A few overarching principles:
1) We have free choice.
2) Actions have consequences.
As Kurt Sutter (the guy behind Sons of Anarchy) said about killing off Opie “Bad thing’s don’t happen in a vacuum.” Sooner or later somehow bad things usually happen to people who do bad things. Maybe it is about life choices or personality sets or social circles, call it what you want. It isn’t always 1 to 1 or right away but things have a way of coming around.
3) As momma said other peoples bad behavior does not excuse ours.
4) There are clear lines of right and wrong. Between the clear lines of right and wrong are varying degrees of both.
5) While it is not a get out of everything worthy excuse the circumstances surrounding an event matter.
6) If in doubt, do onto others as you would want them to do to you.
So here we go. I am responsible for myself and the minor children in my care. I cannot control if Bank of America
and the global banking oligarchy are destroying our economy or whatever. I have read about folks who think that B of A and the global banking oligarchy destroying our economy justify all manner of financial shenanigans on their part. I personally do not feel this way. If I swipe my credit card for a tank of gas or to buy some cool kit online I am promising to pay them back within the 42 page customer agreement I didn’t read. If in a year or two I buy some land or a home I am promising to pay them back.
Things happen in life that can affect our finances. If people have a life changing event like being seriously injured or disabled or a sudden unplanned job change and a hard time replacing the income they can fail on some things. This is sad but happens in life. Bankruptcy exists for a reason. That being said I have a hard time with people borrowing money they know they will not be able to pay back or ‘strategic defaults’.
This does bring us back to point 5. Jingle mailing B of A when you can afford the payment is a bit different than getting owner financing from a neighbor, ceasing payment and making them go through a ton of effort to get you out. Sort of like stealing from Mom and Pop’s corner store is a bit different than Walmart. It doesn’t make these actions right, just that I can see how someone could feel a bit less bad about them.
Fundamentally lethal force should be used judiciously in defense of
life, limb, eyesight and essential property. The words most commonly used in legal circles are ability, opportunity and jeopardy. Ability is about a weapon or disparity of size that means they have the ability to harm me. Opportunity is about proximity; a guy with a knife can’t stab me from 50 yards away but somebody with a gun could shoot me. Jeopardy is that you reasonably believe to be in danger. Randy Coulture or Bass Rutten (both famous professional fighters and all around scary guys) would have a hard time justifying shooting an narmed 200 pound man while 5 ft 100 pound Sally could justify shooting that same 200 pound man.
Property is an interesting
sticking point. I won’t shoot somebody if they try to steal my TV (but
will shoot someone trying to take food that will feed Wifey and Walker during an
emergency). That is what insurance is for and to be honest popping off meth heads for stealing my TV just isn’t worth the hassle.
states people have the legal right to use lethal force in defense of
property. Even setting aside ethical considerations it probably just
isn’t worth the hassle of shooting a meth head trying to steal your TV.
If you fix the window and get a TV things can be back to normal in a
couple days while shooting Meth Head Bob could very well ruin your life.
Anyway that sums up my opinion on that. Onto the crazy Mad Max, Red Dawn times.
The idea of using lethal force a bit freely is a common theme in survivalist circles. A lot of this blustering is just BS, sometimes 6 pack deep BS. However even factoring that in some seriously warped beliefs still exist.
To paraphrase AM “the concept of ethically justifying the profession of arms (or killing outside of the most narrow defensive scenario) is dubious at best.”
There is how the world should be and how it actually is. People shouldn’t fight and counties shouldn’t have wars. Also people should date based on personalities and character not shallower things like boobs, butts, biceps and bank accounts. When they disagree adults fight and when countries (or tribes) disagree they go to war. Sometimes they do it for good reasons and other times for bad reasons but most of the time they are in between. If you want a job that is easy to always feel good about become a doctor and volunteer free medical services to disadvantaged children.
There is a definite need to respond with some proportion to events. Shooting or choke slamming a hungry 10 year old kid who is trying to steal from your garden doesn’t make sense. Having a variety of options like basic hand to hand skills, mace, tasers, rubber bullets, etc helps here.
I do not believe that you must wait for somebody to attack you to respond. If you know a fight is coming better to be attacking their camp at 3am than them doing the same to you. That being said this is a hard one to balance. Folks would have to be pretty bad (like the classic roving robbing raping gang) or I would have to be pretty darn confident they were going to hurt me or mine to go this way.
Outside of a direct self defense situation such as in a civil war or guerilla situation things get even more complicated. Somebody can be an active participant in a conflict without pulling triggers. Hitler didn’t (to the best of my knowledge) personally kill anybody but he was obviously a participant. In my opinion active participants, leaders and such are fair targets.
Everyone who disagrees with your agenda is not a legitimate target. Also the friends and family of legitimate targets are not automatically legitimate targets. Just because someone else can justify burning down houses with women and children inside doesn’t mean that I will stoop to the same levels.
It is worth noting that low level folks who work in support of an organization may not actually believe in it or even in some cases be working voluntarily. A secretary who worked for the county might just be trying to feed her kids or not have a choice of staying on when the Chinese invade. A guy who runs a coffee shop can’t very effectively turn away a bunch of young guys with guns. Especially those who are able to trash the shop and hurt his family without reprisals if they want. The question of whether you can justify ethically kill someone is different from whether you should.
