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St. Louis self-defense shootings to get closer scrutiny

Monday, January 23, 2012 | 1:41 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — An increasing number of intruders in St. Louis are being gunned down by homeowners, due in part to a 2007 self-defense law known as the castle doctrine. But now, authorities are changing how they review apparent justifiable homicide cases.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that there were seven fatal shootings involving the castle doctrine in the city in 2011, up from two the previous year. In the past, police detectives and homicide unit supervisors who thought a killing was justified would contact the circuit attorney's office to make sure prosecutors agreed.

"If the victim was able to articulate that they thought their lives were in jeopardy, along with being supported by physical evidence and/or witness statements, it was deemed justifiable," said Capt. Michael Sack, head of the homicide unit.

Now, every case will be scrutinized in a more formal review by the St. Louis circuit attorney's office.

"It seems to make sense to ask someone else to review our investigation and our work and see if they come to the same conclusions as we do, especially when you're talking about something as serious as taking someone's life," Sack said.

William Whitfield, a 66-year-old retired Navy petty officer, came home one January morning in 2010 to find that burglars had ransacked his small brick bungalow. They took his tools, computer, flat-screen TV. But he figured they'd be back because they left bags stuffed with more of his belongings near a basement stairwell.

Whitfield called police but armed himself with a 9 mm pistol and slept in a chair in the front room. When three people broke in about 3 a.m., he shot and killed one of them.

No charges were filed.

"I was worried for my safety," Whitfield said. "I just figured if somebody breaks in, you have a right to defend yourself."

Until passage of the castle doctrine, Missouri law didn't necessarily concur.

Under the old law, homeowners confronted by intruders had a duty to escape their homes if they could do so safely. Deadly force was justified only if needed for protection from serious injury or death. The castle doctrine allows more leeway in using deadly force for those who encounter an intruder in their homes or vehicle or on their property.

Kevin Jamison, a Gladstone attorney who lobbied for the castle doctrine bill as a member of the Western Missouri Shooters Alliance, said Missourians can repel intruders on the theory that anyone breaking into an occupied home has evil intentions toward the residents.

About 30 states have some form of a castle doctrine, according to the National Rifle Association.

Critics worry that castle doctrine laws encourage vigilantism or can be used as cover for someone who wanted to commit premeditated murder.

"We call them 'shoot-first laws,'" said Brian Malte, director of state legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Shoot first, ask questions later."

It's not clear how many times the castle doctrine has been used as a defense in Missouri. There have been cases where charges against the shooters were considered.

In 2008, a Kirksville woman fatally shot a man who violated a restraining order and crawled through her window. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster decided that no crime was committed.

Earlier this year in St. Louis, a man broke into his ex-girlfriend's home and allegedly tried to attack her. Another man who was also in the home came to the woman's aid and pointed a gun at the intruder, but didn't shoot, instead handing the gun to the woman.

The woman pointed it at the intruder as he stood with his back to a wall, according to police. The woman's friend helped her steady the gun and point it.

"I told you if you came back, I was gonna kill you," she said before fatally shooting him, according to police reports.

St. Louis police sought second-degree murder charges against the woman and the man. But prosecutors declined to file them, citing the castle doctrine.


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Comments

Ed Lane January 23, 2012 | 2:32 p.m.

If you break into my castle, be prepared to be "carried out"!!!!!!

(Report Comment)
John Beaumonte January 23, 2012 | 2:59 p.m.

You're da%# skippy Ed - it appears that liberal lawyers are attempting to make perpetrators the new victims - shame on them! I too will defend my castle using any means that I deem necessary to protect my wife and myself.

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum January 23, 2012 | 5:35 p.m.

"liberal lawyers are attempting to make perpetrators the new victims"

Just like them darn liberal lawyers that wanted slavery abolished passed the civil rights act! Well, shucks, back in the GOOD OL days, you could even lynch people!

If you kill someone you need to answer questions, enough to make it clear that your actions were justified...

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 23, 2012 | 6:04 p.m.

Being on the wrong end of a 12 gage shotgun is truly a "come to Jesus" experience. :)

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 23, 2012 | 10:15 p.m.

I like how everyone seems to think that killing someone else is easy if you just have a gun and legal justification.

1. If someone's already inside your house, good luck trying to remain calm while you fumble around for your gun, fumble around for the ammo, etc.
2. If someone's still inside after all the noise you just made (and they haven't found you yet), you better hope you have the guts to pull the trigger, because chances are that guy not only has the guts to kill you, he planned on it all along.
3. Even if you emerge the victor, good luck not suffering long-term psychological damage. It doesn't really matter how much you think he may have deserved it, decorating your living room with someone else's body parts will traumatize any sane person. Human beings are not deer, FYI.

And no, I'm not talking from personal experience or anything. I just know that people are reliably bad at predicting their emotions, and reliably awesome at exaggerating their abilities.

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum January 23, 2012 | 11:35 p.m.

@ Jonathan

Well said. Lot's of self-assured, gun-wielding heroes around these parts. They've all got the fantasy scenario worked out in their mind!

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 24, 2012 | 2:28 a.m.

Jonathan, I think most people that are armed would rather have the chance, however slight, to defend themselves instead of relying on the mercy of the person(s) invading their home.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 24, 2012 | 9:00 a.m.

Jon says, "...decorating your living room with someone else's body parts will traumatize any sane person."
_____________________

Well, decorating my living room with MY body parts will certainly be traumatic to me.

There are indeed some real cowboys out there who THINK they know what they will do in such situations. Many of them might even pull it off. But, for most of us, this isn't about being a bragging, rootin-tootin', gun-totin' cowboy.

It's about having a chance and, in events where someone else is in serious trouble, it's about having the ability and opportunity to help.

Finally, if "people are reliably bad at predicting their emotions", how reliable are *you* at predicting their emotions?

And actions?

(Report Comment)
Steve Baumann January 24, 2012 | 9:03 a.m.

What a victory for the evil/bad people if the law is revoked. If someone breaks into someones home, why protect them over the homeowner? Explain that to me, I just do not get it.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 24, 2012 | 10:07 p.m.

John Schultz: I wasn't criticizing guns; I was criticizing those who think that owning a gun makes them superheroes.

Michael Williams: I also think that being able to defend oneself is better than not being able to, but there's a difference between wanting to defend yourself and cracking jokes about blowing someone else's head off with a shotgun.

"Finally, if "people are reliably bad at predicting their emotions", how reliable are *you* at predicting their emotions?"

Crime statistics put me on pretty safe ground. A lot of us think of ourselves as rootin-tootin', gun-totin' cowboys when lying comfortably in bed imagining all this stuff, but when the real thing comes along, we freeze up, or pee in our pants, or cry, or all of the above. Very few people function well under sudden stress and fear without training.

