Please Swallow Their BS, They're FAMILY...

My brother and his wife were burglarized a few weeks back. It appears some classmates of my nephew, knowing he had some games or a games system, decided to break in the house. They broke the lock and came through a back window (after attempting to break in the front door to no avail) and the motion detector went off as soon as they walked into the hallway. They had grabbed a cheap camera and a laptop, got out the same window but dropped the laptop. One of them also lost his hoodie which got stuck on the window frame.

The 16 year old pair were caught, arrested and are currently out on bail.

I was at my nieces fifth birthday party this past weekend and while the kids were out playing in the yard (this is Florida), I asked about the incident. During the course of the conversation, my sister in law said she wished she had been home because she would have shot both of them. Immediately I bristled and asked if she was serious. She said she certainly was and my brother piped in that he would do the same and they have every right to do so. I responded, “let me get this straight, you would shoot and kill an unarmed teenager (or even adult) who is in your house robbing you without trying to detain them and call the police?” Absolutely was their response as well as my sister in law offering “And when I said this to the cop that responded, she said she would have less respect for me if I didn’t shoot them.”

It was then I said something I really shouldn’t have. “Well, then she’s an idiot too.” At that point it got loud with both of them arguing their point and me trying to talk over them. Ultimately, I left.

My son who was there came to my house and reminded me how they are and I should have just ignored their comments for the peace of the family. (Like he did which also aggravated me). I replied that I don’t believe it is okay to allow people to spout ignorance in front of you without at least giving your point of view no matter who they are.

I spoke to my father the following day and he said I should have just let it go and not bring my politics to a family gathering. I come from a family of right wing republicans and my “liberal” thinking bothers them to no end. However, I don’t even think this was a political issue, I think it was a humanitarian and personal morals issue.

So. Here’s the question, should a person simply ignore comments they don’t agree with for the peace of the family? Also, if you want to comment whether or not you think they should shoot or shoot not shoot an intruder, knock yourself out.

Holding your tongue is probably a good idea on matters of opinion. On matters of pure fact I would be more inclined to challenge someone.

In any hypothetical, be sure you are making an apples-to-apples comparison.

In discussing real event it is all too easy to use 20/20 hindsight to criticize another’s actions when they lacked some key piece of information at the time they had to make a decision.

Yeah, you’re going to want to let it go. Some people like arguing about political stuff, but most people don’t, and assuming that you and your brother don’t, all arguing about it will do is get you both pissed off with each other about it. And they’re family, even if they are boneheaded, and assuming you want to maintain a relationship with your family, it’s not healthy for anybody involved if you bait each other on stuff.

If I thought it would do any good I would say something. I doubt any point you could have made would have been considered in this case.

I think you could have said what you would do (e.g. “Well, I would never kill someone over something as trivial as stealing stuff, even when they are obviously in the wrong. When it was clear there was no danger to me or my family, that would just be wrong”) without calling people names. That way you can make your position clear and at least start on the high ground. You can disagree without being offensive. If they become offensive at some point, then you look a lot better to fence-sitting bystanders (if any), who might then be swayed in your direction.

As it was - shouting match, bad feelings all around, and you have achieved nothing.

Being willing to defend your house with a gun against unknown intruders who may or may not be armed is something I can accept.

Wishing to have been in that situation so that you could get a chance to shoot and kill 2 kids who you KNOW were unarmed is disgusting beyond measure. There is a reason burglary isn’t a capital crime.

The correct answer for the gun-toting homeowner is “They’re damn lucky I wasn’t at home, otherwise they’d be dead.”

probably it was something best not talked about.

you should try to make peace in the family though. tell them you would shoot to wound a burglar, that might patch things up a bit.

You can debate politics all you want, but you shouldn’t insult people. You are the one that called your SIL an idiot.

It sounds like people are telling you to let go of the BS because they don’t trust you to challenge BS and keep cool at the same time.

Your son and father have advised you to leave it alone not because they do not care about your contributions to humanitarian and moral principles, but because they know your contributions were negligible. The result of your debate was more anger and hostility between family members and zero effect on social policy.

Join a political club and become active in local politics if this issue really troubles you. Otherwise, you should let it go at family gatherings.

My family discusses and debates politics and religion all the time. We draw a line before it gets personal though. If you can’t all do that, then I would suggest avoiding it altogether. That said, I love that we can talk about it. They’re on the other end of the spectrum from me but our discussions have at least let me understand why someone would think X as opposed to just thinking they’re wrong.

A similar thing happened to me over an argument on gay marriage. My choice at the time, one that I don’t regret, is to argue and yell about it with them until we’re sick of each other and now refuse to speak with each other. I don’t like them, and I have plenty of other relatives I can talk to, why keep around a cancer? And it is my sincere belief that all the “good” people out there who refuse to get into a debate about this with family actually encourages such idiots to be the way they are because they know they can always “win” by getting the other person to shut up or stalemate them in an endless debate.

