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

It's morally permissible to kill domestic abusers

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/6/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,754 times Debate No: 64664
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (35)
Votes (1)




Resolved: It is morally permissible for victims to use lethal force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence.

Since this was an old LD topic, the debate will be done in such a manner. The round set up will be done in the following manner.

Round One: Acceptance
Round Two: Aff case, Neg case and rebuttals
Round Three: Aff rebuttals, neg rebuttals
Round Four: Aff rebuttals, neg types "no round as agreed upon", to maintain speaking turn consistency.

If you are not familiar with what LD is, I HIGHLY RECCOMMEND YOU DO NOT ACCEPT THIS DEBATE.

Gl to my opponent.


I am a decent debater who has worked with LD before, so I accept your challenge and wish us both luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Because nuclear war is considered the perfect impact and global catastrophes are little more than TOC-winning uniqueness stories, I affirm.

The affirmative requires a paradigm shift away from numbingly large impacts to the narrative - The individual stories of the human beings who live or have lived through domestic violence.

There are three justifications-

1. Argumentative agency- the ballot functions as a punishment and reward mechanism; we reward the debater whose speech act contains the greater benefit to encourage constructive activity in future debate rounds. Any denial of this framework would make judging the round nonsensical. If we didn’t reward constructive activity then there would be no reason to vote for the person who won over the person who lost, making the ballot arbitrary. Since judges are obligated to use the ballot in the most constructive way, you evaluate not only text but also standards external to proving the resolution. My burden then is that my positive discourse is a reason to endorse my advocacy.

Debate lavishes over the suffering of human beings. Debate turns bloodshed into body counts, chaos into scenarios and cost benefits. More debate is done on whether or not affirming triggers politics. This problem turns us into mere spectators in what ought to be an engaging activity- Mitchell 98:[1]

“argumentation in the academic setting unfolds on a purely simulated plane, with students practicing critical thinking and advocacy skills in strictly hypothetical thought-spaces. The sense of detachment associated with the spectator posture is highlighted during episodes of alienation in which debaters cheer news of human suffering or misfortune. Instead of focusing on the visceral negative responses to news accounts of human death and misery, debaters overcome with the competitive zeal of contest round competition show a tendency to concentrate on the meanings that such evidence might hold for the strength of their academic debate arguments. For example, news reports of mass starvation might tidy up the "uniqueness of a disadvantage" or bolster the "inherency of an affirmative case" of this "spectator" mentality as one of the most politically debilitating failures of contemporary education: the principle purpose is to deprive successor generations of their civic voice, to turn them into mute and uncomprehending spectators in the drama of political life” AND, elo are fantastic but at the end of the day we need something more, something to point at and say “This is what debate taught me.” Mitchell 2: “Within the limited horizon of zero-sum competition in the contest round framework questions of purpose, strategy, and practice tend to collapse into formulaic axioms for competitive success under the crushing weight of tournament pressure. The purpose of debate becomes [an] unrelenting pursuit of victory at a zero-sum game. Strategies are developed to gain competitive edges that translate into contest round success. Debate practice involves debaters "spewing" a highly technical, specialized discourse at expert judges trained to understand enough of the speeches to render decisions. The purpose of participating in debate should get extended beyond just winning contest rounds as debaters intervene in public affairs directly to affect social change, and in the process, bolster their own senses of political agency.”…

The solution is a reexamination of our actions. The narrative allows us to see the way they see, to live their life, to put a face on the victims of nuclear war, and to move past hollow stats. Rowland 05:[2]

“narrative can transport us out of our here and now and put us in places very different from our own world. narrative can be used to break down barriers to human understanding. It is difficult for early twenty-first-century Americans to understand the horrors of the Holocaust. But through narrative, Elie Wiesel and others have taken us to Auschwitz and made us see the horrors of the death camps.”

2. The stories we tell are central components of politics and life – the best training for becoming policymakers and legislators is embracing storytelling as a way to understand and debate about events. McDonough 06:[3]

“Why is narrative so central to policy making? Because it is central to life. We live our lives crafting, telling, and receiving stories. We tell our loved ones stories from our day. Policymakers … are as human as the rest of us. Part of our uniquely human heritage involves telling stories to find meaning from the events, data, and stimuli in our lives. Most policymakers, and especially legislators, have not had training in research methods and thus share the layperson’s suspicion of statistical analysis. The adage “Lies, damn lies, and statistics” makes more sense to most of them than does the value of the r-square.”

3. Empathy— There is a difference between narrative analysis, and argument analysis. My advocacy does not just allow narratives to enter the debate, but requires that they monopolize it. Both McDonough and Mitchell reveal why our advocacy must extend beyond round. To truly galvanize support for an argument we must use narratives alone. Kristof and Wudunn 09:[4]

“Frankly, we hesitate to pile on the data, since even when numbers are persuasive, they are not galvanizing. A growing collection of psychological studies show that statistics have a dulling effect, while individual stories move people to act. In one experiment, research subjects were divided into several groups, and each person was asked to donate $5 to alleviate hunger abroad. One group was told the money would go to Rokia, a seven-year-old girl in Mali. Another group was told that the money would go to address malnutrition among 21 million Africans. The third group was told that donations would go to Rokia, as in the first group, but this time her own hunger was presented as part of a background tapestry of global hunger, with some statistics thrown in. People were much more willing to donate to Rokia than to 21 million hungry people, and even a mention of the larger problem made people less inclined to help her. In another experiment, people were asked to donate to a $300,000 fund to fight cancer. One group was told that the money would be used to save the life of one child, while another group was told it would save the lives of eight children. People contributed almost twice as much to save one child as to save eight. …”

Thus, I stand in support of it is morally permissible for victims of repeated domestic violence to use deliberate deadly force.

