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Is there a case for justified killing?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/4/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 520 times Debate No: 74739
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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Capital punishment is not included in this case.


I am willing to accept my opponents challenge on whether or not a justified killing is possible. My stance on the debate is no, justified killing not counting corporal punishment is not possible. I would like to thank my opponent in advance for allowing me the chance to accept this debate. Good luck.

With respects to my opponent, I can almost predict that he is going to regard to a case of self-defense. Now, I don't know for certain and am not putting words in my opponents mouth, but it happens almost every time. Therefore, I will explain common cases of a non-illegal act that involves the death of another human being in the United States of America that could be used as an argument for justified killing.

My argument against justified killing is based on a legal case and technicalities, because morally, it may seem okay to kill someone if you have to. However, legally, morals do not count for anything in this case. Due to the state of the question, I will not explain that there isn't a reason for justified killing. Rather, explain why possible cases for justified killing aren't actually cases.

The first one is vigilante justice. Vigilantes cause just as much harm as they help. While people do many repulsive, malicious, and truly evil things, people do deserve a fair trial in the court of law. While unfortunately bias lowers the amount of fairness in a court of law and increases the amount of vigilante justice. However, there still isn't a case for vigilante killing. If the person who was killed was in the act of crime or committing the crime, then call police and try to stop the person breaking the law. If the person is doing something suspicious and has been known to been in trouble before for things related to the suspicious action, such as child rape, report to the police because it is still not fair to rush to judgement. Especially if the person may have been innocent, even the first time he got in trouble for it.

The second case is negligence. If someone dies in your hands because you ignored them deliberately even though you knew they actually did need help. Then that's considered killing but is unlawful and you will be punished, therefore is not justifiable. If you thought the person was seeking attention or weren't deliberately not giving them attention they needed, say unaware, this is not killing someone.

The third case is self-defense. You only need to defend yourself as much as you need to. If killing someone is the only way to keep you safe, then your intentions were not to kill him, rather just stopping him. This perhaps goes along the lines of defending yourself unaware that you killed someone. Therefore, not deliberate not killing.
Debate Round No. 1


Firstly, I would like to appreciate my opponent for accepting my challenge. My opponent has done a great job and I have to say that his argument indeed has merits.

However, self-defense is not real my focus and what I would like to discuss is vigilante justice. My opponent believes that people deserve a fair trial in the court of law and we should call a police to stop a criminal action. Well, his argument will only be true in the assumption that the justice system is reliable and trustworthy and which we can depend on in order to combat crime. It will not be applicable to places where laws are almost or entirely broken. In 2014, 42 students went missing in Iguana, Mexico. They were last seen being bunged into the police cars. Federal investigators then discovered that all missing students were handed over to a local drug gang by police. Police, who are supposed to ensure the safety and security of their citizens have now become the accomplice of criminals. Laws will restrict no criminals but law-abiding citizens , given a highly corrupt and ineffective justice system. In this case, vigilante will be desirable as it now acts as a form of deterrence and punishment on behalf of the law. Murderers will bear their deserved consequences which the justice system fail to impose on. I do not advocate violence but vigilante justice is the ultimate product of a failed system and righteous killing as a result of it will thus be justifiable.


My opponent believes that vigilante justice is only unjustified when the system of a court of law is reliable. Meaning if the U.S. Law system is filled with solely dirty cops and no one can be trusted, then vigilante justice is alright.

Now, my opponent has set up a dilemma in my argument. If the justice system and court of law fails to work us, if it's filled with dirty cops and no one can be trusted. Then it brings up a question. If we decide to take matters into our own hands, say, vigilante justice, then does that create a justified killing, or is it still vigilante justice?

I believe, that the question jumps the gun. It's a shall it, will it, can it question because it has yet to happen in this country. Except maybe, in the early 1800s in the mid-western boom towns, but we were a developing nation back then. So, I feel my opponent is focusing on the future rather than the present.

