Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum Ethics (Justice System Thread)”

The Open Forum this week raised several new ethics topics I will be posting on soon, in addition to its bumper crop of Comments of the Day. The latest of these is another by Michael R., following  the posting of this link.

Here is Michael R’s Comment of the Day on the justice system thread in Open Forum Ethics:

I have wondered about the ethics of citizens shooting criminals when they are legally justified. Should a citizen try at all costs to avoid shooting a criminal when legally justified or should citizens shoot and attempt to kill criminals any time it is legally justified? Sad to say, I am beginning to think the latter is preferable. I will give an example to illustrate why.

A man committed 5 home invasions in 1 day in my neighborhood about 2 years ago. During the first 4 home invasions, the residents were armed and drove him off. In the 5th, the resident held him at gunpoint for police (my neighborhood is kind of rough for home invaders). The police told the 5th homeowner he should have killed the man. You may wonder why. The criminal was convicted on all 5 counts of home invasion as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. Justice, right? Well, he has already been released from prison. He severely beat two women while robbing them. He led police on a high speed chase in a stolen car while shooting at them. He was shot and crashed the car (doing extensive property damage). He will require extensive medical care at state expense for the rest of his life. If the homeowner had killed him, those women wouldn’t have been beaten and robbed, the car wouldn’t have been stolen, and the public wouldn’t be paying millions to take care of this criminal.

The reason the police have told several people I know that they should have shot the criminals in their homes is that they see this too often. They see a citizen shooting as the best way to keep criminals from preying on the public.

We really have two criminal justice systems. One is for a career criminal, and it is a joke. They can commit a string of serious crimes. If they happen to get caught, they might get a year or two of confinement, then released. The other is for normally law-abiding citizens. For them, committing one of any number of trivial felonies on the books can destroy their lives. Your family will be destroyed, the career you may have spent decades working for will be destroyed, etc.

I define a trivial felony as a crime that harms no one and may require an expert with a rule book to even notice. As an example of a trivial felony, my legislature is trying to pass a law that would make it a felony to possess a long-gun that has had the barrel shortened for any reason, even if that length is much longer than what is required for federal legality. For example, you inherit a shotgun from your grandfather. Unknown to you, someone at sometime shortened the barrel from 36″ to 28″ to remove the choke and fit it with interchangeable choke tubes (28″ barrels with interchangeable choke tubes are probably the longest popular barrel option on shotguns manufactured today). Even though you were unaware of this and you can legally buy a gun EXACTLY LIKE THIS, if it breaks and you take it in for service to a gunsmith, you would be facing a 20 year jail sentence (reasonable gun laws). Two identical guns, but manufactured differently. One is perfectly OK, one is a 20 year felony.

That is a trivial felony in my book. On the other hand, someone who brutally rapes an elderly woman may only get 3 years. Two completely different criminal justice systems.

13 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Open Forum Ethics (Justice System Thread)”

  1. I don’t think I agree with the cops in the scenario that was used here, because killing the man, while maybe it might be the only option, is certainly not the best option. First off, it might be moral luck that the man killed is one of those career criminals versus a person desperate to change something in their life. It doesn’t make what they did right, but it does not necessarily mean they should die because it is the easier option on society. I would say that is true even if they were the hardened criminal. But the average citizen is not prepared to take a life, even if they think they might be able to do so. Even if you are fully justified, even if it was an accident, that is something you are going to have to live with your whole life. One of the first people I counseled came to me asking for forgiveness. Being rather new, I was confused. Earlier that year, she had someone commit suicide in front of her car. It was not her fault, a policeman had witnessed the accident and noted in court there was nothing that could be done to prevent it. However, in court, the family demanded an apology. Her lawyer refused to let her give one saying it was an admission of guilt. She was innocent but full of guilt. She wanted forgiveness, hoping I was a minister could give it to her. This was ten years ago. I talked to her a few months back and she told me she still has nightmares, still feels guilty but has found ways to cope. I don’t wish that upon anyone.

  2. To begin with..

    While Peace Officers might say such things “Off the record” Repeating them or writing something to that effect (other than as an academic exercise as is done here by a editorialist? (smile).) Can and will be used against you in a court of law in an attempt to demonstrate “Prior Intent”. Stating your willingness and intent to “Defend your Home and Family” is about as far as one should go in Public Statements.

    Be advised: A well known globalist has spent inordinate amounts of money to elect anti-self defense anti Second Amendment District Attorneys across the US. Even in many clear cases of self defense these Prosecutors have and are charging people with what they can (to include inane lesser crimes), They do this in order to discourage citizens from defending themselves. This is nothing new, however it has become more overt IMO.



    Obtain “Shooters Insurance” NOW. Don’t say “someday”.. Please do this now. (Give up your Starbucks for a few months)

    You want an Insurance Policy that pays upfront..Current cost? $150-600 annually. Carefully insure it is one that pays up front and as you need it for Bail, Legal Representation, Expert Witnesses , Some Insurers only pay after you have been found innocent or had the charges dropped..after you have mortgaged your house and depleted your savings which of course is the Strategy of the Globalist hiding behind Armed Guards and his Toadies.


    Signup for an NRA Certified Basic Firearms Safety Course. The longer you have been around firearms the more you need to go back and take a refresher course. Make it an annual event. Then as time and budget permits take the NRA Personal Protection Course and any other of the many quality training courses that are available today,

    Everything in war is very simple.
    But the simplest thing is difficult.
    – Karl Von Clausewitz

    Keep things simple.. Honestly examine the risks and threats you face..If you can consult a defensive firearms instructor (not a sales clerk).

    A hammer-less snub nosed .357 Revolver carrying 5 rounds of 38+P JHP or JSP ammunition, Service grade Flashlight. Green Laser Grips.speed loaders/star clips is a very hard to beat combination for most of us.

    This is Personal protection .. bad guys have the initiative and are on you before you expect it. Often as not you are smelling the breath of your opponent (semi-autos are great but do need free space you might not have to function properly) What ever you choose needs to be what you will carry always and everywhere..not just sit in the drawer in your bedroom waiting.

    Shot gun, long gun Megablaster with optional Heads Up Forward Looking Infrared Display Great..

    But learn your sidearm first.


    You, your loved ones.. other innocents have a right to life.. to live without suffering harm from human predators .

    Make up your mind to fight and win.. don’t look back.

    Please take the time now.. to “Be Prepared”

    • Be advised: A well known globalist has spent inordinate amounts of money to elect anti-self defense anti Second Amendment District Attorneys across the US. Even in many clear cases of self defense these Prosecutors have and are charging people with what they can (to include inane lesser crimes), They do this in order to discourage citizens from defending themselves. This is nothing new, however it has become more overt IMO.

      These prosecutors need to be exposed.

      I wonder if racial disparities are involved.

  3. I think what has pehaps been missed in the discussion is how absurd this situation is. There is no way such a position SHOULD be justifiable, but our current laws and society have led to the situation where (I feel) a strong case can be made FOR something that should be unethical. We really need to think about how we got here and how to get out of it.

    • The answer is simple: follow the frackin’ law!

      That being, apparently, only a conservative principle (instead of a rational one), it of course makes one a Nazi, racist, (add various -ist and -ophobe labels here)

      Which is the problem.

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