(Report Comment)
Tony Robertson January 24, 2012 | 11:05 p.m.

Where I grew up in the Ozarks, the nearest reliable, trained police protection was usually about eighteen miles away. Staffers for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence were probably even further away.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 25, 2012 | 7:57 a.m.

@ Tony Robertson:

Even here in "civilization" one cannot dial 911 and expect the instant presence of police. However, I do suggest that dialing 911 be the first step in home defense.

You know, Tony, I own a motor vehicle (over the years I've owned a number of motor vehicles) but I've never imagined that I am a Formula I race car driver. So If I owned a shotgun, why would I imagine that I'm a cowboy (how many cowboys own shotguns?).

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 25, 2012 | 8:41 a.m.

Jon - "A lot of us think of ourselves as rootin-tootin', gun-totin' cowboys when lying comfortably in bed".

Wrong again! The ones thinking they are "rootin-tootin', gun-totin' cowboys" are the criminals out in the street shooting at each other and into peoples homes. The ones we read about in every newspaper, every day.

Anti-gun advocates used to scream the question, do gun owners think this is the "wild, wild west"? Don't hear it much anymore because it is clear, more "gun play" now than during the short tenure of the wild west. Today's shooters are, except for aliens, the citizens we have produced over the last 50 years that have no clue as to what is right and what is wrong! The first Miami car jackers (identify a tourist rental car, take it off the freeway, rob and kill the occupants) said "they had what we wanted, so we took it". I purchased my first deadly shotgun at age 15. Only requirement for purchase: I had the money. I still have it ready to use for my protection if I deem it necessary. I indeed have concern whether I would "function well under sudden stress and fear" and can only prey that I do if the time comes.

Imo, only an immature, uneducated, person might criticize "those who think that owning a gun makes them superheroes."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 25, 2012 | 9:21 a.m.

Jon: It's ok to criticize those who think that owning a gun makes them superheroes; however, I believe you would be criticizing a smaller group than you and most liberals imagine. I'm quite confident that anti-gun folks fear a large group of boogieman that does not exist except in their most-awful of bad dreams.

No one knows how they will react under sudden stress until they experience it. And you are right about the "training". But, keep in mind that a huge part of training is having a "plan", so perhaps your comment, "when lying comfortably in bed imagining all this stuff" isn't really something to make fun of.

Even "bragging" (psyching up) can be a part of a plan, albeit a boorish one.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 25, 2012 | 12:02 p.m.

I think we've gotten off the wrong foot here. The legality of guns are a political non-issue to me. IMO we have bigger things to worry about nowadays than our ability to own guns and form a militia, but I didn't come here to say that. I wasn't criticizing guns, nor was I criticizing those who want to defend themselves.

"No one knows how they will react under sudden stress until they experience it."

That was my point, which I made after sensing that some people here didn't believe this. And even if I misconstrued your all's comments (sorry about that), it still doesn't change the fact that many people live in a fantasy world when it comes to this stuff, invariably to their own detriment. This is made worse when these guys are out there buying guns thinking they're also bulletproof vests, or taking a couple of amateur karate classes thinking they're also invincibility classes.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 25, 2012 | 1:01 p.m.

Jon: No, I don't agree that many people live in a fantasy world when it comes to this stuff.

I think the only fantasy is your fantasy. Your stereotypes are...stereotypes.

Most folks with guns don't appreciate those who brag about what they are gonna do. Such behaviors feed stereotypes which anti-gun types use to hype their agenda. Gun folks with straight heads on their shoulders are fully aware of the dangers inherent in facing an intruder who, perhaps, also possess a gun. And they get themselves trained for the most part, via either a class, or self-taught, or just thinking about a "plan" in the quiet of their couch or bed.

It's just like having a fire plan.

Even those who "brag" make some good points simply by bragging or posturing. Many of us out here want criminals to know we are damned serious about protecting our homes, selves, and loved-ones....serious enuf to state publicly that we will do anything, up-to-and-including the use of any necessary lethal force, to stop a direct and lethal threat. Sure, some folks get all postured and puffed up, but in spite of what they say and knowing how they say it, would YOU test them by a direct threat on their homes and lives by trying to gain entry or via a weapon-aided assault?

Me neither.

You extrapolate and stereotype too much on this issue, which is uncharacteristic.

PS: You say, "The legality of guns are a political non-issue to me." Well, it should be and, given the current arguments about gun-control, just saying it's a non-issue tells me it IS an issue with you.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble January 25, 2012 | 4:07 p.m.

This story does a good job of covering the range of scenarios that can connect to a law like this one. Most of the cases sound justifiable, but the last one is troubling. Assuming the facts presented are the essential ones, the castle policy should not give one the right to kill someone if the situation has already been taken control of.

If the scenario is ambiguous - someone's in your house, you don't know if they're armed or how ill their intent is - it's easy to defer to the judgment of the person whose home is being invaded. But if the ambiguity is cleared up *and* you have an unarmed and outnumbered criminal no longer posing an immediate threat to your safety, from that point on it's a matter for the police. If you have successfully defended yourself, it's not your job to then administer capital punishment to a now-helpless person (assuming they don't threaten you again).

Easy for me to say, I know. But if we have, or want, a society that values life, rehabilitation, correction, and mercy - as opposed to just thoughtless punishment - it seems important to aspire to something, not just function at survival level.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 25, 2012 | 7:07 p.m.

About Jon - "You extrapolate and stereotype too much on this issue, which is uncharacteristic." In my opinion he does it on every issue. I'm restricted to this: " This is made worse when these guys are out there buying guns thinking they're also bulletproof vests, or taking a couple of amateur karate classes thinking they're also invincibility classes." and then "form a militia," These are his dreams and have no bearing on the truth of the matter.

Truth of the matter is the "right to carry" legislation that has consistently reduced armed crime ,may be more effective because of the "bragging rights" given to the innocent civilian. The ignorant criminal (or potential criminal) can never tell for sure whether his victim is "innocent" or not.

This, of course, involves human nature. I am forced to end, again with the assertion that those of our left, having nothing else, have to ignore "human nature" in all their supposed remedies for Americans (as always)in the suffering, whole.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 26, 2012 | 1:06 a.m.

Michael: "No, I don't agree that many people live in a fantasy world when it comes to this stuff.

I think the only fantasy is your fantasy. Your stereotypes are...stereotypes."

We live in a fantasy world when it comes to a lot things, actually, because our brains do weird stuff. What you're calling stereotypes are actually well-documented, common psychological phenomena and cognitive illusions.