The only good result is to badger and hound these people until they give up their stupid ideas or have all the good family members isolate them. Stupid people don’t deserve to have their stupidity go unchallenged. If they can keep it up, then its up to the rest of us to keep our end of the argument up to.

You should have said: “better hope one of your kids never drops by my house unannounced. I’ll shoot 'em between the eyes. How’s that grab ya?”

They’d probably say, “good! They’d deserve it!”

You know they’re completely full of shit and talking out their ass, like most gun lovers.

I think a little understanding is in order. Being robbed is a traumatic experience. OK, it’s less bad than a lot of things on the trauma scale, but still… their expectation of safety within their own walls has been shaken up. Many people have PTSD-like reactions to the event.

So a statement of eagerness to shoot someone is not likely to be a reasoned, logical position that they hold. It’s likely to be an emotional response based on how the crime made them feel.

In that context, I think the best thing you can do is sympathize with the feeling behind their opinion. You don’t have to agree that shooting people is a good idea. You could agree that you understand what makes them feel that way. Or just steer the conversation in the direction of their feelings rather than the irrational opinion prompted by the feelings.

I was going to start a thread about this, but wasn’t sure where to post it. I’ll just post the link here. Disgusting, isn’t it?

You instigated this discussion, insulted the opinion they offered as a result of the conversation you instigated, and now you want to play the oppressed victim when they got angry at your insult. You acted like an arrogant, instigating jackass and you got yelled at, now you want sympathy and support.

People react to having their homes invaded in very different ways. Your impression that you would somehow be able to judge what the home invaders were up and what direction the confrontation would take is amusingly omniscient. Confronting or being confronted with desperate intruders who are breaking into your house is terrifying, assuming that the victim should be going through some matrix of age and intent determination when their lives or those of their family are potentially endangered by intruders is kind of arrogant.

This is not a political issue. I am not particularly conservative, but I have zero latitude for home invaders. If you break into my house I don’t care what your back story is I will damage or disable you if I am able, and if you get killed in the process that’s a risk you are taking as the intruder.

Sure, sometimes. You pick your battles and arguing over something like that just means that no one gets to enjoy the day or you go home and your son doesn’t get to hang with your nephews or whatever. My father-in-law says all sorts of stupid crap but if I got into a fight with him each time he did so, my wife would never be able to enjoy a family gathering again. And I’m not going to change his mind anyway. Best to ignore it or change the subject or find a reason to step out of the room and grab some more chips.

I must have missed the part where I feel like an oppressed victim. I do not. Perhaps you should reread the post and understand the point which is this… Should a person keep quiet about something they feel very passionately about to keep the peace? Gratefully, others got this and the consensus seems to be a resounding, YES.

I am reminded of the oft-cited xkcd cartoon: “Someone is wrong on the internet.

This wasn’t on the internet, of course. But still, I don’t think you have a duty to respond every time someone says something you disagree with. It’s okay to just let someone be wrong sometimes.

If you had to say something in this situation, that something should have included an acknowledgment of their feelings. I can’t really blame them for feeling like shooting someone who breaks into their home.


Foxy, I’m all for gun-ownership but I still find the idea of taking a life, especially one that is fleeing and unarmed, to be horrific. For that reason I would totally back you in a crusade to alter Bro/his wife’s way of thinking. Even if they were just venting, it only takes a lot of people venting the same thing to introduce a widely accepted belief that the vented line of though is also an acceptable practice. I think you fought the right fight, but you employed the wrong strategy–Roderick Femm illustrates the correct one. The argument, in this case, needs to be framed more hypothetically because otherwise you allow the family to keep the violation of the burglary personalized. Most folks, I think, are too small to step out of their own situation and see it for what it really is: they are talking about ending the lives of children because of what amounts to a disrespectful action. If someone can look at things in that light and still think pulling the trigger is the right thing to do, then you know a little more about the moral gulf between you and that person.

But I absolutely believe that line of thinking needs to be bitch-slapped whenever possible. Family peace for its own sake is far less important than a higher ideal (such as not needlessly slaughtering young people who don’t even have fully-functional brains yet).

I can appreciate you being passionate about this issue. Can you appreciate that they are passionate about it as well? They were the ones robbed.

Did you really think that you stating your opinion was going to change their point of view of defending their home? Or were you just in the mood for an argument/debate on the issue?

If you really thought you were going to change their minds, then more power to you, but I would recommend you consider the effectiveness of your delivery. If you were just in the mood to debate the issue, then you really did pick the wrong time and place, and it probably ended up as you truly expected it would.

A home invasion is a very personal thing to experience and it naturally generates an emotional response that doesn’t always square with reality. It’s not the loss of a few easily replaceable trinkets that drives such a response.

What you did was poke them in an emotionally sensitive spot and then proceeded to ramp it up.