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The Contender
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Domestic Violence

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/26/2011 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 26,182 times Debate No: 17665
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)




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

Start your case immediatly so we can follow LD format! Good luck.


I would first like to thank my opponent for starting this debate, and i wish you the best of luck. Without further a-du, i give you the Affirmative case in LD format. Thank you

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

Resolutional Analysis: Since the word response in the resolution implies that the victim was provoked by the attacker, we know that the victim, in this sense, would only use deadly force if provoked. Also, The resolution specifically points out morality, are the actions morally permissible? The main focus of this debate will be the morality issue and wither the action itself is considered moral.

My Value for this debate will be Justice. Plato defined justice as "...doing good to one's friend if he is good and harming one's enemy if he is evil." Repeated domestic violence is certainly an evil both to the victim and outsiders. We must uphold justice in this debate round, because justice is also defined as the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness. When we look to morality as i stated, we must also look to justice.

The Criteria for this debate will be Due Punishment. Is it morally permissible to let a murderer get probation, or a Rapist due 2 years in a county prison? Is it morally permissible for a violent person who inflicts harm on his/her family to receive no punishment at all? Every criminal must receive their due punishment and that is through justice and giving each their due.

For Clarification, i offer the following definitions:
Moral: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the�principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong.

Victim: A person who�suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency.

Deadly Force: Any force brought upon a person, whether accidental or intentional, which is potentially fatal or may cause serious damage to a persons body, such as loss of limb, internal damage, etc.

Repeated Domestic Violence: Includes but is not limited to physical abuse, rape, overall physical and/or mental domination, intimidation, terrorizing, stalking, and burglary. Domestic violence is statistically shown to increasingly intensify with each repeated offense, whether it's reported or not.

Contention 1) No way out.
Victims suffer from the abuse that is inflicted upon them. Wether its a broken nose, black eye, or having the mental stability of a frightened teenager for the rest of their lives. Repeated domestic abuse is both physically and mentally harmful in exponential ways. My opponent may state that the victims can simply get out of the situation, or call the police. The reality is, its not that simple. Take for example a child being abused by one of his parents while the other sits back and does nothing. I ask then, what are that child's options? He/she doesn't have the means or money to leave the situation, nor can he run away because his/her abusive parents could file missing persons and the child would be sent strait back to the abusive home. Not every person as the option to get out, therefor when the victims life is being threatened or the lives of the victims family is at stake, do you expect them to stand by and watch as they are beaten and abused? I ask, what is more moral? let the abuser keep attacking his/her family, or stop the violence with whatever means necessary?

Contention 2) Justice for the victims and due punishment.
The law justifies deadly force in the event lives are in danger, such as in the case of an escalated domestic violence incident. "In the United States, a civilian may legally use deadly force when it is considered justifiable homicide, that is to say when the civilian feels their own life, or the lives of their family or those around them are in legitimate and imminent danger." If domestic violence escalates every concurrent time it happens (which it does: "Data from the National Crime Survey indicates that once a woman is victimized by domestic violence, she is at high risk for being victimized again. During a six month interval following an incident of domestic violence, approximately 32% of women are victimized again." (Violence Prevention Center)) and we're talking repeat offenders, the person's life may very well have been or is at risk. Threatened life through violence is an evil, so it demands justice through the due punishment, which is deadly force. Not only is morally justified that the victims use deadly force to prevent more abuse, it is also justified because, quite often, victims are hunted down. Abusers commonly hunt their victims after they leave. Leaving your abuser sends them into a rage because it means they have lost temporary control over you so, when they do find you the attack will be much more severe than what normally occurs, that is also when most domestic violence deaths occur. The victims, ultimately, are in a lose-lose situation. Using deadly force against their attacker is sometimes the only way to save themselves, the ones they love, and get justice in return.

