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January LD Topics: Help For Developing Case

WriterSelbe
Posts: 410
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12/15/2011 7:16:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Here's what I have so far of my pro case:

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

Domestic abuse is not only a problem to the person being abused but to everyone around them—it is even harmful to the economy. Unfortunately, unless a person fights back, they could end up being beaten to death or into a state where medical bills begin to affect their ability to purchase everyday needs.

Before I begin, I would like to define a few recurring terms that will appear throughout. Firstly, morality being conformity to ideals of right human conduct, while permissible is something that may be permitted—allowed.

For this debate, my value is self-preservation and my criterion is the bettering of society. If a person in an abusive situation works to protect oneself, then society will be bettered. The most beneficial action to society as a whole is the most moral action and since the fulfillment of the resolution is the most beneficial action to a society, the use of deliberate deadly force is morally permissible.

Contention 1: Domestic violence is harmful to the victim and the economy. Over 5.8 million dollars a year are doled out to pay for the damages caused by domestic abuse, much of which is subtracted from health care. If that doesn't seem like very much, one should take a look at Oregon with a population of 3,700,758. Annually, eighteen people are dead with the cause as domestic violence. In Oregon, one in ten women between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-five have been physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner regardless of whether or not they are past or current. Over fifty-million dollars are paid every year in Oregon for physical and sexual abuse, costs accumulated from health and medical bills, missing work, and the rest losses of the lifetime earnings of dead victims. While the fault is that of the abuser, the costs not only affect the economy but the financials of the family or couple where the abuse occurs. Seeing as 55 to 95 percent of women do not report abuse to the police, the abuse cannot be stopped and is repeated. Also, per year, almost 8 million hours of work are missed by victims of domestic abuse—equal to thirty-two-thousand full time jobs. Considering the deadly force would only be used once by the victim while beatings occur ridiculously more often, everyone would financially benefit from the victim retaliating. Seeing as this would benefit society as a whole, my criterion is proved valid.

Contention 2: Repetitive witnessing of domestic abuse from male children can result in abusive tendencies in them as adults. Because of this, it would only make sense for the abuse to be stopped by the victim as soon as possible. Men who witnessed domestic abuse as children are twice as likely to be abusive as adults. The less abusive behavior they witness, the less likely they are to be abusive. This behavior would lead to a cycle in which generation after generation of males would be abusive, harming the society they live in greatly. In fact, over 50 percent of men who abused their wives admitted to having abused their children as well. The sooner a victim defends oneself, the less the cycle will be continued. Going back to Oregon references, the statistic above also stated that thirty-three percent of all physical and sexual assaults in twenty-five to fifty-five range were witnessed by children. If the attacks were ended promptly, fewer children would be influenced and corrupted by them. The corruption of children is not something to be considered a moral act, especially in the cases of the witnessing of physical and sexual abuse. Again, the most moral action would be retaliation with the intent to end the violence and decrease the witnessing of these acts by children—acts that are corruptive and deter the growth of a society. By this act of self-preservation, society would be bettered.
WriterSelbe
Posts: 410
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12/15/2011 7:17:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Here's what I have so far on the Neg:

The following is an excerpt from the 2005 publishing from Springer, Law & Philosophy:

‘Assume that a capable aggressor, Greta, decides to play Russian roulette with an unwilling participant, Harry. She has loaded a chamber, spun the revolver, and now she points the gun at Harry. Harry faces a decision. He can either pull out the gun he has and shoot Greta, or he can wait and hope that the bullet is not in the fateful chamber. Faced with a one-in-six chance that he will soon be dead, Harry kills Greta. As it turns out, the bullet was not in the decisive chamber.'

‘How should we characterize Harry's action? Was it wrong? Right? Justified? Excused? Mistaken? In this case, Harry has taken what we might characterize as a ‘justifiable risk,' but he has simultaneously killed someone needlessly.'

