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Why thieves love to steal catalytic converters (thehustle.co)
286 points by yarapavan 66 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 711 comments

Texas recently passed bill(House Bill 4110) making this crime a felony, I wonder if this will make it easier for owners to be covered under Sec. 9.42 code which will let owners use deadly force against anybody who is under your car or running away with your converter during night time.

Texas is 2nd highest in US for this crime, somebody is gonna pay with their life for this crime.

https://legiscan.com/TX/text/HB4110/id/2408113 https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/SOTWDocs/PE/htm/PE.9.htm

Huh only in America it might be considered OK to execute a person for a theft of an automative part.

Its like - there is someone committing a nonviolent felony of stealing a minor part from your car, and now you are deputized to be judge jury and executioner and can perform a quick public execution, for your convenience…

I mean I get it sucks very hard to have something being stolen from you _in front of your eyes_ but does this justify an execution? Isn’t that why we have monopoly on violence and for that matter insurance?

I’ve had stuff like that stolen from me, by a member of my country’s repressed minority, and it was in front of my eyes, I was sleeping when the act was committed, right next to me, so I guess my life was also in danger. I woke up just as they were making their escape. I did have the urge to chase them down true, but never in my dreams have I thought these lives were beyond redemption and I have the right to execute them then and there, and I would live happy afterwards…

How does the moral calculous work for Americans? Genuinely curious. Is it “something bad is being done to me, I am therefore justified to use any means necessary” kind of thing, or there is something else/more?

I am not american, but I really wish it was legal to shoot thieves where I live. I see no moral issues with that act - it's really simple to justify. First - why should I value life of someone who's actively robbing me? In my mind, the moment they attack my rights, including my property rights - I don't owe any moral consideration to them anymore, they broke the social contract with me, and I'm going to use anything at my disposal to stop them. Second - if it's generally accepted that if you're gonna steal something you are putting your life on the line - that means people would think twice before stealing something from other people. You should fear for your life if you're going to try and violate other's rights, and I doubt there would be as many people keen on stealing something valued at 100$ by betting their lives on it. And finally, when you're getting robbed it damages you. It's not even about the thing itself getting stolen, but more about the fact that the sanctity of your belongings vanishes and a bit of trust you had for others vanishes with it. Ask anyone who ever got mugged or had their house broken into - it's hard to feel safe after that happens to you once, ever. I really don't think that someone who's a victim of an ongoing crime should ever stop and think about the criminal committing it as someone worthy of moral consideration at all.

This is the problem with our police not investigating property crime. If you could trust society will stop these people in short order, then there will be less crime and the chance of this happening will be low, and you'll just feel especially unlucky.

But I live in an area with high property crime and the police do nothing about it, as desired by the local government representatives. That's a recipe for vigilantism.

In the US they’re far too busy prosecuting people for having a gram of cocaine on them to have time to prosecute people stealing catalytic converters and actually hurting someone.

In my city they're too busy running from one violent crime to the next, they're understaffed (under statutory minimums) and if you didn't get shot they won't come help. This is seen as the socially progressive thing to do.

I was attacked in a road rage incident, they didn't come. There was video, a witness, a traffic camera all available, they didn't investigate or prosecute.

Shots were fired outside of my apartment on the street the other day, the police didn't come.

I would rather not take the law into my own hands, but what choice does a person have?

What country/city do you live in? Just curious.

Sounds like some blue state in the US. (gunshots = USA, reference to progressive policy ruling implies blue state)

as opposed to the sound of hunting season or “firearm discharges”.

This is Minneapolis.

Most of the people around here doing these property crimes are illegal drug addicts. Seattle does not prosecute drug crimes.

Do you mean being drug adict in Seattle makes a person immune to (at least some of the) law?

It does end up working that way in practice, though it’s not quite as straightforward as that. What’s really happening is that courts are very backed up, jails are full, and judges release most people on their own recognizance within about 72 hours of the crime. They still have to go to court for that crime…eventually, but in the mean time, there’s nothing to stop them from going right back at it when they get released. There are people who have been arrested dozens upon dozens of times, and by now must have a list of court hearings a mile long, but they keep getting put back out on the street while they await their hearing. So in effect, at least for now, they are immune to prosecution.