Goodmark[5] summarizes the story of Dixie Shanahan

“During the nineteen years that Dixie and Scott Shanahan were together, Scott blackened Dixie’s eyes, bruised her, threatened her, dragged her by her hair, pointed guns at her, tied her up and left her for days in the basement, called her vile names, degraded her in front of friends, and generally made her life a living hell. On August 30, 2002, Dixie Shanahan shot her husband while he lay in bed.

Goodmark continues on Scott’s complete control over Dixie,

“From the beginning … Scott verbally and physically abused Dixie. … Scott was already beating her so severely that she was bruised. … Each time Scott experienced adversity— his mother’s sickness, the death of his grandfather —the beatings worsened. … During Dixie’s second pregnancy, after Dixie refused to have an abortion, Scott beat her in the stomach, telling her that he was going to get rid of the baby. … Each time she left, … He promised to change, … to “do whatever it took to keep our marriage together.” … But the beatings always resumed, becoming more severe, … The time that Scott threw her down the basement steps, chipping her front teeth … The time that Scott stuck her head in a toilet and told her that he would flush her head down the toilet, while her children watched. … The time that Scott, angry about a red T-shirt that Dixie was wearing, poked her in the eye, causing the eye to bleed. … The three times that Scott tied Dixie up, leaving her in their basement for up to two days, not allowing her to go to the bathroom, telling her, “You know, I could let you just sit here and die . . . and nobody would know the difference.” … Two doors in the … home were damaged when Scott smashed Dixie’s head into them—… Scott smashed a plate of mashed potatoes over Dixie’s head, complaining that they were runny. … He ran over her legs with a lawn tractor. … Dixie was being physically abused three to four times weekly, … angry because Dixie failed to wake him before their son, … left for … school …, Scott began beating Dixie’s stomach, screaming, … while their daughter, Ashley, watched. … Scott took her car keys, knocked her to the ground, and dragged her into the house by her hair, pulling chunks of hair out of her head. … Scott left the room as Dixie lay on the floor crying. … . When he stopped beating Dixie, he went into the bedroom, taking the phones with him. … Dixie decided she needed to call the police … As she tried to grab the phone, Scott moved towards her. … Seeing the shotgun near the phone, Dixie grabbed it, closed her eyes, and shot Scott. … “

[1] /Gordon Mitchell 1998 "Pedagogical possibilities for argumentative agency in academic debate" Argumentation & Advocacy; Fall98, Vol. 35 Issue 2, pg. Ebsco/

[2] Rowland, Robert C. (2005). “The Narrative Perspective.” Chapter Eight. In J.A. Kuypers (Ed.), The Art of Rhetorical Criticism. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Page 134.

[3] John E. McDonough, 2006, “Narrative Matters: the Power of the Personal Essay in Health Policy.” Book edited by: Fitzhugh Mullan, Ellen Ficklen, Kyna Rubin. P. 10-11.

[4] Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. September 10, 2009. New York. Random House, Inc. “

[5] Leigh Goodmark “The Punishment of Dixie Shanahan” February 2007



I would like to once again thank my opponent for accepting an LD debate case. Although I do commend my opponent for a very panache opening, it’s goal was insidious and perverse and I hope that the voters will see his “justifications” for what they are; not a functional LD case but rather an attempt to save face. Allow me to explain:

A proper LD debate case would have at least the following,

-An introduction with a Value, Value Criterion, brief explanation of his stance on the subject, and any observations or definitions that apply to the case/resolution only.

-At least 2 contentions that have the following:
-A working tagline that explains the contention briefly.
-Logical or emotional reasoningEvidence (could be anecdotes, statistics or narratives)
-Conclusion that points out relevance to Value Criterion and thus, to the value of the case.

-A conclusion that consists of:
-Brief explanation of reasoning and contentions
-Offer final thoughts and ideas
-Close the case.

My opponent has what at best falls under the category of 3 -albeit large- observations, a burden of proof explanation and a narrative that isn’t even placed in a contention. Ironically, I agree to some extent with what my opponent stated in his three justifications on the grounds that narratives are important. However, a single narrative means absolutely nothing without reasoning or explanations. “My burden then is that my positive discourse is a reason to endorse my advocacy.” is ridiculous. The fact that you are advocating what is a generally positive idea doesn’t justify “why” you should support it. It would be like claiming, “You should support me because I will save many fish. I won’t explain how I will save the fish, but if I tell you a story about dying fish, you will rally behind me regardless of what I present.” In LD debate burden of proof is given to both sides, so my opponent needs to bring reasoning that explains the justification of the resolution, not a single narrative. It’s not as if the opponent does not know how to draft a proper LD case either, since in the past he has written one here.[1] This isn’t about not allowing creativity, or being unorthodox, but about fulfilling the required components that even the most novice of LD debaters should complete. “Any denial of this framework would make judging the round nonsensical” is a gesture of avoidance, an attempt to avoid scrutiny at first hand which is a burden that is placed on the affirmative. Furthermore, my opponent’s framework should be viewed as a violation of LD debate as a whole, a debate that is based on values rather than policy. Of course, my opponent could argue that his justifications place value on narrative, but his justifications don’t place value on the resolution itself which is what my opponent is supposed to be advocating. Is his narrative supposed to show logical progression as to why the resolution must stand? Well, it should…. Yet his piece of evidence only flaunts the malice that comes with domestic abuse and doesn’t touch on the justifications of lethal force. If my opponent didn’t want to argue in LD debate method, he should not have used demanded LD in the acceptance round. To conclude, I would like the voter/judges to see that in a debate about values, my opponent places value on a fickle piece of evidence, not on a value that define humanity as a whole. I quote, from the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Ballot, “The resolution evaluated is a proposition of value, which concerns itself with what ought to be instead of what is. Values are ideals held by individuals, societies, governments, etc., which serve as the highest goals to be considered or achieved within the context of the resolution in question”. This means that my opponent’s “case” must fall because it doesn’t meet LD debate standards.

