When should you shoot a Muslim?

in #ethics4 years ago

I would say... never. With caveats.

First, let me explain about the word "should", because it's important. "Should", to me, indicates an obligation to do the thing in question. I believe "should" begins and ends with "you should respect the life, liberty, and property of others". Beyond that, you have to figure out the best way to do that. I don't necessarily see you as having an obligation to defend yourself or others-- particularly not by specifically shooting an archator. But I hope you would choose to do so when the alternative has a good chance of being worse for the life, liberty, and property of innocent people. And, yes, there's always a chance you could be wrong, and in that case you might owe restitution (which you may not be able to pay). Acting carries greater responsibility than does failing to act-- except in your own conscience.

But, supposing you do have such an obligation, when should you shoot a Muslim? Anytime you should shoot a cop*, a Christian, a shoe-shine boy, or your daughter: when they are initiating force in such a way that you believe innocent life is in danger-- or they are making a credible threat to do so-- and shooting them has the best chance of stopping them while protecting the life, liberty, and property of their intended victims.

It isn't the beliefs in a person's head that make it OK to shoot them, because there's no way to ever know their thoughts for certain, it is the actions they are committing-- or the actions they let you know (by words or preparatory steps) they intend to commit. If you act too soon, or through misunderstanding their intentions, YOU become the bad guy. Act too late, and you allowed something to happen that you will probably regret for the rest of your life (which may be only seconds).

This is why I think it is probably not a violation of the Zero Aggression Principle to shoot a person when they scream (yes, scream, not calmly utter) "Allahu Akbar!" in public. The question is, is such a person making a credible threat to initiate force? Maybe not always, every time, in every place. But, in places without a significant Muslim community? Here in my local area? It would be a good bet, if it ever happened. You would need to evaluate the situation, but the screaming would be a signal to amp up your situational awareness, to go into "Condition Orange" or even "Condition Red", if you had been slacking.

But, just having a right to do something doesn't mean it's necessarily the best thing to do under the circumstances (on either side of this debate). I have a right to carry a full-auto rifle, openly, down the streets of New York City. And, I can almost guarantee you I would die at the hands of members of the Blue Line Gang for doing so. I would be right, and I would be dead. You have a right to go into the courthouse and start screaming about Allah (or Jesus) and you would probably get shot for it. Out on the streets here, twitchy cops around or not, you'd be safer screaming about Jesus, but I still wouldn't be too confident of your long-term survival. If you're going to go around screaming about your deity, you should probably make sure to make no other moves that could be seen as unusual or suspicious to add to your risks. It may not be "fair", but it's reality.

So, yes, you have the right to go into the mall and scream "Allahu Akbar!", but you may not like the chain of events you set in motion by doing so. In the current social climate, many people, probably including myself, would consider you to be making a credible threat to murder innocent people. They might feel an obligation to act to prevent whatever you seem to be announcing an intention to do.

"But... freedom of speech!" The right of free speech doesn't mean there won't be consequences. You also have a right to falsely shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater, and there will be consequences for doing so-- don't do it if you aren't prepared to pay the price.

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never.... !!!
spread love and humanity.

Pretty much the point of the post. :)
But, defending innocent people from aggressors- however you do it- is an act of love and humanity, as well.

Frankly I can't relate to this post, suppose you are drunk and start yelling you're going to kill someone, would that automatically give me the right to kill you? And in this case you would actually be threatening people, but I bet if I shot you and you're not even armed I'd spend a mighty long time in prison.

Yes. If I am making violent threats in a manner you perceive as credible, you have the right to shoot me. If I were bluffing, it would still be my responsibility for choosing to get drunk, and any consequences from my actions flowing from that choice are on me. If that means I am making violent threats, you are morally off the hook for defending yourself. There may be legal repercussions, but you would not be wrong.

Ok, I see your point, and there is some validity in it, I would still think it would not be the correct reaction, you have to be clear headed and use logic not be taken by the emotions of the moment, we are assuming you would be armed and besides that be able to handle that weapon, so you could easily just be ready and if the shit hits the fan use that weapon, but just because someone's shouting? I really don't think so.

You're in a bar, at a party, or otherwise around a drunk guy.

A drunk guy shouts, "I have a gun and I'm gonna f---ing kill you, motherf---er!" He's clearly pissed in both the UK and US senses of the term, but not at all incapacitated.

If you've been around drunk people, you know they can be quite forceful and completely impervious to reason. He is behaving belligerently, and you don't get the impression it's empty bragging.

Do you wait for him to draw a weapon, endangering you and bystanders alike? Or do you stop him by any means necessary, up to and including lethal force?

Remember, he chose to get drunk. He is responsible for his own actions, even if drunk.If he is lying or making empty threats, but you don't have any way of knowing this, why would you assume otherwise?

Jacob, I already told you I get your point, and I'll tell you something I was a drunk, I do believe I did get into trouble a couple of times, and thankfully I never met you, because with these ideas you have I would probably be dead now.

I would still be bound by the same principles if you were sober: Was the threat reasonably perceived as credible? Was there a clear and present danger? Lethal force is no light matter, and don't mistake my comments as condoning the execution of belligerent drunkards as a matter of course.

We aren't speaking of "legality" here. And if you are drunk and unarmed you are probably NOT a credible threat no matter what you are yelling. Please click the link on "credible threat" in the post to see my thinking on that.

So yelling Allahu Akbar (God is Great) is a credible threat? Suppose I'm drunk and yell Allahu Akbar would that then make me a credible threat? Remember in both scenarios the muslim and the drunk we only know they are shouting, we DON'T know if they are unarmed or not.

I suggest you actually read the post. It should clear up your confusion.

I did read it, that's why I'm commenting, have you no good answer? Because all my comments have been about the post and I find when someone has no answer their defense is to put the blame on some outside reason, like for example that I didn't read the article.

Sorry, but when your question was addressed in the body of the post- as it was- I don't see how to explain it again any more clearly. If I wasn't clear enough, I apologize.

A credible threat is when someone has made a threat, and to the best of your knowledge, has the intention to follow through with the threat, and the means to actually carry it out.

Guns, knives, and bombs are not necessary to be "armed"- bare hands can be deadly, plus every object around a person bent on aggression can become a weapon. No aggressive person is EVER truly "unarmed"- and only people soon to be damaged or dead make that tactical error in judgment.

Ok, no problem dullhawk, I'll be seeing any other of your posts to comment on.