Contention 3) It is as simple as self-defense.
Keep in mind while debating this topic, that we are talking about victims using deadly force. The definition of victims itself (A person who�suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency) constitutes self defense. My opponent may try to say that most often deadly force is used while an attack is not taking place. However, With Repeated Domestic Violence, a lull in the abuse does not mean that the victim is safe it just means that at the moment the victim is not being abused, the smallest thing can set off an attacker such as making the wrong dinner, folding the socks wrong, talking on the phone to long and to the wrong person. So the repeatedly abused is in constant danger. It is considered self-defense in any setting and therefor is most certainly morally permissible.

In conclusion, I would like to once again point out that the resolution asks weather or not the action of using deadly force is morally permissible. We are debating the morality of the action. Ant, therefor, deadly force is morally permissible against REPEATED domestic abuse, for the reasons i have given above.

Thank you, and vote Affirmative
Debate Round No. 1


“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary. The evil it does is permanent.” In this statement from Mohatma Ghandi, he puts into question if good brought about by violence, is really good. This statement will be important in this round as we decide what is good when it comes to domestic violence. I negate the resolved as stated by the pro.

I will begin by constructing my own case and then attacking that of my opponents.

Immanuel Kant believed in the sanctity of the individual, and respected individual choices. His theory of justice establishes that what is just, moral, and ethical should be based off of if we are able to respect individuals rights while exercising our own. When our individual choices infringe upon anothers rights, they receive their "just desserts", or what is fair to the individual based off of the original infraction. It is this theory of justice that i value in todays round. In pertinence to this round, we may look at it from this angle: I am committing an infraction against another through domestic violence, whether it be physical or phycological. The question is: "Is my decision to kill my abuser following what is just? Is my own biased, emotionally influenced decision what is truly deserved? The rest of my case will answer these questions.

In order to achieve this form of justice in todays round, i once again turn to Kant. I will use his Categorical Imperative as my criterion. In his Imperative, Kant argues that while we all have our own motivations, the only thing that ties us together as the human race is our humanity. Because of this unique link, Kant believed in respecting humanity, and condemns the taking of life regardless of the circumstances, placing suicide on the same level of moral wrongdoing as murdering the innocent. He also believed that we must look to an individuals intentions when deciding if their actions are moral and just. While an abuser may have different phycological problems, or is just looking to fell like he/she has more control, those intentions vary immensely from a deliberate attempt at disrespecting humanity and taking anothers life.

I agree with my opponents definitions and will clarify any future problems with them in the future if necessary.

Contention 1- Problems with deadly force.

A) First off, we must return to the questions asked when i was establishing my value of justice. If my immediate decision while under the influence of my current desires and emotions is the same decisions that i would be making if thinking about a situation rationally. For example, if you are thinking about somebody that you dislike, you most likely would not ever make a sure decision to harm them and then act upon that decision. However that situation may drastically change if confronted by that individual in an unfriendly manner. Because affirming this resolution encourages poor decision making on the part of the victim, it cannot be said to be morally permissible.

B) When looking at justice under this resolution, both myself and my opponent have agreed that victimizers should recieve their dues, however what is due to an offender? With this resolution, it universalizes all cases where somebody has been in more than one abusive encounter, including those who are not even being physically abused. We cannot universally say that all offenders deserve to die just because they have committed more than one abusive crime in their lifetime. The reason that the justice system is structured to have trials for every case is because no two cases are the same. We cant attempt to universalize punishment in this instance any more than we can with other crimes. Look to Kants categorical imperative, not only is affirming this disrespecting humanity as a whole, but it also does not take into account personal intentions when evaluating what is moral and just.

With that, i shall now move on to my opponents case.

First on her value of justice, she defines it by using Plato's interpretation. However the so called quote that she offeres from plato is not in fact his interpretation. She actually uses an interpretation given by Polemarchus, an interpretation of which plato was extremely critical of. Plato believed that doing evil at all was moral wrong, regardless of previous circumstances with that individual. Because she fails to define justice correctly and improperly uses plato in this round, we must prefer my definition and version of justice.

