Debate with my anti-gun brother (who is a judge)


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rainbowbob
April 15, 2008, 07:49 PM
I recently engaged my brother, who happens to be a judge, in a rather long debate on gun ownership. This was accomplished via email, and I post it here for those of you might be interested. It is long...and nobody is "converted" - but some decent points are made (mostly by me ;)) and it gives you a perspective on what the "other" side is thinking.


Rich –

I’m not expecting to change your mind, nor is it my intention to needle you - but I came across the following [excerpted from a long article] that may cause you to at least reconsider how conclusions based on flawed statistics have been used repeatedly to mislead the public. (e.g., “Guns in the home are 6 times more likely to kill an innocent person than a burglar.”)

You may have heard this statistic somewhere and assumed it was an accurate and reasonable conclusion. We all do that from time to time – especially when the statistics support our foregone conclusions. I only want to point out that (as you already know) statistics can be used unfairly and, if left unchallenged, can muddy the waters of an already fractious national debate. Next…I will cite statistics and use them to support my already foregone conclusion. ; - )

I realize you are probably not interested in taking the time to read much on this subject – but this is pretty short. It refers to a study that is generally considered to be the most rigorous study, with the largest sample-size, of any study on the defensive use of guns by ordinary citizens in this country. That study – as well as a dozen others – support estimates of between 1.5 and 4.5 million defensive gun uses per year by ordinary citizens in this country. It also indicates that the incidence of injury in violent crimes against innocent victims is appx. 17% for those that resist with a firearm – and appx. 25% for those that do not resist at all.

Brother Bob



When gun-control advocates and public health scholars consider whether keeping a gun for defensive purposes is sensible, they frequently bring up one variant or another of the most nonsensical statistic in the gun control debate.

In 1975 four physicians published an article based on data derived from medical examiner files in Cuyahoga (Cleveland) County, Ohio. They noted that during the period 1958-1973, there were 148 fatal gun accidents (78% of them in the home) and 23 "burglars, robbers or intruders who were not relatives or acquaintances" killed by people using guns to defend their homes. They stated that there were six times as many home fatal gun accidents as burglars killed. (This appears to have been a miscomputation-- the authors counted all 148 accidental deaths in the numerator, instead of just the 115 occurring in the home. Although the value of the number does not matter much, the correct ratio was five rather than six.)

On the basis of these facts alone, the authors concluded that "guns in the home are more dangerous than useful to the homeowner and his family who keep them to protect their persons and property" and that "the possession of firearms by civilians appears to be a dangerous and ineffective means of self-protection."

Eleven years later, Arthur Kellermann and his colleagues unwittingly replicated the Rushforth findings, finding that "for every case of self-protection homicide involving a firearm kept in the home, there were 1.3 accidental deaths, 4.6 criminal homicides, and 37 suicides involving firearms." The authors then concluded, just as Rushforth et al. did, that "the advisability of keeping firearms in the home for protection must be questioned."

[The Op's opinion on these numbers: (1) Throw out the suicides – people intent on suicide will complete the act with whatever means are most readily available. (2) Throw out the criminal homicides – people who are doing drug deals in their home, violently abusing their spouses, and otherwise murdering innocents, do not have any correlation to the lawful defensive use of a firearm. (3) The remaining 1.3 accidental deaths are suspect in that many gun suicides are reported as “accidents”.]

While conceding that they had made no effort to count "cases in which burglars or intruders are wounded or frightened away," the authors never acknowledged a far more pertinent and serious omission: lives saved by defensive gun use.

The basic problem that makes these ratios nonsensical is that they are presented as risk-benefit ratios, but in fact do not reflect any benefits of keeping guns for self-protection. If one sets out to assess only the costs of a behavior, but none of its benefits, the results of such an "analysis" are a foregone conclusion. What is so deceptive about the ratio is the hint that killing burglars or intruders is somehow a "benefit" to the householder. This is both morally offensive and factually inaccurate. Being forced to kill another human being, criminal or not, is a nightmare to be suffered through for years. Even police officers who take a life in the course of their duties commonly suffer the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Gun owners do not keep guns for the sake of having a chance to "bag a burglar." Instead, the benefit of defensive gun ownership that would be parallel to innocent lives lost to guns would be innocent lives saved by defensive use of guns.

As previously noted, less than one in a thousand defensive gun uses involves a criminal being killed. Few purportedly life- saving defensive uses of guns involve killing the criminal, and, conversely, killings of criminals do not necessarily involve saving the life of a victim. Therefore the number of criminals killed does not in any way even approximately index the number of lives saved. It is, however, impossible to directly count lives saved, i.e. deaths that did not occur, so it will never be possible to form a meaningful ratio of genuinely comparable quantities.

This implied cost-benefit ratio is so meaningless that it can fairly be dubbed the "Nonsense Ratio."

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Henry Bowman
April 15, 2008, 08:06 PM
So what did Judge Rich say?

SsevenN
April 15, 2008, 08:07 PM
Thanks for the post Bob!;);)

rainbowbob
April 15, 2008, 08:38 PM
Rich –

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I will now attempt to thoroughly repudiate it [my comments bracketed in red] within the body of your email (your comments in blue):

______________________________________________

Bob -
I read the article, at least the highlighted parts. I think I may have seen it once before. Of course, it doesn’t change my opinion, but you figured that. I am sure this won’t change your opinion either, but I thought it was ironic that the week after we had our discussion, a kid in Centralia was killed playing around with his father’s unlocked gun and in another city, an elementary school boy brought two loaded guns to school.

[These tragic cases are not ironic…they are cases of negligence. There is little difference between these incidents and those that result from leaving out prescription pain meds, or poisons, or even the keys to the car. And they are preventable. Firearms should be locked out of the reach of very young children, and they should be taught that guns are very dangerous and can kill them…to not touch a gun if they see one…to tell an adult if they do see one…to leave immediately if they are at a friends house and see one. Older children should be taught how to shoot and handle a firearm safely. A corollary would be to instruct small children to stay away from swimming pools and other bodies of water unless an adult is present…to take effective preventative measures to insure that they do so…and to teach older children to swim.]

I’m not so sure about leaving out the suicides. Many people attempt suicide with pills or by strangulation. If found in time they might survive, especially from pills. It is hard to put the top of someone’s head back on. As you know depression is a disease. It can strike at any time. Who is to say that an otherwise careful person won’t develop clinical depression and use the handy gun?

[That is a good question. However…clinical depression can and does cause some people to attempt suicide with our without a gun. The statistics I have seen indicate there is no significant difference in the rate of completed suicides in areas where guns are not legally available. It would be interesting to know the number of gun-related suicides in those areas. If that number is significant, it might indicate that making guns illegal is ineffective in keeping them out of the hands of people who desire to have them for whatever reason (much like every other attempt at prohibition). My understanding is that such unfortunate persons can and will find effective alternative means in most cases…. ]

I had a case like that at *** —very intelligent software engineer, lived on Lake ******, careful with his guns, keeping them locked up. Until he became depressed. Fortunately, he was not killed by the swat team that showed up, and I got to deal with him.

[...including “suicide by cop”. He (and the officers involved) were fortunate that they had the training and ability to resolve the situation safely.]

I am 59. I have lived in a bad neighborhood for 34 years. I lived next door to a crack dealer for awhile. We have gang graffiti on fences. Someone could kill me in a drive-by, or break into my house. I have a dangerous job. Someone could shoot me after I walk out of the door of the courthouse. I still do not believe that being prepared to fight violence with violence is the answer. I’d rather not play.

[Is there an effective alternative answer I am not aware of? I know you don’t mean to trivialize the dangers you enumerate but - I must insist it is NOT a game. Nobody else is playing either – least of all the potentially violent people you have identified. You have identified a number of very real risk factors in your life. This is not paranoia – it is reality. I have seen numbers (Again with the statistics?) indicating something like 87% of us will be the victim of a violent crime some time in our life. Like any statistic, that may be misleading. For example: I have no idea how many of the victims in those crimes were involved in mutually criminal gang-banger incidents in which the victim was also an assailant. Those numbers would obviously not apply to you or me. Whatever an accurate applicable statistic is for you and me…the point is that there is SOME significant level of REAL risk for ordinary, law-abiding citizens – and we don’t get to decide if, where, when, or how it might happen. If it WERE to happen to you, I find it somewhat hard to imagine attempting to avert a violent assault or murder attempt with kind words and a hug. I also cannot accept the idea of rolling into a fetal position and going off quietly and cooperatively into that long good-night.

You do, of course, effectively apply the use of violence, or more accurately, the threat of violence, every day you go to work. I presume there are armed guards in your court-room to maintain order and to protect you. I must also assume that if the lawful orders issued by you are not obeyed, armed officers will enforce them. If persons ordered to appear do not do so, people with guns may appear at their door and arrest them - by force if necessary.

“Well…” (you might say) “…Those are professional law enforcement personnel…that’s different. You should call the cops if you have a problem.” (I apologize for putting hypothetical words into your mouth.)

But the courts have ruled that law enforcement has no duty to protect citizens, or liability if they fail to do so. I have been told by very experienced cops that they can not be everywhere, and, should you be so unfortunate as to be the victim of a violent crime, they will not likely show up until it is over. When they get there, they are little more than public stenographers documenting the scene (their words). They have told me it is the responsibility – and duty – of every able individual to defend themselves and their loved ones if the need should arise. I trust their professional experience and take them at their word. None of us can carry a cop with us wherever we go.]

I do have a couple of excerpts of my own:

Glenn Reynolds argues that America’s relatively high rate of gun ownership compared with that of other developed countries leads us to have a lower rate of “hot” burglaries (burglaries of occupied homes).

This claim rests on very fragile evidence, as Prof. Philip J. Cook of Duke University and I demonstrated in a 2003 study published by the Brookings Institution. In fact, we show that within the United States, counties with higher rates of household gun ownership may, if anything, have higher burglary rates.
[They are confusing cause with effect. More people living in higher crime areas will likely be motivated to acquire some effective means of defense. The important number is: In any particular area, how many crimes were successfully averted by the defensive use of a gun in the hands of an innocent victim?]

Around 500,000 guns are stolen each year in America. Another two million or three million used guns change hands in “secondary market” sales that are almost entirely unregulated.
[If any of those guns are being used to commit crimes – the criminal is subject to arrest. Let us assume for a moment we could legally rescind the Second Amendment and/or Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution. Is the solution to the problem of criminal possession of guns to prohibit law-abiding citizens from owning them? Can anyone seriously believe doing so will keep guns out of the hands of criminals? (Hint # 1: Criminals don’t obey gun laws any more than they obey burglary laws or murder laws. Hint # 2: Prohibition of anything does not work.) ]

Gun ownership may well exert some deterrent effect on criminals, but these benefits seem to be outweighed by the costs to society. In a 2006 study Professor Cook and I published in The Journal of Public Economics, we estimate that the net social cost of household gun ownership is somewhere in the range of $100 to $1,800 per year. Society might be better off taxing, rather than encouraging, private gun ownership.
Jens Ludwig
Washington, Jan. 16, 2007

[They don’t seem to give much consideration to the very real benefit of the 2 million or more crimes averted by legitimate gun owners every year. The researchers you quote here seem only to be interested in measuring the “costs” - without accurately representing the “benefits”. You can’t do a cost/benefit analysis if you ignore the true benefits.]


The writer is a professor of public policy at Georgetown University

The letter writer collaborated on a book that I have not read, but it sounds as though it may try to take a balanced and statistical approach to the issue. Perhaps we should each read it and then continue the discussion some time.

Evaluating Gun Policy Effects on Crime and Violence

Crime

Jens Ludwig and Philip I. Cook, eds., Brookings Institution Press and Brookings Metro Series 2003 c. 456pp.

Compared with other developed nations, the United States is unique in its high rates of both gun ownership and murder. Although widespread gun ownership does not have much effect on the overall crime rate, gun use does make criminal violence more lethal and has a unique capacity to terrorize the public. Gun crime accounts for most of the costs of gun violence in the United States, which are on the order of $100 billion per year.

But that is not the whole story. Guns also provide recreational benefits and sometimes are used virtuously in fending off or forestalling criminal attacks.

Given that guns may be used for both good and ill, the goal of gun policy in the United States has been to reduce the flow of guns to the highest-risk groups while preserving access for most people. There is no lack of opinions on policies to regulate gun commerce, possession, and use, and most policy proposals spark intense controversy. Whether the current system achieves the proper balance between preserving access and preventing misuse remains the subject of considerable debate.

Evaluating Gun Policy provides guidance for a pragmatic approach to gun policy using good empirical research to help resolve conflicting assertions about the effects of guns, gun control, and law enforcement. The chapters in this volume do not conform neatly to the claims of any one political position.

Chapter Summaries:

1. Did Project Exile reduce homicide rates?
2. Does widespread gun ownership deter burglars?
3. Do permissive concealed-carry laws result in less crime?
4. Are there really 20,000 gun control laws?
5. What is the impact of policing against illegal guns?
6. How effective are laws barring gun possession by domestic batterers?

The book is divided into five parts. In the first section, contributors analyze the connections between rates of gun ownership and two outcomes of particular interest to society—suicide and burglary. Regulating ownership is the focus of the second section, where contributors investigate the consequences a large-scale combined gun ban and buy-back program in Australia, as well as the impact of state laws that prohibit gun ownership to those with histories of domestic violence.

The third section focuses on efforts to restrict gun carrying and includes a critical examination of efforts in Pittsburgh to patrol illegal gun traffic and a re-examination of the effects of permissive state gun-carrying laws. This section also features the first rigorous—and critical—analysis of Richmond's Project Exile, which serves as one model for the national Project Safe Neighborhoods program. The fourth section focuses on efforts to facilitate research on gun violence, including a database on state gun laws and the ongoing development of a nationwide violent-death reporting system. The book concludes with an examination of the policy process.

