nourish and augment a spirit you ask? Nurture mindset, also known as Life Element, combining the mindsets of analysis, synthesis, semantics, empathy, mystery, diagnosis, narrative, deconstruction, science, design, translation, background, perception, and communication. It involves exposing people to ideas, interacting with them on multiple levels, understanding them, allowing them to develop independently, guiding them, inspiring them, criticizing them, writing and rewriting rules and stories, and many other activities. It’s a rare enough skill in this world, being one of the top-tier mindsets. I’m looking to teach it along with the other mindsets.

            • So the value of life is set by whether we destroy yours if you destroy someone else’s? It makes sense to have punishment scale with the severity of a crime, but don’t get too attached to the algorithms. There are no real limits to a person’s potential crimes, but there are limits to how much they can be punished, especially if you choose not to match torture with torture.

              Of course, that’s all assuming that punishment is a complete solution to the problem of crime in and of itself.

              Hang on, you’re against euthanasia? So you will impose death on a criminal against their wishes because of their crimes, but refuse to inflict pain on them because it’s inhumane, but on the other hand you will refuse to grant a painless death to someone who would prefer it over their current situation that they find to be torture? I’m not in favor of death or pain, but I’d be less disconcerted if I saw some consistency here.

  12. Wow! In addition to multiple, intriguing comments from Alizia and Extradimensional Cephalopod, we have rampant additional fire coming from all directions on this post. So much so, I’ll only return fire with a single comment that ignores most of what has been written. (And shame on all of you that kept slinging zingers that kept me laughing while reading the other very serious comments!)

    I will defend the homeowner for protecting her property. I can’t defend the use of lethal force – even if it was legal. Legal is not the same as ethical. She did not have a “right” to shoot the intruder unless she also had a legal right. She may have. But, the right does not exist in the absence of the law that proclaims the right. Still, existence of the right and existence of the law does not make the act ethical.

    I have no idea what Trevon may have deserved, nor does any other person on earth. Generally, I would not say that burglary is deserving of death. However, there may be other things about Trevon we don’t know, and these could be deserving of death. If we happen to believe that the wages of sin are death, and that all of us have sinned, Trevon got what he deserved (as will the rest of us, sooner or later).

    Distortions of the Golden Rule are especially repugnant to me. Versions of the Golden Rule are found in every culture, and predate Christianity by several centuries. Thus, the rule is not a reflection of cultural values or tied to Judeo-Christian ethics. Instead, it is a reflection of ethical values generally. Though it does not hint at the proactive nature of the rule as stated by Jesus, I prefer the version promoted by Confucius: Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire. In other words, if you do not desire to be shot and killed for burglary, do not impose it on others.

    For texagg04, yes, yes, and yes. For Chris, I explain them as collectively deceived or collectively deluded, with the help of liberal academics, politicians, and media (but they do mean well). Essentially, we have a community unwilling to recognize and call out the illegal behavior involved in these incidents. Instead of a man attacking a police officer, we are told about an unarmed black teenager with his hands up saying, “Don’t shoot.” Instead of a man resisting arrest for illegally selling cigarettes, we’re told about a black man strangled to death by ruthless New York City police officers. Instead of a man shot in the process of illegally selling stolen guns, we’re told about a white friend of a white sheriff operating as if he were a qualified law enforcement officer. Instead of hearing about a kid irresponsibly waving a gun at everyone passing by, we are told about unqualified white cops killing black kids without reason.

    In all of these situations, and many more, the illegality (or at least suspiciousness) of the behavior of the “victims” is rarely mentioned or emphasized. Wayne’s comment is appropriate, and I suspect accurately prophetic, “No mention of his sociopathic behavior will be made of course.” Nobody wants to blame the apparent victim, even if the victim is partially (or entirely) at fault. The DNC and the mainstream media (liberals in general) are complicit. They essentially condone illegal behavior by ignoring it, minimizing it, and making excuses for it. If the victim is black, it is emphasized; if the killer is white, that is emphasized as well. All the while, very little is said about the illegal behavior in which the victims were involved prior to or in conjunction with their altercation with police or gun toting citizens. It’s no wonder that Nautika didn’t know any better. Excusing one’s behavior as a reflection of society is a poor excuse for ethics. As Jack summarized, “As long as young black men are taught to think this way, tragedies like this will keep occurring…”

    In closing, there are many messages that should be taught to young people (black and otherwise) about ethics and living well. Following is one that could be sent by the media and community leaders that may get through to those crazy adolescent brains (even if the premises may not be true). If you believe (1) black persons are stopped and questioned by police officers at a disproportionate rate; (2) black persons are ticketed and arrested at a disproportionate rate; (3) black persons are shot by cops at a disproportionate rate; (4) black persons are charged at a disproportionate rate; (5) black persons are convicted at a disproportionate rate; (6) black persons receive disproportionately greater sentences (i.e., bigger fines and longer jail/prison terms or more likely to receive the death penalty); and (7) you can be accurately or mistakenly perceived to be a black person, then: any involvement in criminal behavior is fucking insane! Do not engage in illegal behavior! It’s beyond stupid! You can get yourself killed!

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