Monday, December 05, 2011

Who started it?

Is it "theft" or an example of trespassing in order to retrieve your stolen property from someone else's property when your negotiations fail?

I don't think it is.

I have never been in a situation where I had to make that decision, but I wouldn't fault someone for breaking in and re-taking possession of their own stolen property as long as they did as little damage as possible on entering, and didn't take anything extra. What about you?

I think it is the same sort of situation where using violence against someone who is initiating force against you is not attacking them, but self defense.

I also don't think it is "cheating" if you don't stay faithful to the remnants of a relationship where the other person has unilaterally ended the sexual component.

And, there are other similar situations out there.

To me it all comes back to "who started it?"



  1. Trespassing to retrieve stolen property is a bad idea. Supposedly "simple" trespass can be deadly. Let's say we purchase an item from Craigslist which was stolen from you at some time previously. You see it in our home...say, via a window. Your invasion of our home is ALWAYS considered and regarded as an ATTEMPT TO RAPE/KIDNAP/MURDER such will be repelled with DEADLY FORCE.

    Hence, if you value the stuff you have you should properly mark it and document it so that you can prove ownership and utilize a third-party arbitrator to attempt to regain said same property.

    Remember...two wrongs DON'T make a right...and may very well have DISTASTEFUL UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES!

  2. Every act has consequences. I am just saying it wouldn't be wrong. Not that it would be safe or smart. And, obviously, even bad guys still have rights and the right to defend those rights. You take your chances and do what you think you must.

  3. Kent,

    A. I largely agree, and so do most folks, at least loosely.
    B. My experience says that that ALL people I've ever seen are hideously bad at identifying reasons why they themselves caused things. (There is no omniscient observer)
    C. Therefore most conflicts begin by Person A doing something, which is taken as annoying by Person B, who escalates to unpleasant, whereupon Person A retailates up a notch, and it's a ratchet-war. While I LOVE the theory...I think that human cognitive limitations make it nearly impracticable.

  4. Anonymous- Notice that I say "when negotiations fail". If you see something you believe to be your stolen property in someone else's house, the thing to do is to mention it to them, not go in immediately and take it. That includes involving a neutral third party.

    Artae- I agree with you, even "C". But there is always a point where a line is crossed and someone, in response to being annoyed, initiates force or steals something. Someone taunting you inches from your face is not harming you, and if you shove him in response you are the one who started it in reality. His taunting is not justification for the shove, although it is understandable.

  5. True story. The cops busted a friend of mine and he needed bail money. He wanted me to break into his house to take two guitars and a shotgun in order to pawn or sell to raise cash. His two housemates were on vacation and so legal entry couldn't be done. I had my doubts. His brother did go ahead and break in and attempt to get the items and was arrested for it per the landlord. Both these mopes ended up getting RoR'ed the following Monday PM (this was a weekend). Sounds like a Coen brothers movie I know. But it does kind of refer to your point. Cheers.