She then gives her criterion of Due punishment and giving each their due. However look to the argument that i make in my own case. What is each person due? She uses the criterion of giving criminals what they deserve, however she provides no way to decide what these individuals actually deserve. Rather than giving each their due, the resolution universalizes punishment, automatically assuming that each is due the exact same punishment of death. As each individual case is different, only one case where one does not deserve to die is enough to destroy the entire structure of her case. However the only way to decide that one case, we need a justice system that decides, something that the pro cannot provide, leaving us without a weighing mechanism on her side. Prefer my weighing mechanism of the categorical imperative. I establish humanity and the intentions behind decisions as a way to achieve justice and a way we can use to weigh the round.

On her contention 1, she paints a sad story of a child who stands by as he is abused by a member of his family. She states at the beginning all of the potential harms that can come of this story, however we need to look to the other side of the story. Say we affirm the resolution and this child finds a way to kill his abuser. The child has successfully saved himself from a future broken nose, however the damage that taking a human life may be much worse than any abuse ever inflicted upon the child. Grown men who are trained solders have trouble sleeping at night and keeping control of their mind because they took the life of somebody unknown to them. Image the negative impacts to a child who grows up with the knowledge that he has taken the life of a family member, that he cannot escape the consequences of the situation because he chose to act on his emotions at the current time. When considering damages alone to the victim as her contention one does, the effects are equally as damaging, if not more, than if they were to stay succumbed to the abuse.

On the contention 2, she points out first that it is legal to use deadly force in the United States. However the fact that it is legal in a single nation does not make an action right any more than the fact that taxation without representation is legal in other nations. We need to look to the moral situation and examine it alongside justice, rather than assume that a law made in a very corrupt washington is the ultimate deciding factor. Moral philosopher Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy once stated that,“To sin is a human business, to justify sins is a devilish business.” My opponent here attempts to justify the taking of human life, something that is not morally permissible. She once again references due punishment, however cross apply my argument against this from before. She then states that the person may hunt down their victims. However she once again places somebody's temporary wellbeing over a human life, in the A-typical case that they are hunted down in the first place.

Finally on the third contention, she basically makes a defense on a presumed attack that i will eventually make. While she says that a lull in abuse is no reason to assume that anything will change, however this is a large assumption that cannot be made when we are talking about life. If the action is not currently occuring, the victim is simply action off of fear of it happening again. The simple fear of an action is not enough to constitute the taking of a human life.



I will first be attacking my opponents case and then rebuilding my own.

Lets start with my opponent's value of Justice and he uses Kant's theory, however the way he defines justice upholds the Affirmatives side. He states, "When our individual choices infringe upon another's rights, they receive their, 'just deserves,' or what is fair to the individual based off of the original infraction." Translate that into due punishment and you have an affirmative argument, which i fully uphold in my own criteria of due punishment, giving each their due. He also defines his value of justice by stating is killing the abuser while emotionally biased, what the abuser truly deserves? i will elaborate on this point with my attack on his criteria.

My opponent's Criteria is Emanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative. He bases is whole criteria off of Kant disagreeing with taking someone's life, as well as his value of killing not being due punishment. His criteria falls on the grounds that he completely ignores the other forms of "deadly force." The resolution states deadly force, not killing. This going to be a key issue in this debate round. Look again to my definition of deadly force, which my opponent agreed with,: Any force brought upon a person, weither intentional or accidental, which is potentially fatal, or may cause serious damage to a person's body,such as loss of limb, internal damage, etc. This means we are talking about damage to the body, not just killing! My criteria will overpower my opponents and be dominant in this round because it awnsers for all types of deadly force, not just death.