Now to my case:

Because I believe in justice and the well being of human beings, I must negate the resolution. My value is Justice with my value criterion being The Legitimacy of What is Just. I believe that the resolution interferes with what is just in today’s world, and because of it’s interfere it cannot be upheld by our community. Before I begin I would like to offer some definitions and observations before I begin today’s debate. They are the following:

The following definitions come from the Oxford Dictionary:

-Just: “Based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.”
-Permissible: “Permitted; allowed.”
-Evil: “Profoundly immoral and wicked”.

I would like to offer the following observation:

-Because the definition of “just” encompasses the terms “morally right” and “fair”, I will use both morality and fairness as parts of my value criterion and thus, my value.

I will now begin my case.

Contention 1: The resolution perverts the course of Justice.

The judicial system was made for the very purpose of dealing appropriate punishment to an individual who has broken the laws of humanity or of society. To dwell on one specific judicial system would dismiss other systems that may be considered more or less “just” than the others. Just, is more like an intangible value that one can attempt to pursue and legitimise itself to some degree, but it is impossible to have a completely just system. Therefore, I will mention general laws that are accepted by several countries and the appropriate punishments that they use. Take the United States, who uses what I believe is the appropriate punishment for domestic violence and what that violence entails. Depending on the seriousness of the domestic issue, criminals will either be convicted of either a misdemeanour or a felony. In the case that my opponent brought up in his narrative, the offender did a series of offensives that would have warranted him a felony charge and most likely, a life sentence. Some might argue that a life sentence is not “enough” of justice but I would argue that the death penalty, which is akin to a public execution, is justice that only primitive savages can afford, not a communal society. A life sentence locks a dangerous man away from the liberties that a free man would have, and to be stripped of liberty is far more just than say, the immoral method of public execution and even worse, the perverse justice that could be dealt by a victim. The use of “lethal force” entails that the victim deals death to his or her offender, and revenge is an evil method and therefore is “profoundly immoral” as explained by my definitions. Because the judicial system could deal a more morally acceptable punishment, the resolution must fall.

Contention 2: The killing of anyone, by any means, is never “permissible”.

Everyone can agree that “murder”, by any means is inherently an act of evil. When a human being kills another, there is a violation that is defined by law, religion and even common sense. To put it bluntly, to kill a fellow being is one of the most immoral and wicked acts that a human being can possibly do, so why would anyone suggest its use? The resolution entails that the killing of another being is “okay” when it comes to domestic violence but how does an immoral act correct another immoral act? The resolution is a logical fallacy that believes that a greater evil will correct an evil of perhaps lesser degree. Because it is not morally right or fair to perform an immoral act to correct another one, the resolution must fall.

Contention 3: Killing a human weighs heavily on the conscious.

One reason why lethal force isn’t justified is because of the detrimental consequences that come with the killing of another human being. Killing another being brings a series of terrible traumas that will affect the victims that perform the acts of lethal force for months, years and worst case scenario, never get over their traumas. The most obvious case is PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is most prevalent in “people are exposed to severely stressful, life-threatening situations in which they perceive that they have no control over the outcome” and feeling “helpless, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and and find it impossible to put the situation behind them and get on with their lives”.[2] This is emplaced on the number of psychological issues that come with a serious domestic violence family. Is it fair for the victim of domestic abuse to suffer more trauma than he or she is already subject? No it most certainly isn’t and because of that logic, the resolution must fall.

I have shown how the resolution perverts the course of justice, I have shown how the actions dictated in the resolution are not “permissible” and I have shown that the actions do more damage to the victims; because of these contentions I believe there is warrant to negate the resolution at hand. Yes, it is tragic that the victims had to suffer the degrees of pain they went through, but this debate isn’t about prevention, but rather, about how to deal punishment to offenders. It is essential that we proceed with the correct manner of punishment or correction. This parallels with what Kant said, concerning that the ends don’t justify the means. The affirmative and negative both agree that justice must be served, but if we go about justice in the wrong manner, it degrades the very morality that we are trying to secure with justice. I would like to end with a quote from Martin Luther King:

““As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”


[2] "The Psychological Disorders." The Psychological Disorders. Web. 8 Nov. 2014. <;.

Debate Round No. 2


I'm going to start by defending my case before refuting his.

Onto the framework level:

His entire problem with my case is that I don't use the traditional value/value-criterion framework that makes up the basic run-of-the-mill case in LD. He also misquotes me on two different occasions (ironically he only quoted me two times), but I'll get to those in a bit. Let's first respond to this general idea of how I need to have a V/C:

First, this is flat-out untrue. Other styles of cases are ran all the time on the state and national level, such as disads, theory, kritiks, plans/counterplans, etc. And even though they aren't the traditional "LD-esque" case structure, they're all accepted as valid cases. Just saying that I need a V/C in order to have a valid case in LD denies me extensive amount of case ground which breeds unfairness.

Second, there's literally zero warrant behind his argument here. He says I have to have a V/C just because, then moves on to misquoting me.

Third, TURN: This mindset is harmful to LD debate as a whole. The lack of ability to be creative with your cases and come up with different structures and frameworks to evaluate different kinds of arguments under is stiffling to growth of the event. If there's no growth to an event, people will eventually stop competing in that event and move on to other, more exciting things. Look at the decline in popularity of Policy/CX debate and the rise of PF debate as proof. This means that if we follow his mindset, sooner or later there won't BE any LD debate to be had.