-The criteria we use to view and judge ourselves is very different from the criteria we use to view and judge others:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actor%E2%80...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introspecti...
Using the example in one of the articles:
Someone else trips over a rock: "Man, that guy is an idiot."
You trip over a rock: "Man, some idiot put a rock there."

-We also tend to overestimate our abilities:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_il...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bias_blind_...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusory_su...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusion_of...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimism_bi...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valence_eff...
As it relates to this discussion, one result of this is that we don't care too much about facts. Even if 99.99% of all attempts to stop a home invasion failed miserably, we still think we would be able to stop the next one if it happened to us. "Those lowlifes broke into that old lady's house, beat her up, and took away her stuff, but I wanna see them try to pull the same stunt at my house. No siree, I'll sure show 'em who's boss."

-We are bad at both remembering and predicting the impact of our emotions on our decisions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy_gap...
As it relates to this discussion, this means that the great self-defense strategy you just cooked up all calm and collected probably does not factor in the terror, shaking, sweating, and barrage of "I don't wanna die!" thoughts you'll have once it's time to put it in practice.

-We prefer to avoid losses than to acquire gains, and we don't like to abandon projects we invested in even if they're a lost cause:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversi...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost_f...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irrational_...
As it relates to this discussion, this means that instead of fleeing as quickly as possible (aka "acquire" a longer life), we might be tempted to stick around and fight, both because we don't want to lose our stuff, and also because we want to make sure that gun we bought wasn't a waste of money. "I dropped a couple of thousand on this baby right here. No way I'm running away without firing a few rounds at those scumbags."

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 26, 2012 | 1:48 a.m.

Michael: "Many of us out here want criminals to know we are damned serious about protecting our homes, selves, and loved-ones....serious enuf to state publicly that we will do anything, up-to-and-including the use of any necessary lethal force, to stop a direct and lethal threat. Sure, some folks get all postured and puffed up, but in spite of what they say and knowing how they say it, would YOU test them by a direct threat on their homes and lives by trying to gain entry or via a weapon-aided assault?"

That's another good example of what I'm talking about. In the event of a home invasion, your safest bet is to run away and call for help. But, based on that paragraph it doesn't sound like you've considered fleeing as an option. So, what's more important, your life or your pride? I'm sure your gallantry will get some mention in your obituary/eulogy/epitaph, but I'm also sure your loved ones would rather enjoy your presence than merely remember it.

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-t...

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 26, 2012 | 8:43 a.m.

After UK had deemed private ownership of firearms illegal, a farmer, Tony Martin shot two burglars, killing one, with his shotgun. Tony was sentenced to life in prison for murder.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Martin...

Originally saw this in an NRA magazine, It stated Tony, while in prison had to be kept in isolation, as had been attacked repeatedly by the real criminals. A UK policeman was quoted as stating, "In USA they have a thing about "private property rights". I'm glad we don't have that here!". Since outlawing private ownership of firearms in UK, "home invasions" have skyrocketed. Human nature?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 26, 2012 | 9:18 a.m.

Well, I guess yer right, Jon.

I've destroyed all my plans in the event of a house fire. The plans are worthless since all we'll do is run around the house waving our hands and pee our pants.

Planning is stupid and has no bearing on our fate. We'll just overestimate our abilities and our emotions cannot be controlled.

Hopeless, I say.

PS: In an effort to save my own skin and be consistent with Jon's statistics for survival, I'm gonna run if there ever is an invasion in my home. I sure hope my wife and toddler grandkids can keep up.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 26, 2012 | 11:09 a.m.

Jonathan, what a ridiculous comment. Flee in the face of a possibily armed intruder? What about those who can't flee? What about the mother or father whose escape route doesn't run by the baby's crib? What if the intruder is between me and the phone and I don't have my cell phone or car keys on me? What about the handicapped who can't escape anywhere but the front door the intruder came in?

A person I know is part of a group that puts together a daily news clipping and editorial service for those with a libertarian bent, and there is almost always a story every day about someone protecting themselves, their family, or business with a legal firearm. Here's today's story:

http://www.kmbc.com/r/30282857/detail.ht...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 26, 2012 | 11:27 a.m.

JohnS: Many folks subscribe to the "flee" instinct as a first resort. Only half of the fight/flight genes are expressed.

You just have to make sure you aren't last when running away.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 26, 2012 | 1:34 p.m.

The old "I don't need to outrun the mountain lion/bear/door to door salesman, I just need to outrun you" punchline.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 26, 2012 | 2:01 p.m.

JohnS: Yep.

I am in agreement with your 11:09 post completely.

For most of us, running away is the cowardly option.

Especially if we have adequate means to fight back and protect. Leaving the choice of life/death to a criminal is simply not an option I wish to consider.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor January 26, 2012 | 2:47 p.m.

John beat me to it. I was going to advise Michael that he didn't need to outrun the bad guys, just his toddler grandkids... Kumbaya...

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 26, 2012 | 10:32 p.m.

I guess no one clicked on the last link I posted, but that’s understandable since I posted several right before it. Here it is again:

http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-t...

It’s a pretty interesting read in my book. Onto some of the questions/comments/accusations:

Michael: "I'm gonna run if there ever is an invasion in my home. I sure hope my wife and toddler grandkids can keep up."

The idea is that you AND your family flee. Just like you would discuss with your family what to do in the event of a fire, the same is true about a home invasion. When the time comes, everyone in the house should know what to do. "You guys go, I'll be the hero" is not a plan.

John: "Flee in the face of a possibily armed intruder?"

Uh, yeah? Why would you NOT flee if he's armed, and why would you wait to check? "Hmmn, I think I smell mustard gas, but it would be silly to leave the area before making sure. The chemical burns only take a few hours to show up anyway, so there's no harm in waiting."

"What about those who can't flee? [...]"

Again, the problem is not guns; the problem is what people think the guns are for. Michael said earlier, "Many of us out here want criminals to know we are damned serious about protecting our homes, selves, and loved-ones..."

First off, protecting your home is just dumb. If you think gizmos are something worth risking your life for, you need to re-examine your priorities. That said, protecting your loved ones and yourself IS important, which is why it's in your best interest to escape (as in, all of you). That's what the gun is for. If you don't have an escape route, you make one, but escape should be the goal at all times. You don't barricade yourself behind the couch and stand your ground out of some misguided sense of duty to your belongings, like Michael's paragraph suggested. Self-defense is first and foremost about avoiding violence, but if violence is unavoidable, your next goal is to avoid/minimize injury.

Michael: "For most of us, running away is the cowardly option."

