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When would you shoot a human being?

  • To protect a stranger from death or serious injury.

    Votes: 51 98.1%
  • To protect your pet.

    Votes: 7 13.5%
  • To stop yourself from being robbed.

    Votes: 36 69.2%
  • To stop a robbery of another individual.

    Votes: 29 55.8%
  • To stop a robbery of a store.

    Votes: 26 50.0%
  • To stop a rape.

    Votes: 50 96.2%
  • To prevent the theft of your property (e.g. your car).

    Votes: 8 15.4%
  • To prevent the theft of your neighbor's property.

    Votes: 2 3.8%
  • To prevent the burglary of your neighbor's empty home.

    Votes: 2 3.8%
  • To prevent a kidnapping of a child you don't know.

    Votes: 47 90.4%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are circumstances in which I'm sure pretty much any of us would shoot. If someone is attempting to kill one of my children, they can expect me to empty my gun into them. There are also circumstances in which no responsible person shoot, like a verbal disagreement. And then there's a huge set of situations in the middle. In some of them, it's legal to shoot, but arguably immoral. In others it may be moral, but the law might disagree.

At the end of the day, every individual has to decide for him or herself just when they would or would not shoot, and since when it actually happens we'll have to make that shoot/no shoot decision in a fraction of a second, it behooves us to spend some time beforehand, calmly considering a variety of scenarios to decide when we would shoot, and why.

In addition to answering the poll questions, please feel free to expand upon the rationale behind your decisions. Maybe you can help others work out their own answers and reasons. Everyone please keep in mind that there are NO WRONG ANSWERS here. This is an intensely personal question and people who honestly think shooting is appropriate when the law says otherwise are not wrong; they just choose to accept some consequences in exchange for what they perceive as a higher good.
 

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My cousin, who was in law enforcement for many years, said to me once that he never had to decide whether to shoot or not. It wasn't his decision, it was the criminals. Once they cross a certain line, they made the decision for him and everything was just consequences of their actions at that point and not a decision on his part.

:dunno:

Definitely good to think about where that line lies for us, and look at it the same way. I don't want to be trying to figure out and make a snap decision on the spot.

For me that line lies at defense/protection of person. I voted harm/injury, rape, kidnapping. Basically if someone is using deadly force or near deadly force, or is committing an act likely to lead to another act involving deadly force (kidnapping first then murder, for example), I'll respond with deadly force.

Offenses against property do not cross the line for me to where I have to respond to deadly force.

Now that I think about it though, maybe I should have voted for burglary of neighbor's house or however it was worded. That one would depend on if I knew my neighbors were out of town or not, though. If I knew nobody was home, I wouldn't shoot. If I knew someone WAS home, I wouldn't hesitate.

:dunno:

edit: just saw that it was "neighbor's empty home". Wouldn't shoot.
 

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I put that I would if it involved my property, but to clarify I would only do that if I was in possession of my property at the time. For example, if I am stopped at a stop light and some guy comes up to hijack my car, you can pretty much guarantee that I am going to pull my gun. But if my car is parked somewhere and I am inside a house or at work, I won't go near or try and stop him. I'll just call the cops and let them deal with it. That is why I pay the insurance co. The only time I would pull and shoot is if waiting for the cops isn't enough to save a life. Anytime my life, the life of family, and/or those around me is endangered I will pull my gun and shoot. Sometimes in the process of theft of property life can be the cost of it, whether yours or someone else. If them stealing doesn't affect a human life, keep it holstered and call the police.
 

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ndavis2008 said:
I put that I would if it involved my property, but to clarify I would only do that if I was in possession of my property at the time. For example, if I am stopped at a stop light and some guy comes up to hijack my car, you can pretty much guarantee that I am going to pull my gun. But if my car is parked somewhere and I am inside a house or at work, I won't go near or try and stop him. I'll just call the cops and let them deal with it. That is why I pay the insurance co. The only time I would pull and shoot is if waiting for the cops isn't enough to save a life. Anytime my life, the life of family, and/or those around me is endangered I will pull my gun and shoot. Sometimes in the process of theft of property life can be the cost of it, whether yours or someone else. If them stealing doesn't affect a human life, keep it holstered and call the police.
Mine would also depend on wether the car jacker was armed, pretending to be armed or threatening me with harm. It he just walks up and said give me your car and nothing else I say no. I wouldn't pull till he crosses my line. More than likely if someone is intent on car jacking someone they will likely be armed or pretending to be and threatening to kill the driver if they do not cooperate.
 

