The Instigator
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Con (against)
Losing
26 Points

A victim's deliberate use of deadly force is a just response to repeated domestic violence.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/20/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 9,363 times Debate No: 4110
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (12)

 

JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

It is generally recognized that deliberate use of deadly force is a just response to deadly force exerted against oneself, or even when one determines one's life to be in imminent danger. However, a slight controversy exists when extending this precept to a concept like repeated, but nonlethal violence.

No doubt my opponent will immediately point out that the repetitious nature of the violence gives the victim ample time to seek relief from the proper authorities. However, while this sounds plain in the abstract, in practice this is often not possible. Consider that the victim may not be physically able to GET to the authorities, or may be scared to report the abuser under threat of further violence. In the end, one might even consider the victim to have the mentality of a scared, trapped animal.

Philosophically, the resort to lethal violence is a testy area. The just-ness of the situation revolves around the remuneration of the type and level of violence. Is it just to take an eye for an eye? But then again, is it just to take an eye for three fingers? If a person is beaten severely multiple times, then they are justified in seeking retribution roughly equal to the punishment they have endured.

At this point, one might point out that taking a life is a permanent retribution to a non-permanent problem. However, this is a flawed way of looking at the problem. One might think of the situation in numbers. If death constitutes "100" retribution, than it is acceptable for one to resort to lethal violence when one has received 6 sessions of "20" abuse, then one would be just in seeking the lethal retribution.

Another consideration lies in frequency and severity. The resolution simply states repeated violence. This of course would be tempered by the severity of the violence. It would be ludicrous to suggest that lethal force is just to a weekly slap, and likewise to suggest that it is not for daily beatings. My point in bringing this up is that I am arguing the middle road - in general, repeated domestic abuse, which tends to be more than a simple slap or hit, is enough to make an individual legitimately concerned for their health, if not their life.

So is the deliberate use of violence justified? I believe so - the fact that there is a repeated risk to one's health means that removing that risk by any means possible is a primary concern. As discussed before, this may mean calling the police, but it could easily also mean killing one's attacker. In a case where one may fear for their life, it is of course legitimate

I believe a more in-depth argument will evolve with my opponent's opening argument and case. I eagerly await rebuttal.
beem0r

Con

[ MODE: Destructive - Paragraph Response ]

[[ CON1: Response to Paragraph I ]]
No resolutional conflict here. I agree that the deliberate use of deadly force is justified in self-defense [i.e. when the person's life is in danger], but I think I disagree with my opponent's reasons WHY. It'll come up later though.

[[ NULL: Response to Paragraph II ]]
No response needed. I'll bring up something similar to what my opponent preemptively deals with here, and I'll justify it when I do.

[[ CON2: Response to Paragraph III ]]
We've got some conflict here.
I would point out that retribution is a fundamentally flawed principle that has become rather outdated. Let's consider the following scenario:

A guy I went to middle school with used to beat me up every day. Often severely. I was too much of a wuss to deal with him then. I see him walking down the street one day.

I am not justified in assaulting the man on the spot. I can hold his past actions against him, but since his past actions are no danger to me in the present, I cannot act violently in response to it now.

Now let us take the scenario one step further. Upon seeing me on the street, he decides to have a little nostalgia, and begins beating me once again. At this point, I would be fully justified in defending myself. However, my violent defensive action would be in response to the immediate threat - him currently beating me - not in response to the many times he did so before.

Just as I can only base my violent action on the immediate danger, the same is true for a victim of domestic violence. One should not respond violently to a beating three months ago, since that beating poses no immediate or future threat.

Therefore, just as deliberate use of deadly force is not a just response to a single act of domestic violence, it is not a just response to repeated domestic violence, since the violent response should only be in response to present and future threat, not to past threats long gone.

[[ CON3: Response to Paragraph IV ]]
I have a big problem with the argument my opponent puts forth here. He attempts to assign beatings a harm value [he uses 20] and murder another [he uses 100].

Based on strict retribution, which I have already argued against, my opponent attempts to justify murder as retribution for X beatings, where X is (harm of murder)/(harm of beating).