Fourth, even if I'm not allowed to run any kind of LD case that doesn't have a V/C in it, that doesn't mean I lose. I can still link my contentional offsense (i.e. the narrative of Dixie Shanahan) into his framework, which gives me offense toward a V/C, which would be sufficient for his reasoning.

Fifth, and arguably the most important, is that even if you're buying that I need to be running an LD case, that doesn't actually refute my arguments. Just saying I'm not consistent with traditional LD format doesn't respond to my arguments as to why we ought to be evaluating solely narrative arguments. In fact he even concedes to my framework being right ("I agree to some extent with what my opponent stated in his three justifications on the grounds that narratives are important."). This means that, at best, you chalk me up to being a n00b at LD and evaluate my case normally. This isn't a reason to drop my case.

And, since his arguments inherently and outright concede my framework, you can extend out the three justifications I give for why we ought to be evaluating only narrative arguments. Since I'm the only one providing ANY kind of narrative, you affirm the resolution right here since under my framework, I'm the only one with offense back to the resolution.

To summarize my case: My framework explains how using empirics and stuff is harmful to debate as a whole because it places us as spectators to a sport we ought to be participating in, and marginalizes real-world catastrophes, which neglects the suffering of those who are affected. The only way to solve back for this is to personalize ourselves with who the resolution is talking about, to understand their stories, and their suffering. The only way to save debate is to solely evaluate narrative arguments. This means that his quoting of me saying "My burden is that my positive discourse is a reason to endorse my advocacy." isn't ridiculous. What it essentially means is that if I'm winning on my framework, you as the judge ought to vote for the most compelling narrative.

His second misquote was just a blatant misquote: the "Any denial of this framework would make judging the round nonsensical" was talking specifically about how the role of the ballot is to reward the debater with the best benefit to constructive activity (i.e. the "better debater"). It wasn't specific to my framework as a whole.

With that being said, extend out the narrative of Dixie Shanahan. You can affirm off of this because we cannot allow the abuse that she suffered to go on. All of her options for recourse were stripped away: she couldn't leave, she couldn't call out, her friends kept pushing her back into his abusive, open arms, and the abuse was constant and unrelenting. When he came at her for the final time, she feared for her life and reacted in self-defense, shooting him and killing him. We must let women know that there is a way out of the dark times that domestic abuse brings.

With that, let's hop over to the negative. Start on his framework:

First, I meet his definition of justice. What happened to Dixie Shanahan was in no way, shape, or form just. If anything the horrible acts that her husband, Scott, inflicted upon her were the definition of "evil" acts. Validating her story and her final response meets this definition. This means that even if you don't buy my framework, my narrative still links into his framework, giving it a V/C to link to.

Second, he defines justice as "what is morally right and fair", but gives us no standard with which to base what is right and fair off of. This means we're left begging the question of what is "morally right and fair" instead of having an actual, cohesive framework. This means that his framework is impossible to generate offense off of, because he just leaves us begging questions, meaning you have to default to mine in order to even evaluate the round.

Then, to his first contention saying that the justice system is better.

First, Not True: The legal system is only effective if a). individuals can access it and b). it’s actually going to do something about the problem of domestic abuse. Thus, the negative has to fulfill these burdens to show that this is a viable alternative. I would argue that the legal system is often unwilling to get involved in private affairs, which discourages individuals from going to it in the first place and second, that protection orders are only effective if enforced, which they’re often not. This nullifies any beneficial impacts that the system could potentially have.

Second, Doesn’t Matte: Even if the legal system is a BETTER option, it doesn’t mean that it’s a MORE JUST option or, even if it is a more just option, that deadly force is by extension unjust. There’s absolutely no analysis linking better to more just or linking something being more justice to the absence of justice in another action.

Third, TURN: If we want to show potential abusers that abuse is truly morally wrong, the best way to do it is by deadly force, because otherwise abusers can always get away scotch free, setting the example that abuse will go unpunished. It’s better to air on the side of absolute punishment, which we know will be effective, rather than punishment that may not be.

Fourth, TURN: If the state response is good, then that just gives the victim more incentive to use deadly force because this will get the state more directly involved. Obviously, the state has failed to intervene beforehand, but murder will force the state to get involved, increasing the likelihood that the woman will get help, etc.

Fifth, TURN: If the state response is just, then we should do things that would increase the efficacy and likelihood of the state’s response. Deadly force will help the state to realize that they need to tighten domestic abuse laws and intervene more readily in domestically violent situations, which would ultimately protect more women.

Sixth, even if he's right, that doesn't negate. Since the resolution is talking about a permissible response, not the permissible response, deadly force can still be justified even if the courts are a good option to go as well. Driving a car to work being the best method of travel doesn't make riding a bike an immoral travesty.

Then to his second contention that violence is never permissible.

First, Not True: It’s commonly accepted that violence in the name of self-defense is justified. While these may not be the exact same situation because the deadly force is premeditated, it does mean that violence is, at times, absolutely justified. Punching a rapist as he is about to rape you is clearly justified.

Second, Doesn’t Matter: Even if violence is purportedly not a just response, the unique situation of domestic violence may change these warrants. Thus, even if violence is not normally a just response, the fact that domestic violence is so harmful, hard to solve, etc. changes this norm.

Third, TURN: If violence is not just, then abusers shouldn’t be using it against victims. Thus, because the abusers are committing such an egregious act, this argument concedes that they have to be punished in some sense, and the affirmative case explains why the best way is through deadly force.

Fourth, This argument means that no affirmatives can ever win rounds; I would argue instead that the resolution assumes that violence can occasionally be a just response, and asks us to determine whether or not this particular situation can be justified.

And, to his final contention saying that killing gives PTSD to the victim which sucks:

First, this isn't a reason to negate. Even if killing gives the victim PTSD, that doesn't mean the killing wasn't permissible.