The previous excerpt has perfectly preceded my case. Regardless of the rationality of the game Russian roulette, one can see that Harry deliberately pulled out his gun with the intent to kill Greta. However, Greta's intent was not to kill Harry. While Harry can be sure that his shooting of the gun would result in the death of Greta, Harry cannot be sure that Greta's pulling of the trigger would result in his own death. This is a perfect analogy of the type of situation that is represented in this debate. While Greta's behavior toward Harry is immoral in itself, Harry's use of deadly force on Greta that lead to her death was an immoral action, meaning that the use of deadly force in situations of abuse is not morally permissible. Seeing as the debate calls for only proving that the use of deadly force is not morally permissible and doesn't call for my providing of proof that one action is more moral than the other, I can end my introduction stating that neither the abuser nor the victim whose intent is to kill is morally right—both are morally wrong, thus proving the negative as correct.

Before I begin, I would like to define a few recurring terms that will appear throughout: Secular morality is a branch of moral philosophy in which ethics is based solely on human faculties such as logic, reason or moral intuition, and not derived from purported supernatural revelation or guidance (which is the source of religious ethics). Deadly force is the force in which a person uses, causing or that a person knows, or should know, would create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily harm.

My value for this round is secular morality, while my criterion is a rational society.
Contention 1: In a situation where the action of the resolution is fulfilled, both the abuser and the victim would be engaging in immoral behavior. As I stated before, the resolution only asks that the negative disprove the moral permissiveness of using deadly force on a person. When referring to law, both murder and manslaughter are acts where the one committing has the intent to do serious damage or kill, the only difference being that during the act of manslaughter the doer of said act is not in a state of coherency so that they might be responsible for one's actions. Both actions call for punishment by law, and as anything that is punishable by law is generally associated with immoral behavior; acts where one has the intent to kill or seriously harm rather than incapacitate are immoral. The resolution does not state that the victim of the domestic abuse only wishes to use force enough to incapacitate one's abuser—an action which has no ill-intent and only the intent to protect oneself. The resolution states specifically that the intent of the victim is death or fatality to their abuser, an immoral act.
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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12/16/2011 1:15:47 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
<quote>
Resolved: It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence.
</quote>

Why "deliberate"? Doesn't including that word make your position more difficult, your case harder to defend?

Isn't panicky desperation easier to defend? Why not just drop the word "deliberate"?

<quote>
Domestic abuse is not only a problem to the person being abused but to everyone around them—it is even harmful to the economy. Unfortunately, unless a person fights back, they could end up being beaten to death or into a state where medical bills begin to affect their ability to purchase everyday needs.
</quote>

Do you really want to argue that it's okay to kill people for money?

What is the topic of the debate? Isn't it something about lethal force as a response to non-lethal force? If so, you don't get to say she might be beaten to death. Who's going to argue that you can't use lethal force as a defense against lethal force?

The general issue, I imagine, is whether, if a wife reasonably believes that calling the police will get her beaten up after the police leave, she can kill her husband instead of calling the police.

If I'm right about that, then you want to create a picture of a wife who would be justified. You can't possibly license women to kill their husbands as a general rule, but you can certainly describe a particular situation where it would be laudable.

Resolved: Sometimes, victims of domestic abuse are justified in the use of lethal force.

That can be defended.

Hypothetical case: The beatings got more frequent. She couldn't go out in public because of the bruising, so she was largely cut off from society. One time he beat her so badly that she called the cops. But he seemed so reasonable when the cops came. He told them that her pimp had beaten her up, and that she was trying to blame him for it because he'd told her that if she didn't clean up her act he would have to have her declared an unfit mother and take her children away. He showed the cops her hash pipe, which they seized. So the cops, not knowing who had the right of it, did nothing. As soon as they were gone, he beat her so badly that she was in bed for three days. When she was able to travel, she took her children and fled to her mother's house 300 miles away. She was only there for half an hour before he kicked in the door, grabbed her kids, and left. She had to go back to him. Now her terrified mother won't even take her phone calls. She and her kids live in terror of him. The police have proven useless. Even if they arrested him, he'd get out on bail and hurt her again. She considers suicide, but what would become of her children? Finally, she realizes that suicide would be killing the wrong person.