Assuming that retribution for past actions is indeed justified, I see no problem with the equation, since it balances the amount of harm. However, there is something I greatly disagree with: the harm values he assigns to each crime. Giving these crimes values in the same realm of numbers relies on the premise that a certain number of beatings is just as bad as murder. This is simply not true. I, for one, would prefer to be beaten every minute of every day until natural death comes upon me than to simply have my life robbed from me. One robs me of comfort, the other robs me of my life. These are infinitely different things. To assign a value so that X beatings = 1 murder has no basis in reality. Life is infinitely more important than comfort.

Therefore, even if it is justifiable to act in retribution to acts that no longer pose a threat [being beaten a week ago, for instance], no number of beatings can possibly justify taking someone's life.

[[ CON4: Response to Paragraph V ]]
Keep in mind that my opponent intends to argue this as an overall statement, rather than only considering a few fringe scenarios.

Also, my opponent brings up a good point here - sometimes, people who are victims of repeated domestic violence fear for their health, or even their very lives.

I would say victims are only justifiably fearing for their lives in the extremely severe cases, which we are not arguing. However, even this will be dealt with after response mode ends.

It is justifiable, however, in a non-extreme case, for a victim to fear for their health. However, unless such health risks are seen to be a threat to the person's life, deliberately taking a life is not a justified response here. I believe I've shown that through CON3.

[[ CON5: Response to Paragraph VI ]]
At the beginning of this paragraph, my opponent states "So is the deliberate use of violence justified?"
This is no doubt true. However, deliberate use of LETHAL violence is not justified. I will show that after response mode is complete. Only if there is no other way could deliberate LETHAL violence be justified. And I will show why there is always another way.

[ MODE: Constructive - Point Creation ]

[[ CON6: "There's always another way." ]]
Let us first consider the types of deadly force that might be used by a victim of domestic violence.

1. Martial arts
2. A blunt weapon
3. A stabbing weapon
4. A slashing weapon
5. A projectile weapon
6. Brute strength

That's what I could think of. Now to talk about each one.

1 : Martial arts
==
It's unlikely that a victim of domestic violence knows advanced martial arts, otherwise the domestic violence would have easily been defended against. Only a very select few martial arts techniques allow the user to deliberately kill their victim. Most martial arts techniques aim to either disable or defend against an enemy. These are the types of techniques a martial artist would be justified in using in this situation, assuming a martial arts master somehow managed to become a victim of repeated domestic abuse.

2 : Blunt weapon
==
With a blunt weapon, the most one could do is hit the other person over the head sufficiently hard with it. Since such a blow can disable a person, this should be what the weilder attempts to do if being beaten nonlethally. If the blow ends up being lethal irresepective of the person's intent, then it is not a DELIBERATE use of deadly force.

3 : Stabbing weapon
==
Probably the easiest and most accessible place to stab someone is the stomach. It's actually hard to imagine a scenario where it would even be convenient to stab someone in a lethal place. Of course, the weilder could go Caesar style, and stab the person over 9000 times until death. However, once again, the intent of the weilder should be to disable their spouse, then attempt to either reason with them or call authorities once their spouse is disabled. It's hard to imagine a scenario where someone is capable of intentionally killing a person but not capable of intentionally disabling that person with a stabbing weapon. Even if my opponent can think one up, we're talking about OVERALL, not about fringe scenarios that require major assumptions.

4 : Slashing weapon
==
Same as stabbing weapon, really, especially considering most slashing weapons can be used as stabbing weapons. Either flailing the weapon with no intent or intentionally attempting to disable their enemy are the justified responses to nonlethal violence in this case. If when doing either of these, the person ends up dead, this is not a DELIBERATE use of deadly force. As is the case with all these examples.

5 : Projectile weapon
==
Guns. Or bows, but I think you'll find that they're not so effective when in a situation where you're being beaten [try it sometime]. Anyway, guns make it VERY easy to disable a person. The weilder could shoot the person in the leg, arm, etc. as a disabling device, or they could aim for the torso to maximize their chances of actually hitting the person. Either way, since there is not the intent of murder, it cannot be said to be a DELIBERATE use of deadly force.

6 : Brute Strength
==
Highly unlikely, but it's rather obvious how easy it would be to disable someone instead of killing them using this method.

Thus, there's always another way.

