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FSP Community => Miscellaneous => Topic started by: Reaper on October 30, 2002, 12:42:51 pm

Title: Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: Reaper on October 30, 2002, 12:42:51 pm
Where do we stand on the current crop of laws regarding "use of excessive force" in your own defense?

I've seen my share of horror stories of people convicted of "use of excessive force" or even manslaughter while defending themselves.

Personally, at this point I'm of the opinion once someone initiates physical violence against you that's it, you can do whatever you feel is necessary at the time to defend yourself.  

I've seen cases like that stripper in vegas who was chased for 4 blocks and repeatedly grabbed and thrown to the ground, escaped and ran each time and then when she was trying to get into her car she was caught again and finally shot the bastard but she went to jail for manslaughter because apparently the court felt she should have gotten out the other side of her car and continued to be chased on foot.  WTH?!

Anyway.  What are your thoughts?
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: JasonPSorens on October 30, 2002, 04:04:36 pm
In principle I can see a justification for "excessive force" laws, but they can be tricky to enforce in a just way.  I do think it is excessive force if someone steals your bike out of your garage, and you shoot him in the back as he's riding away.  The standard for shooting a person should be, IMO, "reasonable fear of imminent serious injury or death."  Gray areas exist, naturally.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: Reaper on October 30, 2002, 04:48:16 pm
I'm speaking strictly of the initiation of physical violence against a nonconsenting person, not property theft.  Although some would argue they are the same.

I think in a situation where you are under attack, whether it be with a weapon or an unarmed person there just is no way for someone sitting in a jury room months later to fairly judge what action you should have or could have taken.  It's easy to come up with options in the safety of a jury room.  Hindsight being 20/20 and all, but when someone is swinging at your head, gut or worse you dont normally have time to think calmly and clearly.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on October 30, 2002, 04:49:40 pm

In principle I can see a justification for "excessive force" laws, but they can be tricky to enforce in a just way.  I do think it is excessive force if someone steals your bike out of your garage, and you shoot him in the back as he's riding away.  The standard for shooting a person should be, IMO, "reasonable fear of imminent serious injury or death."  Gray areas exist, naturally.


But how else are you reasonably supposed to stop the perpetrator?  try to reconstruct his back for a police sketch artist?  

Of course if you're mistaken and his bike just _looks_ like yours you had better be ready to face the consequences of that mistake.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: JasonPSorens on October 30, 2002, 05:47:05 pm

I'm speaking strictly of the initiation of physical violence against a nonconsenting person, not property theft.  Although some would argue they are the same.


Okay - but then there are some cases where even physical violence should not be resisted lethally, and where non-physical initiations of force should be resisted lethally.  An example of the former: a drunk guy in a bar throws a punch at you.  Is it then justifiable to blow him away?  Perhaps - if he were part of a gang advancing on you.  But if he's just a random drunk, I'd think not.

Example of the latter: you hear someone break into your house at night, you creep out and see him skulking around stealing stuff.  Is it OK to pump him full of shotgun pellets?  Absolutely!
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on October 30, 2002, 06:01:48 pm
What if it was possible to arraign a person who acted in self defense, but the burden of proof was on the state to _prove_ he acted _maliciously_.  Thus in the case of a drunken fool swinging at you randomly and without provocation, if you coldly pulled a gun on him and shot him, then you'd go free since it wasn't necessarily malicious.  On the other hand if you provoked him into swinging at you while he was drunk and then shot him with a grin on your face, then you were acting maliciously and provably so.  While a few idiots would get shot for getting doing stupid things, would we really miss those idiots?
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on October 30, 2002, 06:48:57 pm

In principle I can see a justification for "excessive force" laws, but they can be tricky to enforce in a just way.  I do think it is excessive force if someone steals your bike out of your garage, and you shoot him in the back as he's riding away.  The standard for shooting a person should be, IMO, "reasonable fear of imminent serious injury or death."  Gray areas exist, naturally.


