The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

It's morally permissible to kill domestic abusers

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/7/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 558 times Debate No: 62756
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Full Resolution: It is morally permissible for victms to use lethal force in response to repeated domestic violence.

This is an LD (Lincoln-Douglas) debate topic. All Lincoln-Douglas debate cases are acceptable.

Round format goes as thus:


Round Two: Neg posts case and rebuttals. Aff posts rebuttals.

Round Three: Neg posts rebuttals, aff posts rebuttals.

2500 ELO minimum to vote. GL to my opponent!


Hello! I'm CDB arguing for the affirmative.

First, to fully understand the topic, we must first understand its definition.

Morally: concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior.
Kill: to cause the death of (a person, animal, or plant) : to end the life of (someone or something).
Domestic Abuse: the inflicting of physical injury by one family or household member on another; also: a repeated or habitual pattern of such behavior.

First I would like to state in detail, my stance on the resolution.

I believe that in certain situations, it's okay to use deadly force on domestic abusers. By all means, this doesn't mean all the times.

I would like to state my value criterion. It shall be justice.

Case 1:

As stated in my definition, domestic abusers inflict physical damage on the family repeatedly. Physical damage can mean intense blunt trauma (broken bones, bone damage, ETC), and weapon trauma (stab wounds, gun shots, ETC). All of these, especially weapon trauma, can lead to death if not handled correctly. This article from the guardian's subtitle issues a problem (4).

"Numbers down despite 11% increase in reports, and figures reveal significant disparities between police forces."

This case is to explain domestic abuse can claim the lives of the victims. As cases being brought forth to the police are dropping, more and more domestic abusers are getting away with it. This means repeated abuse gets worse. I would like to assert that if a victim is in a potentially murderous situation, he/she may kill to defend him/herself. I would like to add a source of information to back this case up, to show a murderous situation is very likely. As quoted from the article: (5)

  • Women are far more likely than men to be murdered by an intimate partner. Of those murdered by their intimate partner, 74% are women and 26% are men.2 In other words, nearly 3 out of 4 of the murders committed by intimate partners have a female victim.

  • The FBI reports that between 1976 and 1996, domestic violence claims the lives of more than four women each day.3"

End quote.

Case 2:

Alternative sources such as the justice systems may not be available to the victims because victims are a prisoner themselves. I would like to refer to my previous link (5). A quote from the article:

  • Only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. African-American women are more likely than others to report their victimization to police.3

  • The most common reasons for not reporting domestic violence to police are that victims view the incident as a personal or private matter, they fear retaliation from their abuser, and they do not believe that police will do anything about the incident.3"

End quote.

Police also don't handle the situation correctly (5). As quoted from the article:

  • For example, in only one-third of the domestic violence calls did an officer take photographs or ask about prior abuse.6

  • Only 17% of the victims were asked about a restraining order, and 83% were provided no printed information with contact information or resources.6"

End quote.


As you see, domestic abuse is a terrible issue, and can result in murderous situations. The woman/man would need to defend him/herself. If this ends up in murder for self defense, I don't see how this could be immoral. Thank you!

Debate Round No. 1


Ontology precludes the AC since we must understand what it means to exist before we can value existence. We exist in relation to the Other, which makes ethics relevant only in terms of how we exist amongst each-other. Butler:

Judith Butler, PhD, Yale, Maxine Elliot Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, “Frames of War: When is Life Grievable?”, Verso, 2009,

“we are, from the start, interrupted by alterity and not fully recoverable to ourselves, [so]we areethically implicated in the lives of others.the self must be narrated [so] we cannot survive with an unconscious.In the language which articulates the opposition to a non-narrativizable beginning resides the fear that the absence of narrative will spell a threatto life, and will pose the riskof the death of a subject who cannotfully recuperate the conditions of its own emergence.”

The face-to-face encounter with the Other requires a prohibition on violence, no matter what they have done. Butler 2:

“I cannot disavow my relation to the Other, regardless of what the Other does … ethics is … a matter of … making use of an unwilled susceptibility as a resource for becoming responsive to the Other. Whatever the Other has done, the Other still makes an ethical demand upon me … I am … precluded from revenge by virtue of a relation I never chose. … [so] the primary … relation to the Other demands that we desist from … violence …”

Thus the standard is not committing violence.

I contend that the aff is an instance of deadly force, which requires the victim to use violence in the face of the Other. No turns – a state of affairs is irrelevant since individuals exist only in relation to other individuals, so any external view fails to comprehend the subjectivity of our relations.

Then, go to his argument where he's saying that we should do self-defense.

First, Even though the rights of the victim have been violated, we still assume that the batterer has rights. For example, we don’t allow the slaughter of murder suspects by the families of their victims. Even if these rights are limited or somewhat diminished by their crimes, they don’t abdicate their rights.

Second, Doesn’t Matter: Even if self-defense does justify the use of deadly force, we can’t ascertain whether or not self-defense was necessary in this situation. Since every situation is distinct, prescribing a generic moral rule is unacceptable. Thus, the argument is at best a wash without specific context.

Third, TURN: If this principle is truee, then the batterer would be justified in killing his victim when she tries to kill him. In other words, the batterer could also claim self-defense against the victim and kill that victim. This outweighs because it fails to protect the lives of those who are actually being abused.