Looks like all, 8000 chars. Good luck to both of us, I think it'll be a good one.
Debate Round No. 1
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

>>"A guy I went to middle school with used to beat me up every day. Often severely. I was too much of a wuss to deal with him then. I see him walking down the street one day. I am not justified in assaulting the man on the spot. I can hold his past actions against him, but since his past actions are no danger to me in the present, I cannot act violently in response to it now."

Philosophically you are perfectly justified in assaulting his as soon as you feel threatened. Consider you've been previously assaulted in the past - as soon as you feel threatened, you're justified in assaulting him to prevent his action against you. This is perfectly analogous to you seeing a flashlight that you know has a painfully bright light. You've been zapped by this light a hundred times against your will. You are perfectly justified in removing the light's batteries before you are zapped again.

>>"However, my violent defensive action would be in response to the immediate threat - him currently beating me - not in response to the many times he did so before."

In other words, my opponent argues that past action has no bearing on one's considerations of the present. The abused spouse cannot defend him/herself till the other spouse is actually attacking. This is, of course, completely ridiculous.

>>"Therefore, just as deliberate use of deadly force is not a just response to a single act of domestic violence, it is not a just response to repeated domestic violence, since the violent response should only be in response to present and future threat, not to past threats long gone."

This is also ridiculous. Past action MUST be included as a qualifier for justifying violence. If it wasn't, then each individual situation would be a new act of violence and it wouldn't be possible for there to be repeated acts of violence. Thus, one MUST consider past action - the culmination of past actions shows a pattern in the actions and modifies the propensity for present and future violence.

>>"Giving these crimes values in the same realm of numbers relies on the premise that a certain number of beatings is just as bad as murder. This is simply not true. I, for one, would prefer to be beaten every minute of every day until natural death comes upon me than to simply have my life robbed from me. To assign a value so that X beatings = 1 murder has no basis in reality."

If you were beaten every minute of every day, eventually you would wish for death - thus I submit that beatings and death are indeed of the same severity. At some point in time, one will lose the will to live because of the constant abuse.... Of course, this determination is completely subjective, and is up to the individual. My opponent has expressed his personal preference, and I have expressed mine of this issue.

>>"no number of beatings can possibly justify taking someone's life."

I disagree - but again, this is personal preference. I would say that being beaten with permanent physical or emotional damage is justification for taking a life.

>>"However, unless such health risks are seen to be a threat to the person's life, deliberately taking a life is not a justified response here. I believe I've shown that through CON3."

Again, your reasoning rests on your opinion of the situation. At what point does the health risk become risky ENOUGH to take a life? I would argue that a risk of permanent physical or psychological damage is enough, and that repeated beatings constitute this risk.

>>"Only if there is no other way could deliberate LETHAL violence be justified."

My opponent has just stated that there is indeed a way to justify deliberate legal action, which is the crux of the debate. He also asserts that there is always "another way" to solve the threat of domestic abuse. In the abstract, this may be the case, but in reality, it often is not.

*********************************

My opponent delivers a lengthy dissertation about the methods by which one might kill an abuser. I will simply state that blunt, stabbing, and projectile weapons are probably the most common methods used, or even a combination of blunt and stabbing. It's unusual that one needs more than a gun...

Overall, my opponent focuses on disabling the abuser instead of alternate methods like going to the authorities. I would submit that this indicates that my opponent believes the use of violence is justified as long as it is nonlethal violence. Thus, we have determined that violence is justified, and that the determination of whether or not lethal violence is justified is dependent upon the circumstances of the incident.

However, I also submit that in at least some cases, lethal violence is the only way to stop an attacker. Nonlethal violence may simply enrage an attacker, and adrenaline is a powerful stimulant that may make the situation where one attempts to use nonlethal violence into a situation where there is an overwhelming need FOR lethal violence.
beem0r

Con

beem0r forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
JustCallMeTarzan

Pro

With nothing to respond to, I fear I must fall back on what I have previously asserted - part of the conclusion of my last argument. The forfeit was unfortunate... I was hoping for an excellent closing clash...

