A Nation of Cowards, Abel, barack obama, Bible, Cain, Christianity, D/S/Cs, General George Patton, Ghandi, Glock 19, Heinlein' crazy years, Hurricane Katrina, Jeffrey Snyder, Judeo-Christian Tradition, killing, Martin Luther King, murder, Rodney King, S&W Bodyguard, Satan, Sati, self-defense
The second article of this series ended with this paragraph:
Let us assume that this article has, at least, inspired thought to the point you are willing to tentatively concede that an individual, inalienable right of self-defense is probably necessary. Or perhaps you’ve just been enraged to the point that you’re anxious to see what lunatic ravings I present in the next article. What then? The next installment of the series explores the legal, moral and spiritual issues revolving around taking the life of another, legally and illegally. I hope to see you again next Tuesday.
To find every article in this 2022 series, enter “guns and liberty 2022” in the SMM homepage search bar.
IS KILLING MORALLY JUSTIFIED?
This is an ancient argument about which countless volumes have been written. I can only touch on a few of the salient points, but sufficient for our purposes. Since Western culture is built on the foundation of the Judeo/Christian tradition, and America is, by and large, a Christian nation, which tolerates and for the most part embraces all faiths, I’ll focus on that tradition.
Disclaimer: I do not claim belief in Christianity is the only way to come to an understanding of the morality and social utility of laws against murder; I merely use that vehicle for analysis for the purposes of this article.
The Sixth Commandment, in the King James translation of the Bible (1769), states:
‘Thou shalt not kill’ (Exodus 20:13 / Deuteronomy 5:17).
It is the misunderstanding of this Commandment that has caused much confusion. The Bible–particularly in the Old Testament–makes clear, explicitly and implicitly, killing is both justified and unjustified, and unjustified killing is murder. In contemporary American law, the term for non-natural and non-accidental deaths is homicide, and all unattended deaths are investigated as homicides until they can be determine to be either justified, or unjustified: murder or some lesser shade such as manslaughter. More recent translations of the Bible use that word, the word closest to the correct translation of the Greek and Hebrew: “Thou shalt not murder.” It is this ancient distinction between justified and unjustified killing, between lawful and unlawful killing that is the foundation of our criminal justice system.
According to the Bible–Genesis 4:8–the first murder was committed by Cain, who killed his brother Abel, and lied about it to God. Considering God’s omniscience, not a good idea. For this, he was terribly punished, and remembered as not only a killer, but as a servant of Satan, as in 1 John 3:12:
Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
The distinction between killing and murder requires one additional, vital, understanding: each individual, each human life, has immeasurable value, and life may not be taken except under the narrow exceptions in God’s law, and man’s law so long as it faithfully reflects God’s law in embodying the importance and value of each life.
This is why the rule of law is so important and why those that understand these issues and distinctions express such great concern when our own government appears to trend toward tyranny. When the rule of law is no longer in effect, when there is a two—or more—tiered system of justice, when God’s law is ignored in favor of the whims of men, human life has only the value their whims accord it at any moment. The sanctity of life goes unrecognized by government and the value of the individual rests only in their transitory usefulness to the state.
Government has no conscience, no morality. It has only a drive to perpetuate itself, to grow ever larger and more powerful. This is why government is Godless and inherently hostile to religion and people of faith. No Democrat/Socialist/Communist can allow anyone to openly recognize anyone or anything greater than the state and its chosen, all too human, maximum leader, who is commonly spoken of in messianic terms.
Circa 2022, D/S/Cs continue to speak of Normal Americans as though they worship Donald Trump. This is projection from people who worship politician/saviors. Normal Americans think well of Donald Trump because of his policies, his love of America and Americans and his willingness to fight for them. They would feel the same about anyone who thought and acted as Trump–who is no longer President– did, but they absolutely do not think him an indispensable messiah. They are all too aware of his human failings.
It is important to realize too that killing animals is justified in the Christian tradition. While the Bible does not specifically state “thou shalt hunt,” there are many references that make clear hunting—and of course, killing game—is not only acceptable, but expected. For example, Genesis 27:30-31:
And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.
In the Judeo/Christian tradition, there is a very clear distinction between animals and man. Surely, no moral man mistreats animals or causes any animal unnecessary pain, and our laws rightly and harshly punish the wretches that harm animals. However, murder with its attendant penalties, is reserved for the unlawful and unjustified taking of human life. As God recognizes a fundamental difference between Man and animals, so too does the law.
