Could You Kill?
Yes
58.2% (131)
58.2% (131)
No
8.4% (19)
8.4% (19)
I can't Say
25.3% (57)
25.3% (57)
Only if they took my Bacon
7.6% (17)
7.6% (17)
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Poll: Could You Kill?

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I've been thinking about this for a little while. Partially due to recent discussions on gun control and the use of firearms in self defense, and partially due to my personal religious study. The question is quite simple but the answer has a lot of details, consequences, and implications. Could you kill and under what circumstances?

To get the primary question out of the way, my answer is yes. I think under the proper circumstances I could kill someone. Wouldn't be happy about it(no one should) but I'd be able.

Now when talking about circumstances where I feel will obviously involve a lot of "what if" scenarios but I think that putting it up to this question would solve most of those.

"Are they a verifiable and immanent threat to myself, my family, my friends, or some innocent person?

It fulfills my moral obligations both to prevent harm to others but to also give mercy(Matt 5:7) whenever it can be reasonably given. If a person who is not currently holding a firearm freezes but makes no move to retreat, surrender, or attack I cannot fire even if I had every legal right to do so. They are not showing a threat. If they run or surrender then the answer is obviously a no, and if they attack the answer is coming at muzzle velocity. To me there is a big difference between legal right and moral justification as just because someone can do something does not mean it is right.

Thats the short and dirty version of my answer folks, what do the my fellow Escapists think on the matter?

EDIT: Just realized I messed up the poll. Number three was supposed to be "I can't say".

In war, evidently. Also don't sexually abuse children, or try to molest my wife when I'm in sight, really bad things happen that could probably kill someone under the wrong circumstances. Not the most pacifistic approach, not the most correct approach, but that's how it works.

Threats to yourself or others should however be dealt with apropriatly, violence must always be proportional to the situation. Someone being a risk to you doesn't excuse murder. If someone strikes me, there's a ton of things you can do, from not responding at all, to verbally warning them, to intimidating them, to a simple 'I hit you back', to decisive intervention in the forum of making them back down or securing them. None of those things requires murder. For one thing I know about myself that I'm hard enough to not really care if someone hits me, they can't damage me. Also if it's an attack, pff, please... Take a moment to asses, hurt them, they back down. Taking it further than that would be an offensive action on my part, not a defensive one, because I know better solutions were available.

I think everybody realises for themselves that "he hit me, so I shot him dead" or "he wanted to steal my television, so I murdered him, after all, human lives are worth less than televisions" is not proportional violence. I've learned some people have a strange belief that such extreme offensive violence is justified somehow, but they are really really wrong.

Honestly? I dont know.

I really dont think anyone can know unless they are put in a life or death decision. You can talk a big game in either direction, but in the end what they think they will do in such a harrowing situation is kinda...moot. Unless you trained to act.

Blablahb:
In war, evidently. Also don't sexually abuse children, or try to molest my wife when I'm in sight, really bad things happen that could probably kill someone under the wrong circumstances. Not the most pacifistic approach, not the most correct approach, but that's how it works.

Threats to yourself or others should however be dealt with apropriatly, violence must always be proportional to the situation. Someone being a risk to you doesn't excuse murder. If someone strikes me, there's a ton of things you can do, from not responding at all, to verbally warning them, to intimidating them, to a simple 'I hit you back', to decisive intervention in the forum of making them back down or securing them. None of those things requires murder.

I think everybody realises for themselves that "he hit me, so I shot him dead" or "he wanted to steal my television, so I murdered him, after all, human lives are worth less than televisions" is not proportional violence. I've learned some people have a strange belief that such extreme offensive violence is justified somehow, but they are really really wrong.

You have a good point there. Proportional response is always desirable. I should have specified a mortal or otherwise dire threat to someone instead of just leaving it at threat.

I honestly don't know. If I got really, really mad and did it by accident? Probably. But premeditated murder? I am very doubtful.

Yep. Not going to lie, I probably could kill a person if the circumstances required it. One thing I'm really good at is the compartmentalization necessary for this kind of thing.

Killing wouldn't be difficult at all for me. If anybody stands between me and my safety by assaulting me or breaking into my home, I will drop them and never feel a moment of regret in my life.

I... Don't know. I really don't. I don't think I ever could give an answer until I was put into such a situation. I guess it would depend heavily on the weapons used to kill someone. A gun? Maybe. A knife? Highly doubtful.

Yes I could, rather easily.

Well, to be honest, I sometimes have difficulty killing spiders and insects. So, well, it's not something I hope to ever need to answer, really. The only time I could imagine myself killing someone is in a life and death situation that involved myself or someone I cared about. Or if I was drafted to war and had no say in the matter, but that would fall under life and death I guess.

And if, in one of those situations, I killed someone. It'd most likely haunt me for the rest of my life, especially if it was a stupid mistake on the other persons behalf (like breaking into my house to steal a television).

I doubt it. It is not an easy thing to kill a person. I don't think I could do it outside of an extreme emotional state. Not as I am right now.

