The Instigator
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The Contender
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Justin Harrison is NOT guilty and his actions are justified.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/6/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,091 times Debate No: 54145
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
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Justin Harrison was in a Waffle House at the bar one day in sc. Dante Williams and his criminal friend who were 19 and 29 broke in both holding pistols and were waving them around and terrorizing the customers. They were taking money from wallets and telling people to get on the floor and as dante approached justin he shot Dante and killed him. Justin felt threatened by the man who was coming towards him with a pistol and did what was necessary. He acted in self defense. It's sad that Dante died but it was his fault. Dante could have avoided dying so young by not carrying out the act of armed robbery. It's more important than justin and all the other innocent people are safe than a criminal like Dante. He was young and it's true he might have been able to turn his life around and maybe wouldn't spend the rest of it robbing people (if he was going to spend the rest of his life doing that good ridins) It would have been better if he didn't die but rather went to prison but If it's between him and Justin justin is more important. Dante's family shoudnt be mad at justin for acting out of self defense. They should be mad that they're son was willing to rob a place. In the end we do have a nother criminal off the streets and the people of South Carolina are a little safer. Also keep in mind that Dante's had a weapon and justin couldn't have just shot him in the leg becaus he or his cimrinal buddy wound have shot back and killed an innocent man.


I would like to thank my opponent for instigating this debate, may the best win. I have closely studied the articles and sources you supplied me with and I have formed my opinion on this. I dare to say that the actions carried out by Justin Harrison are NOT justified. Note: Let me express myself, I do not approve of the actions carried out by Dante Williams either.

It's clear to us all that any form of robbery is punishable by law, this includes the subform 'armed robbery'. There is no doubt that the actions carried out by Dante Williams back in January 2012 were legit, as also stated by his family in the article on Fox Carolina by Adrian Acosta. This however does not justify the actions carried out by Justin Harrison. YES, it was a robbery, YES, they were carrying guns into the restaurant. But did he have to die? NO, I do not think so.

"Dante's family shoudnt be mad at justin for acting out of self defense."

Let me start here, the actions carried out by Justin Harrison were NOT self defense. As you have stated here above in your argument (Round 1), Dante Williams and his fellow suspect were commanding the visitors of Waffle House to get down on the floor and taking the money out of the wallets of these visitors. The moment where Justin Harrison CHOSE not to get down on the floor he sealed that fate himself. Of course people, I get it, getting robbed, no.. not so nice, however, when one chooses not to obey these commands, we all know it can get messy when this happens, especially during an armed robbery.

The actions carried out by Justin Harrison - self defense - as you [opponent] call it, had only been self defense, if it was the last option possible, his actions have led to the use of deadly force. As Justin Harrison chose himself not to follow the commands of Dante Williams and his fellow suspect, he altered the situation. Of course, when one doesn't follow the commands given out by the armed robbers, one gets engaged by the armed robbers, thus common sense, thus logic.

All of the arguments mentioned above of course do not sanction the actions carried out by Dante Williams. Yet it does say that the actions carried out by Justin Harrison were uncalled for. If he would have stayed in a low profile, like the other visitors of waffle house, he would not have felt like having to shoot Dante Williams, does this solve anything? YES, it does.

[In the United States] defendants have their rights too. When Justin Harrison used the uncalled for deadly force, or as my opponent likes to call it - self defense - Dante Williams lost the option to defend his actions in court. Does this matter? YES, it matters. Due to the fact that Justin Harrison shot Dante Williams, leading to death, he won't be able to defend himself in court, which is a big deal.

We now get to the "What if?" point of my argument. What if Justin Harrison had not shot Dante Williams? He would not have died due to deadly force and would have been arrested by the authorities like his fellow suspect. Not only is this as we could put it, more humane but we [the community and family of defendant] would have been able to hear Dante Williams state his defense in court and why he chose to rob the Spartanburg (SC) Waffle House. Did he have money issues? Was he in trouble with people whom he owed money too? We will now never know.