I don’t want to get into target selection too deeply because that is a different post that has been written by other people. Simply put you figure out the goal and the effect which you believe will lead to said goal and then look to achieve it by selecting appropriate targets. I would argue that low level support type employees of the regime who are not actively of your same broad regional/ cultural group are better targeted by recruiting, co opting, bribing or coercion than violence.
Example: Jill is a normal 40ish lady in one of those executive assistant/ admin type jobs. She is a key person in a fairly important office at the district/ county level of the regime. You could easily kill Jill or grab her for a quick interrogation then kill her. You would learn some of what she remembers off the top of her head and disrupt internal processes there for a week or so.
On the other hand if you do some analysis on Jill other opportunities may exist. It may be possible to have somebody (a recruiter or their cut out) approach her at the right place and time. If she is leaning toward the regime or apolitical (Despite what politically active and strong feeling people think a lot of folks don’t really care and just want to live their lives.) there may be an easy button to push or threaten to push. Selecting, recruiting and running sources is like target selection a whole other topic and one I am not all that well qualified to write on. My point is that Jill might develop into (willingly or less so) a very valuable source. She could help you fill in who they players are, tell you what is coming down the pipe, push through or falsify paperwork that is convenient for you and lose or misfile stuff that would hurt you.
In fact if the best guerrilla campaign you can come up with is to kill the regime’s low level soldiers and support folks it is advisable to do some self education and research instead of acting. It is not that they aren’t valid targets just that it isn’t a winning plan.
Let’s touch on that low level soldier for a second to try and explain the difference between killing some poor bastard and killing that poor bastard for a purpose. Finding a nice place to waiting for the random PLA soldier to walk by and busting a cap in his dome is fine I guess. On the other hand if you were to kill that same PLA soldier today then a couple guys in the market tomorrow and kidnap another off chasing some skirt in a week you might well force the local PLA leadership to restrict movement to larger groups. This will restrict their movement because folks can’t go out in onesies and twosies to do whatever. Also it will hurt their morale and force their presence to be more aggressive.
To put it another way let’s say Billy Bob and his cousins happen to stop and blow up the ambiguous lone water truck. It is just the first enemy thing that came by. On the other hand Tom’s group, in conjunction with other groups also decides to start blowing up (or whatever) water trucks. Their goal is first to hurt the morale of the PLA by killing their showers and forcing them to eat field rations instead of real food. The long game and primary purpose is to make them start guarding the water trucks. This will tie up resources that could be used for active combat and will generally stretch their already thin resources even further.
Precision in lethal targeting is desirable. Obviously you want to kill the folks you mean to kill, not the school bus full of kids in front of them. This runs all the way from training to actually hit what you aim at to choosing when, where and how to engage targets.
There is a trade off between collateral damage and payoff. Collateral damage alienates people from your cause, gives the enemy PR opportunities and generally complicates your life. The amount of collateral damage that is acceptable for an operation varies based on the payoff. This is really complicated and I don’t think there are easy answers. If the equivalent of Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Stalin and Kim Jong Ill are all in the same place at the same time you hit it and use resources and energy to mitigate the collateral damage. On the other hand killing a soldier or minor figure but killing 6 random civilians and injuring 30 with a bomb is a bad trade. While I wouldn’t target them specifically if a low level regime employee could get caught in something it wouldn’t bother me too much.
The topic of collateral damage in the context of urban operations, people in houses and such is complicated. Proportion is important here as is the tactical urgency of the situation. Leveling an apartment building because somebody took a pop shot from a window is not smart. On the other hand of you are being effectively engaged or taking casualties do what you must. If somebody is stupid enough to shoot at some folks walking by from
their house they should expect hate to be brought down on them. Shooting an RPG at a room that has a machine gun which is effectively engaging your element is probably a decent choice. If that RPG collapses the whole place and kills some innocent folks I’m sorry but those are the breaks.
Prudent target selection is very important. Aside from worries about collateral damage we have to consider that resources including time, money and ammunition are finite. This is especially important because Guerrillas are historically vastly out numbered and fairly poorly supplied/ resourced. A guerrilla group cannot trade a dead soldier and a case of rifle ammunition for the same regime blood and ammo. They will run out of men and weapons first which means they will lose, period.
We have to look at payoff. Guerrillas need to find times when they can shoot 200 bullets, kill 2 or 3 PLA soldiers and get away clean with them shooting lots of ammo and dropping a bunch of bombs onto an empty wood line. Also coming back to our previous point (if this is that organized) this needs to be in support of a desired effect.
While it is true that killing every PLA soldier would result in winning that isn’t plausible and doesn’t pass the historic reality check. Remember, if your group was capable of meeting the enemy openly in large scale combat this would be a conventional war, not a guerrilla war. A more plausible goal is to make the cost in terms of money and blood of pacifying/ holding the area more than the regime is willing to pay and wait until they give up. Or maybe conducting enough violence via attainable goals like wiping out a small outpost to make PR points until you are able to gain enough political backing to win that way or put together an army able to fight openly. All 3 of these options (fight till they leave, win via politics or win via open conflict) have historical presidencies though there is some muddling between the first two.
So in conclusion. I think it is ethical to kill people who are trying to kill you or directly and tangibly supporting them. However unless they are trying to kill you it is prudent to target specific groups in pursuit of your overall objectives. Don’t do something just to do it, do it to achieve an effect.
Anyway this post got really long and rambling. Hopefully it makes you think about some things. Input is welcome.