Would I be physically able to? Yes. Mentally able to? Only if put under extreme circumstances such as a "me or them" scenario without other recourse, but even then I might opt to be the one to take the fall, considering the quality of my life at that point.

I wouldn't know unless I was on the spot I guess. I'd like to think I couldn't, but I'd be lying if I said I knew either way.

Yes. Sometimes you just have to see that they won't stand up after they fall. Nomatter how much they beg. They deserve it.

There's always the possibility that they will come back for revenge. The difference between the two choices is whether it be a vendetta or personal vengeance. Depending on the person you're up against, you need to weigh your options. Will he come after you if you stop him, and if he will, would any of his friends or family members come after you and your family if you kill him?

These decisions you make in less time it takes for you to say them out loud. Sometimes you make mistakes.

eh...yes

i don't drink, i took all the bad in me wrapped it up in my old name threw it away and got a new one...and there are reasons for that...i'm not "a nice guy" historically.

Yes, have almost had to do it before as well. Well, to a human that is, I've killed animals in self-defense before, so that has already been proven.

Yes, I suppose I could. After all, that is the general attitude they try to instil in you at Boot.
Fortunately, I never had to find out, not having been in combat while I was in.

If and only if its a life and death situation I would. Why become a number to some lunatic who would get satisfaction out of it when the alternative is to keep on living?

Only if my life or that of a person close to me is in acute danger and only if I would see no other way to solve the situation.

Shock and Awe:
I've been thinking about this for a little while. Partially due to recent discussions on gun control and the use of firearms in self defense, and partially due to my personal religious study. The question is quite simple but the answer has a lot of details, consequences, and implications. Could you kill and under what circumstances?

Except maybe for those people who already have killed or been extensively trained to, probably the only meaningful answer is "I can't say".

It's one of those things where you never really know until it happens, whether you can or under what circumstances you will kill someone.

I don't know if I could murder someone with my bare hands, or with a knife or anything. But with a gun? If I was severely threatened? Absolutely.

Not sure. A lot would have to happen for me to go that far, I guess. But nothing's impossible; I guess everyone could crack under the right circumstances.

2012 Wont Happen:
Killing wouldn't be difficult at all for me. If anybody stands between me and my safety by assaulting me or breaking into my home, I will drop them and never feel a moment of regret in my life.

Have you considered seeking professional help for these violent tendencies? Because actively wanting such things in advance and not caring about the consequences to others is a seriously bad sign.

I would have absolutely no idea until a situation occurred where it was required and I found out. I would like to think that if a loved one were in mortal peril I could kill to save their lives, but honestly I do not know (and no-one does unless they have been trained to).

There is of course another side to this question, could you kill without regret - after all, even soldiers who are trained for combat suffer post-traumatic stress, so how a random civilian will deal with the aftermath is a completely unknown factor.

There are scenarios where I believe killing could be morally justifiable. I don't think I could actually do it though. I don't know because I've never been in one of those situations, so I might, but its equally likely I'd just curl into a ball.

Could? Most definitely, in the sense that's it's possible. I can't say that I definitely would or would not under situation X, but there's always the possibility. I think this applies to everyone, excepting those who've been in that situation and have killed, who can say for sure.

Dealing with it afterwards is another matter though.

Shock and Awe:
I've been thinking about this for a little while. Partially due to recent discussions on gun control and the use of firearms in self defense, and partially due to my personal religious study. The question is quite simple but the answer has a lot of details, consequences, and implications. Could you kill and under what circumstances?

To get the primary question out of the way, my answer is yes. I think under the proper circumstances I could kill someone. Wouldn't be happy about it(no one should) but I'd be able.

That little sentence there makes this a totally vapid question. It seems that you've reduced it to physical capability for killing. With guns, everyone could kill easily (such is the point of guns).

I'm thinking you need to decide whether this is a question of "could" you kill, or "would" you kill.

And then, you need to specify a particular set of circumstances, or else these answers will tell you nothing.

To me there is a big difference between legal right and moral justification as just because someone can do something does not mean it is right.

For want of a less crass phrase: duh. Everyone knows that legality and morality are not the same thing. It's one of the most common arguments against strict constructivism re: the US constitution.

and if they attack the answer is coming at muzzle velocity

You are not a badass. You should wonder yourself why you used that particular phraseology, when, for example, I would have simply said, "And if they attack the answer is 'yes'."

The only thing that stops me killing, currently, is the law and if provoked enough i will ignore that and get stuck in. I try to make the consequences of crossing me as harsh as possible so people don't cross me without good reason in the first place. Failure to adhere to that makes my problem into yours and i can rationalise that quite easily to myself.

I haven't actually killed anyone yet but i have come close on 2 occasions and neither left me feeling guilty enough not to do it again. I suppose i would feel guilty if the decision had been made because i was drunk and not in the right mind but i don't react generally...i go away and think about it and then i come back and act upon my decisions.

could i? yes i could and not for self defence, etc

would i? no i refuse to take up arms or take a life

I don't think I could. So no.

I've read multiple times that though most people say that they could commit violence under the right circumstances, most won't. Not without training. I marked "I can't say" because I've never been in a "kill or be killed" situation. But most likely, no. I can't even hurt people when they want me too. Not physically, anyway. I would probably have to be out of my mind to kill someone.