So if someone is bigger than me they can clean out my entire house and I just have to watch?  I don't really like the idea that it has to be a "fair fight".  If a guy is stealing my property, he has sacrificed a good portion of his rights in my view.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on October 30, 2002, 06:52:39 pm

What if it was possible to arraign a person who acted in self defense, but the burden of proof was on the state to _prove_ he acted _maliciously_.  Thus in the case of a drunken fool swinging at you randomly and without provocation, if you coldly pulled a gun on him and shot him, then you'd go free since it wasn't necessarily malicious.  On the other hand if you provoked him into swinging at you while he was drunk and then shot him with a grin on your face, then you were acting maliciously and provably so.  While a few idiots would get shot for getting doing stupid things, would we really miss those idiots?


IMO, the state should never file charges against people.  Only the victim of a crime should bring charges (or his wife or insurance company or whatever).

Whether or not the person acted with malice doesn't really address the excessive force question, does it?  If a guy trespasses on the corner of my lawn and I chop him to pieces with an axe, that seems excessive, regardless of my state of mind.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on October 30, 2002, 07:10:10 pm
The point is that without motive, you won't be chopping him to pieces over trampling your lawn.  Breaking his legs, perhaps, if you _really_ like your lawn.  

The state should bring charges when the victim is dead, or when the victim is unable to do so (fear for their life (mafia cases), hospitalized and untransportable, etc).  Thus the state should only act for the victim if the victim permits or the victim is no longer able to give permission as a result of the crime.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: JasonPSorens on October 30, 2002, 08:56:00 pm


So if someone is bigger than me they can clean out my entire house and I just have to watch?  I don't really like the idea that it has to be a "fair fight".  If a guy is stealing my property, he has sacrificed a good portion of his rights in my view.


If you happen upon a strange guy in your garage stealing stuff, then you can shoot him on the spot, because he has invaded your home, and you don't know what he might do next.  But a guy who's running away from the scene should not be shot - that would be execution, pure and simple.  Now, if he'd just murdered somebody, then sure, shoot him, because if he gets away he may well kill again.  But shooting someone who has stolen something and has departed the scene is to enact a sentence of death for a crime that is now over, and a sentence of death for theft is extreme.  Sometimes it isn't worth taking a human life over a few dollars' worth of property.  Doesn't anyone here believe that?
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: Jhogun on October 30, 2002, 09:13:14 pm
"I'm speaking strictly of the initiation of physical violence against a nonconsenting person, not property theft.  Although some would argue they are the same."

What if a guy grabs my laptop and runs away?  You might say a laptop isn't worth shooting someone over, but I don't make a lot of money.  I saved up for the better part of a year for that thing.  It represents a major investment of time and effort on my part.  If he gets away with it, it's not just a laptop that was stolen, but a good portion of my life that went into obtaining it.  Am I supposed to let him just run off with it?

I tend to agree with the quote above, that property theft is just as much an attack on me as physical violence.  My property was obtained through my own labor and effort, and is a part of me.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: Reaper on October 30, 2002, 09:19:53 pm
But . . . it was MY property I was trying to shoot at!  He just got in the way!  

Yeah, that's it!   ::)

I wouldn't shoot somebody fleeing on my bike or other small items of property.  Now, if they're running off with my life savings . . . I would be severely tempted.

However, in the situation with a random drunk you seem to be assuming a lot of things.  1) That the drunk has no intent to do great bodily harm or murder, 2) That the victim of this assault is able to: a) otherwise safely fend off, and b) otherwise safely put an end to the conflict.  

I've seen few encounters like this and you dont always . . . hell unless your familiar with the person doing the assaulting you NEVER know what they'll stop at.  

Is the victim supposed to, in the time between when the offender starts swinging and the time he makes contact: a) assess the perps sobriety, b) assess the motive if any, c) determine (from looks i guess?) if the perp intends to do serious harm or murder, d) if he can defend himself without deadly force against a foe of unknown ability.  Sounds like an awfully unreasonable burden on an innocent to make in a split second.  

I still seem to think if you initiate physical bodily violence against a nonconsenting person you should thereby have waived your right to file any charges against that person for whatever they have to do to stop you.

