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Legal duty to retreat vs Moral duty to retreat

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by benbernanke, May 7, 2012.

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  1. benbernanke

    benbernanke Member

    Most progressive states have some form or another of Castle Doctrines, which eliminate the Legal Duty to Retreat in ones home, and frequently a place of business. Many other jurisdictions have extended that Doctrine into Stand your ground laws applicable to areas outside the home. Therefore, the armed citizen, under these laws, has no legal duty to retreat, even if he can do so in complete safety. But does he have a moral/ehtical duty to do so? I postulate that the responsible armed citizen does.

  2. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Well there you go.
  3. writerinmo

    writerinmo Well-Known Member

    Nope, not one bit. They are protecting the most precious gift given to them, their lives and those of their loved ones. Here we have no legal duty to retreat either, props to Missouri for their Castle Doctrine.
  4. Robert

    Robert Moderator

    Why fight if I don't HAVE to?
  5. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    The idea here is NOT to get to shoot someone. The idea here is to NOT GET SHOT.

    SGY laws are a good buffer, but it really doesn't change the fundamental ethic that you only use deadly force if you absolutely have no other option.
  6. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Why do you postulate that?
  7. Robert

    Robert Moderator

  8. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    There are other things to consider in Castle laws (or SYG laws, which--in general--remove the legal "duty to retreat" outside the home).

    Morally, we can argue whether we
    a) have a duty to "remove" a criminal from society from by stopping him (including by use of lethal force) even when we have the option of escaping (retreating) in complete safety;
    b) have a moral obligation to preserve human life even if it costs us dignity; or also costs us property; or also costs us non-crippling injury;
    c) have a duty to our families not only to survive an attack, but to do so in a way that will least likely lead to financial ruin or felony conviction.

    Tactics, to me, is less confusing: running away in safety is always better. We are supposed to avoid, escape, de-escalate and dis-engage if we can. If we shoot, it means that we failed in all our other efforts to stay out of a lethal situation, and had to rely on our very last line of defense.

    Legally, these laws often remove only the burden of proving you had no means of safe escape; the law assumes you had no safe escape. In general, they do not, and are not meant to, permit you to shoot someone because you wanted to, but didn't have to.
  9. sig220mw

    sig220mw Well-Known Member

    Not all situations are the same. There may be a time when you can't or don't really want to retreat since the problem may just follow you. Some bad guys will see it as their chance to continue their bad behavior and view your retreat as giving up.

    What do you mean by progressive states? I ask this because it brings to mind progressives in politics which are one worlders or socialists. I don't believe this is what you mean but would like to know.
  10. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    I believe that I have a moral duty to avoid bloodshed if I have other avenues of escape, but I understand that these morals are not held by everyone. Even though I will do everything that I can to avoid pulling the trigger on another human being, I have no personal morals or reservations that will keep me from pulling the trigger if that is my only option. I also will not leave a defenseless person to fend for themselves if I am in a position to aid them.
  11. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    Let's turn this around. Does a criminal have the authority to FORCE you, through threats or intimidation, to leave some any place where you have a legal right to be?
    In other words, should disobeying an illegal order made by a criminal be a crime?
  12. CountryUgly

    CountryUgly Well-Known Member

    If you are attacked excatly how are you supposed to retreat? Seems to me if retreating is an option the situation wasn't life threatening. I've never heard of anyone being attacked or involved in an armed robbery and retreating with positive results. I do however have personal experience with someone close to me trying to retreat during an attempted robbery and then taking a bullet to the chest while going for cover. In hindsight they admitted that fighting back would have been a better option.
  13. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    No, not at all. I think that the OP should be asking if anyone's personal morals differ from this as opposed to trying to impose his feelings on everyone else.

    As far as I'm concerned, if one is following the law then they are morally and ethically right (in a SYG situation).
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  14. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Well-Known Member

    Absolutely not.

    I will not be the aggressor. I will not be out to rob, hurt, or kill someone.

    If someone seeks to do me or mine harm I have no moral obligation to try to hurt them as little as possible.
    Basically, to hell with them, if they die they die and it won't bother me one bit.
  15. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    And there you have captured the core reasoning behind the duty to retreat requirement. However, having to prove you actually had no retreat can put you in legal jeopardy even though you did everything "right." It is that possible injustice (that was famously played out in MA) which defines the need for Castle laws.
    The duty to retreat, where it applies, only requires you to retreat rather than use lethal force if you can do so in complete safety. Unfortunately, as already said, it may also require you to prove that you had no safe escape.
  16. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    That was the defence the Nazis gave at the Nuremberg trials.
  17. CountryUgly

    CountryUgly Well-Known Member

    I guess a bullet lodged in your chest would qualify as proof?
  18. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    I am trying to defend the law that you are in favor of. But sorry for the lack of specificity, I fixed it.
  19. lindy

    lindy Active Member

    There are Four Types of Homicide:


    -Ambrose Bierce-

    Good Shooting

    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  20. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    That would seem to legally justify a lethal force response. Of course, we'd still have the practical considerations of whether the person shot can manage that, and if he believes that attempting to shoot will lead to something better than simply being shot several more times. I take it your acquaintance did not fight back after being shot, and that one of the two practical reasons above (or both) was the cause.

    It would not serve as proof that, as your acquaintance supposes, fighting back would have gone any better.
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