Differences in opinion about gun policy flourish partly because of the lack of sound evidence in this area. The contributors to this volume demonstrate that skilled and dispassionate analysis of the evidence is attainable, even in an area as contentious as firearm policy. For pragmatists who wish to reduce the social burden of gun violence, there is no acceptable alternative.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Jens Ludwig

Jens Ludwig focuses on poverty; low-income families; criminal justice, and schooling intervention. A professor at the University of Chicago, he has conducted research on federal programs aimed at reducing dependence on public housing.

Philip I. Cook

Philip J. Cook is the ITT/Sanford Professor of Public Policy at Duke University. Cook and Jens Ludwig coauthored Gun Violence: The Real Costs (2000, Oxford University Press).[/color]

rainbowbob
April 15, 2008, 08:57 PM
Rich -

I’ll read yours – if you’ll read mine:

WOULD BANNING FIREARMS REDUCE MURDER AND SUICIDE?
A REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL AND SOME DOMESTIC EVIDENCE
DON B. KATES AND GARY MAUSER

http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

Again, I will answer between the lines of your post [my comments bracketed in red].

- Bob
________________________________________

Bob -

So there we are.

Just for clarification—I am not advocating banning guns, so the question about whether banning guns would reduce crime is not relevant to our discussion.

[I am happy to learn you are not an extremist. I am curious, however, to know why you do not advocate the banning of guns?]

The question is “Does voluntarily refusing to possess a gun increase my risk to an unacceptable level? You say yes—I say no. I believe that you and I can only answer that question with our gut.

[I would not presume to answer for you whether your unwillingness to effectively counter a violent assault raises your risk to an unacceptable level. I do believe it increases your risk of experiencing a bad outcome from a criminal assault, should one occur. If that is acceptable to you…by definition it isn’t unacceptable.. Conversely, the answer to the question whether or not keeping a firearm increases one’s risk to an unacceptable level is equally personal. The empirical answer may be (and I believe is) available from the statistical evidence. As you say…we can only answer that for ourselves. In the end, we each believe what we choose to believe.]

Secondly, the Ludwig Cook book is not “my” book. I don’t even know if it would support my position. I was struck by the comment “The chapters in this volume do not conform neatly to the claims of any one political position.” as a possible indicator that the authors do not try to take a position on the issue. I haven’t read the book, so I don’t really know what their position is, but in this subject, any book that starts from the premise that gun control is right or wrong will likely find the statistics to shore up the preconception. There is a fair amount written on the effectiveness of gun control, but not a lot written on the personal crime-reduction benefits of owning a gun.

[Interestingly, I have never read a credible treatise on the effectiveness of gun control. I could however, provide you with an extensive reading list on the personal crime-reduction benefits of owning a gun. Go figure!]

I have no doubt that if we had the time, we could go on endlessly finding support for either side of this discussion. Ultimately, this is a personal moral decision and I have made mine.

BTW, have you ever left your gun in your coat pocket, unlocked dresser drawer or another accessible location?

[Not with Alonzo (my grandson) or any other child in the house...not once. Nor have I left him unattended with access to the pool, or let him play in the parking area without first blocking the driveway.]

I know I have done a lot of stupid, careless, absent-minded things in my life that could have been fatal to me or someone I live, and I have been fortunate enough “to dodge the bullet” (to coin a phrase).

[My previous comment is not meant to imply that I have never done anything careless or stupid. Of course I have - we all do. Most of the time we are fortunate and no tragedy occurs. But when tragedies DO occur – for whatever reason - they can very often be attributed to negligence. They are almost never the fault of inanimate objects. The more careful we are, the less likely a tragedy will occur.]

I hope this response does not sound flip—it is not intended that way—but I’ve done my bit to convince you that your choice is unwise, and if I haven’t convinced you by now, I know I won’t.

[Likewise…if I have not convinced you that your choice is unwise – I know I won’t. But we are not really so far apart. We share equally the desire to reduce the effects of violence on innocent people.

Peace Brother

- Bob]

Bartholomew Roberts
April 15, 2008, 09:00 PM
In addition to the statistical flaws in the Kellerman study, do not forget to point out that comparing only burglars KILLED by firearms ignores the fact that 98% (Gary Kleck) of defensive firearms use involves just the display of a firearm. Are those people any less saved because they did not kill their attacker?

rainbowbob
April 15, 2008, 09:09 PM
Bob -
The reason I don’t advocate gun control (now) is that I do not know enough to know whether that form of prohibition would be effective. I don’t plan on studying the pros and cons because I have other fish to fry in the social reform arena. I should mention that I do support limitations and restrictions on some forms of firearms.

[Then you DO advocate at least SOME limited forms of gun control...as do I. We may not agree completely on WHICH limitations and restrictions, but we may be closer than you think. For example: I support restricting violent criminals and the violently mentally ill from possessing firearms.]

I also oppose interference with freedom of speech, but support restrictions on some forms of pornography.

[As do I. For example: I support criminalizing child porn.]

I also support licensing dangerous apparatus’, such as cars, guns and aircraft, and requiring that the operators be trained before getting a license.

[As do I. Although operator training for a CPL is NOT required in our state, it is in many states. I could support such a requirement here.]

Henry Bowman
April 15, 2008, 09:19 PM
The statistics I have seen indicate there is no significant difference in the rate of completed suicides in areas where guns are not legally available. It would be interesting to know the number of gun-related suicides in those areas. See Japan.

xsquidgator
April 15, 2008, 09:21 PM
No offense meant, I know he's your brother and all, but...
how have we come to the point where a sitting JUDGE thinks only part of the Bill of Rights are actually rights, and other parts can be infringed upon? Again no offense, but I can't imagine Judge Roy Bean being like this - bring 'im back!

misterwhipple
April 15, 2008, 10:08 PM
It may be a mistake to look to any other country for a moral or social yardstick by which to evaluate crime, violence, and the right to self defense, for two reasons.

First, I have yet to learn of any other nation where sovereignty proceeds both in law and in fact from the citizenry.

Second, I know of none in which the rights of individuals are treated as an absolute limit in law on the authority of government. While this principle may be rampantly flouted and flagrantly neglected by the power of government in recent generations, it is still the bedrock of our law.

I believe these two principles are inseparable from, and demanded by, the inherent dignity of the human person. If that is true, then surely no nation that lacks them can serve as a reliable guide in these matters.

[There is also a religious argument to be made on this subject, which I would gladly discuss privately with anyone who's interested.]

rainbowbob
April 15, 2008, 10:13 PM
misterwhipple:
I agree it is probably not worthwhile to compare our apples to any other country's lemons. You present the arguments for that very well in your post.

jakemccoy
April 15, 2008, 10:15 PM
I didn't read all of the long dialogue. However, I may be able give some useful insight.

I'm a lawyer. I was anti-gun about a year and a half ago. No amount of debating led me to my current strong pro-gun stance. I went to the range, took some courses and came to some realizations on my own. It's unlikely that you'll be able to convert your brother through debating.

I mean no disrespect to your brother. However, becoming a judge is largely political once a lawyer gets to that level. His stance on guns probably helped him to get to where he is.

rainbowbob
April 15, 2008, 10:25 PM
Jake:
Say it aint so...you're a lawyer? ;)

Seriously - as an anti-gunner - what made you want to go to a range and shoot?

Actually my brother is a County Commissioner. They are appointed (not elected) and must go through a grueling vetting process. there is actually very little politics involved. He presides as a judge in family law, mental health, and juvenile cases. He really is a good man, and a good judge...just a little misguided on some issues.

misterwhipple
April 15, 2008, 10:30 PM
I must admit, it is puzzling that a judge would think such a thing. Many of the routine acts of criminal law enforcement are universally considered violent when individuals undertake them without the authority of law. Do you think your brother is aware of the contradiction?

[Oops, missed the part about County Commissioner and family court.]

Still, some of the same applies. I don't necessarily suggest bringing it up, but has the subject come up on its own?

jakemccoy
April 15, 2008, 10:34 PM
To be totally clear, I'm no longer anti-gun.

When I was anti-gun, I started off with a one-on-one course for shotgun sporting clays. It was "like golf" and a "sport". I had such a good time that it consumed me in no time. Eventually, I figured what the hell and went to the handgun range. It dawned on me that the people I met at the ranges were some the coolest people around. At that point, my anti-gun views had faded away. After some research, I became strongly pro-gun.

=====

I fully understand your brother was appointed. It's still very much political. Think about how judges are selected for the Supreme Court. The judges’ political views and prior decisions are given a complete colonoscopy before the President appoints. Also, rubbing elbows at the local bar gatherings helps. Certain judges are appointed for being consistently anti-gun, and vice versa. Your brother may not admit to the appointment process as being political. Nevertheless, it is.

Make no mistake. I'm not slighting his credentials or intelligence. Those things are assumed at that level.

BAT1
April 15, 2008, 10:50 PM
If he is a judge, he probably carries, if he is smart. If a thousand judges says it is wrong, it does not make it right if you get your door kicked in and killed. You must be your own advocate in this situation. I'm sure he has seen his share of gun violence, but has he ever had to worry about it coming to his home affecting his family.

rainbowbob
April 15, 2008, 10:52 PM
Eventually, I figured what the hell and went to the handgun range.

Jake:
I went through a similar evolution from mildly anti-gun to vehemently pro-gun.

You are probably right in your assessment of the political overtones associated with my bro's appointment. He did not have to 'run' in the usual sense, however.

Do you think your brother is aware of the contradiction?

misterwhipple:
I wrote the following to him (post #4):

You do, of course, effectively apply the use of violence, or more accurately, the threat of violence, every day you go to work. I presume there are armed guards in your court-room to maintain order and to protect you. I must also assume that if the lawful orders issued by you are not obeyed, armed officers will enforce them. If persons ordered to appear do not do so, people with guns may appear at their door and arrest them - by force if necessary.

That was a paraphrase of an insightful response from another writer (I wish I could remember who) on a previous thread of mine here at THR. My brother did not directly respond to that...but did change the subject shortly thereafter. ;)

rainbowbob
April 15, 2008, 11:01 PM
If he is a judge, he probably carries, if he is smart...I'm sure he has seen his share of gun violence, but has he ever had to worry about it coming to his home affecting his family.

In my brother's reply he writes:
I am 59. I have lived in a bad neighborhood for 34 years. I lived next door to a crack dealer for awhile. We have gang graffiti on fences. Someone could kill me in a drive-by, or break into my house. I have a dangerous job. Someone could shoot me after I walk out of the door of the courthouse. I still do not believe that being prepared to fight violence with violence is the answer. I’d rather not play.

I replied:
Is there an effective alternative answer I am not aware of? I know you don’t mean to trivialize the dangers you enumerate but - I must insist it is NOT a game. Nobody else is playing either – least of all the potentially violent people you have identified. You have identified a number of very real risk factors in your life. This is not paranoia – it is reality. I have seen numbers (Again with the statistics?) indicating something like 87% of us will be the victim of a violent crime some time in our life. Like any statistic, that may be misleading. For example: I have no idea how many of the victims in those crimes were involved in mutually criminal gang-banger incidents in which the victim was also an assailant. Those numbers would obviously not apply to you or me. Whatever an accurate applicable statistic is for you and me…the point is that there is SOME significant level of REAL risk for ordinary, law-abiding citizens – and we don’t get to decide if, where, when, or how it might happen. If it WERE to happen to you, I find it somewhat hard to imagine attempting to avert a violent assault or murder attempt with kind words and a hug. I also cannot accept the idea of rolling into a fetal position and going off quietly and cooperatively into that long good-night.

BB62
April 16, 2008, 12:01 AM
It dawned on me that the people I met at the ranges were some the coolest people around. At that point, my anti-gun views had faded away. After some research, I became strongly pro-gun.

Jake,

Exactly why did your anti-gun views fade away?

I mean no insult to you, but by the way you phrased it, it almost seems that since the range people were "cool" you could not square that with your stereotype of gun owners.

Not to put words in your mouth, but I, and I think many others would LOVE to hear exactly how you came to see the light.

We (okay, maybe it's just me) tend to talk in ways that "we" understand - but that doesn't necessarily hit home with people on the fence - hence my request.

jakemccoy
April 16, 2008, 12:34 AM
Hi BB,

You literally made up something about what I said. I can't respond. Have fun.

-Jake

BB62
April 16, 2008, 11:32 AM
You literally made up something about what I said. I can't respond. Have fun.

Hi Jake,

What did I "make up"?

I see your original post was this:

Did I mention I had a stereotype of gun owners? No, I did not.

Read what I posted. Don't read into. I explained myself well enough.

You seem to want to argue or something. I'm not interested.

So, covering all bases, I will answer your original post also.

Your original post was unclear to me, even though you felt you explained yourself well enough - hence my question.

I didn't say you had a stereotype of gun owners, I said that my interpretation was that that was a possible meaning of your phrasing.

I don't want to argue, I want (and wanted) merely to understand more clearly how your conversion progressed.

It is a shame that you don't recognize, or choose to recognize, that one ought to clarify intent/meaning/etc. before assailing another.

Vern Humphrey
April 16, 2008, 12:09 PM
I would do it like this: Did you take the oath required in Article 6 of the Constitution?
Article VI.
Clause 1: All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
(My emphasis)

There is no escape clause there -- he didn't swear to only support those parts of the Constitution that he likes.

If he cannot keep the oath -- for whatever reason -- he must resign.

Deanimator
April 16, 2008, 12:31 PM
Did I miss something, or did he completely fail to address your apt statement that he's perfectly comfortable using force and the threat thereof by armed agents of the state?