I also think people would learn really quick to control their temper.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on October 30, 2002, 09:43:19 pm

If you happen upon a strange guy in your garage stealing stuff, then you can shoot him on the spot, because he has invaded your home, and you don't know what he might do next.  But a guy who's running away from the scene should not be shot - that would be execution, pure and simple.  Now, if he'd just murdered somebody, then sure, shoot him, because if he gets away he may well kill again.  But shooting someone who has stolen something and has departed the scene is to enact a sentence of death for a crime that is now over, and a sentence of death for theft is extreme.  Sometimes it isn't worth taking a human life over a few dollars' worth of property.  Doesn't anyone here believe that?


I understand where you are coming from, but it doesn't seem to work.  Or maybe it does and I just haven't figured out how.

Suppose I'm sitting at a park bench with my new laptop computer loaded with all my personal E-mails, plus maybe a few months worth of writing for my PhD dissertation.  A 300 pound "Ultimate Fighting" champion guy comes up and says, "I'm just going to take your computer.  If you try to stop me, I'll break your neck.  If you just let me go, nobody will get hurt."  I have a gun, but I can't use it because his life is supposedly worth more than a mere computer.  Do I just have to let him go?

I suppose you could say something about shooting him in the leg... should I make him have a gun too?  He could say: "if you shoot me, I'll shoot you dead, but otherwise I'll just leave peacefully."  

Maybe my example is a stretch, but if you can't physically wrestle your property away from the guy, is your alternative only to be a cowboy trick shooter and shoot his gun out of his hand?

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: JasonPSorens on October 30, 2002, 09:57:45 pm

Suppose I'm sitting at a park bench with my new laptop computer loaded with all my personal E-mails, plus maybe a few months worth of writing for my PhD dissertation.  A 300 pound "Ultimate Fighting" champion guy comes up and says, "I'm just going to take your computer.  If you try to stop me, I'll break your neck.  If you just let me go, nobody will get hurt."  I have a gun, but I can't use it because his life is supposedly worth more than a mere computer.  Do I just have to let him go?


I don't think so, because what he's done there is to threaten to break your neck.  That's imminent physical danger; I think you can show him your gun and wave him off, and if he makes an aggressive move, you can shoot him.  But the case where someone makes off with unattended property of yours is different, I think.  That's the bike example I used at first.

Quote

I suppose you could say something about shooting him in the leg... should I make him have a gun too?  He could say: "if you shoot me, I'll shoot you dead, but otherwise I'll just leave peacefully."  


If he's threatening you in that way, though, I don't think there's any way you can trust that he would leave peacefully.  In a case like that, I don't think anyone could be blamed for using lethal force against the aggressor.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: catsRus on October 30, 2002, 10:10:03 pm

Quote
Posted by: MouseBorg Posted on: Today at 09:24:13pm

I would be curious if, presuming most folks were armed, and could legally shoot when robbed, how such situation would affect the crime rate - pertaining to robbery that is.

"An armed society is a polite society."
-- RAH


I think lethal force is legal in Texas for property crimes in some instances, might want to compare their stats with a state that doesnt.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: 5pectre on October 31, 2002, 01:10:49 pm
IMO, the state should never file charges against people.  Only the victim of a crime should bring charges (or his wife or insurance company or whatever).

what would happen to a serial killer who went around killing only people with no next of kin? (no insurance to pay out).

also...

if a man steals your laptop. you shoot at him and miss/injure him. he shoots you back believing his life to be in danger. he kills you.

would he be in the right? remember: he only stole your possessions, whilst you made an attempt on his life.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on October 31, 2002, 01:20:11 pm

If he's threatening you in that way, though, I don't think there's any way you can trust that he would leave peacefully.  In a case like that, I don't think anyone could be blamed for using lethal force against the aggressor.


For sake of argument, can't we make the assumption that you know him to be telling the truth:  that if you just let him go, nobody will get hurt?

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on October 31, 2002, 01:29:11 pm

IMO, the state should never file charges against people.  Only the victim of a crime should bring charges (or his wife or insurance company or whatever).

what would happen to a serial killer who went around killing only people with no next of kin? (no insurance to pay out).