And like I said before, most of us live in a fantasy world. Dying for your loved ones is honorable. Dying for your ego is just stupid. If you were indeed "damned serious" about protecting yourself and your loved ones, you would pay attention to the statistics and do what is safest/least dangerous for all of you. If you don't want to escape because you find it cowardly, that's your prerogative, but at least be honest and admit that this isn't just about protecting your family; protecting your ego is a huge part of it too.

But really, that article says about the same stuff I've been saying here, except that it's well-written. I’m not just making this stuff up to be argumentative.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 27, 2012 | 12:29 a.m.

Jon says, "You don't barricade yourself behind the couch and stand your ground out of some misguided sense of duty to your belongings"
_____________________

If you think this is what it's all about tactically, it's no wonder you don't understand home-, family-, and self-defense. You might want to accept some good training and at least get on the same wavelength of understanding what to do. At that point, we can have a discussion (heck, you won't even have to agree), but for now what you are spouting is naive fantasy. Tactically, *you* are the one thinking like what you believe is a rootin-tootin, gun-totin', puffed up "cowboy".

The rest of us....aren't.

If you saw a woman you did not know being raped, and you had a gun....what would you do?

Just curious.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 27, 2012 | 6:15 a.m.

I'm not talking about tactics. I'm talking about your refusal to escape because "it's the cowardly option." Barricading yourself behind the couch was merely my way of illustrating how easily bad decisions can get us killed. Apparently, avoiding a bruised ego is more important than being alive. (Speaking of which, you should read the link I posted above on loss aversion)

Perhaps I should accept some blame for not making the point clear enough, but still, even if I had wanted you to interpret that sentence literally, my (actual) argument still stands. Go to any law-enforcement or self-defense website and tell me how many of them think it's a smart move to defend your belongings. Also tell me how many of them discourage running away because it's cowardly.

I have a huge ego myself, as you've probably noticed already. I hate to lose and I hate to admit defeat. I've been robbed at knifepoint (twice) and hated myself afterwards--I didn't stand up for myself, I didn't bust out some tough-guy karate moves and showed 'em who's boss, I let the bad guys get away with it, yadda yadda yadda. If someone broke into my apartment, I would also consider myself a coward for running away. None of that matters. If you want to live and you still have the choice, not fighting is always better than fighting.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 27, 2012 | 7:10 a.m.

As for what I would do if I saw a woman being raped and I had a gun, I would first call the police if there was phone reasonably nearby. Beyond that, I have no idea. Without the help of Google, however, here are some of the things I would consider important (in no particular order):

-My familiarity with the gun, aka am I driving my car or a rental I picked up 5 minutes ago?
-Whether or not the sight is calibrated.
-Whether or not the gun is in good condition overall.
-My gun skills, i.e. aim
-Distance between them and me.
-Location/orientation of rapist with respect to the victim and myself.
-Movement, aka is she struggling or is she bound/sedated?, aka is he a stationary-enough target?
-Overall surroundings (public/secluded/alley/warehouse/hotel room/etc.)
-Scene specifics/clutter/materials, aka even if I have a clear shot could it ricochet?
-Is he armed?
-Could I reasonably sneak up on him and subdue him some other way?
-Could I reasonably get him to just back off with my presence alone?

Based on the above, I'm inclined to think that pulling the trigger would be a bad idea.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 27, 2012 | 8:30 a.m.

With Jonathon as her protector, the lady could expect the rapist to phone his buddies and make an all night party out of her.

The robbery at knife point is a good example of when not to physically attempt to preserve your belongings, but is not the "home invasion" type of situation you have continually described. It seems, perhaps, you sit in your dark cubical and contrive situations much as some love to stack numbers to show they know about our economy. Their work is about human beings, but they can never include "human nature" in their computations.

Is there not some way you could accept the proven fact that to be able to commit any crime with no concern for retaliation only increases the occurrence of the crime? If everyone "ran" as you recommend when the thieves arrive at the home, there would soon be a thief at the door every night. Human nature. You have been robbed twice?

Your sage comments again, are not new. Every communist controlled nation expects it's people to accept the terror included within their environment and lift not a finger to stop it.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 27, 2012 | 8:38 a.m.

Jon:

Ok. I just wanted to know if there was a situation where you would run towards danger or run from danger. I failed to consider that you would want to "think about it" first. But, you answered my question. Thanks.

Not that your answer would affect me-and-mine. Thank goodness.

PS: I did read your article....completely. Basically, it was a good one. Right up to the point where it argued that if someone had my child at gun point and wanted me to submit also, it was ok if I escaped since the guy was going to kill my child anyway with that kind of threat.

Hell, I may as well stick around and try aggression, even with my own life at risk, because if I escape without my child, I'll eventually be blowing my brains out anyway.

The very heart of "honor" IS ego.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 27, 2012 | 10:05 a.m.

Jonathan, are you a parent? I think I asked you before, but I apologize for not remembering the answer. If someone broke into my house while the kids were there, escape would be the last thing on my mind unless they were right with me and ready to run. I would get seriously mama bear on any jackwagon who was in my house and between the kids and me. I'm sorry that may not jibe with the link you posted, which I had read previously, but that's the way I think I would respond. Yeah, they may be trespassing looking for a TV or something else to hock, but I'm not going to take that chance with my kids' lives.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 27, 2012 | 10:45 p.m.

frank: "The robbery at knife point is a good example of when not to physically attempt to preserve your belongings, but is not the "home invasion" type of situation you have continually described."
They're not the same type of situation, because a home invasion is way worse. I was lucky that the people who robbed me only wanted my wallet. They could have just as easily told me "get in the car." Someone who just wants your wallet takes it and leaves, whereas someone who drags you somewhere else first wants more than money. That's precisely what a home invasion is, except that they don't even have to worry about moving you anywhere.
"It seems, perhaps, you sit in your dark cubical and contrive situations much as some love to stack numbers to show they know about our economy. Their work is about human beings, but they can never include "human nature" in their computations."
"Contrived" means fabricated, false, exaggerated, etc., which you know is not the case here if you follow the news at all. You could argue that I'm exaggerating given that the average home invasion probably doesn't end as badly as what I'm describing, but when your life is in danger, it's beyond stupid to assume that you're facing amateurs or someone who is "probably not that evil." This isn't a mistake you want to learn from. There are times when following your instincts is a good idea, and this is not one of them.
"Is there not some way you could accept the proven fact that to be able to commit any crime with no concern for retaliation only increases the occurrence of the crime? If everyone "ran" as you recommend when the thieves arrive at the home, there would soon be a thief at the door every night."
Yeah, how ignorant of me to suggest that murder might be worse than theft, right? To be honest, I'd be ok with a spike in burglaries if it meant fewer homicides and rapes. That's just me though.
Either way, the CPD is hiring right now. If you want to fight bad guys, there's your opportunity. You get training, equipment, money, AND the pleasure of embarking upon your righteous crusade. Even if you don't meet the entrance requirements, you can always buy a gun and moonlight as a vigilante.
And if joining the police force sounds like too much to you, you're not as serious about fighting crime as you claim. So yeah, stop pretending that your argument has anything to do with serving justice and punishing evil. This is all about avoiding hurt feelings.
"Your sage comments again, are not new. Every communist controlled nation expects its people to accept the terror included within their environment and lift not a finger to stop it."
Funny that apparently I'm the one who doesn't understand human nature, yet you're the one injecting partisan politics into every conversation as if the laws of the universe consist of political jargon. You do realize that theft and homicide have been around for a lot longer than communism, right?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 27, 2012 | 11:19 p.m.