*******************************

Overall, my opponent focuses on disabling the abuser instead of alternate methods like going to the authorities. I would submit that this indicates that my opponent believes the use of violence is justified as long as it is nonlethal violence. Thus, we have determined that violence is justified, and that the determination of whether or not lethal violence is justified is dependent upon the circumstances of the incident.

However, I also submit that in at least some cases, lethal violence is the only way to stop an attacker. Nonlethal violence may simply enrage an attacker, and adrenaline is a powerful stimulant that may make the situation where one attempts to use nonlethal violence into a situation where there is an overwhelming need FOR lethal violence.
beem0r

Con

First, let me remind you that any new arguments I make this round should not be counted, since I should have made them last round, giving my opponent a chance to respond. I will only be showing you what I already said in R1, as well as my opponent's responses.

My suggestion, nonlethal violence [which is required sometimes], is not mutually exclusive with going to the authorities. As I said in round 1,

"The intent of the weilder should be to disable their spouse, then attempt to either reason with them or call authorities once their spouse is disabled."

The disabling violence is in response to the immediate threat, the calling of autorities is to make sure it doesn't continue to happen in the future. One cannot call the authorities while being beaten. Or at least most people can't.

I showed in R1 why a disabling force is virtually always possible. My opponenet's only response to my lines of reasoning, which went through scenarios, was "However, I also submit that in at least some cases, lethal violence is the only way to stop an attacker. Nonlethal violence may simply enrage an attacker, and adrenaline is a powerful stimulant that may make the situation where one attempts to use nonlethal violence into a situation where there is an overwhelming need FOR lethal violence."

He gave NO examples of when lethal violence would possibly be needed. I showed through lines of reasoning that disabling an enemy is always possible - to properly rebut this my opponenet should have to offer lines of reasoning against mine, not simply disagree with an unbacked assertion. Here's an example for reference:

Person 1: Dolphins are always better swimmers than humans for these reasons.... [insert reasons here]"
Person 2: "I think that sometimes, dolphins are in fact not as good as humans at swimming"

While person 2 might be right, he should have to back his rebuttal up with something to effectively rebut person 1. Something like "Consider a baby dolphin, or perhaps a severely wounded dolphin. It's conceivable that an injured dolphin could be wounded so badly that it cannot swim at all, therefore dolphins are not always better swimmers than humans." But simply saying "I think that sometimes, dolphins are in fact not as good as huimans at swimming" does NOT cut it as a rebuttal to person 1.

Also, my opponent has said things like "Nonlethal violence may enrage an attacker, so lethal violence must sometimes be used."

Keep in mind that I explicitly stated that the intent should be to DISABLE the person. Who cares how enraged an attacker is if s/he's disabled?

Also, keep in mind that if a person is not disabled, the person should continue attacking until that person IS disabled. Whether that ends in the person's death or not is irrelevant, since as I stated in round 1, the INTENT will not have been to kill someone, and therefore it is not a DELIBERATE use of lethal violence.

Also, for a reference of where I made the point that a person should keep attacking until the other person is disabled, see this quote from my R1:

"Either flailing the weapon with no intent or intentionally attempting to disable their enemy are the justified responses to nonlethal violence in this case. If when doing either of these, the person ends up dead, this is not a DELIBERATE use of deadly force. As is the case with all these examples."

While that surely could have been worded better, it's clear that the intent of a person would be to make their attacker stop attacking. That's the justified intent when it comes to self-defense, that's the justified intent when it comes to protecting oneself from domestic violence. This is sort of what I meant by "Flailing the weapon without intent," but it actually still falls under the category of "intentionally attempting to disable their enemy."

Also, I said in R1 that "Just as deliberate use of deadly force is not a just response to a single act of domestic violence, it is not a just response to repeated domestic violence, since the violent response should only be in response to present and future threat, not to past threats long gone"

My opponent's argument against this was that "In other words, my opponent argues that past action has no bearing on one's considerations of the present. The abused spouse cannot defend him/herself till the other spouse is actually attacking. This is, of course, completely ridiculous."

This is a blatant misunderstanding of what I said. I clearly said that vioence is in response to immediate danger. I did not say that past abuse could not lead one to think that present danger existed. I only argued that one cannot respond violently when there is no immediate threat, since immediate threat is the basis of being justified in defending oneself. [With past actions, there's nothing to defend against, since it's already happened]. I clearly made this point in R1, and I backed it up with a scenario. See "CON2 : Response to Paragraph III" for the scenario.