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ndavis2008 said:
I put that I would if it involved my property, but to clarify I would only do that if I was in possession of my property at the time.
I agree with this. I would not go outside to stop someone stealing my car out of my driveway, but if I was being carjacked, I would shoot if necessary.
I would enter a situation to protect someone if I felt their life was in jeporday. (kidnapping, robbery, etc.) I would never go next door to my neighbors empty house to confront someone. I sit at the window with my camera and the phone in my hand calling 911.
I also agree, as others have said, that it is really up to the criminal if he gets shot. I would only shoot if I felt my life or the life of someone I was trying to help, was being threatened. Once I felt threatened seriously, I draw, then the next step of shooting really depends on the BG's response to me drawing on him. Any aggresive or threatening action at that point results in me pulling the trigger. However, If the BG raises his hands in the air and messes himself, I don't shoot.
There is no way I would shoot over a pet. I have 2 dogs which I love, but no way I'm shooting a person over a stupid pet.
Hope that all made sense.
 

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Anyway we can get this vote tally to show how many people have voted? In other words it would be interesting to see that 11 people have cast votes and all 11 voted for X. Modify it anyway so we can see how many people have voted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It shows total # of votes at the bottom.
 

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To whoever said they would shoot a person to protect their pet, I hope I didn't upset you with my comment in my earlier post. I actually posted my response and then went and voted, so I didn't know the results until after I posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
PW said:
swillden said:
It shows total # of votes at the bottom.
I am looking for TOTAL PEOPLE THAT HAVE VOTED, not total votes.
That total is the total people that have voted. It never occurred to me that it could mean anything else, but when I look at the numbers, and the percentages, that is what it has to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
PW said:
To whoever said they would shoot a person to protect their pet, I hope I didn't upset you with my comment in my earlier post. I actually posted my response and then went and voted, so I didn't know the results until after I posted.
Remember, these are personal decisions and there are no wrong answers, as long as they're made with due consideration and in good faith.
 

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I most of these answers depend on other factors. Of coarse I wouldn't let someone get harmed. However, would I shoot an unarmed teen robbing my neighbors house? Probably not. Would I shoot an armed person trying to rob me or anyone else? Yep. I think we should have better defined the perameters of the poll.
 

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I voted Death, rape and kidnapping

I would have voted for any of robbery if it said "armed", yeah I know whats the point of robbing if your not armed, it would also depend who the victim is but I would shoot if the BG fired a shot or stabbed already. This one is really hard for me if it were a stranger, there would have to be no doubt in any point of view that death was going to occur.

As for a pet... well, oh well, I can get another one if I want. I really would not like anything to happen to them, but its not worth possible jail time over an animal.

For my property it would have to be while I was in it and the BG had a weapon, I would still draw either way.

Neighbors property; well most of them have guns... I would watch and be a witness and only act if the BG was harming them. If it were empty I would just watch.

At first glance of the thread title I thought it said "WHERE would you shoot a human being?"
 

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VERY interesting and thought provoking questions.

I also voted harm/injury, rape, and kidnapping. Kidnapping = murder the vast majority of the time. Of course I would not shoot if I could safely prevent the crime in another way.

I would not shoot to protect property alone, but in all three of the robbery scenarios, there's almost certainly going to be some other factor. Few people just rob a person without also presenting some physical or emotional threat. If a man is robbing a store at gunpoint, it's very possible I would shoot, but I would be shooting to protect a stranger from death or serious injury, not to prevent a robbery. If someone with a knife wants my wallet, they'll likely get my wallet. But if I feel I'm likely to be stabbed regardless, I'll light him up.

