Supporting Armed Self Defense and Opposing Capital Punishment is Not Hypocritical

Published by the Author on December 1, 2009 at 12:01 am > Pro Gun Rights Articles > Supporting Armed Self Defense and Opposing Capital Punishment is Not Hypocritical

I recently conversed with a coworker about the issue of armed self defense, and expressed my support for the right of law abiding citizens to use a gun to defend themselves.  This same coworker knew that I was strongly opposed to the death penalty, and thought that my support of armed self defense and opposition to capital punishment were hypocritical.  As I explained to that coworker, there is no hypocrisy in supporting armed self defense and opposing capital punishment:

Capital punishment refers to the situation where the government kills a convicted criminal who is physically restrained and poses no imminent threat.  As the name suggests, capital punishment punishes the criminal for a murder that they have already committed.  It does not save the already-dead victim.*

Armed self defense, on the other hand, refers to the situation where a law abiding citizen uses a firearm (or other weapon) to stop a criminal who poses an imminent threat to that citizen’s life or bodily integrity.  It is a recognition that each of us has a right protect ourselves from violent attack.  The primary goal of armed self defense is to prevent the criminal from harming the victim – not to punish the criminal.  While it is true that some criminals who are shot in self defense end up dying, that is because reliably stopping a violent attacker requires inflicting the sort of injury that may result in death.  The ancillary result – the criminal’s death – in no way diminishes the fact that self defense is aimed at saving the victim.

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The following example helps illustrate the above points: This woman was in her own home, going about her peaceful business.  She had been raped earlier that week by a convicted sex offender, and got a shotgun for self defense after suffering that first terrible attack.  That same rapist cut the power line to her home then broke in again, intent upon raping her for a second time. The woman used her shotgun to shoot the rapist, preventing him from victimizing her again.  The rapist died, but his death was merely a side effect of the woman’s use of (morally and legally justified) deadly force to prevent him from raping her.  (To be clear, I’m not lamenting the death of this rapist – society is certainly better off with one fewer violent sex offender around.)

*Note: Since I didn’t want to stray too far from the topic of gun rights, I didn’t go into a detailed discussion of the other proported goals of capital punishment or why I oppose capital punishment in this article.  Anyone who wishes to read my thoughts on capital punishment should see this article.

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  • Monty

    There is no way to correct capital punishment when the person was later found to be innocent. The large amount of money spent on capital murder cases could better be spent in other areas. However a life sentence should be life not just a jail sentence. The cost of housing medium security criminals could be reduced by using the method of tents, cheap meals, and no TV. Does the AZ county that is famous for that have a high return rate? As far as self defense, everyone can defend themselves if they want to! Or they can chose to be a sheep.