You do realize that theft and homicide have been around for a lot longer than communism, right?
_____________________

Hmmmm.

On second thought, I wonder if that's true?

Once "living groups" were formed long ago.....

I guess the only available evidence is primitive, isolated groups in places like New Guinea.

Are they capitalists?
____________

PS: Brug's spokesperson, Mam Uth Tusk, stated, "Brug is PO'ed at banker Frug for loaning him 24 ibex hamhocks at 20.8% APR interest. Frug is getting too rich at others' expense. Brug will start an OCCUPYCAVE movement on the morrow.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 27, 2012 | 11:58 p.m.

"Ok. I just wanted to know if there was a situation where you would run towards danger or run from danger. I failed to consider that you would want to "think about it" first. But, you answered my question. Thanks."

Thinking is bad? Sorry to be so cowardly as to not want to make a stupid mistake and hurt the victim even more. I'm sure she'd thank me for the act of chivalry regardless, even if I jumped in guns blazin' and accidentally shot her in the process. "You're sure welcome, ma'am, sorry about the shrapnel." (Maybe the military folks around here could help with this one: Would a (Scout) Sniper hesitate to shoot a moving target surrounded by hostages? Or would he not "think about it" first?)

Kinda like all those cowards standing around waiting for the ambulance while the guy whose throat just collapsed suffocates to death. A brave person would just grab any quasi-sharp object nearby and perform a tracheotomy on the spot. It doesn't matter if he has no medical training whatsoever, and it doesn't matter that the victim is now drowning in his own blood. All that matters is that someone had the courage to act on impulse, no matter his inexperience and lack of judgment. That's bravery right there.

Yeah, I went way overboard with the sarcasm there, so in case the point was lost, all I'm saying is that it's possible to think we're helping and be wrong. It's important to help, but it's also important to know your limitations. Going back to the original question, no, this doesn't mean I wouldn't help her, it means that I would be hesitant to trust my gut instinct.

"PS: I did read your article....completely. Basically, it was a good one. Right up to the point where it argued that if someone had my child at gun point and wanted me to submit also, it was ok if I escaped since the guy was going to kill my child anyway with that kind of threat.

Hell, I may as well stick around and try aggression, even with my own life at risk, because if I escape without my child, I'll eventually be blowing my brains out anyway."

Remember that in this scenario they already have your child and there's no ace up your sleeve; in fact, you don't have a hand at all. With that in mind, his point wasn't that leaving your child behind is a good thing. Rather, leaving your child behind, as horrible as that would be, is STILL better than acceding to their demands. As in, do whatever you feel is best for you and your family, EXCEPT that.

"The very heart of "honor" IS ego."

And a lot of people die needlessly because of a misguided sense of "honor." You're much more useful to your family alive.

John: No, I don't have kids, but I understand your concerns. Like I explained above, though, the author's argument is not "abandon your kids," but rather "do NOT do as you're told," aka abandoning your kids would be preferable to obeying their orders.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 28, 2012 | 12:44 a.m.

Michael: "Hmmmm.

On second thought, I wonder if that's true?

Once "living groups" were formed long ago.....

I guess the only available evidence is primitive, isolated groups in places like New Guinea.

Are they capitalists?"
________________________________________

Well, a lot of people think of communism as socialism^2. Jesus was a socialist, therefore communism = Jesus^2 = awesome. In other words, frank's beef with communism isn't communism itself so much as the demonstrably crazy people who popularized it, e.g. Marx, Stalin, Lenin, etc., kinda like what happened with the swastika.

So, let me rephrase: "Theft and homicide have been around for a lot longer than frank's distorted, chronologically negligible version of communism," ...or something like that.

(this isn't a serious post, btw. I just can't sleep <_<)

_____________________
"PS: Brug's spokesperson, Mam Uth Tusk, stated, "Brug is PO'ed at banker Frug for loaning him 24 ibex hamhocks at 20.8% APR interest. Frug is getting too rich at others' expense. Brug will start an OCCUPYCAVE movement on the morrow."
_____________________

I'll admit, I chuckled. :P

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 28, 2012 | 4:09 a.m.

I haven't read through all of this, but very often, just having a gun in a home invasion or other violent situation can make the perp back down or leave. Seldom do people have to use the gun.

DK

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking January 28, 2012 | 6:03 a.m.

It also should be said that polls of violent criminals in prison show that what a robber or rapist fears most is not police or punishment - it is an armed victim.

DK

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 28, 2012 | 6:39 a.m.

"Seldom do people have to use the gun." That's probably true. Also, some career burglars deliberately operate unarmed*, in part because, if caught in the act, being armed could result in a stiffer sentence.

However, advice to the armed home (apartment) dweller is the same as for law enforcement officers: If you employ a weapon, you must be prepared to USE it. If not, forget it. This doesn't mean you must use it - circumstances dictate that - but you must be mentally and physically prepared to use it.

*-They also try to pick residences that are unoccupied, to avoid confrontations. Some people are stupid enough to advertise their absence: [newspaper society page] "John and Jane Blowhard left for a second honeymoon in Bora Bora and will be gone for a month."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 28, 2012 | 9:00 a.m.

Jon: Rather, leaving your child behind, as horrible as that would be, is STILL better than acceding to their demands.
_________________

No. There is another choice. I do not have to leave the child behind and I do not have to submit to their demands. I can attack. I'll most likely lose....everything....under these circumstances because I have no advantage of surprise. It's the best of no best solutions because (1) submitting kills us both with no chance whatsoever and (2) leaving kills us both because my child dies at another's hand and I die by my own. I cannot fathom living after such abject failure of a father's duty. There is no chance I would be more useful to my family after committing such a cowardly act. I would not be useful even to me.

As for my scenario about the rape, you failed because you thought too long about things you should already have thought about. Things like:

My familiarity with the gun
Whether or not the sight is calibrated.
Whether or not the gun is in good condition overall.
My gun skills, i.e. aim
Accurate recognition of "what's going on".