Second, killing doesn't inherently give everyone PTSD. Soldiers kill people all the time and not all of them get PTSD. Officers have to kill suspects occasionally and not all of them get PTSD. Just saying that if the victim shoots their abuser they guaranteed get PTSD is a blatant falshood.

Third, even if they DO, get PTSD, this is a) still preferable to the treatment that they're going to be receiving under domestic violence, and b) something that can be solved back for via therapy and medication.

Fourth, TURN: if they are getting PTSD after killing their abuser, this will only bring more light and attention to the issue of domestic violence, meaning that it will encourage the state to take better and more effective precautions, meaning less domestic abuse in the long run.



I would like to begin by re-attacking my opponents case.

My entire “problem” with his case is completely legitimate because he disregards the single, most important aspect of LD debate. The Value is not an “optional” aspect and is required according to the National Forensic League LD Debate Ballot.

First reattack on his format- It isn’t untrue. The very first line of the judging ballot is this, “The resolution evaluated is a proposition of value,” and to claim that I am lying when I have the ballot right in front of me is outright slander. “Disads, theory, kritiks” are all valid for use for VC but you did not state them under the correct terminology nor did you even apply them correctly. In reality, what he is doing by expecting to win by negating the judging ballot (which is the sole paper used for judging) is the utter reality of what’s “breeding unfairness”.

Second, it is very common to attack a case by saying it is lacking in style and requirements. Chances are if you don’t organise your case by ballot standards a debater with hit you hard on that point, and that is exactly what I am doing. Also I believe I quoted you correctly because the justification for your framework is about me not being able to call you out on it. Well guess what? I did call you out on it with the official ballot to back me up.

Third, just like I said in the original attack, this isn’t about killing creativity, it is about following the ballot. It is similar to showing up to play professional football in jeans and sneakers and saying “Well you’re killing creativity by not letting me dress how I want when I play!” Also the reason why no one likes CX on this website is because it is impossible to emulate CX with the nature of the internet.

Fourth, it does mean you lose points. The fact that I can link your source into my V and VC shows that I am more capable. Your absence of this requirement shows both incompetence and negligence for what is an official format.

Fifth, the reason why it refutes your argument is because you are avoiding the resolution and instead trying to reason why narratives are good. This isn’t a debate about narratives, it is about the resolution and it is completely legitimate to call you out on not focusing on the resolution. I conceded to the idea of using narratives as “EVIDENCE” but not as an entire case. Evidence is used to backup reasoning and evidence alone cannot win a debate.

Even IF (and that’s a big IF) his single narrative could hold an entire case, I would win in numbers of reasoning and evidence. I have three reasons, V and a VC while he only has one narrative. Thats a 3 (technically 5) to 1 ratio in terms of material. What he has done is made up his own rules and negated the rules of the OFFICIAL BALLOT. If you cannot follow the rules of the ballot and be creative without in its limits, then you shouldn’t have decided to debate me with LD. The judges must use the official LDDB before my opponents inferior one, the one he just pulled out of whatever conduit you can think of.

Moving to the defence:

Value: First off, in a proper LD debate, I would kill this attack by stating that my opponent literally cannot weigh values because he has no value of his own to weigh against mine. Secondly, I am negating the resolution, not your narrative. I am not calling what Scott did just, but Dixie’s response is equally unjust because to kill anyone is never just “by definition". I should also like to point out that his evidence is completely legitimate but only: “As a piece of evidence and nothing more”. I cannot negate a true story, but I am not negating the story, I am negating the resolution which my opponent seems to not uphold. He also states that he links to a VC yet he never states which specific VC he is using.

VC: No attack made on my VC.

Defence against general attack: I don’t have to give a specific standard for what is just or unjust. According to the ballot, “Each debater has the burden to prove his or her side of the resolution more valid as a general principle”, so “generally”, murder is unjust while a court, jury system and correction is more just. Also my opponent offers no definitions to the resolution, so to attack mine without offering any is both hypocritical and downright pitiful. How can you defend a resolution when you don’t even bother to define it?

Defence for 1st Contention:

General defence: If you are going to attack my contentions you better correctly label them. My first contention is “The resolution perverts the course of Justice.” not “The justice system is better”. I should end this defence here on the grounds that incorrectly signposting is one of the worst mistakes a debater can make, but I’ll continue.

First: I advocated that as a general principle the justice system is better. From the narrative my opponent showed us, the victim made one single, pitiful attempt to alert authorities right before she went ahead and filled her husband full of shot. From his evidence, to disregard the legal system on the grounds of ineffectiveness when the victim herself made only “one” attempt is so horrendous its almost humorous…. almost, if this wasn’t a truly serious matter.

Second: It does matter because prison no one is being killed. Offenders get sent to prison and no one is killed as opposed to a murder and the victim being accosted to that murder. Are you really going to argue that the ladder is better?

Third: Correction is punishment. To claim that when you go to prison for life is “getting away scot free” is folly.

Fourth: State response, of any kind, is more just than Dixie’s response. Also to treat Dixie as some kind of sacrificial lamb is folly when she could have avoided being charged and have her husband put away for good if she had just picked up the phone earlier.

Fifth: You cannot use people as an ends to justify a means. Who gives you the right to say that Dixie should give herself up for the greater good when she is opposed to it? Teleology doesn’t get us anywhere in terms of progress, she would only be convicted of murder and locked up in the cell that should’ve been given to her husband.

Sixth: Well you see, the car analogy doesn’t work when you are advocating the death of an individual. I am right in advocating the justice system because it saves lives and gives whats duly given to those who hurt others.

Defence on Second Contention:

General Defence: My contention is: “”The killing of anyone, by any means, is never ‘permissible’” not “violence is never permissible.” There is a fine line between violence and murder.