"Williams actions were out of character for the Dorman High School senior who his family said had never been in trouble before.
He was always sharp, always goofy, loved to dance, he was a respectable boy."
- Tamika McSwain [Cousin of defendant]

Considering the statement noted above by the defendants cousin, I would have liked to hear the defendants defense in court. A "respectable boy" would in normal circumstances not carry out these actions without means. So no, I do not think the actions carried out by Justin Harrison were justified.

My argument for round one, I will await the rebuttal of my opponent.

Debate Round No. 1


I understand it may not be out of self defense completely but with respect to dante because he's deceased, he was a criminal and I personally don't think anyone should have to listen to a criminal it they don't have to and no offense to anyone he was kind of a thug. If justin has the ability to defend him self and others and not do what the criminals are saying and avoid getting robbed I don't see why not. He could have shot him in a less fatal way- not in the head or heart but in the belly. He didn't shoot the other robber jawan he tackled him which I think means he wanted to avoid killing him. I'm not saying Dante's life is worth less than a wallet but if it's loosing your money and being terrorized and possibly dying (if your in that restraunt you don't know if they are going to later kill everyone in there) or shooting the criminal I'd say shoot him. Maybe I'm the bad guy but if dante didn't want to die (I assume that) he shouldn't have gone into a store pointing a gun at people. I honestly feel like it was dante and jawans fault. Dante's family shoud be mad at jawan for agreeing to do something dangerous with him that put him and others in danger.


Thank you worthy opponent for this interesting rebuttal. Fine, let me start off here,

"it may not be out of self defense completely"

The quote stated above from your [opponent] rebuttal on my argument only strengthens my point. Indeed, Dante Williams was a criminal, as one may call it, does this however say anything about his motives? I believe not. I refer to a point I made earlier in my first argument - "[In the United States] defendants have their rights too." - Criminal or no criminal, Dante Williams his rights were taken away when he got shot, leading to death.

Which brings me to the following point.
Criminal or no criminal? Was Dante Williams - the "respectable boy" - as his cousin called him really a criminal? Or was he not a criminal? We will never know, due to the - as I dare to call it - uncalled for deadly force, used by Justin Harrison. You might be able to say "He carried a gun, he intended to rob a restaurant, he is a criminal." In my vision, it doesn't work just like that, Dante Williams - alleged criminal - obviously had a need for money and was ready to obtain this money by any means. Was he in need of money? Did he have trouble with individuals whom he owed money to? Or not?

This brings me to my next point: Jawan Craig. His so called "accomplice" who walked out alive of this situation, ten years older in age, sentenced to thirty years in prison by a judge. Has Jawan Craig spoken the truth? Has he been honest in court, or did he lie with a face of steel? We will not know, and that's the end of it, there is no more going on about that, we will never be able to hear Dante Williams his side of the story, which is uttermost sad because it was a death uncalled for. This was not self defense. Jawan Craig's conviction is a fact, and if Justin Harrison would have responded the way the other visitors of Waffle House did, Dante Williams would have lived to see the courthouse too. Justin Harrison would not have been dealt any harm in this option [which means there was no situation were his concealed gun was even needed], both suspects would have been comprehended by the authorities and we would have been able to hear Dante Williams defense in court.

Lets say, Dante Williams was really the "respectable boy" his family said he was and was innocent but in a real need of money. Lets say he borrowed some money from the wrong people due his need for money and was not able to return the amount of cash yet? Lets say the scenario now is that Dante Williams had borrowed money from Jawan Craig - which is a possibility considering the substantial difference in age - and was not able to return this amount of money back to him. Whether he needed it for his family, for school or for something else, Jawan Craig wanted his money back and made him carry out this armed robbery under pressure and threats. - This is just a possible scenario, take it in consideration.