Fourth, Not True: Self-defense can’t justify the use of deadly force because then every murderer could claim that they acted out of self-defense, relying on complex psychological analysis as to whether or not they actually felt threatened—analysis that is in no way falsifiable.

Fifth, There is a difference between utilizing self-defense as a justification and using it as an excuse. Rosen:

Rosen, Cathryn Jo. The Excuse of Self-Defense: Correcting a Historical Accident on Behalf of Battered Women Who Kill. American University Law Review. Fall, 1986.

“Justified conduct is … tolerated … . In contrast, excuse focuses on [intent] … Unlike a justified act, the excused act did not avoid a greater societal harm or further a greater societal interest. The actor is excused … because, … she was not morally blameworthy. Under the circumstances in which the harmful act was committed, the actor did not have a fair opportunity to choose meaningfully whether to inflict the harm.”

Sixth, the affirmative in this resolution doesn't even meet the standards of self-defense. Rosen 2:

“The amount of force employed by the defender must be proportionate to the threatened aggressive force. If deadly force is used to defend against nondeadly force, the harm inflicted by the actor (death or serious bodily harm) will be greater than the harm avoided (less than serious bodily harm). Even if deadly force is proportionate, its use must be necessary. Otherwise, unlawful conduct will only bejustified when it involves the lesser harm of two harmful choices. If countering with nondeadly force or with no force at all avoids the threatened harm, defensive use of deadly force is no longer the lesser evil of only two choices. Alternatives involving … less societal harm are available. … in many cases it may have been possible to avoid unlawful conduct altogether. The same consideration underlies the imminency requirement.”

Therefore, the aff is not disproving all other alternatives—there is always another thing victims can do that does not result in deadly violence.

Then, go to his argument where he's saying that victims can't leave.

First, there's a multitude of alternatives to deadly force. Non-deadly force, calling the police, leaving in the night are among the many.

Second, Even if, because of psychological impacts, a victim can’t leave an abusive situation, we can never determine what the psychological impacts are or how they function to prevent an abuser from leaving. All of this information is completely unfalsifiable.

Third, TURN: If victims can’t leave abusive situations for economic reasons, or fear, then killing won’t help. They might still feel retribution from the family, would be economically worse, and would feel regret for their crime. Thus, killing their abuser does not do anything to empower the victim, but rather leaves them in the same psychological situation.

Fourth, Doesn’t Matter: Even if the victim can’t leave their situation, it doesn’t justify the use of deadly force, because morality is not necessarily equated with running out of necessary options.

Fifth, TURN: This is a dangerous precedent to set because we never can know if the victim actually could or couldn’t leave, so they could always justify their crimes by saying that they had no other options when, in fact, they might have. Domestic violence cases always involve an element of “he said, she said” because there are rarely direct witnesses. Thus, there is not actual way to determine whether they could have escaped.

Then, go to where he says the police system fails.

First, Not True: The police system functions based on mandatory arrests, meaning that even if they don’t have direct evidence of the abuse, they can still make arrests until the criminals get lawyers and can be released. If, however, there is credible evidence concerning the abuse, the criminal can be held.

Second, Doesn’t Matter: Even if there are flaws in the police system, it doesn’t justify the use of deadly force because the victim can still find ways for their batterer to be arrested. Clearly, abusers are arrested frequently, so obviously the flaws in the police system are not that influential.

Third, TURN: If the police system is truly flawed, then it might mistake a victim’s use of deadly force for something it isn’t, which would put both the victim at risk and their freedom. In other words, it is comparatively better for the victim to simply report the abuse and, even if the response might not be totally adequate, it will be better than possibly getting arrested for murder.

Fourth, TURN: The failures in the police system just give the state an incentive to clean up both the police and legal system, or risk protest from battered women. This outweighs on a level of masking because it actually works to solve the problem at its root.


The NC is showing that killing in any case for any reason is wrong because it denies our shared experience with the Other. Violating this shared experience is wrong, regardless of what the Other has done, which makes deadly force as a response always impermissible.

Moreover, I'm refuting and turning every argument he has advanced in this round. He literally has no offense to work off of here.


I can't post right now. I'm feeling sick, and have lots of homework. I will hope to post next round. Thanks.
Debate Round No. 2


I hope my opponent feels better, but also that judges keep in mind anything said in the next round I'm physically unable to respond to.


Cooldudebro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
I tried to format it nicely...I tried...
Posted by dtaylor971 2 years ago
I believe that heavy domestic abuse could be charged as attempted murder in some cases. If the death penalty is just, then it is just to kill someone for attempted murder. But Con has the easier side, I believe. Good luck to both sides.
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
I'm not aff.
Posted by numberwang 2 years ago
Do you mean just in general lethal force is permissible as a remedy to domestic violence? Or do you mean in a stand your ground type situation it is permissible?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zanomi3 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Truly looked to be a good debate. However, I must give the win to Con due to the forfeiture on Pro's part. Spelling and Grammar would have been the same, as would have Sources. Con also deconstructed each of Pro's argument, and unfortunately Pro did not provide any rebuttals to Con's argument.