If in fact he did totally skate by that, it hardly surprises me. The "violence never solves anything" crowd almost ALWAYS do that. The one or two percent who don't, fall back on the lame dodge of the War Resisters' League, namely, "We didn't create this problem, how do you expect us to solve it NOW?"

Anybody who claims that "violence doesn't solve anything", but who habitually employs men armed with firearms to enforce his will is a hypocrite.

Henry Bowman
April 16, 2008, 12:41 PM
If he cannot keep the oath -- for whatever reason -- he must resign.He's not a federal judge. He's a county commissioner, by virtue of which he "presides as a judge in family law, mental health, and juvenile cases." Not sure how that works, but that's what we are told in post #13.

Vern Humphrey
April 16, 2008, 12:45 PM
He's not a federal judge. He's a county commissioner, by virtue of which he "presides as a judge in family law, mental health, and juvenile cases." Not sure how that works, but that's what we are told in post #13.
I am a mere county election commissioner, and I had to take that oath (with the Constitution of Arkansas added on.) I suspect he did have to take it -- and to my mind, violation of a sworn oath is moral turpitude, which should render the violator inelligible to hold any office.

My position is, "You don't like the Second Amendment? Fine. You're free to start the amendment process to repeal it. But until it's repealed, I expect you to faithfully execute the oath you took when you assumed office."

RPCVYemen
April 16, 2008, 01:49 PM
Your brother sounds like a very reasonable man, who understand the risks, and making a reasonable decision.

I am 59. I have lived in a bad neighborhood for 34 years. I lived next door to a crack dealer for awhile. We have gang graffiti on fences. Someone could kill me in a drive-by, or break into my house. I have a dangerous job. Someone could shoot me after I walk out of the door of the courthouse. I still do not believe that being prepared to fight violence with violence is the answer. I’d rather not play.

If someone has really chosen not to fight violence with violence, then quoting stats doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I have seen numbers (Again with the statistics?) indicating something like 87% of us will be the victim of a violent crime some time in our life.

That sounds utterly and completely bogus to me. It may not be fair, but crime - particularly violent crime is not uniformly distributed across gender, age, or socio-economic boundaries. Another thread on THR a couple of days ago claimed that a study (in Richmond as I recall) had found that 90% of the murder where a handgun was used had felony convictions. I believe that stat, just from reading my hometown paper.

In fact, from my point of view, I support RKBA as a social policy mostly so that innocent people in bad neighborhood have self-defense options. I am not all surprised that the CDC and NAS reports were unable to find a positive or negative effect of CCW laws on crime stats. Arming relative affluent law abiding middle class white males - who are statistically very unlikely to be either the perpetrators or victims of violent crime - would not have much effect.

The reason I don’t advocate gun control (now) is that I do not know enough to know whether that form of prohibition would be effective. I don’t plan on studying the pros and cons because I have other fish to fry in the social reform arena. I should mention that I do support limitations and restrictions on some forms of firearms.

Sounds reasonable to me - from a social policy position. That doesn't specify any conditions under which he would support gun control laws (other than the licensing that he mentions later).

I have no doubt that if we had the time, we could go on endlessly finding support for either side of this discussion.

..., but in this subject, any book that starts from the premise that gun control is right or wrong will likely find the statistics to shore up the preconception.


Your brother absolutely on target with this one. That's part of why most people find stats-slinging so ineffective.

The question is “Does voluntarily refusing to possess a gun increase my risk to an unacceptable level? You say yes—I say no. I believe that you and I can only answer that question with our gut.

I would not presume to answer for you whether your unwillingness to effectively counter a violent assault raises your risk to an unacceptable level.

Wait a second - risk level may be the core point.

Think of it this way. If you try to sell me a shark bite proof suit ( I don't know if such a thing exists :)), and I realize I never go into the water at the ocean, it may be perfectly reasonable for me to say that refusing to wear a shark bite proof suit won't change my risk of being killed by a shark at all. If you came back and say "I wouldn't presume to to answer for you whether your unwillingness to buy a shark bite suit effectively raises your risk of of being killed by a shark. But if you are are attacked by a shark, ..." That's silly.

Ultimately, this is a personal moral decision and I have made mine.

I applaud him. He obviously understands the issues, had thought deeply about them, and has made a personal moral decision. Isn't that the goal of whole Constitution - that we are free men able to private moral decisions?

I would like to argue more strongly that the decision may be right for him. I have come to much the same conclusion. Each one of us needs to balance two risks:


Risk that choosing to possessor carry a handgun will cause an accident/negligent incident where an innocent person is harmed.
Risk that choosing not to possess or carry a handgun will mean that we will not be able to stop an violent attack against us or loved ones.


It seems to me that these risks are different for different people. In my own analysis, the risk of #1 outweighs the risk of #2. Why?


I tend to sleep very deeply, and be groggy when awoken.
My son is college age, and its would not be unexpected that he or his friends could come by the house at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.
I live in a boring middle class neighborhood surrounded by other boring middle class people.
I don't go to night clubs - at least in Raleigh, a lot of shootings happen in nightclubs or nightclub parking lots.
I don't do illegal drugs, or hang around people do illegal drugs. At least in Raleigh, a lot of shootings are drug related.
No violent ex's threatening me or my wife.


The first two factors tend to increase risk #1, where the last 3 tend to decrease risk #2. In my case, risk #1 dominates risk #2 by a big margin. For me, the decision is not to carry for self-defense. My risks could change. I like shooting as a hobby.

Your risks may be different. I support RKBA because it might be the right decision for some people, not because it's the right decision for everyone.

Mike

Vern Humphrey
April 16, 2008, 02:01 PM
One fundamental problem is, people who say, "I'm willing to take that risk" are not willing to allow other people to choose what risks they will or will not take.

There is another problem -- we have a duty to the common defense. If I protect myself, I also protect you. If I allow myself to be victimized, I make you more vulnerable.

RPCVYemen
April 16, 2008, 02:19 PM
One fundamental problem is, people who say, "I'm willing to take that risk" are not willing to allow other people to choose what risks they will or will not take.

Didn't the judge specifically say that he was not advocating greater gun control.

There is another problem -- we have a duty to the common defense. If I protect myself, I also protect you. If I allow myself to be victimized, I make you more vulnerable.

That cuts both ways - my decision to keep a weapon in my house also probably increases the risk that you will be shot by accident/negligence/criminal act involving my handgun. Different neighborhoods will have different risks.

Mike

Vern Humphrey
April 16, 2008, 02:33 PM
Didn't the judge specifically say that he was not advocating greater gun control.
He also said things that inevatably lead to the conclusion that guns are bad and dangerous, and self-defense is morally inferior to not resisting.
That cuts both ways - my decision to keep a weapon in my house also probably increases the risk that you will be shot by accident/negligence/criminal act involving my handgun. Different neighborhoods will have different risks.
That's what Sarah Brady would say. Keeping a weapon is not a significant factor in accidents -- firearms accidents are the lowest category in government statistics, and would not even be reported separately if it were not for the politics.

RPCVYemen
April 16, 2008, 03:34 PM
, ... self-defense is morally inferior to not resisting.

He may also believe the moon is made of green cheese - as long as he isn't advocating more gun control, it is not true to say he is " not willing to allow other people to choose what risks they will or will not take."

That's what Sarah Brady would say.

Why does it matter who says what? Sarah Brady might also say that water freezes at 32 degrees. Are you going to argue water doesn't freeze at 32 degrees because she said it did?

Both of these strike me as true:

If I choose to carry/possess a handgun, I will be able to choose protect.

If I chose to carry/possess a handgun, people around me have a higher risk of being accidentally/negligently/criminally by that handgun shot than if I do not.

Mike

Vern Humphrey
April 16, 2008, 03:40 PM
Why does it matter who says what? Sarah Brady might also say that water freezes at 32 degrees. Are you going to argue water doesn't freeze at 32 degrees because she said it did?

It matter what. And the who who says these things would be saying water freezes at 212 degrees.

The truth or falsity of a proposition like these can be objectively tested -- and the results of that test is that the benefits of having a gun are great, and the downside is miniscule.

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 04:18 PM
If he cannot keep the oath -- for whatever reason -- he must resign...violation of a sworn oath is moral turpitude, which should render the violator inelligible to hold any office.

Vern: I'm not sure what you are referring to here. My brother's personal decision to refuse to arm himself is not an abbrogation of his duties as a judge, or a violation of a sworn oath.

XDKingslayer
April 16, 2008, 04:35 PM
To be totally clear, I'm no longer anti-gun.

Yes you are. You, like every other anti-gunner, have forgotten those 4 special words.

"Shall not be infringed".

siglite
April 16, 2008, 04:38 PM
IANAL.

But, we've been surveying candidates for office here in WV for the past few weeks. And one of the very sticky surveys to write is those for the Supreme Court. I don't know what legal principle applies, but we could not ask questions like "how do you feel about $x and $y" because it shows predisposition. A judge who answered the type of questionnaire we sent out for legislative candidates, may have to recuse himself from the bench on a 2nd amendment related case because of his answers.

So, I think what I'm asking is, did you have the judge's permission to share this information? And if not, to point out that it may be a problem for him if anyone were to connect the dots.

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 04:41 PM
Did I miss something, or did he completely fail to address your apt statement that he's perfectly comfortable using force and the threat thereof by armed agents of the state?

deanimator:
Nope...you didn't miss anything. He pretty much wanted to end the discussion soon after I pointed that out. I couldn't let the "...violence never solves anything..." comment stand unchallenged. Yes...I think it is hypocritical, although I don't think of my brother as a hypocrite. He just hasn't thought it through. Hopefully I have planted a seed.

Vern Humphrey
April 16, 2008, 04:41 PM
Vern: I'm not sure what you are referring to here. My brother's personal decision to refuse to arm himself is not an abbrogation of his duties as a judge.

The oath is to support the Constitution.

misterwhipple
April 16, 2008, 04:52 PM
Unless I'm very much mistaken, the challenge rainbowbob faces is that his brother's opinion complicates a gun-related family situation. The brother's status as a judge is a source of incongruity, not the main issue.

I believe we would serve rainbowbob better by focusing less on his brother's supposed shortcomings at the bench and more on being helpful, or at least supportive, with the family matters.

Bob, please excuse my part in sidetracking the thread.

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 04:57 PM
Wait a second - risk level may be the core point.

RPCVYemen:
I know you read the part where he identifies all of the many very REAL risks he encounters every day - because you quoted it. Your silly shark suit analogy misses by a mile! The fact is...he (and most of us) are wading into potentially dangerous waters every day.

As for the "bogus" statistic about risk of violent assault...I edited that passage for length and clarity - but in my original post to him I pointed out that many crimes are between gang-bangers and so forth which would not apply to most of us. That doesn't eliminate the fact that there is SOME level of REAL risk for all of us.

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 05:15 PM
I tend to sleep very deeply, and be groggy when awoken.
My son is college age, and its would not be unexpected that he or his friends could come by the house at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.
I live in a boring middle class neighborhood surrounded by other boring middle class people.

Mike:
I just got off the phone with my upscale middle-class cousin who lives in Arizona. He told me that not long ago he and his middle-class wife were walking from there car to a restaurant in what they thought of as a "nice" part of Phoenix. They came around a corner and were unexpectedly caught in cross-fire between rival gangs. Fortunately, none of them could hit a barn from the inside - and nobody was killed.

I hate to pop your bubble - but I think your sense of safety engendered by your "boring" life is an illusion. You are certainly safer than a drug dealer, or someone who frequents certain clubs - but I hope what I believe is your false sense of security doesn't leave you vulnerable to assault.

As for your home defense - or rather your lack of same: I recommend a gun safe that is quickly accessable but requires you to come up out of grogginess to operate. I further recommend that you make some kind of arrangement with your son and his friends - either a signal, or a curfew, or something.

jakemccoy
April 16, 2008, 05:23 PM
XD wrote,
Yes you are. You, like every other anti-gunner, have forgotten those 4 special words.

"Shall not be infringed".

You said I'm anti-gun. Are you drunk or high?

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 05:24 PM
So, I think what I'm asking is, did you have the judge's permission to share this information? And if not, to point out that it may be a problem for him if anyone were to connect the dots.

I don't understand which dots could be connected here. Am I overlooking something? My intent was to present an exchange between two annonomous writers for the purpose of this discussion only.

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 05:27 PM
The oath is to support the Constitution.

I still don't get how his personal decision is an abbrogation of his oath to support the Constitution?

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 05:34 PM
Bob, please excuse my part in sidetracking the thread.

This really isn't so much a family problem as it is a personal account of what is a national debate.

You are correct in saying that his status as a judge is not particularly relevant EXCEPT...for his stance that "violence is never the answer" when he employs the threat of it every day.

Henry Bowman
April 16, 2008, 05:47 PM
You are correct in saying that his status as a judge is not particularly relevant EXCEPT...for his stance that "violence is never the answer" when he employs the threat of it every day.And that he has had at leat some study of the Constitution and its application (though likely not with respect to the 2A).

I believe we would serve rainbowbob better by focusing less on his brother's supposed shortcomings at the bench and more on being helpful, or at least supportive, with the family matters.Amen.

jakemccoy
April 16, 2008, 05:54 PM
In normal Constitutional Law courses, professors do not go into the 2A. There's not much case precedence to study and apply. A study of the 2A could not be much more than a history or political debate.

Yes, a good law school does teach sound interpretation of laws so that students can apply any law. However, learning such a skill does not actually teach understanding of the 2A. It's up to the individual attorney to study the 2A to gain understanding. Such studying may or may not occur.

The California Bar, which is rather comprehensive, does not (or did not 8 years ago) touch upon the 2A whatsoever. However, I imagine with cases like Heller, things could change in modern times.