INO, you failed to train yourself or get trained. You have no plan, and that makes you unreliable.

As for dying needlessly with a sense of misguided honor, "needlessly" and "misguided" are not decisions you get to make in any meaningful way....except for yourself and your own actions. No one else counts. Such "valuations" from afar have merit only to those who wish to "tsk-tsk".

My post on Brug was not serious, either. I think the available data (limited, to be sure) suggests that early human groups existed in some quasi-combination of capitalism/communism/socialism where much was shared, yet status played a significant role. Whatever the case, I couldn't have tolerated the biting insects.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 28, 2012 | 10:18 a.m.

With a shotgun there's nothing to worry about as far as sights are concerned. Point and shoot. Somebody, above, mentioned "blowing somebody's head off with a shotgun." Graphic, but not very practical - unless only a head is exposed. Civilian or military, go for a shot to the torso. Larger target.

The noise of a 12 gage shotgun discharged in a confined space is sufficient to cause both fear and disorientation. A shooter needs to be aware of that.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 28, 2012 | 11:20 a.m.

Jon - "(this isn't a serious post, btw. I just can't sleep <_<)". I can only hope he is referring to this whole "smear".

His posts read like those of a seasoned "con man". He takes one in, out, about and everywhere except to the point he cannot make, which in my recollection is always one in opposition to conservatism and/or capitalism.

"Well, a lot of people think of communism as socialism". Jon, communism IS socialism! I thought you were familiar with Marx and Engels "works". "frank's beef with communism isn't communism itself so much as the demonstrably crazy people who popularized it,". This makes him the second youth (the first stated he was a 27 year old biology grad student)to have similarly related to me that "nothing was wrong with communism of the USSR, they just had the wrong people running it". Next, Jon will be telling us, "what this country needs is a good Dictator!"

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 28, 2012 | 1:48 p.m.

Michael: "No. There is another choice. I do not have to leave the child behind and I do not have to submit to their demands. I can attack. "

Yes, you can. That's what the article says too.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 28, 2012 | 2:00 p.m.

Ellis: "-They also try to pick residences that are unoccupied, to avoid confrontations."

I'm talking about home invasions, not burglaries. Yes, burglars enter unoccupied homes to take stuff. A home invasion, on the other hand, by definition involves entering an occupied residence with violent intent; stealing is just icing on the cake, not the goal itself.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 28, 2012 | 3:00 p.m.

Michael: “It's the best of no best solutions because (1) submitting kills us both with no chance whatsoever and (2) leaving kills us both because my child dies at another's hand and I die by my own. I cannot fathom living after such abject failure of a father's duty. There is no chance I would be more useful to my family after committing such a cowardly act. I would not be useful even to me.”

Like I said earlier, go ahead and fight, but from a logical point of view, options 1 and 2 are not equal. If the guy was going to kill your kid, he would have done it with or without you there. If you’re “on the run” (in quotes because it’s not just fleeing, it’s leaving for the purpose of getting help), he has to act faster than he would have had to otherwise. If he wasn’t planning to kill anyone, it would be stupid of him to do it now out of “revenge;” he’ll get a much tougher sentence if/once he gets caught. If he planned it all along, however, the police now have more information about him than if he had killed you both.

I probably couldn’t do it either, and I’d kill myself afterwards too if such a thing happened. But, like the author said, if you only have those two options (not including fighting for the sake of argument), option 2 is “better” in the grand scheme of things. The net result is both of you die. In case 1 you both die at about the same time, in case 2 you die later, but give valuable information to the police.

“As for my scenario about the rape, you failed because you thought too long about things you should already have thought about. Things like:”

Of course I would know beforehand a lot of those things. I just listed them because they’re important regardless. If I had a gun but didn’t know how to use it, shooting’s a bad idea.

“INO, you failed to train yourself or get trained. You have no plan, and that makes you unreliable.”

Maybe I bought it just a couple of weeks ago and am in the process of training? Maybe I was on my way to the shooting range right then to do just that? What’s your plan for when you happen to come across a woman being raped? What’s your plan for when someone needs an emergency tracheotomy? Are you gonna be unreliable and just wait for the ambulance, or are you going to get yourself an MD and carry a tracheotomy kit in your book bag?

“As for dying needlessly with a sense of misguided honor, "needlessly" and "misguided" are not decisions you get to make in any meaningful way....except for yourself and your own actions.”

Needless = without need = not necessary. As in, if all of you could have made it out alive, but you chose to die instead, you died needlessly. Obviously this requires one to be aware that the option is there, which is tough, but it’s tough precisely because so many people think there’s “honor” in dying needlessly. The best option is the one that saves the most lives, not the one that saves the most face.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 28, 2012 | 8:42 p.m.

Jon: But, like the author said, if you only have those two options (not including fighting for the sake of argument), option 2 is “better” in the grand scheme of things.

No, option 2 is not better. Rather, it is worthless. It is a solution dreamed up in an ivory tower under the guise of "logic", and has no practical application that is worthwhile to me.
________________

Jon: “Maybe I bought it just a couple of weeks ago and am in the process of training? Maybe I was on my way to the shooting range right then to do just that?”

I'm still trying to get over the notion that you can rent a gun (1/27/2012, 7:10 am). Where?
_____________________

I know what I would do if I saw a woman raped. You have to figure out your own strategy which, hopefully, does not include thinking about it for 10 minutes or so.

I also know how to do a field trach.
________________________

Jon: The best option is the one that saves the most lives, not the one that saves the most face.

Problem is, you have to think about it too long. Your propensity for thoughtful evaluation in an emergency makes you unreliable. In the particular instance where you, your family, or someone you don't know needs IMMEDIATE help, else they die or are horribly hurt, you either act knowledgeably through prior planning...or you run away. Sitting down in the David position and evaluating the statistics and logic of various possible actions is "running away" and of no good to the victim. Logic is not a viable input in an emergency, unless that logic was exercised during prior training and prior thinking.

Indeed, I believe there are specific circumstances where a person should be held as civilly negligent for NOT acting. Not criminally, tho.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 28, 2012 | 10:28 p.m.

Should this conversation help Jonathan sleep? What can we expect when he awakens?

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 29, 2012 | 1:44 a.m.

"No, option 2 is not better. Rather, it is worthless. It is a solution dreamed up in an ivory tower under the guise of "logic", and has no practical application that is worthwhile to me."

Care to explain why? Otherwise, you just said a whole lot of nothing, choosing instead to disagree for the sake of disagreeing. What you said wasn't even an argument.

"I'm still trying to get over the notion that you can rent a gun (1/27/2012, 7:10 am). Where?"