First: If you had signposted like a professional you would know that murder, under any means, is not justified. Come back when you learn how to signpost and when you don’t have to put words in my mouth in order to make an attack.

Second: Same defence as the first defence. We are talking about killing another human being, not attacking on violence. Domestic violence is “violence” but to kill another human being is on a completely different level. There is a reason why violence is a misdemeanour and murder is straight to a felony.

Third: Am I saying that Scot acts in justice? No. Are we debating what the aggressors “should” do? No we are not so stop saying that I am in agreement with what they are doing. We are debating the correct punishment for these aggressors and because there are ways to punish without stooping down to (or even lower) the level of domestic abuse the resolution must fall.

Fourth: Aha, no. The AFF can still win it’s just that you dug yourself into a deep, deep hole the moment you decided not to “actually debate” by the ballot. Also if you wanted to be successful in debating a general policy you would have brought more than “one” narrative to the table.

Defence on the Third Contention:

General Defence: Please….. please label my contentions correctly. My contention is “Killing a human weighs heavily on the conscious” not what my opponent said. His failure to address my points properly could be, at best, poor debating skills and, at worst, be considered slandering and an ad hominem.

First: You know what? This is a decent, valid attack since we are debating the punishment towards the aggressor not the victim. But I will still defend myself saying that to neglect the well being of the victim after the perpetrations is too near sighted. To think about the consequences for long and shot (my case) term is the better solution.

Second: Okay sure, but his attack is based on circumstantial behaviour. Sure “some” people might not get PTSD, but to dismiss my point on the idea that "some" people find murder permissible seems fairly weak no?

Third: Problems with my ideas and yours could easily be avoided if you just put the offender in jail. Also to suggest that people undergo therapy is valid but still, to not uphold the sanctity of human life is morally wrong on almost all circumstances especially one that can be solved through the law.

Fourth: Awareness doesn’t always fix the problem. I am well aware of breast cancer and yet breast cancer still doesn’t look any less dangerous. Also to suggest using the death of people on top of suggesting that murder is okay is completely unjustified. People are not ends.

This is going to be my last input into this debate. I would like to thank my opponent for brining to light this issue and for standing his ground to the end even if I disagree on how he does so. However, I must be factual in order to stand my ground. I have defended all of the attacks made by my opponent and have successfully attacked my opponents “case” and narrative. I will provide a link to the National Forensic League LD Debate ballot, but this will not be an inclusion of new evidence since the ballot it always available to the judges in a normal LD debate. Murder is what the victim is doing, and to justify murder is the moment we collectively lose morals as a society. For justice’s sake, for moral’s sake and for our sake value the case which wishes to do the right thing, the right way.

Debate Round No. 3


Let's start on the framework level.

Extend my first defense of my framework: other cases that don't use the traditional V/C format are ran all the time on the state and national level and they are evaluated/voted up all the time. His statement that I need one under "NFL rules" is just blatantly false. He's trying to argue that because it says "the resolution evaluated is a proposition of value" a) doesn't respond to the actual arguments within my case, meaning that I can meet that interpretation without actually having a cut-and-dry value/value-criterion and b) is just blatantly lying about what's on ballots. Since he said he was going to link you to an LD ballot and didn't, I'll do so instead ( There are tons of ballots for you to look at. See one that has that wording? Nope. And, prefer my link to the one he posted in the comments because a) we've been specifically asked not to argue in the comments, yet he put his source in there anyway. I'm the only one with a source in the debate to be judged, b) it comes from a nationally accredited website that hosts hundreds of TFA/NFL tournaments around the country, making it more indicative of the most commonly used ballots at tournaments and thus more indicative of truth, and c) these ballots are used by officially recognized NFL/TFA tournaments, meaning that it meets the guidelines of what the NFL has set forth for what an "official ballot" should look like,

Moreover, he's (again) blatantly misinterpreting what I'm saying. My case isn't trying to negate the judge ballot. I'm actually affirming the resolution by appealing to narratives only instead of other forms of evidence (be they analytical or empirical). My entire case is talking about how we ought to value narratives to put us back into actually debating and how narratives are what gives the round actual value, which in no way "negates the ballot".

Then, extend my third defense by saying that the logic behind his position kills interest in the event because it stifles growth outside of the standard format. This means that if we follow his logic people won't be even doing LD anymore, which absolutely prevents discussion of the resolution which is what he's wanting to do (interestingly enough that's what I was trying to do before he turned this into a "how to write an LD case 101" debate, but alas). He tries to respond to it by saying that it's not about creativity but doing what you're supposed to do but a) this doesn't respond to my actual argument. I'm saying that by saying there's a "official way" to write cases and anything outside of that being not allowed and auto-voted down will kill the event. His way of responding to it is by saying "too bad, there's an official way to do it so follow it!" which only bites into the turn harder.

Then, extend my fifth defense saying that at best this "lack of a value" argument doesn't actually refute my arguments. Even if he's winning that I need a value to have a "proper LD case", that doesn't mean that we ought not only evaluate narratives for offense back to the resolution. His response to this was that it's a debate about the resolution, not about narratives, but LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, but jesus...

I'm astonished by my opponent's just blatant idiocy. My entire framework is to set up for why we only evaluate narratives, which sets up my narrative that is HIGHLY SPECIFIC to the resolution, about domestic violence, and about using deadly force as a respose to it. It's a direct testamony of THE RESOLUTION IN ACTION. If talking about a case where someone used deadly force as a response to repeated domestic violence isn't the resolution, then I don't know what else to say. Like, we should just get Airmax to delete this debate if a story of someone killing their abuser isn't actually talking about the resolution.

