Monday, December 10, 2007

Criminals' Rights

How can I believe that you and I have the right to shoot and kill criminals when my assertion is that rights are absolute and no one can lose their rights for any reason? What I have said before, and still believe, is that rights are absolute, and they do not overlap (by which I mean I have no right to do anything that would violate YOUR rights). Where does that leave my contention?

Well, when someone chooses to commit a true "crime", they have initiated force, either physically or economically. I have the right to act in self defense. In order to complete my self defensive act, the person who chose to initiate force may well get injured or killed. I did not set the acts in motion so it is not my fault. I am not killing an intruder; he is killing himself by setting a train of events into motion. Gravity does not kill a "jumper"; his own act of jumping off a balcony brings a logical conclusion that will kill him unless certain precautions are taken, or unless conditions save him. Neither gravity, nor the balcony, nor the ground below should feel any guilt (if they could) for his death. The same holds true for an innocent person who kills an attacker. You did not violate his rights, he violated his own rights at the same time he violated yours. You did not seek him out; he took a risk and lost, and society is richer for the outcome.