However, if you are still skeptical, let's look at countries where dirty cops are present. Mexico has an extremely high crime rate, with all the drug cartels and poverty. The worst is Venezuela, where everyone is dirty and you can hardly step foot in Caracas without getting robbed, and I'm not exaggerating.

If cops get that dirty it won't become vigilante justice, but rather become a crime ridden country where nowhere is safe. There's been cases where we have practiced vigilante justice, but that was during the bloodiest war on American soil, and it wasn't till everyone who fought in that war died till African Americans got rights.

You see, it's okay to think into the future but if the system that we have works as of now, there's no need to make a case for justified justice when it is not needed yet. In other words, if we go into an economic collapse and go back to the dark ages pretty much, then it's okay to be vigilante, but it has not happened yet so there's no need to.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent has mentioned vigilante justice in mid-western boom town and in the civil war of America. I have to clarify that the issue we are discussing is not restricted to the current world or a particular country. Thus, his statement has already admitted that there is actually a case for vigilante justice and justified killing!

Even in the context of today's world, there is jested killing. I am not thinking about the future but rather the current world. My opponent suggested that vigilante justice is not needed unless in the future which we go back to dark ages. However, before that, he has mentioned about Venezuela and Mexico. So, Aren't these countries already in his so-called "future" and "dark ages". For USA, yes, we do not need vigilante but for some countries, it is needed now.

My opponent also said that if cops get dirty, it won't be vigilante justice but rather become a crime ridden country. Nonetheless, Vigilante justice is not a cause of widespread crime but a product of it. When the country is crime ridden, vigilante justice will appear as a result. It of course will not eliminate crime but we cannot thus push the blame to vigilante justice, saying it is the contributor to crime.

My opponent believes that vigilante justice and righteous killing has not happened yet. However, according to what I know, in many parts of Mexico such as Guatemala, residents have armed themselves and set up security teams against drug cartels. In Iraq, Many civilians grabbed their weapons combating ISIS. People are still practicing Vigilante justice and righteous killing around world now just like what some Americans did during the civil war.

I have to admit that many evils are hidden under the name of vigilante justice but we cannot hence deny the existence of vigilante justice. I believe the killing for a good purpose is justified although such killing is quite hard to identify.

No offense, but I think my opponent is not making very logical statements and contradicting himself sometimes. I apologize if my opponent feels insulted.


Okay, no.

My opponent had brought it to my attention that I contradicted myself at times. I suppose I was unclear at times and I apologize. Therefore, I will reinstate some of my argument in a more understandable way.

My opponent had mentioned that I was restricting the cases for justified killing to the past and present, mentioning that he was restricting cases for justified killing in the future. My opponent goes onto mention that I had stated a case for vigilante justice when I mentioned the boom towns. I would like to clarify that I was stating a time period where vigilante justice took place without actual law enforcement, not that it was justified. Furthermore, I think quite the opposite of vigilante justice throughout U.S. history because it was often done to an innocent person, even then, they went to gruesome extremes when preforming vigilante justice.

My opponent had mentioned that I said vigilante can only work if we are in the dark ages. I would like to clarify that I meant this as an example where the system of law is not trusted. My opponent had said I already stated a case for vigilante justice when talking about the future, but how does a case for vigilante justice exist in the future, if the future has yet to exist?

When I had said it hadn't happened yet in the current world, I was mostly referring to the United States.

My opponent had made a good point. What about the current world countries that are already existent, that have dirty law enforcement? I'd like to clarify that arming your self in your home for safety and vigilante justice is different. Arming yourself for preparation of self-defense. They don't walk up to a random drug cartel and start shooting them, it's not until they attack their homes or people that they attack.

The only justified killing is one that protects yourself from sudden harm, and no farther than what you need to prevent potential harm. Self-Defense is the only time someone can die justifiably, but that's not killing. Vigilantes are the reason Baltimore is the way it was last week, or Ferguson.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by cooldude42 3 years ago
wleel iff you kill someone then BOOM their dead so you can kill den so you should be able to kill always :D
Posted by Ragnar 3 years ago
Good luck on your first debate.
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