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Self Defense Perils

Ahab reminds gun owners of something pretty important:

I carry a gun. I would guess that a pretty big chunk of my readers also have carry permits in the states of their residence. What I find extremely disturbing about the story itself is the media’s reaction. Despite the fact that the DA and the police have decided that the CCW holder was within his legal rights, there is all sorts of outcry from the dead criminal’s family. The news story linked tries to portray the dead criminal as some sort of choirboy, gunned down in the prime of life or some nonsense.

When did we start having sympathy for perpetrators of violent crime? Why is it okay to demonize someone who acted in defense of his own life in the face of violent aggression? To me, this story and the way it’s playing in the media serves as a warning to those that choose to go about armed: even if the law says that you did no wrong you can expect to be crucified in the press. Doubly so if your attacker was a youth, or if he’s a minority and you’re not, or if you shoot your attacker “several” times.

It is unfortunate to me that in this day and age, we would rather have sympathy for a young man that died reaping precisely what he had sown than express our concern for the man who has to bear that death on hisconscience for the rest of his life.

It bothers me too.  I saw this a few days ago on The Volokh Conspiracy.  There is a sentiment among some, perhaps many, in the population, that because robbers don’t usually kill their victims, that this man who was carrying a firearm to defend himself was not justified in using deadly force to stop his attacker.

I don’t subscribe to this warped sense of morality, needless to say.  When someone comes up to me and points a gun at me, what he’s telling me is:

“I value that money or object I want from you more than I value your life; your life is worth no more than whatever you might have in your wallet.”

When someone crosses the line into lowering the value of another human life to that degree, I see no reason why other people should feel any particular reason to value that person’s life at any higher level.   Whether the robber intends to shoot his victim or not, pointing a loaded deadly weapon at another human being in an inherently dangerous act.  When you decide to engage in that kind of behavior, you devalue your own life by devaluing the lives of others.  It matters little to me that this youth was fifteen.  He was old enough to pick up a gun and go try to rob people.  If he’s old enough to make that choice, he’s old enough to pay the price with his life for having made it.

I would not feel very good if I were in a position where I had to shoot a teenager in self-defense.  I suspect that Mr. Wells will also have a tough time dealing with it.  Most decent people can’t kill another human being without suffering significant psychological consequences.   I feel bad for the family of the robber, but their child suffered the consequences of his choices in life.  It’s not fair or proper to put the blame on Mr. Wells, who was merely defending himself.

One Response to “Self Defense Perils”

  1. Sailorcurt says:

    When someone crosses the line into lowering the value of another human life to that degree, I see no reason why other people should feel any particular reason to value that person’s life at any higher level.

    For me, it is not a matter of valuing the life of the perpetrator at a higher or lower level than the items he/she wishes to liberate from me. It has everything to do with the level at which I value my own life.

    I was always taught “don’t point a gun at anything you don’t intend to shoot and don’t shoot anything you don’t intend to kill”. What that tells me is that, if someone points a gun at me or another innocent, they intend to kill me or that innocent and I have a moral and legal right and obligation to effect a defense by any and all means available.

    What I think the perpetrator may be trying to steal and its value are irrelevant.

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