Professor Froward's Slough of Despond

Proud purveyor of flawed generalizations and vacuous tautologies.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Canard du jour

Some anti-self-defense activists claim that it's wrong to stop a burglar or a rapist by shooting him, because the law doesn't provide for the death penalty for those crimes.

Okay, what can you do?

Can you hit him over the head with a frying pan? No. That might kill him, and even if it doesn't, surely we don't see bailifs hitting convicts over the head with frying pans and then setting them loose, their debt to society having been paid. That would be cruel and unusual.

Can you hit him with anything else? Nope, same reason. Stab him? Of course not. Same again.

How about punching him? No. Our just laws wisely forbid corporal punishment, unless your cellmate inflicts it.

What can you do?

Can you lock him up for ten years, with a TV and a gym? As long as you let him out in five? Nope. That'd be kidnapping, if you do it; the state and the individual aren't the same at all, as far as the law is concerned. N.B.: The left wishes me to inform you that you are absolutely forbidden to imagine that the preceding statement might have any wider bearing on the issue at hand.

So. Let's leave aside the difference between a private citizen dealing with an intruder at 3:00 AM in his underwear, and a judge dealing with a handcuffed defendant in a courtroom full of cops. Let's not mention the difference between prevention and punishment. We won't even get into the fact that a mugger pointing a loaded gun at your head hasn't shot you yet, and so arguably hasn't committed any crime (you really think a lefty wouldn't argue that?).

There is absolutely nothing that you can conceivably do in self-defense which would qualify as a legal punishment under United States law. Nothing.

So let's not hear any more about how "it's not a capital offense". Neither is it a punching offense, nor a stabbing offense, nor a blow-to-the-head-with-a-rubber-mallet offense. Whatever it is. If he hits somebody over the head with a rubber mallet, he will not be punished by being struck on the head with a rubber mallet in return, nor even by having a nun throw chalk at him. He will not be spanked, slapped, or even yelled at.

If anything you might do in self-defense is forbidden, self-defense is forbidden. That's the meat of the matter. Are people who use the not-a-capital-offense argument sincerely opposed to self-defense in all cases, in principle? Probably not; they support self-defense in principle; it's just that they always seem to end up opposing every single real-world instance of self-defense (like anti-American "patriots", who approve of the US in principle, but just happen to find some particular localized reason to consider it worse than Hitler every time anything happens in the real world). Most of them think it's a valid argument, that's all. They're just confused. A "commendable excess of zeal", a lefty might call it.

But really. The argument is crap.