So that should settle that. It's silly and ignorant for him to assert that "I need a value and value-criterion with 2.5 contentions and at least two definitions of key words--blahdeblahdeblah, otherwise I lose the debate".

And since he hasn't actually responded to any of the warrants coming off of my framework, you can extend out all the reasons why we should only be evaluating narratives in this debate. Since I'm the only one reading a narrative, that means I'm the only one with offense back to the resolution. This means I win the debate by default. It doesn't matter how many other cards or pieces of evidence he has or how macho he is with his value and value criterion, he doesn't have a narrative and he's conceded the framework arguments about how we should only evaluate narratives in favor of trying to say "I don't have a value so I lose". If he doesn't run a narrative, and he doesn't respond to why we ought only use narratives for debating, then he cannot win. It's as simple as that.

Anyway, enough ranting about the framework. Let's move onto his.

First, extend out the response that his definition of justice doesn't actually tell us what's just. His definiton of justice is that what's just is what's "morally right and fair" but he doesn't give us any kind of calculus or system on which to decide what's morally right and fair off of. This means that his definition only begs the question of what's morally right and fair, and thus can't ever tell us what's just. This means that it's impossible to actually determine what meets his framework, meaning that he can't actually turn any offense off of his framework. I'm the only one with a working framework, thus you have to default to mine.

He tries to respond to this by saying that Dixie's action was equally unjust because killing someone can never be just by definition, but that doesn't respond to my argument that I'm making about how his definition doesn't actually define anything, but rather just beg the question of what's morally right in the first place.

And, he tries to answer back for having a sh*tty definition by saying that he doesn't have to give a specific standard for what is just and unjust, but a) yeah he kinda does. If he's going to categorize actions as just and unjust actions, he needs to have some kind of standard for how and why he's categorizing them as such, otherwise there's no reason to believe in his categorizations, b) by this logic I don't need to explain why the judges should vote aff, only tell them that they should and just have them blindly check off aff won and go afk, and c) I don't need defintions of justice to critique your own. You're the one that's running justice, so why do I have to define it? If you have a crappy definition of what makes an action just and unjust, that's a flaw within your framework, thus something I can use to argue against your framework.

But if you don't buy that, extend out that under his definition of justice and evil that Dixie Shanahan's response to her continuous domestic abuse would quality as just, since Scott's actions were 100% evil. Any and all attempts at fighting evil, under his framework, are just, thus making Dixie's response (i.e. lethal force) justified. So even in the absolutely dumbest circumstances that you disregard my framework because of his "I don't have a value argument", my narrative still links and fulfills his framework. This means that no matter who's framework you're evaluating the resolution under, mine or his, I can still link to it and have offense back to the resolution.

Then, go to his first contention. Extend out my second response by saying that even if the justice system is a better option than killing, that doesn't make killing not permissible. All I need to do is show that killing is a permissible response, not the permissible response, since the resolution is only specific to lethal force being a permissible response. His only response to this point wasn't actually responsive (even if no one is dying in prisons, that doesn't mean killing isn't permissible, it just means that the courts might be better). This means that his first contention doesn't really matter.

Then, extend my second turn that says that if the state response is really better than killing someone, then it should be permissible to kill your abusers since it would force the state to get involved and respond to the situation, which increases the liklihood that the woman will escape the situation she was in. His only response is that the state response is better, but that's exactly why my turn is valid. Killing will force the state to take action against domestic violence.

Then, go to his second contention. Extend my first response that says that violence in the name of self-defense is justified by society. His only response is that "I'm a sh*tty sign-poster and that killing is never justified", but a) doesn't warrant this, and b) this doesn't actually respond to my objection. My argument is that violence (including killing) is justified by self-defense. He never responds to this.

Then, extend my fourth response saying that by his logic the aff can never actually win the round if killing is never permissible. He just blanket asserts that the aff can win but I can't because I'm a sh*t debater, but never actually warrants how they can under this argument.

Then to his third contention:

Extend my first response that says that PTSD doesn't negate. He just says that looking to their long term health is better, but a) that still doesn't negate. All I have to do is show it's a permissible response, and b) we can still look to their long-term health by offering them rehabilitation from the PTSD so that they can go to living normal lives.

This round is really simple:

He hasn't responded to a single warrant on my framework.
I'm showing that I don't need a value.
Even if you don't like my case, my narrative-only argument still is unrefuted.
Even if you don't like my framework, my narrative links to his framework.
Even if you don't like my narrative, I'm extending offensive turns off of his case that he isn't respond to.


No round as agreed upon, I await the judges/ voters to make a decision and I implore them to take a close look at both cases before making a decision. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
Well, in my defense, I never have, nor have ever tried, to be a conduct debater. I just f*cking suck at it xD

Thanks for the extensive RFD though. Even though I disagree on whether using terminology bites into the harms of my FW, I appreciate you took the time to sort through this all.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
RFD (Pt. 1):

Pro's case is basically a critique of debate, most specifically of LD debate, but it's more broadly applicable to many styles. He's stating two things:

1) That the overly technical, highly structured aspects of debate are hampering it and that they need to be tossed aside for the good of the activity, and

2) That narratives function as a way to ground the activity back in what debate is about, which is to remain focused on real world catastrophes and not marginalize the stories of those who face them

Pro is effectively trying to

He doesn't do a perfect job, and Con should have really called him on his faults. He uses a number of points of debate jargon throughout his arguments, including the readily accessible "turn," and his whole case functions as the biggest kind of jargon in the form of a kritik (though it's not structured like one). Con could easily have argued that he won on Pro's framework, at least in part " he always explained what he meant while keeping jargon to a minimum (albeit his definitions weren't always precise, and there was still some jargon like "signposting") " and that Pro likewise failed to meet his own framework. This is the problem with having such a complex and, at the same time, absolute framework: it makes it very difficult for the person who argues it not to bite it in the process. But I have a hard time linking Pro to fault with his framework if Con's not going to argue it.