You are making the argument that the taxpayers should involuntarily pay for this "public" service?  I can think of two alternatives: (1) voluntary charity that pays for charges to be filed in cases of the murder of homeless people or whatever, (2) a person can take out an insurance policy that will pay for the investigation/prosecution in the event that he is murdered.  The policy could state what is to be done with any monetary damages collected.

Another option could be that perhaps companies could prosecute in such cases and somehow collect a fee for themselves out of collected damages.  I'd have to think this through though.

The problem with the state bringing charges is that it opens the door to the state prosecuting on behalf of the state (in other words, nobody).  Also, it requires that other people be taxed or otherwise charged to pay for this "free" service.

Quote

if a man steals your laptop. you shoot at him and miss/injure him. he shoots you back believing his life to be in danger. he kills you.

would he be in the right? remember: he only stole your possessions, whilst you made an attempt on his life.


Why do you say "only"?  As though theft is irrelevant.  I'd say he is certainly not in the right.  He created the situation by robbing you.  He is guilty of theft and murder.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on October 31, 2002, 03:35:16 pm
Quote
You are making the argument that the taxpayers should involuntarily pay for this "public" service?  I can think of two alternatives: (1) voluntary charity that pays for charges to be filed in cases of the murder of homeless people or whatever, (2) a person can take out an insurance policy that will pay for the investigation/prosecution in the event that he is murdered.  The policy could state what is to be done with any monetary damages collected.

Another option could be that perhaps companies could prosecute in such cases and somehow collect a fee for themselves out of collected damages.  I'd have to think this through though.


Justice cannot be privatized.  Private justice would be abused and would lead to anarchy followed by Warlords, Feudal lords, and Dictators of other sorts who could 'afford' a more powerful justice.  For a state to remain within the rule of law, the offenders of the law must be prosecuted even if the plaintiff is not able to prosecute it.  If this is not the case then we are not providing equal protection under the law, which is one of the cornerstones of the Constitution.

(edited due to my inability to handle quotes)
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on October 31, 2002, 05:17:34 pm

Justice cannot be privatized.  Private justice would be abused and would lead to anarchy followed by Warlords, Feudal lords, and Dictators of other sorts who could 'afford' a more powerful justice.  For a state to remain within the rule of law, the offenders of the law must be prosecuted even if the plaintiff is not able to prosecute it.  If this is not the case then we are not providing equal protection under the law, which is one of the cornerstones of the Constitution.


I'm not saying the courts should be privatized, simply that investigations and prosecutions should not be taxpayer funded.  I don't see why this is equivalent to anarchy.  The state is still the only entity allowed to initiate force (warrants and arrests) or to punish/fine/imprison people.  This is a far cry from anarchy, under which private courts can implement their own versions of justice.

Also remember that court and lawyer fees are paid by the loser in court cases, so if you have a solid case, a lawyer would likely take it without fee, knowing that he'd get paid after the case was settled.

Regarding the constitution, are we debating what the constitution says, or how it ought to be?  Besides, do you really think the framers of the constitution would intend for thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to be spent to investigate the murder of a homeless guy?  (I'm asking)

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: 5pectre on October 31, 2002, 05:35:21 pm
Why do you say "only"?  As though theft is irrelevant.  I'd say he is certainly not in the right.  He created the situation by robbing you.  He is guilty of theft and murder.

I'm not saying that it is irrelevant. But there is no way you could class theft in the same class as murder.

If you hadn't shot at him he wouldn't have killed you. He was acting in self defence. Would you expect him to stand by and get shot?
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on October 31, 2002, 06:00:40 pm


Regarding the constitution, are we debating what the constitution says, or how it ought to be?  Besides, do you really think the framers of the constitution would intend for thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to be spent to investigate the murder of a homeless guy?  (I'm asking)

Charles


Ok.  perhaps I was barking up the wrong tree here.  