Uh, read what I said? Here it is again:

"aka am I driving my car or a rental I picked up 5 minutes ago?"

Notice the words "driving" and "car." That was an analogy to point out that it's not enough to simply know how to shoot a gun (or drive a car) if you don't have a "feel" for the item.

And that wasn't an argument either. You basically just tried to call me stupid based on your misunderstanding of an irrelevant detail in one of my posts.

"I know what I would do if I saw a woman raped. You have to figure out your own strategy which, hopefully, does not include thinking about it for 10 minutes or so.

I also know how to do a field trach."

Wow. So, I guess that now we can just say stuff, provide no evidence, and call it a rebuttal? If that's the case, I also know what I would do if I saw a woman raped; I just lied to test you. I'm also better at performing field trachs than you. And...I can subdue an armed robber instantly with my expert knowledge of human pressure points and covert ops training. Therefore, I win?

p.s. "Figure out your own strategy" is terrible advice, because this isn't about personal preference, it's about results. We're not in art class.

"Problem is, you have to think about it too long. Your propensity for thoughtful evaluation in an emergency makes you unreliable. In the particular instance where you, your family, or someone you don't know needs IMMEDIATE help, else they die or are horribly hurt, you either act knowledgeably through prior planning...or you run away. Sitting down in the David position and evaluating the statistics and logic of various possible actions is "running away" and of no good to the victim. Logic is not a viable input in an emergency, unless that logic was exercised during prior training and prior thinking."

Finally, an argument. Yes, this is true, but then again, I never disagreed. I said from the beginning that training is essential, because not training is what leads people to freeze and make bad decisions. But, it's still important to know one's limitations, because you're not going to be able to prepare for every possible emergency out there. Regardless, thinking is still essential, as there aren't any one-size-fits-all answers out there. A particular strategy may work wonders in one situation and fail miserably in another, even if we're talking about the same event (say, stopping a rape).

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 29, 2012 | 5:18 a.m.

Well now I'm curious. When someone enters your home uninvited and without knocking, how do you KNOW whether it's an "invader" or a burglar? Does the person(s) wear a sign that identifies their intent? They do? Well, that's novel.

Oh, perhaps the person(s) phones you in advance of their arrival and explains their intended actions. Maybe then there would be time to notify law enforcement.

Or, the invader/burglar having already entered your domicile, you could sit him/her/them down on your best furniture, fix some coffee, and calmly and rationally discuss with them why they really should leave. I wonder how that would work out?

A microgram of prior planning is worth more than a metric ton of theorizing, and reality can be far more complicated and messy than theory, although there are those with messy theories.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 29, 2012 | 9:01 a.m.

Jon: Oh, for heaven's sake. Running away is NOT an option for me. That option is too horrible for contemplation. I will not abandon my child under ANY circumstances. Therefore, option 2 (running away) does not exist for me.

Is that sufficient explanation for you? Or do I need it notarized?
_______________________

Mea culpa on your rental gun/car sentence.
______________________

No, I won't call you stupid. That would get me banned. I do, however, believe you are unreliable and would not want you near in the event of emergency.
______________________

I have no intention of discussing my responses to a rape or trach with you. You've already showed a propensity for second-guessing, so why should I add that to the conversation? You have to decide for yourself what your response is; I can't help you because I'm not you. If you think that's a cop-out...too bad.

Besides, my original question about the rape scenario concerned running towards or running away, not specifically what would be done. I happen to know what I would do because I've done similar things, several times, in my life; in all cases so far, I've run towards and acted appropriately once I got there.

Because I planned.

I would not want you near. Sorry dude, but unless you intend to supervise those who act, emergencies need people who act...not contemplate.
________________________

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 29, 2012 | 10:31 a.m.

Folks having lifted automobiles, etc. so accident victims could escape have stated, they never even thought about the act, they just knew it had to be done, then accomplished the "impossible".

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 29, 2012 | 9:14 p.m.

Ellis: When someone enters uninvited and you're there, you have to assume it's a home invasion. Granted, there are plenty of stupid criminals out there, but like I said earlier, a burglar makes sure no one's home before breaking in. The corollary to that is that a burglar also leaves if you're there, because he doesn't want to kill (or get killed) to get your stuff. If the intruder sticks around after being made aware of your presence, however, that's bad news.

Prior planning is extremely important, but you need to have an escape plan, not a defend-your-property plan. Furthermore, you need to prepare for the worst. Even if you've stashed guns and ammo in every square foot of your house, you should not assume you'll have the luxury of a weapon.

Michael: Contrary to what you think, I don't argue for the sake of arguing. If I've shown a propensity for second-guessing, it's because a lot of people have bad opinions, aka the evidence proves them wrong. You said somewhere else that I like to "dig up stuff," and you're absolutely right. I do that precisely because opinions are worthless if the facts say otherwise.

So yeah, I don't care if you explain your strategy or not, "figure it out for yourself" is bad advice regardless. Results matter, and if the experts say your strategy is bad, then your strategy is bad. After all, it's possible that what worked for you before might've been pure luck, same with the "act, don't contemplate" mantra. (Note that "act" by itself also includes such advice as "do as you're told," which we’ve agreed is a bad idea.)

frank: Yes, I've heard these stories too and it's amazing what the body can do under stress. Regardless, if you can, you should still call 911 (aka that dreaded word "think") as soon as it's safe to do so. You should also recognize that sometimes the only safe time to call is BEFORE you try to help.

Say you're faced with lifting a car because someone is trapped. Well, the adrenaline rush might give you superhuman strength, but it doesn't make your bones indestructible--if you don't believe me, go ask anyone who's performed these feats and ended up with broken backs, arms, legs, etc. So, imagine what would happen if your spine snapped in half before the other person got out. Not only would you not get another chance to help, you might not even be able to dial 911 anymore, aka you're both screwed now.

p.s. "Dial 911" does not mean "have a long conversation with dispatch while the other person dies." Ideally you would give them as much information as you can, but obviously there are times when that's not possible. Therefore, your emergency preparations should also include mastering the art of relaying useful information quickly and accurately. In the car-lifting scenario, an address and the word "ambulance" alone would be a huge help. Hell, merely letting the phone ring would be better than foregoing the phone call in favor of reacting faster.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 29, 2012 | 10:26 p.m.

Jon, except in games of equal chance, I do not believe in luck. I do not say "Good luck" to someone requiring a skill.

That's not to say that things can't go awry. But, with planning and thinking about stuff, the probability that things will spin out of control can be reduced or at least controlled (partially or completely). So far in my life, certain events have not spun out of control, although there was that possibility. But, with prior planning and training, they didn't.
___________________

You say, "Furthermore, you need to prepare for the worst".