Now i will move onto my opponents one and only contention. In his sub-point A, He states that affirming the resolution advocates poor decision making influenced by emotion. As i stated in my resolutionary analysis the resolution points out that it is a response ti repeated domestic violence.. meaning the victim is being attacked at that point in time, therefor how can you say it is a poor decision, to save your life or the life of a loved one by using deadly force? Onto his sub-point B, I agree that this topic is universal, however his argument for universal is flawed. My opponent states, "we cannot universally say that all offenders deserve to DIE because they have committed more than one abuse..." Once again, my opponent ignores that deadly force doesn't necessairily mean kill. He fails throughout his whole case to awnsers the question, is it morally permissible to used DEADLY FORCE against repeated domestic violence? He says killing is and always will be wrong, and again we are not debating killing the attacker, we are debating using deadly force against the attacker.

And with that, i will move onto my own case. I would first like to start off with my value and prove that it was in fact Plato to whom i was using to define justice. The quote "...doing good to one's friend if he is good and harming one's enemy if he is evil," was given by Plato in his work: The Republic, Plato, pg. 13. 3rd Paragraph. Justice will be upheld on t eh affirmative side because if your enemy has visited evil upon you, Justice demands retaliation. Justice which is inherently good, along with its benefits MUST be had for all unjust actions. For every action their must be a reaction, i.e. injustice demands justice.

Next on my criteria, His attack is once again, death and how it is not due punishment, however i did not state death, I stated deadly force. There is a big different between the two, and therefor my argument that we must give each abuser their due punishment and sometimes this means deadly force (not always killing) against them by the victim goes unawnsered.

Then onto my first contention. He attacks my story by saying that if the child kills his abuser, that in turn hurts the child more than the abuse would. Once again i stress that deadly force does not equal killing. And this is not just to prevent a simple broken nose. Examples of domestic violence include things like beatings, sexual assault, rape, mental abuse, physical domination, mental domination, and intimidating behaviors.The resolution asks if the action is morally permissible, in this example, or any other example, the victim uses deadly force in their own defense. We must look to morality and justice for the victim who has no way out. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Justice for the victim is the most moral route to take.

Against my second contention, my opponent states that affirming the resolution is justifying taking a human life. This is not the case, even in the least. I advocate due punishment for the abuser. Justice comes from dealing out due punishment to the unjust. In the event that repeated domestic violence injustices are life threatening (1 in 11 cases are, Community Referral Agency) the due punishment (and life preserver) is the use of intended deadly force. To awnsers his attack on victims being tracked down, I ask: Is it morally permissible to allow a victim justice and therefor moral actions such as using deadly force, or expect the victim to stand by and get abused REPEATEDLY by the abuser?

And finally regarding my third contention and my whole case. Both my opponents case and his attacks on my case are centered about the basic idea that killing is wrong, its evil, and that killing is not morally permissible in any situation. The simple awnsers to all of this that i have restated many times because it is so important, The resolution asks if Deadly force is permissible, not killing the abuser. Once again, look to my definition of deadly force that my opponent agreed with and you will find that my entire case is still upheld and using deadly force is morally permissible.

I would also like to point out that if we are doing this by true LD debate style, then any and all dropped arguments cannot be brought up in rebuttal speeches.

Thank you and vote Affirmative.
Debate Round No. 2


spenserririe forfeited this round.


I'm not exactly sure what happened to my opponent, therefore I guess the debate is over because there is no rebuttal. Anyone viewing this debate, jut please vote on the previous rounds please. Thank you for the debate
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Fefferson 6 years ago
I would like to mention that the quote that the Affirmative uses as the definition of justice was not an original quote by Plato, rather it is a quote that is requoted. It is used in The Republic.
Posted by PARADIGM_L0ST 7 years ago
I certainly agree that Domestic Violence <em>can</em> result in justifiable homicide based on the totality of the circumstances involved, but DV alone does not give an automatic license to use deadly force as there are different levels of domestic violence and not all of them constitute a justification for deadly force. There are a lot of variables that need to be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Very interesting debate. I'm almost finished with it and will vote accordingly.
Posted by thett3 7 years ago
Interesting topic, I'll be watching this :)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture.
Vote Placed by PARADIGM_L0ST 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a very close debate, argued well by both sides. I thought way too much time was wasted on semantics and useless clarifications by Con. Pro simply summarized her position and refutations more succinctly.