Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9823323:

Gunslinger 15 10, 7:11am

1.) The commandment is more properly translated as "Thou shall not commit murder." Especially as other parts of the legal code in the book you reference indicate that killing someone in defense of your life is expected.

I can see you're having a problem with this concept of self defense. This means that you and Shadowdragon are speaking fundamentally different languages with different philosophies behind them, from radically different viewpoints. I'm personally on Shadow's side, but that's only because my brain keeps trying to lock up when I try to picture a philosophy where I felt it was not right to defend my life. I'm going to try to explain from basic principles, here, since I can see we don't share many of the same assumptions.

Killing someone in self defense is generally a last resort. Nobody particularly likes the idea of killing someone else unless they are profoundly disturbed. Anyone who tells you otherwise is misrepresenting a good portion of the population. The general definition for such acts falls under "use of lethal force" where "Lethal force" translates to any action that a reasonable person may expect to cause death or grevious bodily harm. In this light, a blunt instrument, a blade, a firearm, a fender on a vehicle, a rock or a stick may all constitute lethal force, as may your bare hands, should need arise.

Generally speaking, in the United States (and your laws will vary from state to state, and ignorance is not an excuse), lethal force is authorized to protect yourself from credible threat of lethal force being used upon you. In short, if you cannot demonstrate that a person is a credible and immediate threat to you, with intent to do harm to you, you are not allowed to cause them harm.

From a logical and moral standpoint, self defense is essentially a variation on the trolley problem. On track 1 is a person who has his hands on the switch that will send the runaway trolley running down track 2, over you and possibly others, for some form of personal gain. On track 2, You are standing with a switch that will send the trolley down track 1, rolling over the person who has put you in this situation where you have to kill or die. The first person to throw the switch gets to decide, and subsequent attempts to activate the switch don't count.

If you decide that you cannot, or will not throw that switch, that is your decision to make. Not mine. In the actual amount of time you have to decide, no one else can decide for you. Similarly, you cannot and should not impose your decision on other people.

We will not discuss the morality of refusing to throw that switch yourself, but being more than happy to call armed agents of the State to throw the switch for you. That is an entirely different can of worms, about which numerous legal precedents, books, court cases, and so on have been written.