Maybe because they're selling catalytic converters to buy cocaine?

> In my mind, the moment they attack my rights, including my property rights - I don't owe any moral consideration to them anymore

Wow, seriously? No proportionality at all, no consideration of any mitigating factors that may be present, just simply "they broke my property rights so their life is forfeit".

I'm glad that in general society has moved on from such crude ideas of justice.

I've been mugged, and I've had my house broken into. Yes, it's shit. In neither case did I think anyone should die for it.

You've said the things I wanted to say, but much more succinctly.

Killing someone is something you can't undo.

Even if you truly believe that someone's life is forfeit for stealing something of yours, there's no time given for evaluating the facts.

A split second decision, a bad judgement call, and you find out that the person you shot and killed, is actually some innocent bystander running to get away from the robber.

Maybe they are the person robbing you, but your shots hit someone else who's in their own house.

Indeed, letting individuals decide who does and doesn't deserve to live, is how we end up with endless blood feuds. "They killed my brother so their life is forfeit."

I've read a saying that a government is an entity with a "monopoly on violence." I think that however imperfect it is, giving the government this monopoly means that there's an objective process for deciding who deserves to live, and who doesn't. Personal satisfaction as a criterion is always going to produce outcomes that are massively disproportionate, and will simply shift the dissatisfaction to someone else.

>broke the social contract with me

not how the social contract works. Read Rousseau's "Du Contract Social", or just ask à french person if they think stealing deserves death

I mean come on guys this is pathetic, like HN is known for meticulously breaking down people's arguments point by point line by line, explaining each logical fallacy and you believed it would be okay to dive into justifying death of people... it sounds like you are sad about something personal

Texans decide for themselves what their social contract is. Texan law is not dictated by the French.

That's not adressing his point. That is, it's not how a social contract works. It's collective. You break it with everyone or no one. And it's collectively enforced as well. OP's notion that his in charge of his own little arbitrarily determined social contract that inform the worth of the life of the people surounding him and has sovereignty over his surroundings is disturbing. I worry of such people being free to walk about and I sure hope he's not from my country.

You may not understand this if you are from a foreign country, but the relationship of states to the Federal government in the US is not like the relationship of provinces to the central government in France.

The US is a truly federal system in which each state has its own constitution and its own legal code. This is not a purely theoretical point, it's quite true that there are wide variations in laws between states as well as wide variations in state constitutions, which is one reason why, for example, a lawyer has to pass the bar in each state.

And like any nation, the legal code of a state is the result of historic and ethnic forces applicable to that state. For example, my colleague, who is from Italy, was worried about his mother being mugged repeatedly by some local youths, and he was telling me how worried he was about her. The last time she went to the police, she had the following conversation:

"Why do you keep releasing them? They will just steal again."

"Yes, but they are underage, so there is nothing we can do."

"But if I refused to give them my purse, they could kill me with the knife."


"But if I were to get a gun to protect myself, and then shoot them the next time they threatened me with a knife, I would be arrested."

"Of course".

"So what can I do to protect myself?"

"Just give them your purse."

"But this is the third purse they have taken, and I can't afford another. Will you pay for the purse?"

"Of course not"

"And you wont put them in jail? You will just release them again?"

"Unfortunately, we have no choice"

"If I wait for them to try to hurt me with the knife and then shoot, would I still be arrested?"


So there are some things that are very difficult for Americans to understand that may make sense to someone from Italy and there is bafflement going in the other direction. In the U.S. if someone threatens you with violence, you generally have the right to defend yourself and to shoot them. You never need to allow someone to physically intimidate you into handing over your belongings, and you always have a right to defend yourself. But apparently this is considered unspeakably wrong in other countries. Fair enough, to each his own. But I will point out that strict laws against defending yourself are only possible in very peaceful societies. In more violent societies, the public will not tolerate being repeatedly robbed with no possibility of self-defense -- that is the origin of mafias in Italy, basically groups for protection when the central government was too weak.

This is one example of how there is no such thing as a "universal" social contract, as all of these rules are contingent on questions like what is the likelihood of being victimized by crime. Social contract theory is itself just a philosophy - and a poor explanation of legal codes - as laws and norms are the results of evolutionary processes involving trial and error, not social contract theory.