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 05:57 PM
...And that he has had at least some study of the Constitution...

And also that he is the only anti I know who is (for the most part) intelligent, rational, and logical.

As I pointed out to him at the end of our exchange:
We share equally the desire to reduce the effects of violence on innocent people.

We just don't agree on how best to accomplish that.

RPCVYemen
April 16, 2008, 07:03 PM
As for your home defense - or rather your lack of same: I recommend a gun safe that is quickly accessable but requires you to come up out of grogginess to operate. I further recommend that you make some kind of arrangement with your son and his friends - either a signal, or a curfew, or something.

I think you are missing the main point - balancing risks. If I perceived that Risk #2 was high enough, I would make some effort to ameliorate Risk #1. But since I regard #2 as relatively low, I don't see much point in working at it.

Occasional anecdotal stories my don't risk analysis much. People also get struck by lighting, drown in 5 gallon buckets, etc.

As per your example - if your friends were caught in cross fire between two rival gangs, I am not sure what good a handgun would do. My advice - with or without a gun - is get the heck out the crossfire as fast as possible!

Mike

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 07:39 PM
I think you are missing the main point - balancing risks.

I didn't miss the point...I understand you have done a risk/benefit analysis and decided the risk of being armed outwieghs the risk of being assaulted.

While I support your right - and my brother's right - to come to that conclusion...I just don't agree with your analysis. As I wrote:

I think your sense of safety, engendered by your "boring" life, is an illusion.

Anecdotal evidence based on other's experience - and even empirical evidence based on solid data - only goes so far in any analysis. Personal experience of anecdotal evidence is probably the most compelling. God forbid any of us should have to learn the hard way. Apparently, nothing has happened to you that convinces you of the risk of violent crime. That's good - I sincerely hope you remain so fortunate.

Matthaios
April 16, 2008, 07:43 PM
Bob, since he seems to be of the mind that "violence is NEVER the answer", you could try this quote I found awhile back on him...

"I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully."

- Mohandas Gandhi (Young India, 11-10-1928, p342)


You can find some other quotes from him on his views here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandhi#Nonviolence

Basically though, he thought non-violence > violence > cowardice, that not everyone is cut out for non-violence, and if you're not cut out for non-violence, violence is the next best choice. That's a really condensed version of his views on the subject, but it's generally accurate.

Either way, I thought that this might help your brother see the light (or at least see that people who aren't committed to non-violence should be allowed to defend themselves!). After all, to any non-violent activist or pacifist, the words of Gandhi should hold great weight.

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 07:57 PM
Mathaios:
Thanks for the Gandhi quote. In fact my brother does call himself a pacifist, and invoked Gandhi in our discussion at one point.

I believe that Gandhi thought of non-violence as a tactic - the only effective one available to him - rather than as a superior moral philosophy.

On the other hand...after reading the wiki link for Gandhi...I see I may be mistaken.

"I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions...If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them."

jakemccoy
April 16, 2008, 09:07 PM
rainbowbob,

Please don't take my comments here the wrong way because, really, I am just trying to better myself and mean no harm.

I'm curious about your brother's background. What kind of guy was he growing up? Did he play sports? Was he involved in any clubs? What were his interests? Is he heterosexual? What were your parents like? Was it middle class?

...etc...

Don't feel obligated to answer if you think I stepped over a boundary. It's just that if I ever have a kid, I want to make sure that I don't raise someone who's a pacifist at all costs. I just wouldn't be able to deal with it.

Again, I'm asking you these things for my personal benefit, not to put down your brother or anything. By the way, thank you for sharing with us.

-Jake

mgregg85
April 16, 2008, 09:12 PM
When "violence doesn't solve anything" comes into play, I prefer to quote Heinlein.

“Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and -- thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never solves anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor; and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.”

rainbowbob
April 16, 2008, 10:02 PM
I'm curious about your brother's background. What kind of guy was he growing up? Did he play sports? Was he involved in any clubs? What were his interests? Is he heterosexual? What were your parents like? Was it middle class?

...It's just that if I ever have a kid, I want to make sure that I don't raise someone who's a pacifist...

This is going off thread a little but what the hell - I'm the OP.

First of all I must say I don't mind your inquiries at all, and I will answer them shortly. I hope that I don't have to explain or defend the history I share here. It is what it is.

But...secondly I have to kind of laugh about your misconceptions on child-rearing. I'm sure you will do the best you can, as most of us do. And then they will become whatever they damn well please whether you like it or not!

As to your questions about my brother's childhood. It is interesting you ask because I was just thinking about that this morning.

My brother was and always has been straight - married for 39 years - two kids. Let's get that out of the way first. Let me also say I think that it may be entirely irrelevant.

He did not play sports and was not athletic.

His interests were more academic...I suppose he would be called a geek these days. He had a very early interest in computers - before they even existed in the form we know today. He built a crystal radio kit, and then a ham radio kit, and then a "computer" kit - all by the time he was 13 or 14!

Our family was typical 50's-60's middle class. Mom stayed home and our father was a career LEO. He carried a gun every day (concealed) and never taught any of us four boys a single thing about shooting. :(

We all joined the Boy Scouts. Having two older brothers, I learned all my knots and other qualifiers for "Tenderfoot" long before I was eligble to join.

When I was young, I was fanatical about "playing guns". I took it very seriously and usually "won". I remember distinctly one day him telling me that he never wanted to play guns again - and he never did.

When I was about 13 or 14, I shot my best friend in the eye with a BB rifle in response to him shooting me. I didn't touch a weapon of any kind for about 35 years after that. He's still my best friend and has been for about 45 years. And he still can't see jack out of his right eye.

My brother was certified as a "Concientious Objector" during the Viet Nam War. I had a high lottery number and did not enlist. My best friend didn't qualify because of his eye.

RPCVYemen
April 16, 2008, 10:50 PM
My brother was certified as a "Concientious Objector" during the Viet Nam War.

That suggests to me that he likely has a deep moral objections to violence, and has probably thought about it a lot. My guess is that a son of a career LEO who chose to become a CO thought deeply about the issues.

You had to at least be able to convince the draft board - often not a friendly audience - that your beliefs were sincere. Remember, the draft boards (in general) we very much pro-war. Most draft board were volunteer (as I recall, maybe I am remembering that incorrectly), very likely to be WWII and Korea vets who were very gung-ho. That's the folks you had to convince of your sincerity.

Depending on when it was during the war, you could not object only to the Vietnam War, you had to show that you objections to war were deeply morally felt. Draft boards varied quite a bit in different areas of the country, but if you weren't a member of the one of the three traditional "Peace Churches" (Quakers, Mennonites, or Brethren), you could expect to be grilled pretty intensely on your beliefs.

Usually this meant a very different moral fiber than someone who fled the country or strung together deferment after deferment (or hid behind his daddy's skirts in the Texas Air Guard :) ).

Is your experience of your brother that he is a moral person who thinks deeply abut these things? His answers to your questions appeared to be thoughtful and respectful. Is his rejection of CCW consistent with his general moral philosophy?

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 16, 2008, 11:00 PM
As I pointed out to him at the end of our exchange:


We share equally the desire to reduce the effects of violence on innocent people.


We just don't agree on how best to accomplish that.


That is true of every anti I have met and talked with. I have hears a lot of nonsense and wacko rants on THR about "what antis believe", but I every person I have talked with personally was motivated by "the desire to reduce the affects of violence on innocent people". I am the only active shooter in my family or extended family (though some of my in laws have allowed me to take my nieces and nephews shooting).

I am glad that you were able to recognize that with your brother. Congratulations - a lot of pro-gun folks never get there.

RPCVYemen
April 16, 2008, 11:05 PM
It's just that if I ever have a kid, I want to make sure that I don't raise someone who's a pacifist at all costs. I just wouldn't be able to deal with it.

Speaking as a father, if you can't handle philosophical differences with your kids, think a long time before you have kids. :) Your kids may grow up to be a cookie cutter copy of you, but they may not.

Most will reject some/all of your political beliefs for at least a time (usually in college), some will not.

But...secondly I have to kind of laugh about your misconceptions on child-rearing. I'm sure you will do the best you can, as most of us do. And then they will become whatever they damn well please whether you like it or not!

You nailed this one, Bob.

Kids don't come with guarantees.

Mike

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 12:45 AM
Is your experience of your brother that he is a moral person who thinks deeply abut these things?

Yes...although I don't think he has really thought this all the way through. His comment that he "...doesn't want to play..." strikes me as pretty naive for an intelligent man that sees the results of crime every day. My point is: We don't get to decide if we want to play - that choice is made for us by the bad guys.

His answers to your questions appeared to be thoughtful and respectful. Is his rejection of CCW consistent with his general moral philosophy?

Yes...but again I don't think he has thought it through. He uses the threat of violence every day in his job. How can he say with a straight face that "...violence is never the answer..."?

jakemccoy
April 17, 2008, 01:03 AM
RPCY wrote,Speaking as a father, if you can't handle philosophical differences with your kids, think a long time before you have kids.

Naw, I'll just have kids, thanks though.

Winchester 73
April 17, 2008, 01:11 AM
Rainbowbob,your anti-gun brother is a lost cause.
I had the same brother, who died in 1987 of heart disease.
Millionaire,Marxist,made no sense,forget about him.
Move on and leave this loser in your wake.Blood is NOT thicker than water.
Been there,tried that,Winchester 73.

Cuda
April 17, 2008, 01:25 AM
I might suggest your brother re-read the Bill of Rights. That might set him straight.

C

Winchester 73
April 17, 2008, 01:59 AM
rainbowbob,respectfully,you brother is a lost cause.
Try to move on and leave this uncomprehendly individual in your wake.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 01:09 PM
I might suggest your brother re-read the Bill of Rights. That might set him straight.

Is anything Rainbow Bob's brother in any way inconsistent with the Bill of Rights?

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 01:27 PM
Yes...although I don't think he has really thought this all the way through. His comment that he "...doesn't want to play..." strikes me as pretty naive for an intelligent man that sees the results of crime every day. My point is: We don't get to decide if we want to play - that choice is made for us by the bad guys.

That may or may not be a naive remark.

The classic pacifist answer to your claim the you will let the and guy make the choice to "play" or not:

Why would you choose to let "bad guys" make any moral/ethical choices for you? After all, they're bad guys.
Why would you choose to empower bad guys?
You won't let a bad guy date your daughter or borrow your car, but you'll let him make the single most important moral choice in your life - to take another human life?


Hard core pacifists will tell you, "I'd rather die than let bad guys choose the course of my life. I choose the course of my life."

Over such people, the bad guys have no power at all.

I am not saying that I agree with that analysis - but that may be the thinking behind the "I don't want to play". He may be saying, "I am not letting the bad guys make any moral/ethical choices for me. Once I have decided what's right and wrong, no crack head with a gun can force me to do what's wrong."

I only being this us because because your brother was a certified CO, which means that an unfriendly group of vets decided that he was a sincere pacifist. While there were many potential avenues for objecting in conscience to the Vietnam War, I think that most people who actually completed the process were pacifists.

Have you ever talked to him about why he was a CO?

Jake McCoy, are you frothing at the mouth yet? :)

Mike

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 02:11 PM
Hard core pacifists will tell you, "I'd rather die than let bad guys choose the course of my life. I choose the course of my life."

Over such people, the bad guys have no power at all.

:confused:

Mike:
Your comments make no sense to me at all. My point was, you don't get to decide whether or not you're going to play. The bad guy makes that choice for you when he assaults you. The only choice you have at that point is HOW you play - not IF you play. Like it or not - the bad guy HAS chosen the course of your life when he chose to end it. Your choice to defend yourself is the ONLY choice that has any chance of taking that power away from him.

It is absurd to say that a bad guy who destroys your life and the life of your family - with no resistance from you - has "no power at all".

He may be saying, "I am not letting the bad guys make any moral/ethical choices for me. Once I have decided what's right and wrong, no crack head with a gun can force me to do what's wrong."

That may be an accurate description of the thought behind "I don't want to play". But I will never understand the idea that self-defense is "wrong".

Jake McCoy, are you frothing at the mouth yet?
Why are you using this thread to needle Jake? And by the way...He didn't ask for reproductive advice. :confused:

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 02:30 PM
Hard core pacifists will tell you, "I'd rather die than let bad guys choose the course of my life. I choose the course of my life."

Over such people, the bad guys have no power at all.

My answer to that is, when the bad guy shoots or knifes you, then tortures and rapes your wife and daughter, I submit he does have power over you.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 03:28 PM
Like it or not - the bad guy has chosen the course of your life when he chose to end it. Your choice to defend yourself is the only choice that has any chance of taking that power away from him.

There are principles for which some people are willing to die. Not everyone has principles for which they are willing to die, and not everyone who had principles for which they are willing to die has the same set of principles.

If you have a set of principles for which you are willing to die, then you chose the course of your life, but maybe not the length.

If you have decided that you are willing to die rather than to kill another human being - classic pacifist position, and you let a bad guy force you to kill instead of die, you are letting him chose the the course of your life. If you have decided that you are willing to die rather than to kill another human being, and you refuse to let a bad guy force you to kill instead of die, then you are not letting him choose the course of your life.

Why are you using this thread to needle Jake?

I meant it as a joke, since Jake had said he couldn't stand it if his kid turned out to be a pacifist, and I was explaining a pacifist position. I apologize if it offended.

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 03:39 PM
That may be an accurate description of the thought behind "I don't want to play". But I will never understand the idea that self-defense is "wrong".

I happen to agree with you - I was attempting to illuminate what might be the thought behind the "I don't want to play" statement, not arguing that what was behind the statement was correct.

