Could you kill someone in self-defense?

Not physically, but psychologically.

Say you were alone in your house and an attacker breaks in. He’s standing at the door of your bedroom with a knife. Because this takes place in Hypothetical Scenario Land, you’re psychic, and know with 100% accuracy that he will kill you if you don’t do anything in the next half of a minute. You, like everyone else in HSL, have a gun, and know how to shoot it with 100% accuracy, and it is always lethal. There is no immediate physical torture; he is simply menacingly moving towards your bed slow enough that it would be easy to reach for the gun near you and shoot him. You can’t merely disable him, either, the gun is always lethal and you’ll lose a hand-to-hand fight. There is nobody else in the house to worry about. Do you shoot?

I don’t think I could do it. Even if I knew I would be in the right to kill him, I don’t believe I could pull the trigger. I would probably be so frozen with fear that I wouldn’t even be thinking straight, and even if I was I would be considering the moral implications of killing him (“Does this person deserve to die just because they would kill? How do I know that there really isn’t such a thing as fate and that I deserve to die? Oh great, I’m dead.”) and wouldn’t think to reach for the gun. The only way I could see myself doing it is if there is someone else to protect that couldn’t protect themself (like a child), but even then it would be hard. I very much doubt that I could get over the initial fear reaction in the thirty second time frame; since I am not being immediately physically tortured as in a rape situation the endorphins wouldn’t kick in. I’d have time to think about it, and it’s that time that would kill me.

What say you?

In a heartbeat.

And, in the situation described, without remorse.

Think of it as fighting ignorance. After all, he did bring a knife to a gunfight. :smiley:

In a picosecond. I made that decision before I ever bought my first firearm. If I wasn’t willing and able to use it, then I had no business owning it.

If my wife was in the house, I’d shoot him several times. Threaten me = die. Threaten her = die lots!

Yes. And I would sleep like a baby afterwards.

In the calm safe state I’m in now I find the idea abhorrent and don’t know if I could do it, but the one time I was faced with a home intruder I did not feel fear – all I felt was blazing anger. I started screaming at the guy to get the fuck out of my house. He made no move toward leaving until my Chow dog came charging in the room toward him, and then he turned and fled. It all happened very fast, so I didn’t have time to get past yelling some very impressive obscenities at the bastard. I believe he’s lucky I didn’t have time to realize that I was in the kitchen and that there were big sharp knives within reach.

A friend of mine and her husband came home to find an intruder. The friend is female and about 5’2". The intruder was much larger, but my friend knocked him against a wall and was beating on him while her husband called the police. The intruder was actually begging her to stop hitting him. Now that it’s over, my friend says she can’t believe she did what she did.

It’s impossible to know how you’ll react to being threatened until it actually happens, but we seem to have some pretty strong resources to draw upon when necessary.

I have a couple of dogs that I know would give their lives to protect me, and I’m sure that if an intruder tried to hurt the dogs I wouldn’t hesitate to use lethal force on him.

Oh, yes I could. And I, while mostly ambivalent about gun ownership, don’t own one, I certainly could defend myself.

If the ones I love most can arouse in me seeing-red rage (which I restrain, thank-you-very-much) just by getting on my last nerve, I don’t think I’d have any problem shooting someone I was sure was going to kill me.

I would do it without thinking, without questioning, without hesitating, especially if I had family or friends or even pets in the house with me that could be harmed.

I’m sorry, but…are you kidding? :dubious:


Bwah-ha! Good one.


Down goes the intruder… the OP was too easy of a scenario. ( I also happen to be good enough with guns that I’d be sure to hit at those ranges, even with a lousy MA compliant gun :slight_smile: )

I wouldn’t have the slightest qualm. And if I did, my wife, lying next to me in bed, would grab the gun out of my hand and do it herself.

*How do I know that there really isn’t such a thing as fate and that I deserve to die? *

How would I know it isn’t his time to die?

Should someone put me in immediate fear for my life, or for the life of someone I treasure, they’re dead where they stand. I have no problems with that.
Lesser threats will get lesser responses, and I know the difference between lethal threats and other threats quite clearly.

Well, the situation you describe is a perfect “kill or be killed” scenario, with no wiggle room for a third option.

Given that, hell yeah…I’d empty the clip.

You don’t know how many intruders there may be.
Two quick shots, pan and scan.

It would be morally wrong not to kill my assailant.

No, I’m a very cautious, think-before-I-act person. I don’t react well to immediate danger, and tend to freeze up when the shit goes down. I don’t have any philosophical problem with killing the intruder, I just don’t think I’d actually be able to do it. I’m surprised so many other people claim they wouldn’t freeze up.

Hell yes.

But in later years, I would likely regret it.

I don’t believe anyone can be perfectly sure how they would act in such a situation.

I think I could, but I have no way to be sure, and, gods willing I never will.

I’d do it, but probably have a time of sorting it out in my head later on.