I can't think of many social norms or government rules worse than ones that consider it despicable or, as you say, "unspeakably wrong" to have a right to defend yourself. The example of the grandmother in your text should be a clear case of someone doing exactly what is the only obvious thing when the policing system has failed at its job but criminals continue to victimize. What kind of absurd, twisted logic would claim otherwise to a constant victim without protection by the state?

Texas law is still not dictated by the French as the poster said.

Those links don't contradict me.

You should really provide more context if you're going to dump links to try to "gotcha" someone. This isn't Twitter or reddit, come on now.

no one can decide for themselves what their social contract is. that makes no sense.

even if you mean texans collectively decide what their social contract is, they don't, it is determined before them. it's what they were collectively born into.

It was created by Texans, and will continue to be created by Texans. Asking them to defer to the opinions of dead French philosophers is beyond inane.

France didn’t invent social contracts like Newton didn’t invent gravity. All societies have had implicit social contracts

It just happens that Texas society's social contract is public execution and plastic bags.

yeah, and just like earth can't decide its gravity field, a society can't decide its social contract.

Believing in a different set of axioms cannot be a logical fallacy.

The idea that the French have any claim to ownership of the literally prehistoric concept of the social contract is pretty laughable.

> First - why should I value life of someone who's actively robbing me?

Jesus Christ. You're actually arguing that killing someone for theft is a reasonable and proportionate response? That is a dangerous and unhinged statement and I roundly condemn you for saying it.

All you've done here is reiterate what he said and insult him for thinking it. That's not even remotely persuasive.

The person above wasn't making a reasoned persuasive argument, they were making a moral assertion. The purpose wasn't to insult someone nor to convince them. It was just an expression of moral outrage.

That's precisely what I pointed out.

Yes, but your comment reads as if you were giving feedback. Implication is that the intent was or should be persuasion, and you saying it's failing at that. Anyway, I don't think "I condemn you for X" is an insult of the normal sort where it's ad hominem, even though it would be better and less ad hominem as "I condemn the idea" (as opposed to the person).

Thank you. This is exactly correct. I was fully aware that I wasn't making a persuasive argument and it wasn't intended to be one. I wanted to emphasise and reiterate what I believe is a widely held moral norm.

The commenter I replied to seemed to unaware how far they had strayed beyond reasonable ethical statements. I don't think I could persuade them to change their position but I couldn't let that go unchallenged. Norms change one person at a time and speaking out is important.


What, exactly, is the persuasive counterargument for basic morality? Why isn't morality axiomatic?

Let's put it this way - the argument above would also apply to saying that a private citizen who catches a thief stealing their catalytic convertor can torture them slowly and painfully for weeks without actually killing them. You owe them no moral consideration, it's a deterrent, etc. Do you need someone to make a persuasive argument against the merits of that to realize that it's abhorrent?

If morality were axiomatic, then worldwide we would have a collective shared understanding of what is right or wrong, immutable over time. That’s clearly not the case.

maybe not in every detail, but are the broad strokes really so varried?

Certainly morality is a shared part of us all, it was evolved to create ingroup cohesion and resist outgroups in humans, so there are a lot of commonalities like reciprocity, justice, etc.

It’s the divvying up of ingroup and out group that tend to create disagreements in morality. I.e. we understand forgiveness, but we disagree who is worthy. We understand justice but we disagree who deserves punishment or why.

That tends to make a pretty big difference in results and conclusions.


You make it sound like everyone has complete knowledge of a thief's intent, and that the motivation for shooting them is retribution rather than self defense.

If a thief breaks into someone else's home in the middle of the night, they should have a healthy fear of being shot to death. If the homeowner believes their life is in immediate danger, it seems to me like they are well within their moral and legal right to incapacitate the intruder with a firearm. There's no judgement involved, only reaction under fear of imminent violence. If the thief dies, it was due to their own poor decisions.

Likewise, if the homeowner catches a thief jumping out of a window with their beanie baby collection, it would be unreasonable for the homeowner to take some shots at the thief just to try to injure them, and would probably be a chargeable felony. If the thief died, it would probably be deemed a homicide.