And I don't really know if your brother is a pacifist. I assumed he was if he was a CO during Vietnam. I also assumed that he had thought through these issues. The standard draft board question in that era was the "grandmother rapist" question, i.e., "If someone was raping your grandmother, would you shoot him?" Ask your brother - I'd bet $1 that he was asked that question, and answered "No!", or the draft board would not have given him CO status.

BTW, I reject pacifism, I have chosen a set of principals such that I believe that we have a moral obligation to resist evil with whatever tools are available - including lethal weapons. My guess is that your brother would not agree with me. :)

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 03:42 PM
My answer to that is, when the bad guy shoots or knifes you, then tortures and rapes your wife and daughter, I submit he does have power over you.

The classic answer is that he only has power over your body, not over you. Most religions have martyrs, and martyrs are often considered heroic. Who is more powerful - the man who kills the martyr, or the martyr? I think that all religions answer with one voice.

Mike

20nickels
April 17, 2008, 03:44 PM
This is one of the more informative threads I've read in some time because your bro is an intelligent person who, like many many Americans, have just went ahead and made uninformed decisions on where they stand with RKBA.
He can change. Not because you are right, which you are, but because he clearly values your opinion. His view of the constitution is par for the course for somebody in his line of work. This doesn't excuse it, but just points out that the norm needs changed- One person at a time. Education is the key. Nice work.

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 03:45 PM
...If you have decided that you are willing to die rather than to kill another human being...

Truthfully, I had never even considered this option as possible - let alone morally superior. The idea of willfully baring one's breast for the killing blow - when resistance is still possible - is beyond my comprehension I guess. It contradicts basic human - or even animal - nature. It contradicts the idea that God gave us this life and we are bound to honor that gift.

My brother is an atheist, by the way. If anything, I would think that a non-religious philosophy would not include reverence for your assailant's life - particularly above your own and your families lives.

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 03:53 PM
The classic answer is that he only has power over your body, not over you. Most religions have martyrs, and martyrs are often considered heroic. Who is more powerful - the man who kills the martyr, or the martyr? I think that all religions answer with one voice.
The man who sacrifices his wife and daughter -- whom he has a duty to protect and defend -- can hardly call himself a martyr.

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 04:06 PM
"If someone was raping your grandmother, would you shoot him?" Ask your brother - I'd bet $1 that he was asked that question, and answered "No!", or the draft board would not have given him CO status.

Mike:
I seem to remember (it's been forty years!) him saying something about that kind of question. And you are right that he answered "correctly" (i.e., the answer that would obtain his C.O. designation).

Back then, I was convinced we had no business fighting a civil war in Viet Nam. My brother (who is three years older) had a lot to do with convincing me of that. I did not want to fight that fight. That did not mean (then or now) that I believed that fighting was NEVER the answer. I knew I would never be able to make a case for C.O.

I have to wonder if my brother painted himself into a philisophical corner when he answered that question. He knew the answer he had to give to obtain his C.O.status. He did not want to think of himself as a liar - so he convinced himself that the "correct" answer was actually true. To maintain his integrity - and not admit the hypocrisy of giving what may have been a "false" answer - he has remained locked into this philosophy for forty years. I have changed my mind about a lot of things in the past forty years - I'm not sure he has.

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 04:18 PM
The man who sacrifices his wife and daughter -- whom he has a duty to protect and defend -- can hardly call himself a martyr.

Vern:
Great point. Even if a man is alone and is only sacrificing his own life in that moment - he is still sacrificing the well-being of his family.

What "cause" has he furthered by this "martyrdom"? If the cause is a deeply held belief that is part of a much larger movement (e.g., Gandhi's political/religious/nationalist movement) - maybe it can be justified.

An individual atheistic decision to sacrifice oneself in the mistaken belief that it will further the "cause" of non-violence seems pointless and irresponsible.

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 04:21 PM
And frankly, when I defend myself, I defend you. There is a civic duty to defend against a criminal attack -- it makes attacks on other citizens less likely.

jakemccoy
April 17, 2008, 04:23 PM
"A Nation of Cowards" (http://www.lawfulpath.com/ref/ntncwrds.shtml) is some good reading and touches upon many of the issues raised here. It may be the most memorable pro-gun piece I've ever read, particular this passage:
Is your life worth protecting? If so, whose responsibility is it to protect it? If you believe that it is the police's, not only are you wrong since the courts universally rule that they have no legal obligation to do so -- but you face some difficult moral quandaries. How can you rightfully ask another human being to risk his life to protect yours, when you will assume no responsibility yourself? Because that is his job and we pay him to do it? Because your life is of incalculable value, but his is only worth the $30,000 salary we pay him? If you believe it reprehensible to possess the means and will to use lethal force to repel a criminal assault, how can you call upon another to do so for you?

rainbowbob, challenge your brother to remove the armed guards from his courtroom.

(However, I do recall that you already brought up this idea in some format.)

Deanimator
April 17, 2008, 04:35 PM
That is true of every anti I have met and talked with. I have hears a lot of nonsense and wacko rants on THR about "what antis believe", but I every person I have talked with personally was motivated by "the desire to reduce the affects of violence on innocent people".
Sorry, that HASN'T been MY experience.

Certainly SOME felt that way, but AT LEAST 50% of them were instead motivated by racism, misogyny or BOTH. I couldn't count the number of anti-gunners I've seen whose stated or unstated motivation was to keep guns out of the hands of "x" where x was some racial, ethnic or religious group they loathed. All too often they treat all women like hysterical psychotics who would shoot the first man they see on the street.

I've been talking to anti-gunners online since at least 1986. I've seen it all. If you think their motives are pure as the driven snow, you haven't talked to many of them. My experience shows them to be a cross between a psych ward and a Klan rally.

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 05:05 PM
rainbowbob, challenge your brother to remove the armed guards from his courtroom.

Jake:
As you said, I did point out to him that he employs the threat of violence every day in his courtroom. It was about then that he changed the subject without directly responding.

Even if he would order the guards out of his courtroom, I doubt he has the authority to do so.

He might argue (although he didn't) that working on the "cause" of non-violence from within the system is the best way for him to further his beliefs. That is pure speculation on my part.

Deanimator
April 17, 2008, 05:24 PM
Jake:
As you said, I did point out to him that he employs the threat of violence every day in his courtroom. It was about then that he changed the subject without directly responding.

Even if he would order the guards out of his courtroom, I doubt he has the authority to do so.

You might want to ask him what he'd do if he sentenced some guy to 30 days(or years) in prison, and he just said, "No, don' wanna go." If indeed "violence never solves anything", using force to put people in jail should NEVER be permissible. People convicted of a crime, be it littering or serial child molestation and murder should only go to jail if they WANT to, RIGHT?

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 05:26 PM
I seem to remember (it's been forty years!) him saying something about that kind of question. And you are right that he answered "correctly" (i.e., the answer that would obtain his C.O. designation).


I think that he's pretty likely to have answered "correctly", or he wouldn't have gotten CO status. Unless you all are from Berkeley, or some other hotbed of anti-war activism.

Particularly if he was an atheist, the draft board would have probed pretty hard. The CO status was really originally intended, I think, for Quakers and those who reject violence for religious reasons. People who study the 2nd Amendment often quote a clause of the Pennsylvania constitution that exempts Quakers from militia duty.

I think that people who grew up as Quakers or Mennonites, or had evidence supporting religious pacifism, had a far easier time with draft boards. But as an atheist, he would have had a pretty intense time of it. It wasn't even until 1971 that the Supreme Court broadened the rules to include non-religious objections.

You can read the 10 questions that were asked of WWII CO's - I think these were also pretty widely used in the Vietnam Era:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscientious_Objector

It's hard to imagine, given where we are today, but atheism was not a particularly widespread philosophy in the 60's. The draft boards were almost very traditional men. Almost certainly there was not an atheist in the group. Almost every one of them would have been a vet.

Your brother must have been extraordinarily committed to convince a group of such men - who were almost guaranteed to think he was absolutely wrong (pacifists did not generally volunteer to be on draft boards) - not only that his statements were sincere, but that those beliefs were of a religious importance to him.


To maintain his integrity - and not admit the hypocrisy of giving what may have been a "false" answer - he has remained locked into this philosophy for forty years. I have changed my mind about a lot of things in the past forty years - I'm not sure he has.


Do you have any other evidence that his answer was hypocritical? Not that it contradicts your beliefs, but that is contradicts his? Did he claim to be a Quaker when he was not, or anything like that?

My beliefs have also changed a lot in the last 40 years. :) But I do have friends who believe pretty much what the believed as kids. For example, I was raised Roman Catholic, and I certainly have friends from that era who are still Roman Catholic. I'm not sure that I'd use the term "locked in" to describe them.

Mike

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 05:51 PM
I think that people who...had evidence supporting religious pacifism, had a far easier time with draft boards. But as an atheist, he would have had a pretty intense time of it.

Do you have any other evidence that his answer was hypocritical? Not that it contradicts your beliefs, but that it contradicts his? Did he claim to be a Quaker when he was not, or anything like that?

We were raised Catholic - but by the time he was seeking C.O. status, he had left the Church. I remember he met with our pastor and had him write a letter(s) to the draft board to the effect that he had been raised in the Catholic Church and that the Church believed in non-violence, etc.

That seemed somewhat hypocritical to me - and not something I would have felt comfortable with if, in fact, I no longer believed in Catholicism.

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 05:56 PM
We were raised Catholic - but by the time he was seeking C.O. status, he had left the Church. I remember he met with our pastor and had him write a letter(s) to the draft board to the effect that he had been raised in the Catholic Church and that the Church believed in non-violence, etc.
In every American war, Catholics have been over-represented among the casualties (in proportion to their percentage of the population.) In fact, a Catholic Priest, Father William Corby, was put in for the Medal of Honor (by the men of the Irish Brigade) for his performance under fire.

Deanimator
April 17, 2008, 05:58 PM
Hard core pacifists will tell you, "I'd rather die than let bad guys choose the course of my life. I choose the course of my life."

Over such people, the bad guys have no power at all.

That's where you're completely mistaken. The bad guys have TOTAL power over them, since they need only kill them to remove them as a trivial nuisance.

I had this discussion with a guy in law school. He said the same thing, adding "You can't kill all of us." I said, "Want to bet? Let's try a thought experiment. You be you. I'll be Josef Stalin. Go."

He started to say something and I just pointed my finger at his head and said, "Bang!" He tried to continue and "Bang!" I wouldn't let him open his mouth before I said "Bang!" about a dozen times. Then I asked him, "Do you think there are more people willing to die helplessly for YOUR principles than I have bullets? Oh, and by the way, I don't even have to get my inner circle involved. I just need to get the secret police to round up the families of the regular police 'for their own protection... from terrorists'. They'll take the hint and I guarantee you they'll wipe you out in a week to keep anything from happening to their families." He wasn't that bright, but he was bright enough to admit I was right.

A lot of "pacifists" assume contrary to 10,000 years of documented history that the Stalins and Pol Pots of this world are swayed by a good example or moral finger wagging. They aren't. They perceive two kinds of people, and two kinds only, predators and prey. The ONLY persuasion they're interested in is strictly one way, namely slamming your fingers in a door or sitting you on a red hot radiator, and then only to get you to confess to the capital crime for which you're going to be executed. You and your "nonviolent resistance" are of no more consequence to them than a gnat that alights on the pages of a book. They just slam the book shut and get on with their lives.

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 06:04 PM
In every American war, Catholics have been over-represented among the casualties...

I don't doubt that. And as far as I know, the Catholic Church has never had an official "ant-war" stance. But in those days (Viet Nam) there were many anti-war Catholics - including many priests. So finding an anti-war priest to write a letter supporting his C.O choice would not have been too difficult. I'm not sure it was honest, though.

On the other hand, my brother would have made a lousy soldier and would probably have got his ass shot off. And he was sincerely against THAT war at least.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 06:11 PM
In every American war, Catholics have been over-represented among the casualties (in proportion to their percentage of the population.) In fact, a Catholic Priest, Father William Corby, was put in for the Medal of Honor (by the men of the Irish Brigade) for his performance under fire.


Yeah, this is a long time ago for my aging memory, but it was pretty late in the Vietnam War when the Catholic Church allowed that one could claim Conscientious Objector status based on Catholic teachings. Up to that point, I don't think you could use Catholic teachings as the basis for CO application. I have vague recollections of long discussion of the "Just War" doctrine.

Mike

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 06:12 PM
I am well aware that some Catholics for motives I will not suggest, gave the enemy hope that they could win in the streets in America what they could not win on the battle field. And that prolonged and eventually lost teh war after we had won it.

Almost 60,000 young men of my generation were killed that way.

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 06:14 PM
Let's try a thought experiment. You be you. I'll be Josef Stalin. Go."

He started to say something and I just pointed my finger at his head and said, "Bang!" He tried to continue and "Bang!" I wouldn't let him open his mouth before I said "Bang!" about a dozen times. Then I asked him, "Do you think there are more people willing to die helplessly for YOUR principles than I have bullets?

Gotta love that one!

Those that think their anti-violence position is morally superior - or tactically superior - are nearly always mistaken in the face of a homocidal maniac.

The only instances when it has been tactically superior were because the foe was NOT a homocidal maniac (e.g., Gandhi in India, Rev King in the civil rights struggle here).

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 06:16 PM
The Catholic doctrine on Just War is:
2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

- there must be serious prospects of success;

- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.


The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.
(My emphasis)

The competent authorities make the judgement -- neither the Church nor the individual are capable of making it.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 06:20 PM
A lot of "pacifists" assume contrary to 10,000 years of documented history ...

Reset the scale to 2,000 years, and tell me with a straight face that martyrdom has no power. :)

Regardless of your religious beliefs, it seems that it's not unusual for the names and power of people who died for beliefs to have power for hundreds or thousands of years after they make that choice. Quick, can you name the man who martyred St. Peter or St. Paul? I don't share religious beliefs with those men, but even with my aged memory, I bet I could name a 100 saints, and you wouldn't be able to name more than 10 or 12 of the men who killed them. Who was more powerful?