I still think that thousands of taxpayer money spent on investigating the murder of a homeless guy is well spent.  Unless the murderer is a serial killer who only hunts homeless guys, removing a criminal is always in our best interest.  As such, if the law (and its investigators) protect _any_ person, then they must protect all equally.  This is merely another form of defense of the individual undertaken by the state against assault by others, which is the one form of law that we _have_ agreed (I think) is a valid one.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: Penfist on October 31, 2002, 06:01:44 pm

Quote
author=5pectre
If you hadn't shot at him he wouldn't have killed you. He was acting in self defence. Would you expect him to stand by and get shot?


So the robber killed me in self defense? Now theres an interesting twist for ya. ;D

Actually I would say I was in the wrong, but for entirely different reasons. I should have spent more time on the range, and less time typing. 8)


On this issue, you and I are in total agreement. All ready on the firing range. Ready on the left, ready on the right. You may commence firing!
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: catsRus on October 31, 2002, 06:30:20 pm

Quote
author=catsRus
I think lethal force is legal in Texas for property crimes in some instances, might want to compare their stats with a state that doesnt.


I've seen similar stats listed on some pro-gun sites. Thing is, its a given that most criminals would prefer unarmed victims, and in the absence of that, victims that can't legally shoot them.

I strongly suspect that, if such were to know that they stood a fair chance of being shot for ripping folks off, they would prefer to locate somewhere with different laws.


Totally agree, no better deterrant than having to wonder if your victim is armed and knowing the state is not anti self defence.

The line form the eastwood movie sounds appropriate here

"Ask youre self,do I feel lucky today?"  8)
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on October 31, 2002, 10:12:02 pm

Why do you say "only"?  As though theft is irrelevant.  I'd say he is certainly not in the right.  He created the situation by robbing you.  He is guilty of theft and murder.

I'm not saying that it is irrelevant. But there is no way you could class theft in the same class as murder.

If you hadn't shot at him he wouldn't have killed you. He was acting in self defence. Would you expect him to stand by and get shot?


Let me get this straight:  he robs me and when I try to stop him, he kills me in self defense?  I don't buy it.  Would you agree that I am at least justified to shoot the guy in the leg to stop him?  If so, then I am doing something within my rights and he is beyond his rights to shoot me back, much less kill me.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on October 31, 2002, 10:20:21 pm

I still think that thousands of taxpayer money spent on investigating the murder of a homeless guy is well spent.  Unless the murderer is a serial killer who only hunts homeless guys, removing a criminal is always in our best interest.  As such, if the law (and its investigators) protect _any_ person, then they must protect all equally.  This is merely another form of defense of the individual undertaken by the state against assault by others, which is the one form of law that we _have_ agreed (I think) is a valid one.


I thought that all libertarians agreed that the goal is to have no coercion.  How can you justify taxing me to pay for criminal investigations for others?  Your argument about the investigation being in my best interest is applied by enemies of liberty all the time to advocate public health programs, public education, welfare, you name it.  It should be up to me to decide whether it is in my best interest to chase after a criminal that harmed somebody else.

Actually there is a huge ancap movement that doesn't agree that the government should provide defense for individuals.  I'm not in that camp, but I am opposed to coercive taxation.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on November 01, 2002, 12:29:46 am


I still think that thousands of taxpayer money spent on investigating the murder of a homeless guy is well spent.  Unless the murderer is a serial killer who only hunts homeless guys, removing a criminal is always in our best interest.  As such, if the law (and its investigators) protect _any_ person, then they must protect all equally.  This is merely another form of defense of the individual undertaken by the state against assault by others, which is the one form of law that we _have_ agreed (I think) is a valid one.


I thought that all libertarians agreed that the goal is to have no coercion.  How can you justify taxing me to pay for criminal investigations for others?  Your argument about the investigation being in my best interest is applied by enemies of liberty all the time to advocate public health programs, public education, welfare, you name it.  It should be up to me to decide whether it is in my best interest to chase after a criminal that harmed somebody else.

Actually there is a huge ancap movement that doesn't agree that the government should provide defense for individuals.  I'm not in that camp, but I am opposed to coercive taxation.