Ok but we're talking about people running away with cat converters being shot in the back here

Sure that's the original topic, but I thought this thread was relatively deep down a more general tangent. Regarding whether or not it's justified to shoot someone making off with an automotive part, I personally wouldn't consider that inherently just, but it depends on the details of the scenario. If the car was parked on the street, then definitely not. If the car was in a closed and locked garage and the thief broke in, then the owner caught them in the act while armed with a firearm and the thief did anything but lay down on the floor or dart out of the door, then shooting them is probably justified. If the car was jacked and taken to a chop shop with the owner's toddler in the back seat, then I personally would be fine with a "Liam Neeson" level of response.

I think the earlier poster's question about the legality of defending property with force in Texas is interesting. I also think the subsequent poster's belief that society would benefit from more readily shooting criminals is a rational claim rather than an unhinged one, whether or not it's a good idea. It's certainly true that there would be less theft, whether it's because of deterrence or by the simple fact that thieves would tend to get shot. There's most certainly some complexity and nuance to appreciate there. Singapore canes people for overstaying their travel visas to discourage illegal immigration, and unsurprisingly it seems to be an effective deterrent.

No, we're talking about pointing a gun at a guy under your car and another one holding a bat standing and looking out. They can then either back up and run away or get shot. It's their decision.

A significant portion of our waking life is spent doing things to obtain property. When thieves steal it they are stealing spent life and possibly livelihood.

I don't find it surprising that thieves face more gruesome punishments like hanging, cutting off hands, etc in places especially when there may be little recourse for the victims of theft and the theft represents a significant impact on their life.

I think reasonable argument against such things is that it is too easy for people to mistakenly hurt a non-thief on accident. That's more convincing to me than simply saying property < life at all times. If I was poor and needed my vehicle to get to work everyday and you're stealing it then yes I would be willing to shoot you to stop you.

Property can be replaced. Lives can't.

property < life at all times.

But I don't get back the time I spent acquiring the property. I can't replace the two weeks of work it would take to buy a new one. And what if it gets stolen again?

But you can get the property back or be financially made whole in a variety of ways.

This really is a bizarre line of reasoning.

I actually think your reasoning is bizarre. Not all life is equal.

> Not all life is equal.

That's not relevant to the argument at hand, nor is it a claim I have made.

You keep talking about how you can't take back killing. The thing is I don't want to take it back. The kind of person that would steal things that people rely on to survive has ceded their equal protection under the law.

> You keep talking about how you can't take back killing.

Yes, which is one of the things that makes killing different from property theft.

> The thing is I don't want to take it back.

That's not relevant to the discussion here, which was one in which posters were claiming that their property represents part of their life, time they cannot get back, and thus taking it is somehow equivalent to taking a life. My point was that this is a false equivalence.

You do not appear to be making such an equivalence argument, so it's hardly a surprise that my counterpoint doesn't apply to whatever your reasoning is.

It's like jumping into an argument about which shade of green is better and saying "My favourite colour is red". Uh, good for you I guess.

It sounds like you're saying that anybody who wastes my time deserves death? Pretty sure busybody neighbors would be far ahead of thieves in that line...

Even if we assume that there is some kind of property-value-to-life exchange rate (that's not a given), by killing someone you are taking, potentially, decades of their life in exchange for the loss of your two weeks.

If you kill someone who has 30 years of their life remaining to avenge your lost two weeks, you are extracting a 780-fold punishment on them. Unless a geriatric steals your Ferrari, the numbers will be similarly lopsided in other examples.

you can't replace any time, ever, under any circumstances. it's a one way trip.

We make new people all the time.

You can't replace the life of the dead person though, you've taken that forever.

Well you can’t replace anything, exactly. If your house burns down, and insurance builds a new one, it’s still a different house. Your dog dies and you get a new dog, it’s a different dog.

If you say, people can’t be replaced because they’re just inherently irreplaceable, that’s a tautology.

> If you say, people can’t be replaced because they’re just inherently irreplaceable, that’s a tautology.

This line of argument is entirely disingenuous. My life, once taken, cannot be given back to me. Neither can any substitute life.

some of it not even on purpose

By that logic it should be legal to kill people stealing things that are irreplaceable. Mona Lisa, Faberge Eggs, Mom's ashes?

That logic wasn't meant to be exhaustive. Even an irreplaceable thing can be recovered from a thief. A life taken cannot be.