The rabbis say, "The king's reign ends at his death. The prophet's reign begins at his death ..."

Mike

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 06:24 PM
Vern:
Thanks for posting the "Just War Doctrine". I'm pretty sure that is what my brother was arguing in his application for C.O. status. And thank you for keeping it "High Road" when I can only imagine how emotional this issue is for those that did serve honorably.

The competent authorities make the judgement -- neither the Church nor the individual are capable of making it.

We are a nation made up of sovereign individuals. Who else BUT those sovereign individuals (through their votes) can make that judgement?

tntwatt
April 17, 2008, 06:25 PM
I still do not believe that being prepared to fight violence with violence is the answer. I’d rather not play.


This is the ultimate state of denial. A thoughtful intelligent man conciously decides to deny that bad guys are violent and will care if he doesn't want to be a victim.

I doubt seriously that the statement/attitude "I don't want to play" has ever stopped a bad guy from commiting his crime. That's specifically the type of victim they want. They know there will be no opposition to their dominance.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 06:45 PM
The competent authorities make the judgment -- neither the Church nor the individual are capable of making it.

Has the Church ever ruled that it not competent to rule as to whether a war is just or not - that only secular government can make that change. Or is that your interpretation?

I am not doubting you - I am just surprised.

Mike

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 06:50 PM
Once again, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

- there must be serious prospects of success;

- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.


The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

(Again, my emphasis.)

And yes, you can vote your conscience. But neither the Chruch nor the individual have the power to make the decision. That is left to the officials legitimately in power.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 07:15 PM
Thats' odd.

I remember very clearly that the National Conference of Bishops issuing a statement that the Vietnam War was not a just war due to the issue of proportionality. I have also found some references, so I am not just addle pated:

Discussion of proportionality emphasized the grave costs of war, recalling that this same body of bishops publicly rejected the Vietnam War in 1971 due to its failure to meet this test.

I wonder if the position of the Church had changed. Do you recall the bishops begin disciplined in any way for taking that stand? I remember the stand being controversial, but I don't remember the Church formally condemning that stance. Do you?

That does bring a fascinating paradox: If a popularly elected Marxist leader declared war on the Catholic church, and asserted that all of the conditions of "just war" were met, would the Church be compelled to accept that the was in fact a "just war"?

Way off topic, but very interesting.

Mike

Deanimator
April 17, 2008, 07:21 PM
The only instances when it has been tactically superior were because the foe was NOT a homocidal maniac (e.g., Gandhi in India, Rev King in the civil rights struggle here).
Actually while some of the people against whom King struggled WERE homicidal maniacs, it was NOT non-violence which struck down the violent expression of Jim Crow. It was men with guns from the FBI and the Marshall's Service. And anybody's free to correct me, but I don't recall MLK EVER asking the FBI to NOT involve itself in the civil rights struggle. Anybody recall him asking J. Edgar Hoover to NOT investigate the murders of Cheney, Schwerner and Goodman, or to refrain from using violence bringing their killers to justice?

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 07:23 PM
Can you give us a cite for that?

The Bishops have never had such power.
If a popularly elected Marxist leader declared war on the Catholic church, and asserted that all of the conditions of "just war" were met, would the Church be compelled to accept that the was in fact a "just war"?
In this case, the Church would be a combatant -- and entitled to defend itself, including issuing a Just War finding of its own.

If it were simply persecution (as in China and many other countries today), the Church would natrually be defended in a legal sense by its own apologists, but there would be no resort to arms.

Deanimator
April 17, 2008, 07:25 PM
Reset the scale to 2,000 years, and tell me with a straight face that martyrdom has no power.
Between 1917 and 1953 it had precisely ZERO power in the Soviet Union.

Between 1933 and 1945 it had at BEST trivial power in Germany.

Between 1975 and 1979 it had precisely ZERO power in Cambodia.

It still has close to ZERO power in China.

Them's the facts, and you could lay the corpses end to end to reach the moon to prove it too... and that's just since 1917.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 07:29 PM
I remember he met with our pastor and had him write a letter(s) to the draft board to the effect that he had been raised in the Catholic Church and that the Church believed in non-violence, etc.

That would certainly appear to be hypocritical. I guess he could have been arguing that even though he was no longer a Catholic per se, he add learned non-violence as a Catholic value, which he still accepted even though he was no longer a Catholic. That's sort of a stretch.

You are right about their being lots of anti-war priests at the time. I lived in Maryland, and their was a Jesuit named Daniel Berrigan who was very active at the time. He was arrested a lot - I think he was from Baltimore. The Jesuits always bailed him out, which doesn't square with what Vern is reporting about the secular government being the final arbiter of a just war. I trust Vern's citations, but it doesn't fit.

What a hoot. I hadn't thought of Daniel Berrrigan in 40 years - though I think his brother (Phil? Phillip? Paul?) died in the last decade or so.

Never know what you will stumble across on THR.

Have a good day,

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 07:33 PM
In this case, the Church would be a combatant -- and entitled to defend itself, including issuing a Just War finding of its own.

But it could not rule that the war being waged against it was unjust?

Not arguing, just curious.

Mike

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 07:39 PM
But it could not rule that the war being waged against it was unjust?

Not arguing, just curious.
You have constructed a very unlikely scenario -- with the Church at war, using artillery, tanks and aircraft, instead of moral suasion.

In such a case, the Church as the authority prosecuting the war, could find it's own causus belli to be just. But you and I will never see that happen.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 07:42 PM
Can you give us a cite for that?

I found it with a google search. Now I can't find it again. But here's is a another quote and a citation about the 1971 declaration:

The bishops' conference has often taken stands on war and peace. It condemned the Vietnam War in 1971 and issued a pastoral letter on nuclear weapons in 1983, said Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton of Detroit.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E4D91E31F930A25752C1A9649C8B63

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 07:45 PM
I am an idiot, I just searched for the whole quote, and google found it in a hurry.

Here's the citation for the first quote:

http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2610

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 07:49 PM
In such a case, the Church as the authority prosecuting the war, could find it's own causus belli to be just. But you and I will never see that happen.

I accept completely that the Church could find its own causus belli t(cause of war) to be just.

But are you also claiming that the Church would be compelled to find the aggressor's causus belli to be just, if the aggressor was a duly elected government?

Mike

rainbowbob
April 17, 2008, 08:00 PM
Reset the scale to 2,000 years, and tell me with a straight face that martyrdom has no power.

We can probably all agree that an exceedingly rare individual - under exceedingly rare circumstances - can change the world by an act of martyrdom. It is clearly the exception - not the rule.

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 09:02 PM
Great Googlie Mooglie -- Law, Sullivan, Gumbleton. What a rogue's gallary.

I haven't been able to find the 1971 condemnation -- but if there was such, it would indeed be in conflict with the Church's doctrine.

Vern Humphrey
April 17, 2008, 09:08 PM
But are you also claiming that the Church would be compelled to find the aggressor's causus belli to be just, if the aggressor was a duly elected government?
You misunderstand. The Church does not find the aggressor's cause just or unjust.

The Church would follow international law in this case -- that is, treat captured soldiers as honorable combatants (which is a key component of this doctrine) and not hold them responsible for any crimes committed by their government (so long as they themselves committed no crimes.)

jakemccoy
April 17, 2008, 09:17 PM
What the hell does martyrdom have to do with this thread? I thought that idea would die down after one post.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 09:19 PM
I haven't been able to find the 1971 condemnation.

I can't find the text either, but I do remember it being a big deal at the time. I was moving away form Catholicism by that time, but I had spent the previous 4 years at a Jesuit high school, and remember friends who felt pretty strongly that the bishops rejection made it possible to use Catholic beliefs as a grounds for CO status. I turned 18 in 1971, so it would have been a hot issue.

I don't know any of the actual names of the bishops groups in the US, which stymies google searches. I thought it was "Conference of Bishops", but that may be wrong. It be interesting to read the actual text.

I guess it's possible that the bishops didn't say that war was unjust, but only that the actual prosecution of the war was unjust. I don't know if that would cut it for a draft board or not.

I still find it mind-boggling that if Hugo Chavez decided to declare war on the Church do to some imagined (or real) injustice to the indigenous peoples of Venezuela, the Church would be compelled to accept that the war was just.

I am not arguing the point - it seems to be implied in the Catechism you cited, and I believe you. I am just trying to wrap my mind around the idea.

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 09:30 PM
You misunderstand. The Church does not find the aggressor's cause just or unjust.

OK. I read the following to imply that only a defensive war was just, and only under certain conditions:

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy.

Am I miss-reading this? Is this only concerned the prosecution of the war. I assumed the that the casus belli - the justification for the acts war - was being determined to be morally legitimate or not. Is that an incorrect reading?

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 09:33 PM
We can probably all agree that an exceedingly rare individual - under exceedingly rare circumstances - can change the world by an act of martyrdom. It is clearly the exception - not the rule.

I agree that martyrdom that changes the world is in fact very rare.
Does that imply that martyrdom only powerful - or ethical - if it in fact changes the world?

Mike

SsevenN
April 17, 2008, 10:22 PM
Regardless of your religious beliefs, it seems that it's not unusual for the names and power of people who died for beliefs to have power for hundreds or thousands of years after they make that choice. Quick, can you name the man who martyred St. Peter or St. Paul? I don't share religious beliefs with those men, but even with my aged memory, I bet I could name a 100 saints, and you wouldn't be able to name more than 10 or 12 of the men who killed them. Who was more powerful?

The rabbis say, "The king's reign ends at his death. The prophet's reign begins at his death ..."

Mike

Fundamentaly I agree with you. I like the quote "Death is the road to awe".

But I think the reason no one can agree is the context of the argument.

We are not discussing the tactics of non-violently defeating a dictator, or nation. We are talking about non-violently defeating a person, on an individual level. And I think we can all agree that this particular method of passifism is illogical and irresponsible for you, your family and any other innocents.

P.S. I tend to believe that perception determines reality. Nothing is 100%, even if it seems so, we all just make educated guess based on personal historical impericism. Given that, we will never form a unified answer for this particular question. We all have personal experiences and a unique perception that form instant biased no matter HOW hard we try no be neutral. We CAN'T be neutral, not without being omnipotent...and that would make us god's...not humans...and there can't be more than one god because then how would he be "omnipotent"....etc etc .................sorry I ramble.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 10:47 PM
We are not discussing the tactics of non-violently defeating a dictator, or nation. We are talking about non-violently defeating a person, on an individual level.

If Bobs brother has a quasi-religious belief in pacifism, a belief that killing, even in self defense is wrong, then is a more powerful statement for him to die for his belief, or to abandon his beliefs to save his life?

For a non-religious example: Can you, or anyone else in this thread, name the man who handed Socrates the hemlock?

Socrates was offered the opportunity to run away rather than drink the hemlock. Was he acting illogically or irresponsibly?

Mike

SsevenN
April 17, 2008, 11:04 PM
Nope, but I believe once again this was a conflict with a Nation, or more accuratly, a City-state. I agree for socrates to choose death was more powerful than running away.

But if socrates had been confronted by a drunk, armed guard in the street who had a particular hatred of him...Would it be wise of him to allow the guard to beat him to death in the alley in an attempt to prove the power of his beliefs?

But as I said they are sperate issues that have been almalginated during the process of this discussion.
:p

You could argue that since he was legally convicted, and chose to stay, it is a different situation than being beaten in an alley illegaly.
But the fact remains that if they legally convicted him...then swept him out of the city and killed him before he was able to convey the meanings of his sacrafice, he would have died powerless, and for nothing!

Not that socrates reminds of bobs brother, but more to the point of using the given example....

trinydex
April 17, 2008, 11:09 PM
No offense meant, I know he's your brother and all, but...
how have we come to the point where a sitting JUDGE thinks only part of the Bill of Rights are actually rights, and other parts can be infringed upon? Again no offense, but I can't imagine Judge Roy Bean being like this - bring 'im back!

i feel like the responses here sometimes so extreme. i mean do people really think this many people, this spectrum of human diversity in america can actually, realistically bear unadultered freedom to bear all types of arms? there are already concessions that some avenues of our unalienable and self evident rights are compromised (kiddie porn, licensing etc)

an assertion that we should be abosolutely free is unrealistic at the least and absolutely ludacris in the LIGHT of the constitution

the forefathers wrote the constitution in grand philosophical understanding. everything is a check and balance.

the fact is that there ARE very real mechanism by which firearms fall into illegal hands all the time. allowing "more extreme" firepower to be trafficked in this way just for the "pursuit of freedom" is impractical. just as impractical as it is to suggest police are everywhere when something bad happens.

WE DO NOT LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY OR A FREE WORLD. if you want true anarchistic freedom, you need to find yourself a shack in montana and mail bombs to universities and government buildings.

if you want a part of "society" then you have to play the tug of war game and that means by definition compromising "freedoms."

there is no such thing as unadultered freedom, once you have two people in your society you must start making compromises.

If Bobs brother has a quasi-religious belief in pacifism, a belief that killing, even in self defense is wrong, then is a more powerful statement for him to die for his belief, or to abandon his beliefs to save his life?

For a non-religious example: Can you, or anyone else in this thread, name the man who handed Socrates the hemlock?

Socrates was offered the opportunity to run away rather than drink the hemlock. Was he acting illogically or irresponsibly?

Mike
some people will make their life philosphy decisions, with the spectrum of diversity in human existence there must be tolerance of one's personal philosophical choices (until it violates someone else). sometimes there's living for principle, sometimes there is dying for principle.