Is it morally acceptable for a woman to kill her husband in this extreme circumstance?

And aren't there many women who are similarly abused?

If we cannot defend them, must we condemn them for defending themselves?

You'd need to shorten the above hypothetical a lot, but the point is valid. If a woman is so beaten down, so abused and dominated that the only way out that she can see is homicide, then doesn't she have the right to defend herself in the only way she can?

<quote>
Before I begin, I would like to define a few recurring terms that will appear throughout. Firstly, morality being conformity to ideals of right human conduct, while permissible is something that may be permitted—allowed.
</quote>

Seems to me that this uses time and words without gaining you anything. It takes your judges' focus off of what's important.

<quote>For this debate, my value is self-preservation and my criterion is the bettering of society. If a person in an abusive situation works to protect oneself, then society will be bettered. The most beneficial action to society as a whole is the most moral action and since the fulfillment of the resolution is the most beneficial action to a society, the use of deliberate deadly force is morally permissible.
</quote>

Again, this seems muddy and distracting, without achieving anything.

I don't know anything about scholastic debate. I know a lot of debaters make confused noises about values and criteria, and define things to no end, but I don't see the point, particularly when it takes the judges' attention away from poor Helen, who's going to kill herself if she can't kill the abusive monster who has driven her to the brink of suicide.
wiploc
Posts: 1,485
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12/16/2011 1:40:37 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
<quote>
Contention 1: Domestic violence is harmful to the victim and the economy.
</quote>

If I were Con, I'd say, "Interesting. If we license women to kill their husbands, that won't hurt the economy?"

<quote>
Contention 2: Repetitive witnessing of domestic abuse from male children can result in abusive tendencies in them as adults.
</quote>

If I were Con, I'd say, "Do we really think that witnessing the murder of a parent is better for kids than witnessing a domestic spat?"

Were I Pro, I would focus on the desperate plight of a woman in an extreme situation. Can we really tell her she has to continue to accept that abuse if she can see no way out of it without the use of lethal force?

How can Con respond to that other than by saying that he doesn't like a rule that allows women to kill their husbands. To which you respond that you aren't advocating any change in the rules. You aren't for changing the law, which already allows self defense. You aren't for changing morality. You're just here to recognize that there are times when people are so battered and oppressed that lethal force is their only way of defending themselves, even as the people of Libya were forced to use lethal force to free themselves, even as our founding fathers were forced to use lethal force to defend themselves.

You aren't advocating any general rule. You are only recognizing the hard fact that some people are in very difficult situations, effectively enslaved by their husbands, with no other way to defend themselves than lethal force.

Some of these women will kill their husbands, and some will live on in total misery. Of those who kill their husbands, some will be convicted of murder, fairly or not. We aren't here to lament their fate. We're here to recognize that, in some particular cases, extreme cases, these victims of domestic violence make a reasonable choice when they employ desperate measures. A moral choice.
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
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12/16/2011 1:42:42 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Violence is not the answer. It is the question, and the answer is YES.
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
royalpaladin
Posts: 22,357
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12/16/2011 9:28:57 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
When I debated, I found that nobody cares for "economy" arguments because they are trite and functionally useless. Justice and the economy are not intertwined; slavery benefitted the southern economy but was clearly unjust. You need to use a unique argument.

I would not have bothered to even post, but that argument infuriates me.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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12/16/2011 9:36:13 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
You can't change the topic for a fixed debate, so don't bother criticising the topic.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
caveat
Posts: 2,137
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12/16/2011 12:39:07 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/16/2011 1:42:42 AM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Violence is not the answer. It is the question, and the answer is YES.

+7
There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. " Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.