In relation to the gun debate, what most people don't realize is that in a situation where you have a gun and the criminal has a gun, said criminal is almost always going to shoot first. Normal people without police or military training (and even some who do have training) will hesitate before pulling the trigger. We are wired, biologically and socially, against committing violence on our own species. Criminals, however, are likely used to violence, may have killed before, or are just mentally ready to kill. You'll hesitate. They won't. You're much more likely to make it out alive if you're not perceived as a threat.

Lots of posturing going on in this thread. As has been noted by several other posters before, this is one of those questions you simply don't know the answer to until you've had to do it. Psychologically there are all kinds of biases that go into this answer, most notably our own confirmation bias about ourselves, and there are plenty of factors that we just don't know about that influences this kind of decision.

So yeah, I answered that I don't know and hopefully I'll never have to find out either.

Sonofadiddly:
I've read multiple times that though most people say that they could commit violence under the right circumstances, most won't. Not without training. I marked "I can't say" because I've never been in a "kill or be killed" situation. But most likely, no. I can't even hurt people when they want me too. Not physically, anyway. I would probably have to be out of my mind to kill someone.

In relation to the gun debate, what most people don't realize is that in a situation where you have a gun and the criminal has a gun, said criminal is almost always going to shoot first. Normal people without police or military training (and even some who do have training) will hesitate before pulling the trigger. We are wired, biologically and socially, against committing violence on our own species. Criminals, however, are likely used to violence, may have killed before, or are just mentally ready to kill. You'll hesitate. They won't. You're much more likely to make it out alive if you're not perceived as a threat.

There's a good solution for them. Think of them as not real people. It helps, from personal experience.

I could, but it would fall into Dangerous Forbidden Technique territory. I will have a Winchester M-1897 "Trenchgun" (complete with trench knife bayonet) for home defense and either a Colt .45 pistol, .357 Magnum revolver, or .44 Magnum revovler (depends on weight, feel, recoil, and price) for conceal carry[1]. If you come at me, or break into my house, then I will pull the gun on you. And hopefully that is where this story ends. You surrender to me, I will take any weapon you may be carrying, then I will hold you at gun point until the cops show up and cart your ass to jail. No harm done. However, if you try to attack me even after I pull the gun, then you are going to get blown away. However, that would probly destroy my mind in the process. While I am no stranger to death and destruction (after researching war since I was 10), I have never seen someone die in real life, and I hope I never do. Plus I have no idea how that would react with my Aspergers Syndrome. It might do very little, or it might leave me a whimpering, blubbering wreck on the ground.

Of course, I dont take after the idea of an equal response. I believe in an unequal response.....in my favor. You come at me with a knife, I pull a revolver. You come at me with a pistol, I pull the shotgun. If we get in a fist fight, I am aiming for the dirty hit areas (ie, hitting guys between the legs, hitting girls in thier chest) and will bite and claw at you.

[1] Namely, there are 2 jobs I am looking into doing, and both I would carry a gun. If I become a political anaylist, I will carry a gun because to some people politics is deadly serious. The other is an Over the Road trucker, were I will be out on the lonely interstate miles away from anyone with only me, myself, and I to protect me because there is no way of knowing if the highway patrol will be around.

BOOM headshot65:
I could, but it would fall into Dangerous Forbidden Technique territory. I will have a Winchester M-1897 "Trenchgun" (complete with trench knife bayonet) for home defense and either a Colt .45 pistol, .357 Magnum revolver, or .44 Magnum revovler (depends on weight, feel, recoil, and price) for conceal carry[1]. If you come at me, or break into my house, then I will pull the gun on you. And hopefully that is where this story ends. You surrender to me, I will take any weapon you may be carrying, then I will hold you at gun point until the cops show up and cart your ass to jail. No harm done. However, if you try to attack me even after I pull the gun, then you are going to get blown away. However, that would probly destroy my mind in the process. While I am no stranger to death and destruction (after researching war since I was 10), I have never seen someone die in real life, and I hope I never do. Plus I have no idea how that would react with my Aspergers Syndrome. It might do very little, or it might leave me a whimpering, blubbering wreck on the ground.

Of course, I dont take after the idea of an equal response. I believe in an unequal response.....in my favor. You come at me with a knife, I pull a revolver. You come at me with a pistol, I pull the shotgun. If we get in a fist fight, I am aiming for the dirty hit areas (ie, hitting guys between the legs, hitting girls in thier chest) and will bite and claw at you.

I found out that a pocket-knives and groveling are scary effective. You probably won't have the time to draw your weapons before being charged at. Imagine having to fight over the gun with your assailant. It'll be a nightmare.

[1] Namely, there are 2 jobs I am looking into doing, and both I would carry a gun. If I become a political anaylist, I will carry a gun because to some people politics is deadly serious. The other is an Over the Road trucker, were I will be out on the lonely interstate miles away from anyone with only me, myself, and I to protect me because there is no way of knowing if the highway patrol will be around.

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