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March Beginners' debate R2: Deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 4/20/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 526 times Debate No: 73821
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




This debate is part of bsh1's March beginners' tourney round 2!

The full resolution is:

It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence

Skepticalone will be Pro and That1User will be Con.


1. No forfeiture
2. All arguments must be according to the definitions provided.
3. Appropriate conduct must be made: no profanity, inappropriate behavior, and trolling.

Domestic violence: violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.

Deadly Force: An amount of force that is likely to cause either serious bodily injury or death to another person.

72 hrs/argument, 4 rounds, max. 10,000 words/argument
Round 1 is for acceptance only
All rounds can have arguments and rebuttals except for final
No new arguments in final round
Open Voting on a Select Winner point system for 7 days

Thanks to bsh1 for setting up this tournament, Whiteflame for mentoring, and That1User for the debate!



I accept. I would like to thank Skep for instigating the debate, bsh1 for hosting the tournament, and Wylted for being my mentor during the tournament. I await Pro's opening arguments and look foward to this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, Con. I look forward to a very interesting debate!


Notice the addition of Deliberate to the definition list.

Domestic violence: violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.

Deadly Force: An amount of force that is likely to cause either serious bodily injury or death to another person.

Deliberate: done or said in a way that is planned or intended : done or said on purpose

Negative effects of domestic violence

I expect we can agree there are negative effects of domestic violence, but it is important we try to quantify them. Domestic violence causes emotional and psychological problems:

Battered women experience increased levels of depression, lower self esteem, and higher levels of psychological distress when compared with nonbattered women. The severity of physical abuse had been shown to predict levels of depression in battered women. In addition, prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD is high, ranging from 45% to 84%). [1]

These problems can lead to suicide:

“And one out of every four women who are the victims of domestic violence attempt suicide.” [2]

Domestic violence often leads to murder:

“About 1/3 of female murder victims aged 12 or older are killed by an intimate partner” [3]

Lastly, Domestic violence effects more than just the victim(s):

“Children from violent homes have higher risks of alcohol/drug abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, and juvenile delinquency. Witnessing domestic violence is the single best predictor of juvenile delinquency and adult criminality. It is also the number one reason children run away.” [4]

Pattern of abuse

I would like to make the clear distinction that our resolution is referring to the repeated pattern of abuse that happens all too often in these cases.

Domestic violence is not an isolated, individual event, but rather a pattern of multiple tactics and repeated events. Unlike stranger-to-stranger violence, in domestic violence the assaults are repeated against the same victim by the same perpetrator. [5]

For Instance, Kristin Lardner was continually pursued by Michael Cartier after she refused to date him after he beat her:

Kristin Lardner, an art student at Boston's Museum School, had been dating a man named Michael Cartier. Cartier became abusive and beat her in a Boston alley. Kristin refused to see him after that -- and even tried to help him get counseling -- but his threats continued and he stalked her.

On May 30, 1992, shortly after Kristin obtained a permanent restraining order, Cartier accosted her near her workplace and asked her to go out with him. She refused, and as she walked away, he shot her in the head. She fell to the sidewalk. Cartier ran away, but returned a short time later and shot her twice more, then went to his apartment and killed himself. [6]

Laura Aceves suffered multiple beatings until her husband killed her:

According to family members and court records, Laura spent the last year of her life being terrorized by Acuna-Sanchez. He allegedly beat her with a baseball bat, dragged her behind a car, strangled her until she blacked out on the floor and told her over and over how he would kill her if she ever left him.

Laura, who had three young children, posted a vague message on Facebook hinting at her troubles: It is gonna be a long night.

Less than 48 hours later, she was found in her apartment with a gunshot wound to the head. Her four-month-old son was crying by her side, coated in so much blood that EMTs thought he’d been shot too. Laura had an open casket funeral. No amount of makeup could conceal her black eyes.[7]

These are just a few examples of repeated abuse (that can lead to murder) suffered by the victims of domestic violence.

Research indicates that physical violence, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and economic abuse are repetitive patterns.[8]

Adherence to the Law

It is not uncommon for a victim to have exhausted all options available to them through the justice system. In both our cases above, the victims had reported abuse to law enforcement and had restraining orders against their aggressors. The justice system clearly failed these women. They had done what they could legally, but it wasn’t enough.

I’ll briefly touch on self-defense. In situations where an individual is in fear for their life, or that of their children, they are justified to defend themselves. It is legally permissible to do so. By adherence to the law, the action of defending oneself or interests is morally permissible. The right to defend oneself comes from an individual’s right to life. It is morally permissible to protect life.


Morality of utilitarianism is concerned with the greater good or what maximizes utility. Utility can be defined as pleasure, lack of suffering, or economic well-being. By any definition of utility we choose, using deadly force in response domestic violence will have the effect of benefit. Pleasure will increase since less time will be utilized for misery, and suffering will decrease when the battery has ended. Economic well-being will be increased since there will be no more resources spent on medical, counseling, or public funds as needed for law enforcement or the justice system. It is morally permissible by Utilitarianism.

I anticipate a strong case from Con. I'll turn it over to him now. Good luck, sir!











That1User forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Extend arguments.


That1User forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Unfortunately, my opponent has not been able to participate. Perhaps, he and I will be able to have a lively debate our next go round. Vote Pro.


That1User forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Skepticalone 1 year ago
I understand your predicament, and feel for you, User. However, it would be unfair to me if I were to restart the debate to accommodate you. I am bound by the same restrictions, and have complied with them in spite of a busy schedule myself.
Posted by That1User 1 year ago
I appologize for forfeiting Round 2. This came at a bad time. May we please restart the debate?
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
Haha, same format as most of my debates :D Best of luck to both of you!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Forfetiure
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited all rounds and failed to present a case.