Good. You've finally come around in this discussion.
____________________

"Figure it out for yourself" is not bad advice. It's advice that acknowledges that you are you and I am me. We are different. Figuring it out for yourself certainly includes thinking about stuff and personal action planning, but mainly it involves making the decision to get trained by someone more qualified than self....training made-to-order for you and you alone. Telling you that you have to figure it out for yourself was neither flippant advice or a cop-out on my part; self-education is quite real, necessary, and smart.

I'm older now, and some of the things I've done in the past in emergencies can no longer be done in the same ways. I've had to adapt my thinking/actions to conform with my age. I'm pleased Missouri (and SCOTUS) finally acknowledged what I believe to be the REAL meaning of the 2nd Amendment and have allowed me to keep a legal, loaded gun with me more often. In the most extenuating of circumstances, guns are an equalizer....or at least they give a choice unavailable without one.

I'm pro-choice.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 30, 2012 | 1:58 a.m.

Michael: Like I said before, I'm big on evidence and facts, and the facts prove that luck plays a much bigger role in our lives than most of us know or admit. Evidence of this is our tendency to overestimate how much control we have over events:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illusion_of...

"You say, "Furthermore, you need to prepare for the worst".

Good. You've finally come around in this discussion."

Uh, what? I've been saying all along that escape should be your top priority, precisely because you might be unable to defend yourself against people who could well be psychopaths looking to pack your family into suitcases. I fail to see how I've "finally" come around when I've been saying this from the very beginning. It's you who said that you would defend your property in a life-or-death situation, which is not something that a person who prepared for the worst would say.

Also, it doesn't matter how different we may be. There are demonstrably good and bad ways to go about self-defense, irrespective of our personalities and life experiences. If you think that defending your property is a good idea when your life is on the line, you're wrong, regardless of who you are, where you're from, or what your dad taught you.

There's no training "made to order" either. There's good training and bad training, and the results are what determine the difference. Sure, there's some wiggle room in the sense that a throat punch could work as well as a groin kick when neutralizing an attacker, but regardless of which you do, if you don't run away after he goes down, you're making a mistake.

(And to appease anyone who might have painted me as an anti-gun, tree-hugging hippie by now, this also means that anyone who refuses to own a gun, citing Argument X as justification, is an idiot if the evidence proves Argument X wrong)

Finally,

"In the most extenuating of circumstances, guns are an equalizer....or at least they give a choice unavailable without one."

Guns are useful, but your calling them an "equalizer" tells me that you've been misinformed as to the purpose of a gun in a self-defense situation. Self-defense is about avoiding violence, or minimizing injury if violence is unavoidable. Your phrasing suggests that you think self-defense is about winning fights or exacting revenge, which is wrong. Ask any expert on the subject and they'll tell you the same thing. The gun is not there to lead you to victory; it's there to lead you to safety.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 30, 2012 | 8:58 a.m.

"Like I said before, I'm big on evidence and facts" As you have been told before, you seem to be "big" on the pastime of sitting, thinking, trying to present your erroneous, mostly liberal views on "life and how to live it" as reasonable ideas that we all should adhere to.

Your post, across the way, trying to show the fallacy of voting for Geo. Bush, because he seems like "someone I could have a beer with" is extremely shallow and inaccurate but gives you the opportunity to berate R's, conservatives and their faith.

First, I don't recall anyone having said that about Bush and would submit that if anyone did, they meant someone honest, sincere, knowledgeable and enjoyable,all the traits those you write we should expect of the others.

As previously stated, your posts become "long" because of the additional wording required to make them seem reasonable. They can also become boring as hell.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 30, 2012 | 9:08 p.m.

People respond to my posts. Most people ignore yours, even your fellow conservatives.

You regurgitate political buzzwords ad nauseam because it's your only way to pretend to know anything. My posts are long-winded, but they make a point. All your posts ever say is "lol ur a leftist/liberal/marxist/communist/socialist/stalinist."

I await your rebuttal, aka some combination of the terms leftist/liberal/marxist/communist/socialist/stalinist.

(Report Comment)
frank christian January 31, 2012 | 7:43 a.m.

JH - "People respond to my posts. Most people ignore yours, even your fellow conservatives."

My rebuttal: How many respond to your posts to agree?

My suggestion regarding the feats of super-human strength, occasionally noted from people with stature usually seen as totally inadequate, only because of desire of that human to help another, provoked three paragraphs of shoulda-woulda-coulda, along with a couple of what ifs. Another poster referred to these musings as "second guessing". Think about it.

You continue to berate me for my political contradictions to your political contradictions. That is what they are. You stop. I'll stop.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt January 31, 2012 | 11:48 p.m.

Apparently, the fact that a bunch of old(er), conservative forum regulars (predictably) agree with each other proves me wrong. lol

Notice how I've said repeatedly that facts and evidence are important. Notice that I've backed my arguments with facts and evidence. Notice the absence of facts and evidence in your all's posts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_...

Plus, you brought up those feats of superhuman strength to try to paint me as an idiot for wanting to "think." All I did with those three paragraphs of shoulda-woulda-coulda was prove you wrong. Sorry?

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 1, 2012 | 7:23 a.m.

Jon H. - You clearly prefer to ignore the definitions regarding "truth" and "proof".

"All your posts ever say is "lol ur a leftist/liberal/marxist/communist/socialist/stalinist."

This statement is not true and it proves nothing. Take a prescribed pill or something and get some sleep. You, then would not have to find someone to argue with, every night.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt February 1, 2012 | 5:10 p.m.

This can be resolved easily: Prove me wrong. (And I'm talking about arguments relevant to this topic, not the insults we're directing at each other.)

I've backed up my arguments with links and evidence, proving at least that I didn't pull this stuff out of nowhere.

You said I don't know the definition of "truth" or "proof." So, define those terms for me, and then prove me wrong, based on the correct definition of those terms.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 1, 2012 | 9:05 p.m.

Jon H. - "You said I don't know the definition of "truth" or "proof."

My post: "Jon H. - You clearly prefer to ignore the definitions regarding "truth" and "proof".

You apparently can't discern any difference between these sentences. You can and probably will continue (read yours about Santorum)but, you no longer have any relevance, for me, to matters around here. Truly sorry.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt February 1, 2012 | 11:07 p.m.

I'll take your ducking and weaving as a tacit admission of defeat.

This whole time you've been merely stating that you could easily prove me wrong. In fact, apparently it's so easy to prove I'm an idiot that you could've done it already if you hadn't spent all that time boasting about how easy it would be.

"I'm gonna waste a bunch of time insisting that you're not worth my time."

Excellent logic.

(Report Comment)

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