We are not discussing the tactics of non-violently defeating a dictator, or nation. We are talking about non-violently defeating a person, on an individual level. And I think we can all agree that this particular method of passifism is illogical and irresponsible for you, your family and any other innocents.

P.S. I tend to believe that perception determines reality. Nothing is 100%, even if it seems so, we all just make educated guess based on personal historical impericism. Given that, we will never form a unified answer for this particular question. We all have personal experiences and a unique perception that form instant biased no matter HOW hard we try no be neutral. We CAN'T be neutral, not without being omnipotent...and that would make us god's...not humans...and there can't be more than one god because then how would he be "omnipotent"....etc etc .................sorry I ramble.
how can you say a view is illogical and irresponsible if later on you concede that perception determines reality?

omnipotence also obliges the "correct" decision, so that's not neutral.

RPCVYemen
April 17, 2008, 11:19 PM
Nope, but I believe once again this was a conflict with a Nation, or more accuratly, a City-state. I agree for socrates to choose death was more powerful than running away.

So is it the political status of the killer that determines the ethics?

If Bob's brother were a religiously/ethically motivated pacifist, who believed that taking another human life was wrong under any circumstances, what is the responsible and ethical action for him to take if he is placed in a position to kill or be killed?

I am not asking whether you agree with Bob's brother's hypothetical belief - I don't - but what actions should he take if he has that belief?

Mike

trinydex
April 17, 2008, 11:30 PM
When "violence doesn't solve anything" comes into play, I prefer to quote Heinlein.


yet look where we are today. still fighting wars, sometimes for ambiguous and even dishonorable reasons. is it not true that if we could all be non-violent then the world would be better?

allow SOME tolerance for a different and equally valuable point of view.

the fact is that with human diversity there will always be violence, violation and other undesireable stuff. that does not mean that we abandon the spirit of becoming morally better.

SsevenN
April 17, 2008, 11:36 PM
So is it the political status of the killer that determines the ethics?

If Bob's brother were a religiously/ethically motivated pacifist, who believed that taking another human life was wrong under any circumstances, what is the responsible and ethical action for him to take if he is placed in a position to kill or be killed?

I am not asking whether you agree with Bob's brother's hypothetical belief - I don't - but what actions should he take if he has that belief?

Mike

I think we both agree that "Anyone not willing to die for their beliefs is not fit to live" - MLK

And since I have no desire to control peoples lives I believe he should follow what he believes...and I guess die...

In the end my point is he would be morally correct in his mind, following his beliefes to the grave. But my personal interpretation of the situation would be to resist. To resist for my self, my family left behind, and for the next innocent that will be targeted.

I think there is a certain nobility to the idea of "mind over matter".
AKA You can take my life, but you can never take my freedom (of choice at least). But being a pragmatist, the value of this action on society on a whole has a negative effect. IMHO!:)


Its great that you've been utilizing the "socratic method" over the course of thise discussion. It's fitting, and streamlines the indivduals ability to respond to a specific point!

rainbowbob
April 18, 2008, 03:38 AM
Does that imply that martyrdom only powerful - or ethical - if it in fact changes the world?

No...it implies that it is a useless sacrifice that wastes a life or lives.

RPCVYemen
April 18, 2008, 08:32 AM
No...it implies that it is a useless sacrifice that wastes a life or lives.

Does that mean that no belief is worth dying for - unless you know in advance that dying for that belief is absolutely guaranteed to convince the world of that belief?

Mike

Mike

Deanimator
April 18, 2008, 08:49 AM
yet look where we are today. still fighting wars, sometimes for ambiguous and even dishonorable reasons. is it not true that if we could all be non-violent then the world would be better?
But we CAN'T all be non-violent because some of us simply don't WANT to. In order for EVERYONE to be non-violent you would have to eliminate free will.

I despise people who want to justify social policy with comic books and movies, but the movie "Demolition Man" provides a humorous example of what your world would be like if just ONE person decided he didn't want to play. Everyone else would be running around like panicked sheep, while he gleefully indulged his joy in the suffering of others, completely free to do as he wished. One man would hold the rest of society in his hands, with mankind as his livestock. The alternative is that you'd have to find at least ONE person to fight him... and if one, why not two, four... 10,000?

But of course people would refuse to be victims long before it came to that, and the whole premise would collapse of its own weight.

rainbowbob
April 18, 2008, 01:37 PM
Does that mean that no belief is worth dying for - unless you know in advance that dying for that belief is absolutely guaranteed to convince the world of that belief?

No. There are many instances of "martyrdom" that can be justified.

A political/social cause that pits individuals against an oppressive system in need of fundamental change, wherein an individual can make a statement by his death that will potentially be heard 'round the world, is one example.

Another might be the heroic death of Medal of Honor recipient Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor:
Petty Officer Monsoor’s actions could not have been more selfless or clearly intentional. Of the three SEALs on that rooftop corner, he had the only avenue of escape away from the blast, and if he had so chosen, he could have easily escaped. Instead, Monsoor chose to protect his comrades by the sacrifice of his own life. By his courageous and selfless actions, he saved the lives of his two fellow SEALs and he is the most deserving of the special recognition afforded by awarding the Medal of Honor.


What is not justifiable in my mind is the senseless death of an assualt victim who may have had a chance if they were able and willing to resist. That person's death is meaningless as a statement of non-violence. I can't imagine anyone in their right mind - not even a pacifist - thinking of that as a heroic statement, or as anything other than a complete waste.

Further...Someone with so much to contribute to his family, his community, and his world - has an obligation to use those gifts to their highest and best use. Dying to preserve the life of a meth zombie long enough to get his next hit doesn't qualify. Giving equal value to a person who has NO value for human life is just wrong.

RPCVYemen
April 18, 2008, 03:37 PM
That person's death is meaningless as a statement of non-violence.

What could possibly be a more meaningful statement of belief in non-violence than dying rather than using violence to protect your life? Isn't that a more meaningful statement than mouthing all the platitudes in the world?

I would in general suggest that a pacifist who would not dierather than kill is not a pacifist at all! Do you disagree with that? Wouldn't you consider a pacifist who kills to save his life hypocrite? I would!

I am not a Christian, but my Christian friends tell me that a Christina dying rather than giving up the faith is very meaningful - I am inclined to agree. Why is dying for one belief (something about the nature of Jesus) meaningful where dying for another belief (ethics about the use of violence) not meaningful?

Someone with so much to contribute to his family, his community, and his world - has an obligation to use those gifts to their highest and best use.


Should we assume that all of the martyrs whose names we know, and those we don't, had no gifts to offer? Were all of them losers with nothing left to offer?


Dying to preserve the life of a meth zombie long enough to get his next hit doesn't qualify.

Would his dying for a belief or moral or ethical principle you do share with him qualify?
Would his dying for a belief or moral or ethical principle you don't share with him qualify?

Mike

Vern Humphrey
April 18, 2008, 03:47 PM
What could possibly be a more meaningful statement of belief in non-violence than dying rather than using violence to protect your life? Isn't that a more meaningful statement than mouthing all the platitudes in the world?
How would it be a statement, if national television networks weren't there to film it?

Without someone to see and publicize it, it would be merely another person who fell prey to the criminal element -- no different from any other victim.

jakemccoy
April 18, 2008, 04:06 PM
.................

rainbowbob
April 18, 2008, 04:19 PM
Isn't that a more meaningful statement than mouthing all the platitudes in the world?

No...Both are meaningless. But the senseless death is more meaningless (if that is possible) because of the tragic and useless death. Mouthing platitudes is only a waste of hot air.

I would in general suggest that a pacifist who would not die rather than kill is not a pacifist at all!

Agreed...I doubt the actual existance of a true pacifist. I can not imagine a person that would not fight like an animal if faced with a death they could prevent by resisting.

Wouldn't you consider a pacifist who kills to save his life hypocrite?

Not at all...If there really is such thing as a true pacifist (which I doubt) I would consider him an intelligent person who had experienced an epiphany - a sudden change of beliefs.

"Wait a minute!...I'm not going to die senselessly for this scumbag...What was I thinking?...It's his day to die - not mine!"

Should we assume that all of the martyrs whose names we know, and those we don't, had no gifts to offer?

I don't consider anyone a martyr who died in an assault because they refused to resist. They are just another victim. There is a distinct difference between laying down one's life for others, or dying for a cause in which non-violence was the most effective tactic - and dying in an assault when living would have better served humanity.

trinydex
April 18, 2008, 04:20 PM
No...it implies that it is a useless sacrifice that wastes a life or lives.
but no man is an island, so the world will stand duly changed if only in a small way.

those men who are really islands don't affect the world anyway.

Wouldn't you consider a pacifist who kills to save his life hypocrite?

doesn't matter what we think, it's about what the pacifist thinks of himself. does it help that i believe in Jesus for someone else? no.

Hot brass
April 18, 2008, 04:36 PM
Dialing 911 does a whole hell of a lot of good. In town last night a woman was choked to death and her husband/boyfriend was beaten for hours. he tried to give her CPR but the BG`s beat him to stop the CPR. Guy escaped and ran next door to a co-workers place to dial 911. 5 minutes and the chopper with lights were on scene. 10 minutes later the Black and Whites showed up.

RPCVYemen
April 18, 2008, 06:35 PM
I doubt the actual existance of a true pacifist. I can not imagine a person that would not fight like an animal if faced with a death they could prevent by resisting.

If I provided you with a verifiable historical example of a pacifist who chose to die when faced with a death they could prevent by resisting, would you accept that as proof of existence of a "pure pacifist"?

The example I provide is the Quaker Mary Dyer, who was hanged on Boston in 1660. Here is the wikipedia page on her - you may not accept wikipedia as reliable, but you may find her in any high school history book.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Dyer

Here is a part of her story:

Mary Dyer remained in England until 1657. The next year she traveled to Boston to protest the new law banning Quakers, and she was arrested and expelled from the colony.

After her release, she returned to Massachusetts to visit two English Quakers, William Robinson and Marmaduke Stephenson, who had been arrested. She was also arrested and then permanently banished from the colony.

She traveled to Massachusetts a third time with a group of Quakers to publicly defy the law, and was again arrested, and sentenced to death.

[after a reprieve]

.., but her conscience led her to return to Massachusetts in 1660 to defy the anti-Quaker law. Despite the pleas of her husband and family, she again refused to repent, and she was again convicted and sentenced to death on May 31. The next day Mary Dyer was hanged on Boston Common for the crime of being a Quaker in Massachusetts.


Can we both agree that she was in fact a "true pacifist"?

By the way, she and three others are called the "Boston Martyrs". Their deaths played an important and effective role in promoting religious tolerance in America.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_martyrs

So while it may be the case that your brother is not a "true pacifist", can we agree that such a "true pacifist" could exist, and did in fact exist?

I think that we have already agreed that for such a person, killing their attacker would in fact be hypocritical - unless they had an epiphany that lead them to reject their beliefs.

Am I being unfair or irrational if I argue that we have shown that such a pacifist could in fact exist (whether not your brother is one is another question), and that for such a pacifist, killing an attacker would be a hypocritical act?

Mike

rainbowbob
April 18, 2008, 07:05 PM
Am I being unfair or irrational if I argue that we have shown that such a pacifist could in fact exist (whether not your brother is one is another question), and that for such a pacifist, killing an attacker would be a hypocritical act?

Mike:
You keep citing persons who publically and notoriously sacrifice themselves for a cause they consider to be more important than their own life.

If I have not been clear, I am referring to a person who privately sacrifices themself to preserve the life of their assailant.

We are comparing cumquats and lemons.

Cite me evidence of a person who allowed themself and/or their loved ones to be slaughtered by an assailant - when resistance could have saved them.

I suspect that in those instances the victims had been lead to believe that their best chance of survival was to not resist. In a case like that, non-violence is a tactic - not a philosophy.

I still assert that even a self-professed pacifist would fight to the death against a criminal assailant if they were convinced it would increase their chance of survival.

So many people today have been hornswaggled into believing their best chance is to submit to the robber/rapist/home-invader. That is not pacifism - that's just a mistake.

RPCVYemen
April 18, 2008, 07:06 PM
Without someone to see and publicize it, ...

So should a person only stand up for what they believe in when in a public arena? I can accept that, but there are a number of religions and ethical/moral systems that claim that what's important is what we do when no one is watching.

Someone who was willing to die for what they believed in only in front of TV cameras, but would abandon those beliefs when not in front of TV cameras - wouldn't you call that person a hypocrite?

Mike

Mike

trinydex
April 18, 2008, 07:08 PM
You keep citing persons who publically and notoriously sacrifice themselves for a cause they consider to be more important than their own life.

If I have not been clear, I am referring to a person who privately sacrifices themself to preserve the life of their assailant.

We are comparing cumquats and lemons.

pacifism doesn't have bounds on an assailant or otherwise, similarly budhism etc don't either. so i don't see your point.

would you say someone that only tells everyone in public that he loves Jesus a Christian, if he does not tell himself in private? idealogies and personal philosphies should and i might even say have to be applicable in all avenues of a person's personal existence.

martyrdom is not a pr stunt. it's action based on faith.


Cite me evidence of a person who allowed themself and/or their loved ones to be slaughtered by an assailant - when resistance could have saved them.

what did Jesus do?

rainbowbob
April 18, 2008, 07:42 PM
The key words for me are "...to preserve the life of their assailant...". That is distinctly different than protesting with a sacrifce of your life a legally sanctioned but unconscionable government action (as in the case of Jesus).

And speaking of Jesus...he is only a martyr if you believe he was someone other than a lawfully convicted criminal.

If you do believe that (i.e., you believe he is the only Son of God)..then his act is not relevant to a discussion of the morality of self-defense for us mere mortals.