The Bible also, in many ways, makes clear killing is anticipated by God and is permitted when justified. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 3 states:
To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven: …A time to kill, and a time to heal…
Yet the Bible also draws the distinction between Man and God in Matthew 5:21:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall KILL shall be in danger of the judgment:
Remember the Biblical difference between killing and murder. One may kill if justified, and face no penalty under the laws of Man or God, but murder is quite a different matter, invoking not only the potential destruction of the body by Man, but the eternal damnation of the soul.
And while the Bible enjoins believers to respect governmental authority because God allows it to exist, it makes clear each individual, because of his or her intrinsic worth, has not only the freedom to protect their most precious, God-given gift–-their life–-but the duty to protect it. This was, at one time, almost universally understood (see Jeffrey Snyder’s article A Nation of Cowards, for additional commentary on this issue; it’s very much worth your time if you missed the link in the first article).
Decades of relativistic thinking have, to greater and lesser degrees, and in some quarters, muddied what were once transparent philosophical waters.
In Jewish tradition, the word for murder is based on the concept of longing for or desiring, in other words, invoking passion, a passion to kill–-to murder–-in an unjustified manner and for unjustifiable reasons. Killing, however, is a matter of necessity or of justifiably applied justice. Neither the Bible nor the Torah prohibit self-defense and both recognize the inherent value of each human life. Therefore, the distinction between justified and unjustified killing—the latter being murder or lesser crimes such as negligent homicide or manslaughter—is obvious.
But what about those who believe in and practice non-violence? Isn’t that a viable, even a noble, way to live? What about Ghandi and Martin Luther King? Ghandi and Dr. King were educated, intelligent men who knew their methods could be effective and held little or no risk of death because they were employed against peoples and governments who recognized the rule of law informed by the Judeo/Christian tradition. In effect, they knew the people who ran the governments whose policies they opposed might imprison them for a time, but were certainly unlikely to seriously harm or kill them. Their international celebrity status was, surely, a substantial help in this.
Ghandi and King also knew governmental leaders could be made to feel shame and embarrassment, and those feelings of shame and embarrassment could be harnessed to leverage desired social change. Such tactics employed against a great many governments, then and now—such as Iran, Russia, Syria, China, Cuba, North Korea and others–-would be virtually certain to result in torture and/or death.
Non-violence as a method of social change is effective only if those who oppose you have a conscience, and you or your followers are around to take advantage of the change their pangs of conscience might provoke. To that end, the governments to be opposed must be carefully chosen. Only governments responsive to the will of the public may be safely engaged thus.
While non-violence as an individual lifestyle may be, in some respects, a noble choice, its effectiveness ends at the moment its practitioner meets one bent on violence, including murder. At that point, the choice becomes immediate and stark: touching words in a eulogy affirming a morally superior, non-violent life tragically cut short, or survival to continue to work for higher ends. The world will certainly be better served by the continuing existence of one who rejects violence unless absolutely necessary, but who is willing and able to employ it when absolutely necessary. It can be reasonably argued pursuing non-violence in the face of one’s all-but-certain violent death is not a sign of noble conviction, but of mental illness.
A central lesson of Christianity is the sincere practice of love and mercy. There is no inherent contradiction in one who believes and practices those virtues but who is willing and able to protect their life or the life of another, even at the cost of their life. The Bible notes in John 15:13:
Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.
As I mentioned in an earlier article of this series, lesser saint–General George Patton—said (this is a paraphrase): You don’t win wars by dying for your country, but by making the other poor bastard die for his.
Similarly, it is also a great expression of love and mercy to make one who would take your life, or the life of a friend, lay down his life instead. In such a case, the issue is who benefits from that mercy and love, and who is deserving of those benefits? Is the innocent under attack more deserving, or the violent, unprovoked attacker?
THE SOCIAL UTILITY OF KILLING:
What about those who reject killing under all circumstances, who claim that killing can never be a social good? Take the case of India under the British Colonial Government of 1829. A common Hindu practice—Sati–was to burn a man’s widow on his funeral pyre. The story goes that when the British Governor-General, Lord Bentinck, objected to this practice, he was told that it was the Indian custom. He replied something to the effect of:
Very well, you may practice your custom, but we too have a custom, which we will practice. It is our custom to hang those who burn widows.
The Indian custom was hastily abandoned and soon outlawed. The social utility of being willing to kill those who were customarily killing innocent women, can scarcely be denied.