The larger issue becomes whether Pro won his framework. If he did, Pro presented an extensive narrative that fits to the resolution (albeit much of the fitting was done in R3), while Con presented none. So let's analyze the frameworks.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 2)

Part of the problem with Con's attacks is that they often bite the kritik pretty heavily. The ballot argument is a very regimented way of saying that "debate looks like this, debate should continue to look like this," and that ends up causing Con more harm than good since it gives Pro new fodder to use for his case. Probably the best example of this is when Con tries to turn this into a numbers game, comparing his 3 contentions to Con's single narrative. This kind of analysis bites deep into Con's framework, and feeds his argument that debate shouldn't just be a game of whose numbers are the biggest. Con could, and probably should, have argued why those standards exist instead of just appealing to the authority of the inceptors of the LD judging ballot, especially when you don't provide an example within the debate (I'm forced to buy Pro's view on ballots from his link). Con hints at this multiple times, teasing a possible problem with chucking out the rules as they stand but never really engaging in substantive analysis of why those rules exist.

Fundamentally, I think Con is just mishandling this, and the main reason why is that I've done this before. One of the first tournaments I went to in NPDA I faced a very different kritik that also challenged the preconceptions of how debate is supposed to go, and in the process of responding to it, I bit many of the harms of that system that they'd elucidated in their framework. When Con says that Pro is "avoiding the resolution," he's missing the point of Pro's argument, that it's attacking the basic nature of how people meet a resolution and why debate exists. Being focused on the resolution in the sense that Con is would defy Pro's framework of why that kind of debate is inherently wrong and should be avoided.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 3)

Generally, I think Con had to challenge the framework directly. Pro argued a rather difficult point " that facts and figures are secondary to personal stories because people can engage with a story much better than they engage with statistics. That's a pretty simple point to attack. One could easily argue that you're not functioning in a realm where you're trying to engage people emotionally. You're trying to play a game, a game with rules that requires basic weighing mechanisms that go beyond the subjective, requiring basic weighing mechanisms. None of what's said in this debate will actually be implemented anyway, contrary to Pro's assertions, so changes to the rules of debate isn't worth the outcome. And a lot of people engage in debate on the basis that it provides them something that other styles of argumentation simply don't " these people would likely be excluded in Pro's world.

If you didn't want to argue that, you could have simply argued that statistics make the world go 'round. Ignoring them on the basis of specific stories does so to the detriment of larger trends. It's entirely reasonable to argue that individual instances don't represent the larger picture, and that addressing individual stories fails to reasonably regard how things in the world actually work.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 4)

But I don't see either of these. So I'm forced to accept Pro's version of what is best, because he thoroughly supports it. All I can do then is compare it to Con's framework, and unfortunately for him, it's much weaker. Pro's right that the definitions simply aren't there. Justice as a value is often defined minimally, and that's much to the detriment of the debaters that do it, as well as the debates in which they participate. You need to be thorough on this. Defining it as rightness or fairness just increases the complexity of the question by adding other terms that need to be defined. Without a response to Pro's concerns about that definition, I'm forced to accept Pro's framework as the better of the two, which forces me to vote in his favor before even glancing at the rest of the debate.

Just for the sake of argument, though, I'll also examine who wins in Con's framework. Again, I end up voting Pro here, mainly because he's establishing a better link to moral rightness and fairness, providing at least some means by which I can access those definitions.

I'll take a brief look at the contentions. I'm forced to disregard Con's first and last contentions, as both of them do not address the issue of whether killing domestic abusers is morally permissible. Con could have argued that, if another option exists, it's never morally permissible to take the less moral route, but I don't see that argument appearing anywhere. I'm similarly forced to accept Pro's argument on Con's second contention that killing in this regard could be viewed as self-defense (though I think that was very much an arguable point). So those would suffice.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
(Pt. 5)

I could also buy Pro's arguments that this kind of killing does more in a broader context to end domestic abuse for many women, and that therefore it goes beyond personal stories. So even if I am looking at the picture beyond the narrative, I've got a solid point to support Pro's argument, and it's coming from Con's case.

Lastly, I'll cover some of the other issues that turned up.

Both debaters got a little testy in their last two rounds (Pro taking more liberties with his verbiage, Con wasting more of his argumentation on it), and that really shouldn't happen. It ended up distracting from the debate, and that's on both of you. If I could give conduct to someone, it would be to Con, but just barely, and only because of the insults. Both sides tread a thin line.

Con, don't waste time on small issues like accurate signposting. Your opponent is trying to save space and, to a certain extent, demean your argument. Simply show him he's wrong. The tag line doesn't mean anything to me, just the argumentation.

Pro, I realize what you were doing here in this debate, and it's a little much. While you did have a lot of good points with regards to education, those easily could (and should) have been turned on you. Also, take care with some of the points you're making. When you claim through your sources that the problem is partially that debate is "highly technical [and] specialized discourse" and that that's part of the problem, you need to be careful that you're not using jargon in your arguments, something you turned to quite a bit. Since much of this can be viewed as a kritik, and easy response that really could have hurt you is that you're biting many of the problems yourself, and that you should know better, because you're the one presenting them. Avoiding that should be high on your priority list. If you don't want that part of the debate as a problem, don't include that part of the quote.
Posted by whiteflame 3 years ago
I'll pummel through this today, have a decision (if not an RFD) up tonight.
Posted by Gahere 3 years ago
Sorry I took so long just to put up the final bit. I was caught up in some debate work for class.
Posted by thett3 3 years ago
y'all should live debate :)
Posted by Zaradi 3 years ago
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.