RPCVYemen
April 18, 2008, 08:20 PM
If I have not been clear, I am referring to a person who privately sacrifices themself to preserve the life of their assailant.


So we are in agreement that there are in fact pacifists who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the belief in non-violence?

And that such people can make a powerful statement?


Cite me evidence of a person who allowed themself and/or their loved ones to be slaughtered by an assailant - when resistance could have saved them.


Didn't Mary Dyer permit herself to be hanged by the neck until dead when she could have resisted? She could have resisted by and not returned to Massachusetts, right? This eaxctly what she told her assailant:

Nay, I came to keep bloodguiltiness from you, desireing you to repeal the unrighteous and unjust law made against the innocent servants of the Lord. Nay, man, I am not now to repent.


She claimed to be willing to die to protect her assailant from the "bloodguiltiness" of persecuting innocent servants of the Lord.

I also noticed that you want to keep shifting the cause from "non-violence" to "to preserve the life of their assailant". I am not quite sure why you want to make that shift. Are you making that switch because you accept that it might be right to refuse to kill someone on the grounds of a quasi-religious

Let's both assume that it's not worth dying to preserve the life of a assailant - at least for purposes of argument.

If the issue has nothing to do with the value of the life of the person in front of you, but is a question of your actions, does the issue change?

In other words, if man believed that is it wrong to take the life of another human being under any conditions - belief called "true pacifism", then it would be hypocritical for that man to kill another under and conditions. Is that correct?

Mike

RPCVYemen
April 18, 2008, 08:26 PM
The key words for me are "...to preserve the life of their assailant...".

Our posts crossed in the bit stream.

Let's assume that not defending yourself in order to preserve the life of their assailant is incorrect.

Would you accept that a person might chose not to kill because they believe that killing is wrong, and they will not take wrong action, regardless of the actions of anyone else?

Mike

SsevenN
April 18, 2008, 08:39 PM
Let's assume that not defending yourself in order to preserve the life of their assailant is incorrect.

Would you accept that a person might chose not to kill because they believe that killing is wrong, and they will not take wrong action, regardless of the actions of anyone else?

Mike

Yes, there are people that believe that. But if you put that belief to the test in a horrific ambush against person and famaliy, say, r*** of your wife while they b*** your children, that person will most likely use violence if they think it will save them!

Even when that same person might sacrafice themselfs in a delibrate manner to make a point.

Deanimator
April 18, 2008, 08:41 PM
How would it be a statement, if national television networks weren't there to film it?
Or even moreso if the people with the guns used those guns to control the national television networks and portrayed everyone they killed as a dangerous terrorist?

trinydex
April 18, 2008, 08:46 PM
The key words for me are "...to preserve the life of their assailant...". That is distinctly different than protesting with a sacrifce of your life a legally sanctioned but unconscionable government action (as in the case of Jesus).

And speaking of Jesus...he is only a martyr if you believe he was someone other than a lawfully convicted criminal.

If you do believe that (i.e., you believe he is the only Son of God)..then his act is not relevant to a discussion of the morality of self-defense for us mere mortals.

what? are you just unfamiliar with his teachings? regardless of if He is the son of God, he taught to turn the other cheek, He taught love, value of life and philosophies that add to life.

with that it was no profit to destroy or dominate. are you not familiar with the scene that surrounds "those who live by the sword also die by the sword?"

these are all things that point toward His personal philosophy, whether He was divine or not he died willingly for those principles without exacting death or violence on his "enemies."

If you do believe that (i.e., you believe he is the only Son of God)..then his act is not relevant to a discussion of the morality of self-defense for us mere mortals. seeing as he is the progenetor of the term martyr... or at least the paragon, i find it hard to believe that anyone would see his participation in a martyr discussion irrelavent.

RPCVYemen
April 18, 2008, 09:08 PM
what? are you just unfamiliar with his teachings?

I would like to avoid using the example of Jesus - I was sort of careful to suggest St. Peter, St. Paul, Socrates or Mary Dyer.

I would like to avoid using the example of Jesus of Nazareth for three particular reasons:


There are many theological issues surrounding (H)his exact nature, and there are some who would claim that he was not so much a martyr as an atoning sacrafice, etc.
Once someone injects Jesus into a dicussion, a number of people feel the need to testify to their beliefs, they start shouting at each other, and the mods will cose this thread down in an instant (quite properly).
The question of whether Jesus taught pacifism or not has been disucssed to death. Search THR for all the (locked) thread on this issue. :)


It seems to me that for our purposes, we can stick to men and women who were willing to die for their beliefs - whom none of us would call anything more than a man or woman. Can we all agree to use examples that are non-controversial?

Mike

rainbowbob
April 18, 2008, 09:38 PM
Would you accept that a person might chose not to kill because they believe that killing is wrong, and they will not take wrong action, regardless of the actions of anyone else?

I can accept that almost anything is possible. But I contend that it is highly unlikely that any decent person faced with a horrific assault against themself - and especially against their family - would simply allow the assialant to do whatever they chose to do with no resistance - regardless of their philosophy. I believe that the instinct to survive and preserve your family would trump any theoretical nonsense about non-violence.

It seems to me that for our purposes, we can stick to men and women who were willing to die for their beliefs - whom none of us would call anything more than a man or woman. Can we all agree to use examples that are non-controversial?

I agree that we should stipulate we will avoid using an example that many of us regard as other than merely human for all of the reasons you presented.

Having said that I would like to include an excellent link to several articles at corneredcat.com on the subject of the teachings of Jesus in regard to self-defense, pacifism, etc. I strongly urge anyone interested in the subject of "Christianity and Pacifism" to read them. http://www.corneredcat.com/Ethics/pacifism.aspx

jakemccoy
April 18, 2008, 10:24 PM
I'm certain I could find Bible versus indicating that it would be ungodly to allow an attacker to rape you and your entire family. We should probably keep the Bible out of this one. At least keep Jesus off limits.

RPCVYemen
April 18, 2008, 10:37 PM
theoretical nonsense about non-violence

So if the person had a deeply held belief, as opposed to theoretical nonsense, would that make a difference?

Or are you claiming that all religious or ethical beliefs are theoretical nonsense?

Or that you get to decide for your brother what is and is not theoretical nonsense?

Not exactly sure how we moved from deeply held religious or ethical beliefs to ethical nonsense.

Mike

rainbowbob
April 18, 2008, 11:05 PM
So if the person had a deeply held belief, as opposed to theoretical nonsense, would that make a difference?

What I mean is that I consider pacifism in the face of a brutal and personal assault to be "theoretical nonsense".

And I believe that if put to the test - such a "deeply held belief" would quickly evaporate.

Kentak
April 18, 2008, 11:21 PM
This is a long thread, and I only read the first page. So, I'm sure this point has been made, but I'll add my 2 cents in reinforcement.

The judge says: I still do not believe that being prepared to fight violence with violence is the answer. I’d rather not play.

Fine, Judge, don't play. If you choose to be a passive victim to any violent predator that happens to choose you, that's your right. But, by what right do you make that choice for me or others? The most basic of human rights is the right to one's own life. Legal systems can recognize that right and punish those that criminally take the life of another. But, that won't bring back the life of the victim. There will always be circumstances where individuals may not be able to act in their own defense, but by what reasoning can you uphold the right to life while denying individuals what has been demonstrated in numerous cases an effective means to attempt to defend their own life?

K

trinydex
April 18, 2008, 11:36 PM
It seems to me that for our purposes, we can stick to men and women who were willing to die for their beliefs - whom none of us would call anything more than a man or woman. Can we all agree to use examples that are non-controversial?
well that becomes a problem when you're going to throw out the precursors to the very idealogies that you're arguing about...

the fact is regardless of controversy the idealogy exists... as a matter of probability and human diversity there will be those who follow that idealogy, those that follow it to the death.

Having said that I would like to include an excellent link to several articles at corneredcat.com on the subject of the teachings of Jesus in regard to self-defense, pacifism, etc. I strongly urge anyone interested in the subject of "Christianity and Pacifism" to read them. http://www.corneredcat.com/Ethics/pacifism.aspx

i feel this is very much a modern day interpretation of the extremely idealistic texts for the purpose of mkaing christianity as a moral institution livable. the fact of the matter is there are very few if any who can actually live out and fulfill the idealisms presented by Jesus that the author's first blush understanding brought him to beleive. and so i find it true too that it's almost impossible to do such things, that's why they're called ideals.

watering down ideals to make your own less than perfect life seem more idealistic is not what i have in mind.

What I mean is that I consider pacifism in the face of a brutal and personal assault to be "theoretical nonsense". but i may find the mona lisa to be artistic nonsense...

rainbowbob
April 19, 2008, 12:56 AM
...watering down ideals to make your own less than perfect life seem more idealistic is not what i have in mind.

I don't agree that the referenced article presents watered down ideals. To the contrary, in my opinion it is a very thoughtful and well-researched interpretation of scripture. One that would have made as much sense to the people then as now.

RPCVYemen
April 19, 2008, 01:29 AM
To the contrary, in my opinion it is a very thoughtful and well-researched interpretation of scripture.

If this has become a debate about Jesus, it will be closed down very quickly.

I enjoyed chatting with you all,

Bye,

Mike

makarovnik
April 19, 2008, 01:33 AM
I hear that a lot and it might be true that a gun is more likely to be used on a family member than a stranger. I think the numbers can easily be manipulated to say pretty much whatever you want them to say.

What if the family member was trying to assault or kill you and you shot them. That would go in the column of a family shoot. But it could maybe also go in the column of a justified self defense shoot.

The only ones I get concerned about are the accidental shootings. As far as that goes, lots of people slip in the tub and hurt themselves. Should tubs be outlawed in the home?

Why do we refuse to look at empirical data? Figures show that countries or cities (Britain, Washington D.C.) crime rates go up after guns are outlawed. It might not make sense but if the numbers consistently show this we should learn from it whether we understand it or not.

Fact is it is our right to do so regardless of the risk of accidental shootings. I also have heard that many of these accidental shootings in the homes are homes of police officers. I see it all the time where a cop leaves his gun loaded on the table and his 3yr old shoots himself. Or cops playing with a loaded gun in the house after a few drinks watching Dirty Harry or something and accidentally shoots the TV and it goes through the wall and kills his sleeping wife.

Let's face it, there are a lot of stupid people out there with guns. I'm not one of them and stupid incidents shouldn't negate my constitutional rights. I am OK with the government making me take a firearms safety course prior to letting me have a gun. I think that is a good investment anyway. Even so, most of the shooting will occur in households where the owner is poor, un-educated, a gang-banger mentally ill... As usual, many of those incidents are happening with guns that were illegally obtained. If these things happen with guns that are illegally obtained what law is going to stop it?

I just don't like innocent law abiding people being left defenseless because they obeyed the law and turned in their guns and got shot by a criminal with a illegally obtained firearm.

What you gonna do?

Fact is it doesn't matter if they make guns illegal here or not, they'll never get mine unless they PRY IT FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!

If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

God made all men but Sam Colt made all men equal. That is the key; to level the playing field.

Go, go, bang, bang, shoot, shoot, Ye haw!

Deanimator
April 19, 2008, 09:28 AM
What if the family member was trying to assault or kill you and you shot them.
And that brings up the cheap trick of saying, "Most rape victims know their assailants." Assuming for argument's sake that that's true, SO WHAT? Does a woman have no right to resist a violent rape with violence if she knows the rapist's name?

Some of the inept rhetorical tricks of the anti-gun movement simply make my skin crawl. But then racists and misogynists make my skin crawl on GP.

jakemccoy
April 19, 2008, 04:28 PM
Father hears bump in the night in his home. He grabs his loaded shotgun and goes downstairs to investigate. Two daughters and mother are upstairs. Father sees two attackers in the basement. One attacker tells the father, "We're going to rape your family and you're going to watch." Attackers see the shotgun and tell the father to get the hell out of the way. The two attackers do not have guns.

Question, what does a pacifist do? (After this thread, I honestly don't know.)

Note the victim clearly has a chance for survival but seems to face a moral dilemma.

Vern Humphrey
April 19, 2008, 04:38 PM
Father hears bump in the night in his home. He grabs his loaded shotgun and goes downstairs to investigate. Two daughters and mother are upstairs. Father sees two attackers in the basement. One attacker tells the father, "We're going to rape your family and you're going to watch." Attackers see the shotgun and tell the father to get the hell out of the way.

There was a Quaker who was confronted with that problem. He cocked the hammers of his shotgun and said, "Friend, the Lord knows I would do thee no harm. But thee standest where I am about to shoot.":D

trinydex
April 19, 2008, 05:57 PM
Question, what does a pacifist do? (After this thread, I honestly don't know.)

aim for the penis

Vern Humphrey
April 19, 2008, 06:05 PM
That can be a mighty small target.:D

trinydex
April 19, 2008, 07:49 PM
vangcomp shottie! problem solved.

RDak
April 19, 2008, 08:58 PM
I'm older now and have simply grown tired of arguing with people that I, as an individual, have the right to own a firearm to guard against lawlessness and tyranny.

I just want Heller to settle the individual right vs. collective right theories once and for all.

I've had it with the rabid anti-gunners. They have had over 30 years now to "solve" the crime problem and have failed abysmally by focusing so much on private firearms ownership. They've had their chance. They have failed IMHO.

If an individual doesn't want to own a firearm - fine. But that doesn't give that same person the right to tell me I can't own a firearm.

They are overstepping their "authority" when they try do to that. If they want to live like sheep that's their choice. I choose not to live like sheep. I'm no better than them but no worse either.

Bottom line - I have a fundamental right to own a firearm to guard against lawlessness and tyranny.

I know your brother doesn't agree with me so the only choice I have is to defeat people with those views at the ballot box. I'm tired of arguing.

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