To extend the example, the death of a rapist at the hand of his victim is also an obvious social good. In these morally confused times—we are living in Heinlein’s crazy years–-some would argue rapists don’t deserve capital punishment, but of course, rapists take pains to ensure multiple police officers capable of subduing them without injury for trial are not present when they attack their chosen victims. How too might any woman, or armed and capable citizen chancing on a rape in progress, know the rapist will not maim or cripple his victim, or he intends to leave his victim—the only witness to his vile crime—alive? I would add only where rapists are concerned, a quick death from gunshot wounds is letting them off far too easily. The ability to be appropriately armed for self-defense remains the ultimate woman’s issue.
The mere threat of deadly force can also be an unquestionable societal good, particularly when public order has broken down. Take the case of the Los Angeles riots of 1992 in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict. A great many citizens of the City of Angels took it upon themselves to express their righteous indignation at what they considered an unfair verdict by helping themselves to expensive consumer goods without the intermediate step of paying for them. Many Korean merchants took up arms—including evil “assault weapons” such as the AR-15 (that’s a Ruger Mini-14 at right in the photo), with their standard 30-round “assault magazines”—banded together, and prevented not only the looting of their businesses, but their destruction by arson even as nearby businesses not protected in such an obviously effective way were burned to the ground—after first being appropriately looted, of course.
In that case, social order in large sections of Los Angeles had totally broken down and reverted to a Hobbesian state of nature where life had the very real potential to be nasty, brutish and short. The police abandoned the law-abiding to the mob, lest they be forced to injure or kill members of a favored D/S/C victim group: black rioters/looters/arsonists/murderers. In that case, the mere threat of deadly force was sufficient to protect lives and property—as it commonly is everywhere—and was surely a social good.
August, 2005: Hurricane Katrina caused substantial damage in new Orleans and social order broke down. Remaining residents quickly understood the need to protect their lives and property with privately-owned firearms, but the corrupt politicians and their lackeys had other ideas:
In the nearly two weeks since Hurricane Katrina, the government of New Orleans has devolved from its traditional status as an elective kleptocracy into something far more dangerous: an anarcho-tyranny that refuses to protect the public from criminals while preventing people from protecting themselves. At the orders of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans Police, the National Guard, the Oklahoma National Guard, and U.S. Marshals have begun breaking into homes at gunpoint, confiscating their lawfully-owned firearms, and evicting the residents. ‘No one is allowed to be armed. We’re going to take all the guns,’ says P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police.
Even some of the police took advantage of the breakdown in the rule of law and behaved like conquering barbarians:
In the rest of the city, some police officers abandoned their posts, while others joined the looting spree. For several days, the ones who stayed on the job did not act to stop the looting that was going on right in front of them. To the extent that any homes or businesses were saved, the saviors were the many good citizens of New Orleans who defended their families, homes, and businesses with their own firearms.
Why did the police abandon the people of entire swaths of Los Angeles? Were they cowards? Some surely were, but most were not. And what of New Orleans? In that city, the inherent corruption that had always reached deeply into the ranks of the Police Department saw its chance and acted on it.
In both cities, more than a decade removed, the police understood several vital truths that every citizen must know. The police have no obligation to protect any individual and cannot be successfully sued for failing to protect anyone (Castlerock v. Gonzales ). Their duty is to the general public to deter crime by their presence and to investigate after it occurs. In LA and New Orleans the police knew there were huge numbers of rioters and looters and very few of them. The mere fact they would be badly outnumbered among hostile, violent, even murderous mobs made it very likely they would have to kill people—many people—merely to protect their lives and to escape from those who, in the anonymity of the mob, saw a chance to kill police officers and get away with it.
Finally, they knew that most of the people they would have to confront were not law-abiding citizens, but people of favored racial victim classes, people then being broadly painted as sympathetic, even saintly, suffering at the hands of evil, white, racist Republicans. Shooting them, no matter how justified, would surely cause those officers to be arrested and charged with murder. A ravenous, anti-police, leftist press anxious to print any outrageous lie, anxious to buttress the favored narrative of the moment, would demand it.
Honest citizens, and the police, knew if they used lawful force in self-defense, crazed leftist politicians and prosecutors would surely prosecute/persecute them, not the depraved animals destroying the rule of law and cheapening the value of human life.
And so the police of Los Angeles, New Orleans, and the rest, made a conscious, rational decision to abandon the innocent to the mob, and in New Orleans, even to join it. Keep in mind most of those Los Angeles innocents were deprived of arms—as they are to this day–-by draconian anti-gun laws written by Democrat-ruled legislatures. In New Orleans, they were purposely deprived of arms in the aftermath of disaster, making everything even worse. In short, it was a lose-lose situation for the police and for the honest public, a real descent into a state of brutal, survival-of-the-most-vicious nature.