Charles


You are not being taxed to pay for the criminal investigation _for_ others.  You are paying to remove a direct threat to _your_ life and property.  It just _happens_ that he struck the someone else before you.  After all, it does the dead man no good for the criminal to be hunted down.  It helps only those who still live near the criminal.  If there is _no_ police investigation then the physically weak and quaky of hand have _no_ defense.  While it should be every person's right to defend themselves, we should not remove the defense of those who are not capable of defending themselves.  If we do so, then we have removed the rule of law and and will be ruled by the man with the biggest fist or the quickest draw.

The existence of police investigation of crime and a justice system to punish and deter that crime is critical to the maintenance of a civil and just society.  

To answer a previous question, I do not speak of the constitution as it should be but only as it is, because I believe the constitution to be the most complete and effective governmental document ever created.  Many ammendments have led the government astray, but the original constitution describes what appears to be as perfect a form of government as we are capable of creating.  I am willing to acknowledge a better form of government if you can show me one that does not falter due to human nature.  Indeed, the government in the constitution falls similarly, as we see now, but only with great effort and significant time does it fall.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: 5pectre on November 01, 2002, 01:40:26 am
Let me get this straight:  he robs me and when I try to stop him, he kills me in self defense?  I don't buy it.  Would you agree that I am at least justified to shoot the guy in the leg to stop him?  If so, then I am doing something within my rights and he is beyond his rights to shoot me back, much less kill me.

I would agree with you that you are in the right to shoot him to retrieve your stuff (i.e. shot in the leg to stop him running away). he would have no legal recourse on this. I would not agree that you have a right to kill him (with a missed shot or deliberate shot). If it was a missed shot then you should as they say have spent more time at the range :)

If someone shot at you and you had a gun, would you shoot back? And would that shot be in self defense?

If so then why, if he is being shot at, why should his shots not be in self defense?
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: Cliff on November 01, 2002, 10:50:30 am

I believe the constitution to be the most complete and effective governmental document ever created.  Many ammendments have led the government astray, but the original constitution describes what appears to be as perfect a form of government as we are capable of creating.  I am willing to acknowledge a better form of government if you can show me one that does not falter due to human nature.  Indeed, the government in the constitution falls similarly, as we see now, but only with great effort and significant time does it fall.


The US Constitution is pretty good, but it has some built-in weak spots such as allowing taxation and the regulating of the economy. Those powers, perhaps more than anything else, have led to the corruption we see today.

As to excessive force laws: Each case needs to be judged individually, based on the principle of non-initiation of force, the right of self-defense, and the question of what is necessary force for a given situation. I often lean toward anarchism, but it seems we'll still need judges, juries, and lawyers of some kind.

Cliff
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on November 01, 2002, 10:58:47 am

You are not being taxed to pay for the criminal investigation _for_ others.  You are paying to remove a direct threat to _your_ life and property.  It just _happens_ that he struck the someone else before you.  


On this basis, you could justify public funding of healthcare expenses, right?  You don't want a bunch of diseased people infecting you later.  I think this is a total "slippery slope".  If you allow the state to tax me for things that are "in my best interest", there is no end to it.

Quote
After all, it does the dead man no good for the criminal to be hunted down.  It helps only those who still live near the criminal.  If there is _no_ police investigation then the physically weak and quaky of hand have _no_ defense.  While it should be every person's right to defend themselves, we should not remove the defense of those who are not capable of defending themselves.  If we do so, then we have removed the rule of law and and will be ruled by the man with the biggest fist or the quickest draw.


You are flopping back and forth.  Do you want to tax me because it's in my best interest, or because you feel sorry for the poor person who got shot?  As you say, it does the poor dead person no good to investigate and prosecute.  If you are supposedly doing it "for me", why can't I decide for myself?  If you are doing it because you feel bad for the poor, you need to explain why you have this arbitrary stopping point.  Why is being protected from criminals more important than being fed when you are starving, or clothed when you are freezing?

I'm not exactly following your last few sentences: "While it should be every person's right to defend themselves, we should not remove the defense of those who are not capable of defending themselves.  If we do so, then we have removed the rule of law and and will be ruled by the man with the biggest fist or the quickest draw."

