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Comment: Re:Oh common.. (Score 1) 391

by kg8484 (#34202932) Attached to: Real-Life Gadgets For Real-Life Superheroes

I don't think that is correct. By confronting the person, I would be making a citizen's arrest, and most countries have provisions for such a thing. At this point, the intruder would be escalating the situation if he tries to attack, and I would be killing the person for attacking me, not carrying my TV out the door.

Why does this remind me of a child saying "well I'm just going to swing my arms and walk around, and if you happen to get hit, it's your fault" ?

Because you are trying to make an ad-hominem attack.

By confronting the person, *you* are escalating the situation by changing it from a simple break-and-enter to an armed standoff, and then potentially to a homocide (or even multiple). Chances are extremely high that if you do nothing, they will take your TV or whatever and leave, especially if they realise the house is occupied. It's just like being mugged - your best chances of survival are giving the mugger your money and avoiding escalating the situation.

Even if you look at it that way, what I am arguing is that the homeowner is allowed to escalate in those circumstances. What you are describing is called the "Duty to Retreat." Thankfully, I live in a jurisdiction where I am not bound to retreat and am allowed to "stand my ground" in my own home. I can't speak for where you live, but these types of laws are not limited to the U.S.

There are also practical considerations besides the legal ones. I was discussing this with an Australian friend of mine who at one time was studying to become a solicitor. She mentioned that one of her legal studies professors told the class that if they killed a burglar in their home, they should put a kitchen knife in their hand.

As a joke, obviously, since actually doing this would have anyone in serious, serious trouble if/when it was discovered, and even more so for someone with actual knowledge of the law.

I spoke with her again, and confirmed this wasn't a joke, although I did misunderstand the example. The professor was describing a situation in which a homeowner was threatened and beat the burglar unconscious with a cricket bat. Without evidence that the intruder was threatening, it would be simply the intruder's word against the homeowners that it was self-defense. By planting some evidence, the homeowner would be further in the clear, and that police forensics would not be able to prove that the knife was not wielded by the burglar.

If you have a genuine reason to fear for your life and kill an attacker, then you won't be going to gaol, even if you're charged with all sorts of things at the beginning. Not in Australia, not in the UK, not in Canada, not anywhere else. In fact, if you can find any examples of this actually transpiring, I'd be quite interested, because I certainly can't recall it ever happening.

One example that immediately came to mind was Bernie Goetz, although he did two things which nailed him: he kept attacking after there was no threat and he had an unlicensed firearm. After doing a bit of searching, I came upon the case of Tony Martin, Munir Hussain and others. In Farmer's case, he shot burglars who were fleeing, and Hussain kept beating the burglar after he was subdued. Anyway, in the cases I have found, one big reason that the homeowners were convicted was that there were witnesses or people were shot in the back. This reminds me of the three reasons for shooting intruders in the chest:

  • Aim for the larger target.
  • More likely to stop a threat.
  • It is better for you if the burglar is killed rather than wounded. They can't testify against you and they can't sue you for their injuries

On the other hand, if you sneak up behind an intruder and stab them in the back, then try to put a knife in their hand and pretend they attacked you first, when you get found out you'll likely be up for premeditated murder, as you should be. Similarly, if you're a large man and you do something like beat a 14 year old burglar into (and beyond) unconsciousness, you're probably going to be up on assault charges.

That is misrepresenting what I said. Say I hear someone breaking in, then I arm myself, call the police and confront the intruder. If he runs away, I won't shoot him in the back. But if he comes toward me - with or without harmful intent - I'd fire. My goal in the situation would be to make sure no more of my stuff is stolen, and if possible, detain the burglar until the police arrive.

I should also point out that the nature of the crime in other countries seems to be different and has a much lower propensity to violence.

Yes. Because in other countries people aren't so keen to escalate it into a gunfight like people such as yourself are in America.

Please back up the statement that an armed populace leads to an increase in violence during robberies. I haven't found anything to that effect.

Other major factors in the US and less significant in other countries are the larger poverty gap, lack of decent social services and massive difficulty re-entering society if you have ever been convicted of a crime.

I would say the social issues are the sole cause of more violence in the U.S.

The assumption that someone who breaks into your house is likely there to hurt you (either pro-actively or reactively) has little basis in fact, and escalating the situation by acting on that assumption will almost always make things worse.

I'll tackle this in two parts. Firstly, I know that most burglars do not mean to harm the homeowner, and in fact, most burglars aren't seriously armed. But I subscribe to the philosophy that "it's better to have a gun and not need it, than to need a gun and not have it," and I'm also a fan of the castle doctrine. Secondly, I can't find statistics regarding how well homeowners fare when they are armed versus when they are not. In addition, one is less likely to make the situation worse if they are trained, and it is my opinion that gun owners should take appropriate training classes. If you go to your local shooting range in the U.S., you will probably find advertisements for self-defense classes and you can take a training course that will teach you how to handle a gun in such a situation.