The same thing has happened to a slightly lesser degree in Ferguson, Baltimore, Kenosha and other places where Black Lives Matter cracktivists and other race hustlers, including the then President and Attorney General of the United States, stirred the racial pot. The Harris/Biden/Whoever Administration—Joe Biden, Temporary President—has joined in that anti-liberty, anti-American tradition.
There is a very important lesson here, a lesson all thoughtful police officers know: they truly are the thin blue line between civilization and anarchy. The only reason they can do their jobs, and their very survival, depends upon the fact most people are willing to obey most laws most of the time. Should that voluntary compact change for any reason the police will abandon the public; they will have no choice, for the rule of law will be gone, and survival of the fittest will take its place.
In those Los Angeles and New Orleans riots and mass lootings, and the same during the 2020 “summer of love,” as a particularly dimwitted socialist mayor put it, would the deaths of looters and arsonists have been a social good? Indeed they would. Remember, for those days and in those places, the rule of law was suspended and as a result, citizens stranded there were reduced to a state of nature, of survival of the fittest. Government, demonstrating its refusal to so much as to try to enforce the rule of law, ordained that grim state of existence.
Under the rule of law, killing to protect property is generally not allowed, but there are some exceptions in some states. We generally may kill to prevent arson, which is not merely a crime against property. People may be seriously injured or killed by fire, which may be used as an instrument of murder. In that state of nature, if the most brutal and feral reign and succeed in stamping out the civilized, the state of nature may become permanent. However, I suspect—I fervently hope—honest, honorable Americans would rise up to reestablish the rule of law and our representative republic.
Whose survival best serves a just society governed by the rule of law: the honest and law-abiding that wish harm to none, or the vicious, brutal and sociopathic? In Los Angeles in 1992, New Orleans in 2005, Ferguson in 2014, Baltimore in 2015 and Seattle, Portland, Kenosha, Chicago, Minneapolis, etc. in 2020, politicians and the police knowingly chose the latter. In truth, the veneer of civilization is thinner and far more fragile than most imagine.
When the rule of law is suspended, those that violate societal norms should justly do so at their own, mortal, risk, unless public servants disarm the innocent.
In next week’s installment of this series, we’ll explore additional realities of law and morality. I hope to see you here again.
Very good! You’ve managed to justify (to yourself, actually) that it will be ok to kill fellow Americans with different political opinion. The arrogance of idiocy, I’m afraid.
As for Trump…. don’t kid yourself… it’s a cult. You can have a real difference of opinion about the way the country should go.. but according to the Constitution we solve that with our vote through our representative government… not some gunplay because Trump tells you that you are a victim of “the other”. He is a sick mental case. But… believe as you will. It’s not looking good.
Mike McDaniel said:
Whose article were you reading? I know this is likely a lost cause, but please, provide a single quote or paraphrase from this article that could be reasonably read as an exhortation to kill people of other political persuasions. Just one will do.
The other Phil said:
This is Mike’s blog, n case you forgot, and yet you dodge his direct question. That’s disrespectful, and cowardly.
“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.”
John Stuart Mill
Mike McDaniel said:
Dear The other Phil:
Thanks for that Mill quote. What D/S/Cs fail to understand, because they are, for the most part, the enervated, miserable creatures about which Mill speaks, is there are tens of millions of Americans who understand there are things worse than war, who are willing to fight to preserve liberty, and who have the knowledge and means to win. They also fail to understand such people will put up with a very great deal before they decide fighting is necessary. D/S/Cs take this to mean such people don’t exist, or are too cowed by their magnificence to fight. If they don’t wise up, if they push too far, they’ll discover just how many Americans understand Mill, and how well he reflects them.
Mike, the entire context… theme, if you will, of this post at all is to suggest that killing in self-defense is ok morally cause the Bible says so… oh, and by the way.. government is bad, especially if run by your D/S/C crowd, because it gets big and insensitive to religion.. and oh, by the way, here’s a few memes just to make sure you get the subliminal line to draw to your D/S/C crowd as being the villains here we need to defend ourselves from….
I particularly like this “inserted” into your post about the Bible saying it’s ok to kill to defend….
“Honest citizens, and the police, knew if they used lawful force in self-defense, crazed leftist politicians and prosecutors would surely prosecute/persecute them, not the depraved animals destroying the rule of law and cheapening the value of human life.”
Obviously you are drawing some sort of line from those villains, “crazed leftist politicians”, to some “self-defensive” act to save the Republic.