There would still be rule of law, same as now.  I'm only suggesting that criminal investigations and prosecutions not be taxpayer funded.  I certainly am not advocating that everyone personally provide for their own defense by carrying an UZI everywhere they go.  You can hire private security and insurance services.  The "problem" you are raising concern about is that for some reason people might decide to go kill homeless people because they know they can't afford these services.  

Of course, in reality, I doubt the police currently spend any real time trying to solve murders involving homeless people.

Quote

The existence of police investigation of crime and a justice system to punish and deter that crime is critical to the maintenance of a civil and just society.  


You are asserting this, but it's not obvious to me.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on November 01, 2002, 11:02:17 am

If someone shot at you and you had a gun, would you shoot back? And would that shot be in self defense?

If so then why, if he is being shot at, why should his shots not be in self defense?



I think the context matters.  If someone is shooting at you because you are stealing his property, maybe your first line of defense should be to put down the stolen property instead of shooting back.  Like I said, if the person is justified in shooting at you and you kill him, you are guilty of murder, IMO.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: 5pectre on November 01, 2002, 11:09:19 am
I think the context matters.  If someone is shooting at you because you are stealing his property, maybe your first line of defense should be to put down the stolen property instead of shooting back.  Like I said, if the person is justified in shooting at you and you kill him, you are guilty of murder, IMO.

If you killed me would you also be guilty of murder?

I would say yes if he had shot at you, but no if he hadn't shot at you.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on November 01, 2002, 02:05:46 pm

The US Constitution is pretty good, but it has some built-in weak spots such as allowing taxation and the regulating of the economy. Those powers, perhaps more than anything else, have led to the corruption we see today.


I think if you examine the pre-ammendment constitution, you'll find that it has neither the right to tax (only to excise and tariff international trade) nor to regulate economy (except as an arbitrator between states).  Almost all of the ammendments have been destructive to the original document.  Even the Bill of Rights is implied within the Constitution.  In fact, having the 2nd ammendment written down is part of what makes it vulnerable.  
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on November 01, 2002, 02:17:11 pm


You are not being taxed to pay for the criminal investigation _for_ others.  You are paying to remove a direct threat to _your_ life and property.  It just _happens_ that he struck the someone else before you.  


On this basis, you could justify public funding of healthcare expenses, right?  You don't want a bunch of diseased people infecting you later.  I think this is a total "slippery slope".  If you allow the state to tax me for things that are "in my best interest", there is no end to it.


This could be used as a basis for public funding of _quarantine_ but not of healthcare.  investigating criminal activity removes threats to your property and life.  The only reason someone has to press charges is to avoid the investigation and prosecution of victimless crimes.

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After all, it does the dead man no good for the criminal to be hunted down.  It helps only those who still live near the criminal.  If there is _no_ police investigation then the physically weak and quaky of hand have _no_ defense.  While it should be every person's right to defend themselves, we should not remove the defense of those who are not capable of defending themselves.  If we do so, then we have removed the rule of law and and will be ruled by the man with the biggest fist or the quickest draw.


You are flopping back and forth.  Do you want to tax me because it's in my best interest, or because you feel sorry for the poor person who got shot?  As you say, it does the poor dead person no good to investigate and prosecute.  If you are supposedly doing it "for me", why can't I decide for myself?  If you are doing it because you feel bad for the poor, you need to explain why you have this arbitrary stopping point.  Why is being protected from criminals more important than being fed when you are starving, or clothed when you are freezing?

I'm not exactly following your last few sentences: "While it should be every person's right to defend themselves, we should not remove the defense of those who are not capable of defending themselves.  If we do so, then we have removed the rule of law and and will be ruled by the man with the biggest fist or the quickest draw."

There would still be rule of law, same as now.  I'm only suggesting that criminal investigations and prosecutions not be taxpayer funded.  I certainly am not advocating that everyone personally provide for their own defense by carrying an UZI everywhere they go.  You can hire private security and insurance services.  The "problem" you are raising concern about is that for some reason people might decide to go kill homeless people because they know they can't afford these services.  

Of course, in reality, I doubt the police currently spend any real time trying to solve murders involving homeless people.