Comment: Re:Oh common.. (Score 1) 391

by kg8484 (#34195386) Attached to: Real-Life Gadgets For Real-Life Superheroes

I don't think that is correct. By confronting the person, I would be making a citizen's arrest, and most countries have provisions for such a thing. At this point, the intruder would be escalating the situation if he tries to attack, and I would be killing the person for attacking me, not carrying my TV out the door. If I shot a burglar in the back while he was fleeing the scene with my property, I'd be convicted of murder even in America.

There are also practical considerations besides the legal ones. I was discussing this with an Australian friend of mine who at one time was studying to become a solicitor. She mentioned that one of her legal studies professors told the class that if they killed a burglar in their home, they should put a kitchen knife in their hand.

I should also point out that the nature of the crime in other countries seems to be different and has a much lower propensity to violence. My friend asked me why I was concerned about the issue and I gave a few examples; the biggest one that struck her was Fran Drescher's rape. Searching online, I have not been able to find similar situations happening in other 1st-world countries.

Comment: Re:Oh common.. (Score 1) 391

by kg8484 (#34181486) Attached to: Real-Life Gadgets For Real-Life Superheroes

How do you know they are [there to do bodily harm]?

There are multiple situations one can describe. Sure, there are cases like Yoshihiro Hattori which receive a lot of media attention, but the majority of cases (which you don't hear about) involve the resident hearing an intruder, arming themselves and calling the police, confronting the intruder, and then the intruder either leaves or the homeowner fires. One example that comes to mind is Donna Jackson killing Billy Dean Reilly. I don't want to end up like the Clutter family.

Unless you can prove, without a doubt, that you are acting in self-defence because there is actual, imminent and certain life-threatening events, you should not be firing a gun at someone with the intent to kill.

I would caution people not to take your self defense advise. How does one prove without a doubt that the situation is imminently life-threatening? I get where you are coming from; the burglar is still a person and they shouldn't be killed just for trying to steal a few things. But that doesn't mean that I have to sit idly by waiting for the police while they decide my things would look nicer in their house. I'll confront the trespasser and shoot to kill if I feel threatened. It's up to the jury decide beyond reasonable doubt that I acted criminally - I don't have the time to conduct a trial if my life may be in danger. If there is evidence of a break-in and I didn't shoot the intruder(s) in the back, I probably wouldn't even get charged.

Comment: Re:Who's to say (Score 4, Informative) 330

by kg8484 (#34028386) Attached to: How Allies Used Math Against German Tanks

Don't be so dismissive. Knowing how many tanks the Germans had in total is related to knowing how many they can marshal in a particular region. Also, part of the allies' goal was to figure out how many tanks the Germans could manufacture. If that number was high, then the Germans could have bolstered an undersupplied and perceived-to-be-weak region.

To be back on track, the math involved is pretty straightforward. For those interested, the Wikipedia article has more information on the subject.

Comment: Re:It Hurts (Score 2, Informative) 351

by kg8484 (#34014158) Attached to: Why Mozilla Needs To Pick a New Fight

Somebody needs to point this guy to Mozilla Labs and tell him to join the community and start working on his own dreams instead of proposing/forcing them on the community.

This is my biggest complaint with many Open Source "lusers" and it happens all the time. I often see bug reports which look like, "Please fix ABC or add new feature XYZ ASAP. It shouldn't be too hard to fix. This ticket is priority important because I need this feature yesterday." People seem to think that Open Source means that programmers will magically write the software they need for free.

Comment: Re:80 US gallons (Score 1) 117

by kg8484 (#33944474) Attached to: MIT Unveils Portable, Solar-Powered Water Desalination System
It is for areas of the world where there aren't random creeks (if there were enough random creeks in Haiti, they would be sending water purification tablets and jugs or pots and tea kettles and telling everyone to boil their own water). This is a desalination system, so it can work off of seawater. Industrial scale reverse osmosis desalination plants do exist, showing that there are places where there isn't enough freshwater for the population even in good times.

Comment: Re:80 US gallons (Score 1) 117

by kg8484 (#33944438) Attached to: MIT Unveils Portable, Solar-Powered Water Desalination System
The system you linked certainly does look impressive. However, it is billed as a water purification rather than a desalination system. Later in the page, it does say that it can handle saline water. Does that mean it can handle seawater, like a reverse osmosis system, or is it designed to work from a river and so its limit is brackish water?

Comment: Re:Woot! (Score 1) 55

by kg8484 (#33888318) Attached to: Drools JBoss Rules 5.0
A clever shill will create a new user account when their old one is being filtered. They will not submit a review whose summary states, "Armed with this book, can a Business Analyst be used to write application logic? I don't believe so, and I'll tell you why."

Comment: Re:I'll miss them (Score 5, Informative) 390

by kg8484 (#33686092) Attached to: Blockbuster Files For Bankruptcy

Guess I'm just a library kinda guy.

Then go to the library. I haven't needed Netflix nor Blockbuster for a good long time. My library is part of a rather large network of libraries. I can go to the library itself and browse available titles and I can also put a hold online for pretty much any movie I want. Yes, I have to wait a bit longer for recent releases compared to a pay service, but I'm patient and there are plenty of older good movies that have zero wait that you can watch in the interim. Now, if you live somewhere where there aren't any good libraries, well, I guess you are SOL. I've never had this problem, but I guess if you live in the boonies it affects you.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein

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