I think the key point you note is that we should all think through these scenarios and have an idea of what we are going to do in each of them. On the other hand, one has to be careful in deciding an absolute yes/no to these questions - to make up one's mind that if you see a robbery, you are going to shoot is setting yourself up for possible disaster. As most of the comments have indicated, "it depends" is pretty much the right answer to all of the above. Perhaps an even better question is "Would you be able (both tactically and mentally) to shoot a human being?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
FBMG Smithy said:
I most of these answers depend on other factors. Of coarse I wouldn't let someone get harmed. However, would I shoot an unarmed teen robbing my neighbors house? Probably not. Would I shoot an armed person trying to rob me or anyone else? Yep. I think we should have better defined the perameters of the poll.
The ambiguity and resulting debate was one of my goals when I wrote the poll options :)
 

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GREAT THREAD!

OK, so here goes...

Protection of a stranger from serious injury, rape, kidnapping I voted 'yes' without further mental qualification. I understand why some people might vote 'no', but I don't think I would hesitate.

To prevent theft of my property, my neighbor's property, and burglary of neighbor's house I voted 'no' without further mental qualification. Like most, I would just witness; I am inclined to think I might try and stop the theft of my car, though, with physical force -- but after reading ndavis's comment about the insurance company I think he's right -- heck, maybe I'll get a BETTER car out of the deal! :)

OK, so I was one of the "dummies" who voted 'yes' to defend my pet... I mean, we don't have kids yet! Hahaha... anyways, but now that I think about it I would have to qualify that by stating that, similar to my original thought on my car, I would try and use physical force to defend my dog and just use my firearm to defend myself if it came down to that. So, I wouldn't actually be shooting to defend my dog. That being said, I would only not be shooting over my dog for legal reasons (don't want to go to jail) -- but morally I think any idiot willing to do something unspeakable to an innocent-acting and as defenseless little dog as I have is deserving of a bullet anyways... in other words, choosing to not shoot would be just to cover my own butt and nothing more.

To stop myself or another being robbed, or a store, I voted 'no' -- but the qualification I made is similar to others here... as soon as I saw credible threat (namely, a weapon or overwhelming and threatening numbers), then it would quickly change to a 'yes'.

[EDIT: Changed my 'yes' on the dog to a 'no']
 

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It'd be interesting to see the answers to these same scenarios given a slightly different question:
"During which of these situations do you think you should be able to LAWFULLY shoot?"

So then question isn't really asking WHEN you would shoot (given current law), rather it's asking whether you think the law should be altered so as to allow for shooting in the different situations.

I wonder if there are some compelling arguments (ie, well thought out arguments, or arguments based on some philosophical tenet, etc) for allowing the use of a firearm during theft of property, for instance? I'd like to hear them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
eddified said:
It'd be interesting to see the answers to these same scenarios given a slightly different question:
"During which of these situations do you think you should be able to LAWFULLY shoot?"
Interesting question.

Note that under Utah law you can lawfully shoot in all of the robbery cases, but many of us wouldn't. Under Texas law you can shoot to protect your property if you reasonably believe that shooting is the only way to prevent the theft. Under Nevada law you can shoot to stop ANY felony, not just "forcible" felonies. So if you saw someone passing a bad check, and knew it, you could legally kill them. IIRC, Virginia law does not allow use of deadly force to prevent felonies, only to prevent imminent serious injury or death. So I don't think you could legally shoot to prevent a kidnapping (I'm less sure about this one -- but if it's not VA I'm sure there are at least some states where this is true).

There's a lot of variability in the law, so the question of what the law SHOULD say is a very valid one.
 

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I would think that pretty much any robbery has an overt or implied threat of serious bodily injury or death.

"Give me your wallet (or I will hurt|kill|stab|shoot|beat you)."

If there is no physical threat, how would a robber expect to get someone to hand over his cash?
If there is a physical threat, then you're in danger of serious bodily harm or death, or at least threatened with that.
 

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Jeff Johnson said:
I would think that pretty much any robbery has an overt or implied threat of serious bodily injury or death.

"Give me your wallet (or I will hurt|kill|stab|shoot|beat you)."

If there is no physical threat, how would a robber expect to get someone to hand over his cash?
If there is a physical threat, then you're in danger of serious bodily harm or death, or at least threatened with that.
:agree:
just what i was thinking
 
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