I do not "feel sorry for the poor."  I am suggesting that not everyone has a steady arm and or a heavy fist to defend themselves with.  Public investigation of crime helps defend them by removing criminals before they strike again, and also helps make sure that you don't need to use that UZI, since after all, you might lose the gunfight.

If we are to base our government upon the sanctity of property and person, then we must be willing to defend such.  If we do not, then we are not looking to create a government but to remove all government and live in anarchy, where a group of strong and well-armed bandits might become our next Warlord.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on November 01, 2002, 05:45:54 pm

If you killed me would you also be guilty of murder?

I would say yes if he had shot at you, but no if he hadn't shot at you.


If you kill the guy stealing your laptop, then I'd agree that it is murder.  If you just shoot him in the leg or something, I'd say that it's justified and he has no right to shoot back at you.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on November 01, 2002, 05:48:29 pm

If we are to base our government upon the sanctity of property and person, then we must be willing to defend such.  


How can you use defense of sanctity and property as a justification for coercive taxation?

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: catsRus on November 01, 2002, 05:56:56 pm
Why does taxation have to be coersive? Perhaps it can be cooperative?
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on November 01, 2002, 06:21:42 pm
I am arguing that the police investigations and the justice system must exist.  If it can exist without taxation, great.  Otherwise, localities should tax as necessary to provide for police protection to their localities.  

Local taxes are not an unreasonable thing.  Local government is much easier to control.  Not only that, but it is relatively easy to move if your local government gets too bad.

If you think you can operate a state without police investigation and a justice system, then explain the method and I'll sign on.  However that kind of decision should be up to the local governments.
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: admin on November 01, 2002, 06:41:53 pm

I am arguing that the police investigations and the justice system must exist.  If it can exist without taxation, great.  Otherwise, localities should tax as necessary to provide for police protection to their localities.  

Local taxes are not an unreasonable thing.  Local government is much easier to control.  Not only that, but it is relatively easy to move if your local government gets too bad.

If you think you can operate a state without police investigation and a justice system, then explain the method and I'll sign on.  However that kind of decision should be up to the local governments.


I hope I haven't given the impression that I have it all worked out.  ;)

Here is roughly what I'm thinking:  (1) People pay for their own defense, or provide for it themselves.  This means that police don't roam the streets looking for people to bust.  It's also not much different than now as far as you or I are concerned, since the police will never intervene and prevent you from getting murdered. (2) If you want to press charges for a crime, you go to a state court (private courts could be used if the parties agree, but the state court is the only one with the power of true enforcement). (3) if you don't know who committed the crime, you pay for your own investigation. (4) the party you are charging is invited to attend the trial, but is not forced to, since they have not yet been convicted of a crime. (5) If the person is found guilty, they will be forced to pay reparations plus any police and court costs.  The state police will go "get" the person if they will not report voluntarily. (6) If a person is ever arrested prior to conviction by the police, or anyone else, this is treated as a criminal act if the person is found to be innocent.

A variation on this is one under which the police will investigate for anyone and their "overhead" for this service is paid for by convicted criminals.  This is okay, but it means that people convicted of crimes are essentially overcharged to pay for this overhead.  Still acceptable in my book.

Check out this (http://www.libertarianunderground.com/Forum/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=265) post for a description from another fellow.  He has thought it through more than I have.  His description is closer to the second variation above.

Charles
Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: 5pectre on November 01, 2002, 08:28:01 pm
If you kill the guy stealing your laptop, then I'd agree that it is murder.  If you just shoot him in the leg or something, I'd say that it's justified and he has no right to shoot back at you.

So you would say that the guy stealing your laptop has no right to self defense?

If he shot you in the leg (didn't kill you) would he be guilty of theft and actual bodily harm, or just theft?

Would you have the right to compensation from him even though you opened the shooting?

If you shot at him and injured him in the leg, would you be guilty of actual bodily harm?

Title: Re:Use of Excessive Force Laws?
Post by: maestro on November 02, 2002, 12:49:54 am
Charles, I shall think about the idea that you suggested.  Something seems intuitively wrong, but I try not to rely on intuition when it comes to political science and philosophy.