My opponent's argument against the scenario itself was much the same as his argument against the conclusion from it. He showed that one is justified in using violence as soon as there is an immediate threat. To quote him, "Philosophically you are perfectly justified in assaulting his as soon as you feel threatened." He ADMITS here that violence is justified only as a response to a present threat, whether that threat is based off past action or not, the violence is in response to the threat, not in response to the past actions.

I have attempted to show that my R1 case was not properly addressed - I showed why some critical points stand, and I believe they are sufficient enough to outweigh my opponent's case.

I have shown that disabling the abuser is always possible, and I showed that this was not properly refuted [whether or not you think I'm wrong].

I have shown that one is justified responding violently only to an immediate threat [a point my opponent even agreed with].

I showed that deliberate use of lethal violence can only be justified if there is not a less harmful alternative. To quote me, "Only if there is no other way could deliberate LETHAL violence be justified."
My opponent did not disagree. He addressed this by arguing that there is sometimes not another way, though I already showed that that was an insufficient argument.

So let's consider:

1. Deliberate use of lethal violence is only justified if there is no other way to handle the situation [my opponent agreed].
2. There is always another way [My opponent's response was insufficient to rebut this: I provided examples and lines of reasoning as to WHY it's always possible to at least try to disable an attacker without being at risk, he simply responded by saying, "I think that's incorrect." That's insufficient, given the backing my argument had.

Just from these two points, one could say I've negated the resolution.

However, for those who don't like those points, consider:

3. Response should be to the immediate threat, not to the sum of past and present action. [My opponent agreed/insufficiently responded, claiming that past action should be considered when deciding if there's an immediate threat. This does not conflict with my point, and therefore insufficiently deals with it.]

This kills my opponent's biggest offense, that the sum of past moderate abuse could eventually justify murder.

And that's not considering that my opponent simply 'disagreed' when I said that X beatings could never equal 1 murder anyway. These statements are on equal ground, so it's not conclusive which one wins out.

Welp, that's it. I await the judges' decisions.
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by cameronl35 5 years ago
cameronl35
Tarzan, I might need help on this topic if you would be willing to.
Posted by ghsdebater09 8 years ago
ghsdebater09
haha. this is the LD topic from last year.
i find this hilarious.
obviously, we all know the answer.
Posted by Paradigm_Lost 8 years ago
Paradigm_Lost
Deadly Force: Is that force which a person knows, or should know, has a substantial risk of causing death or grievous bodily harm. Its use is justified under conditions of extreme necessity when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed.

Criteria:

- Imminent threat of death to the self
- Imminent threat of death to others

Special circumstances may exist for law enforcement, military, and security personnel. It may include

- Sabotage (i.e. poisoning a city water supply
- Theft of highly classified information
- Unauthorized person near a nuclear reactor
- Escaped prisoners deemed by officials

Other criteria exist for law enforcement officers.

The Deadly Force triangle must exist.

- Weapon
- Opportunity
- Ability

But it in the civilian sector, it the law becomes a lot more lenient. Evidence coupled with careful articulation could acquit a person if the jury deliberate's in favor of the defendant.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
I know - I could MAYBE see 40 a day for draft n, but wireless b?!?! come on...
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
40 bucks a day? What a rip!

I was just at some friends' lakehouse. They don't have their own internet, and no one there had a laptop I could leech off the neighbors' internet with. They usually have one, don't know why they didn't bring it this time. >.<
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 8 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Meh - it's ok - that happened to me once... some crazy hotel wanted to charge something like $40 a day to use their Wireless B connection..

Good debate tho!
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

There was no intarwebs where I was this weekend, and I unexpectedly came home today [monday] rather than yesterday.

GG Tarzan
Posted by Pluto2493 8 years ago
Pluto2493
Beem0r? A forfeit?? No...

25 characters.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
Dunno, too. Guess I'm a little dyslexic sometimes.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
I just read round 2, seems I'm gonna have a lot of fun responding to this one.

Donnu when I'll get to posting it. I'm gonna be at a friend's house all this weekend, so I'll try to find time while there.
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