Look.. your blog, you have been tolerant of me… and I know for a fact you are better than all this. But in here we can be whomever we wish to be… as we can let loose and rant and rave and always find followers that agree for that echo chamber. But things are turning very real as it pertains to our Constitutional future. You don’t need the fallacy and lies of Trump… especially that unfounded Big Lie. Think for yourself… maybe try reading the parts of the Bible that don’t talk about killing.
One thing that’s not inalienable, unalienable, whatever words you want to borrow… in the absence of civil law, enforced by government to keep order… then everyone will simply engage in whatever they decide represents a moral obligation to defend not only house and home but moral interpretation.to impose their will on others. This is what humans do.. and if we get there in this country… as I’ve said often.. there’s no going back.
You might want to contribute to what we can do to save ourselves… not justifying offing ourselves.
Mike McDaniel said:
If being “better than this” means I must conform to your thinking, then I’m surely not “better than this.”
The entire thrust of this series is the basis for self-defense, and the realities, legal and political, Americans lawfully exercising self-defense face. As always, I recommend one avoid trouble at all costs.
And Leftist politicians and prosecutors are indeed doing exactly what I noted. the former Deputy Director of the FBI is in the news explicitly saying Normal Americans are deadly terrorist threats, you know, folks speaking up at school board meetings, address their employees, and Soros prosecutors across the nation are prosecuting honest people for daring to exercise self-defense.
As for the rest, you’re reading in things I’m not saying and not intending.
As for the rest, you’re reading in things
I’m not saying and not intending.
To be expected– Doug will be Doug.
It is inherent in their world view that nothing justifies resistance or “defense”. If you resist, you must be evil and deserve no mercy. Their “justice” is your submission, Kyle Rittenhouse was persecuted because he did not submit. Having his skull crushed, “for the cause”, was an expression of their “justice”. All is allowed “for the cause”.
Mike McDaniel said:
Not long ago, dissent was the highest expression of patriotism, the very foundation of democracy. I wonder what happened?
Doug the difference between Mike and others like us and the D/S/C’s is while we don’t agree with what you write we support and defend your right to have and express your opinion. My only problem with D/S/C’s, SJW’s, CC and PC (both of which came out of Stalin’s Soviet Union in the 1920’s) is they demand I except there opinions without question. Here is your rice bowl and your red coat peasant sit down, shut up and be happy with limits. Members of this current administration basically said both things at separate times last fall. Keep your powder dry and faith in God my brothers and sisters we are living The Crazy Years. Let’s go Brandon! #FJB
“Keep your powder dry and faith in God”, and “Let’s go Brandon!” and that’s your advice for America?
Why is it Trump people can only scream and holler and point fingers, and vilify at least half the country for their political preference… but can never come up with constructive means to compromise.. the essence of a representative government whether you want to call it a Democratic Republic or a Democracy. More to the point.. revel in what happened on Jan. 6th at the incitement of the authoritarian Orange Man.
Mike McDaniel said:
Engaging in debate is not only allowed in America, it’s healthy. Compromise, sure, on things that can be compromised, but not unalienable rights. Not the Constitution. Compromise there is done by constitutional amendment, which D/S/Cs abhor because they know they can’t get their way through that lawful mechanism.
You really need to stop projecting. No rational person revels in the events of January 6.
Regarding your observation on the difference between your ilk and the D/S/C’s you refer to, is that you defend freedom of speech…. and presumably the “others” don’t.
Nice try on sounding noble.. and perhaps you represent your own thoughts more than the “Mike collective” in here, but there’s been a number of folks who have replied to me in here over the years that would plain prefer I vanish and leave you all to your own echo chamber. So not everyone in here sides with free speech.
Given that, this is a blog and reflects the effort of the blog owner and has zero to do with free speech. Free speech exists from the idea that “Congress shall make no laws…”. and does not mean “I can say anything I want on any blog I land on.”
Mike McDaniel said:
“The Mike Collective”? That’s not a bad idea. I think I’ll set up a tax exempt organization and take over the world!
As Joe would say, “C’mon man!” Everyone, including you, is welcome here, as long as we all play politely.
Mike McDaniel said:
As I’ve so often written, all we need for actual unity is for every American to accept the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and our political philosophy. If everyone will simply say: “I want “X,” but the Constitution doesn’t allow it, so I won’t even bring it up,” if everyone will only accept the rule of law, if everyone will only obey the law, all will be resolved. I’m all for it. I live it every day. So do you. D/S/Cs absolutely will not because they don’t want any of that. Their words and actions prove it.