Rights and Wrongs

I've heard this proposal before, but I think it was coming from a sophomore. In High School.
The main problem with the notion of self-defense is it imposes on justice, for everyone has the right for a fair trial. Therefore, using a firearm to defend oneself is not legal because if the attacker is killed, he or she is devoid of his or her rights.
Everyone has a right to walk down the public street without being robbed or killed, too. Any citizen has the right, and something of the duty, to try to stop such a violation when he or she encounters it in progress. Whether this is a case of "self-defense" or defense of a fellow citizen is immaterial.

A polity exists in part in order that its members might defend each other from just such violations, whether by criminals or by Vandals. It is the mark of a very strange set of priorities to suggest that citizens ought to prefer protecting the rights of the Vandals to protecting each other. The reason to protect rights even for Vandals, after all, is that such protections serve as a further fortification of the rights of the citizenry. To throw aside the citizens' rights in favor of the Vandals' is to miss the whole point of why Vandals' rights are protected at all.


jaed said...

The thing I find weird about this reasoning is that the right of self-defense is antecedent to, not only "the right to a fair trial", but the idea of a trial in the first place. The only reason we have a criminal justice system in the first place is to make it practical to give up self-help (i.e. going after a violent criminal) in cases where it's not an immediate need. Cases where the criminal justice system can't intervene—immediate self-defense situations—are exactly where it makes no sense to give up self-help.

(I might also point out that the dead victim who was not permitted self-defense didn't get a fair trial either.)

Christopher B said...

Glenn Reynolds has pointed out several times that the police protect criminals (more to his point - suspected criminals) from mob 'justice' as much, and maybe more, as they protect law-abiding citizens from criminals.

Eric Blair said...

What Chris said. There are countries (whose initials start with Pakistan and India) possessing nuclear weapons that can't say as much.

Grim said...

A good set of points, all.

Texan99 said...

The Ursula LeGuin novel "The Dispossessed" posits asyla to substitute for jails, the idea being that they're a place for people to escape to when they've outraged their neighbors sufficiently that they're no longer safe roaming around loose. It's supposed to be an anarchistic society with no property and no systematic law enforcement system.

People sure can get confused when they equate individual and state action.

Texan99 said...

Oh, and police get to circumvent fair trials, too, in any emergency that may entitle or obligate them to drop a criminal in his tracks.

E Hines said...

We're already more generous to criminals than was Locke, who held that the misbehavior placed the misbehaver outside the law--created him an outlaw and so devoid of the rights extant within the society he has attacked with his misbehavior. Even his life was forfeit, for much lesser crimes than we hold as capital today.

Besides, the misbehaver has already conducted his own due process and trial, in his decision-making to conduct his misbehavior. And has been found wanting, even if not by himself. If the misbehaver is sufficiently mentally impaired that he cannot make such an assessment, well, we also have moved apart from Locke (improved on, I say) on that, too, beginning with recognition of the ability to be mentally impaired in that regard. In any event, he's still an outlaw, just with more protections in that state than was the case in that earlier time.

It's sufficient.

Curmi would do well to study up.

Eric Hines

Tom said...

The main problem with the notion of self-defense is it imposes on justice, for everyone has the right for a fair trial.

Everyone has the right of self-defense, so if you infringe on that, it is as unjust as denying someone the right to a fair trial. Plus, it is not true that everyone has the right to a fair trial. Only people who have been arrested and charged with a crime have the right to a fair trial.

There are two reasons for ensuring mental capacity. First, one of the Five Aims is to ensure domestic tranquility and there can be no tranquility if one does not have the capacity.

The failure to understand that "domestic tranquility" does not refer to an individual but rather to the state is stunning.

Ymar Sakar said...

This is one of those problems of conflating human laws as being equal to or superior than divine laws.

There's a reason for life, other than "because humans said so".

Ymar Sakar said...

Btw, enemies of humanity are getting a fair trial after execution by my hands or anyone else's.

But their trial is in or near the Throne Room of aO, not with human retard judges.

That's the problem of being an atheist, when they try to apply finite justice to the human world with human laws. They'll never get truth or justice that way, and they know it. WHich is why the atheist regimes tend to be the most totalitarian, in controlling peace, order, law, and belief. The second most totalitarian would be state religions like the Papacy.