If this was the case, which is possible considering the facts known to this story, then wouldn't it have been a unnecessary death? We will not know, Jawan Craig might have lied in court and we will never find out. And just so we're clear, I'm not instigating that you're the bad guy as you [opponent] call it, but there is a lot more to it than just "Maybe I'm the bad guy but if dante didn't want to die (I assume that) he shouldn't have gone into a store pointing a gun at people." In the end, if we look at both your and my arguments, I believe that it's sanctioned to say that Justin Harrison's actions - "self defense" a.k.a deadly force - were uncalled for and were beyond any doubt no self defense considering the situation and his other possibilities.

I end my second argument hear and will yet again await my opponent's rebuttal.

Debate Round No. 2


Hie. I really don't think dante had any rights except for some basic stuff like right to life. If dante didn't want to get shot he shouldn't have threatened people with a gun. It was his fault (if the senerio you name. Slow isn't true). I understand your argument that he would be in court if he hadn't been shot but justin didn't know that at the time while Dante was waving his gun around trying to rob the place. For all justin knew the guys could have shot everyone in there and than killed them selves. When you have a gun in your face you probably don't use much judgement.
If the senerio you named is true about dante being out under pressure than it would be a lot worse. I hadn't thought of that before so thanks. Remember dante wasn't shot as a punishment but as self defense. At the time justin is probably wondering if he's gonna die or something.


I present to you my final rebuttal,

"I really don't think dante had any rights except for some basic stuff like right to life."
One of the rights a - alleged - criminal has, is the right to a lawyer to defend the - alleged - criminal his/her rights in court. To say that he didn't have "any right except for some basic" would basically suggest that it would be easier to send him to prison right away without trial or defense, which is a perversion on the constitution. These rights and laws are here to protect people, even - alleged - criminals without looking at the crime committed or the severity of this crime. Why this? Because the truth isn't always visible or obvious. Take in mind that since the uncalled for deadly force has lead to the situation where we [the community] will never know the real truth, only the truth as Jawan Craig will mention it, which could very well be a grave lie. Dante Williams could have been pressured, could have been threatened or what so ever and this would be a grave mistake to have shot a man that had no intent of harming people but was simply made or pushed to do so.

"Remember dante wasn't shot as a punishment but as self defense. At the time justin is probably wondering if he's gonna die or something."
As I stated in my first argument, I don't believe it was self defense, I believe it to be a attempt at a heroic act that went wrong. As I stated, it would only have been actual self defense if shooting his gun would have been the last possible thing he could do. If we take a look at the situation at that time: Justin Harrison was not the first victim of this robbery, there were people that were already actually laying down on the floor and handing over their money [like people tend to do when they love their lives] taking this in mind we could say that Justin Harrison would not have had any sights at that moment that might lead him to think that he was going to get shot himself. Not following the orders of the robbers was a stubborn thing to do.

"When you have a gun in your face you probably don't use much judgement."
I carry a concealed gun with live ammunition myself too, and I for one tried to imagine myself in this situation, I would not have done the same, unless I really had no other choice. - which is actual self defense -

This were my final arguments for this debate, take them in consideration please.
Dilara, you were a worthy opponent and thank you for sharing your view with me and the others.

sources used:
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Bemouh 2 years ago
You're welcome :)
Posted by Dilara 2 years ago
Bemouh. Thanks! I hit this from guns save and South Carolina Fox News. I'd be happy to debate it with you!
Posted by luke1212121 2 years ago
I normally don't do this but here....
1 Purposely shooting someone in the leg is virtually impossible unless the bad guy would stand still while good guy took careful aim
2 Lets say he did shoot him in the leg.... What exactly would happen next? This isn't paintball or laser tag, just cause u get shot doesn't mean u are out.
3 And this is most important... Shooting someone in the leg or commonly known as purposely maiming someone is illegal and punishable.
Posted by Mhykiel 2 years ago
If you are going to point a gun at someone, you should be ready to die. 19 he was old enough to know this.
Posted by Bemouh 2 years ago
Hi there,

If you're willing to supply me with some news articles or sources where I can form my opinion in, since thise is totally out of my region.. I'd be happy to accept the challenge and battle you in this debate :)
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
You don't understand, by the standards of his family armed robbery was very respectable.


Sarcastic as that was, it's hardly misquoting them.
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