Monday, January 16, 2023

Theft, defense, revenge, justice

People have tried, for years, to make the argument that if it were my kid robbing someone, I would want no one to fight back and hurt or kill him. I would want them to cooperate and let the police handle it later.

No. They don't get it.

If one of my relatives tried to rob a group of people and was killed by a defender, I would be ashamed and angered by what my relative did. I would never defend his actions or seek "restitution" [sic] from the defender who killed him. To do so would make me just as bad, in my own way, as the thief. In fact, I would probably praise the actions of the defender as heroic (if I spoke up at all) even in my pain and shame.

If one of my relatives shot and killed a robber, I would be proud that he helped victims, both current and potential future victims of this robber.

If both robber and defender were relatives of mine, I would side with the defender. No matter which one I was closer to before the event. Choosing to steal, and especially to violently rob people, is a deal-breaker.

I think theft is one of the worst acts a human can commit-- right on the level of rape, murder, kidnapping, etc. I have no issue at all with thieves being killed in the act, and even less so if they are robbing people under threat of harm or death; at gunpoint or knifepoint, for example. Even if it's a toy gun or a rubber knife, unless they are willing to hand it over for you to examine so you can make sure it's real, you'd better assume it's real and act as though it is.

If someone steals your property they are stealing the hours of your life you traded for that property. Parts of your life you can never get back. They don't care. They've made their choice. Sure, some would argue they aren't taking your whole life, and you aren't taking the robber's whole life either, just whatever amount they would have had left after they tried to rob you. It might have even been far less than they were trying to take from you (judging by their poor choices). They might have walked in front of a speeding bus, overdosed on something they bought with your stolen property, or "died suddenly" from clots ten minutes later. That's unknowable. 

Once someone has shown you they don't value their own life as much as they value taking your stuff (which can include your life, and since you can't read their mind you don't know their intent) why would you value their life, in this case, more than they value their own?

This doesn't mean I think you should track the thief down the week after the attack and shoot them as they sleep in their bed. That would be revenge, and I oppose revenge (while understanding the hunger for it). 

Self-defense at the scene of the attack, in the heat of the moment, isn't something I'll second guess. 

But what about justice? Self-defense is not exactly justice; it eliminates the need for justice. Revenge, when the event is history-- including legal punishment through the government-- isn't justice. Restitution is justice. Let peaceful arbitration, and restitution, sort it out at a later date if there is anything to sort out.


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