FWIW I don't believe that even making the comparison is valid. By the time you're weighing up stuff against literal human life, you've already gone wrong.

We weigh stuff against human lives all the time. Cars, bridges, buildings, and industrial machines all make tradeoffs between safety and cost. We generally value a random life at about $7-10 million - much less than a faberge egg. In reality, adding up all the grief of loved ones, $7 million might be about right.

Treating life as some sort of priceless treasure really is divorced from reality too. I think most people would choose to shoot an arsonist before they could burn the Mona Lisa, and that's totally rational.

We tend to evaluate risk like that. We don't directly talk about buying a death for a certain amount of money.

> I think most people would choose to shoot an arsonist before they could burn the Mona Lisa, and that's totally rational.

I think you might be surprised at how many didn't think that was all that reasonable.

This modern softness is absurd. Let the Mona Lisa burn, let the Library of Alexandria burn, bomb the Louvre. It's ok, it's never worth harming someone to prevent.

We'll be polite and refer to it as pacifism, but the truth is it's cowardice.

This extreme pacifism, if actually practiced by anyone not so absurdly privileged to be able to take that stance, would lead to the downfall of civilization.

> I think you might be surprised at how many didn't think that was all that reasonable.

The magnitude of my disgust would seem to be growing, yes.

irreplaceable does not imply valuable. Every rock is completely unique, and thus irreplaceable.

> When thieves steal it they are stealing spent life and possibly livelihood.

well lucky for you and unlucky for the theif, spent life isn't a real thing and it can do nothing for anyone.

> If I was poor and needed my vehicle to get to work everyday and you're stealing it then yes I would be willing to shoot you to stop you.

do me a favor and stick to speaking from your own actual experience. why would anyone care what you think you'd do if you were poor?

I don't really see anything wrong with that statement. why should i value my material possessions less than the life of some crook i don't even know?

If you (or anyone else) see no moral issue with killing someone over petty theft of a catalytic converter, which insurance should cover, I'd say there's a non-insignificant probability you suffer from some kind of antisocial personality disorder.

I'm not saying this to attack your character - I'm just saying that normal and well-adjusted people do not think that way.

It's not that simple. Otherwise it would be legal to shoot someone for walking on your lawn (also a violation of property rights).

I've seen signs saying "trespassers will be shot", and never felt the need to test them. The fact that the shooter was doing something illegal doesn't change the possibility that you may no longer be alive.

Unless it's posted on government land this type of warning just tells you that you're in the vicinity of white trash.

Why would you make such an arbitrary distinction between government and "white trash" posting signage that states "Any trespassers will be shot"?

After using any type of force, lethal or otherwise against a trespasser that type of sign would be used against the owner in court to their detriment.

There's a requirement for "no trespassing" signs to be posted around property but the "will be shot" verbiage could be construed as premeditation since non government land owners aren't allowed to kill trespassers merely for the act of trespassing itself. It literally suggests that the property owner is waiting to shoot anyone who trespasses, which isn't kosher.

Trespassing on government land such as a military base could result in the trespasser being shot accidentally or otherwise and there are typically warning signs posted that will say things like "Use of deadly force authorized".

If that’s the case can we shoot at companies?

Over my life I have had thousands of dollars stolen from me in the form of stolen wages or services paid for but not rendered, but I feel like no one in this thread arguing for shooting of thieves would be fine with me shooting up the local Fedex because they lost my package and refused to reimburse me

What gives you the right to make a life-ending determination?

I think that you have the right to protect your rights at all costs. If your rights are being violated it's OK to reclaim it by returning the favor. If you don't believe it then there's a discussion to be had about if you even have any rights to begin with or if these are just privileges granted to you by the others.

But surely there are degrees to this? I mean, if someone tall sits in front of you at the movies, they are violating your right to full viewership of the movie. If you get cut off in traffic, your rights are being violated.

Where is the line? Why is property theft deserving of the end of a human life?

In the case of the article, we’re not just asking about blanket “property theft”. I don’t think any of the proponents are say shoot someone who’s stealing a loaf of bread.

In many parts of the world, a car used to get to work. If you can’t get to work, then you can’t make money, and if you can’t make money then you can’t eat.

Does everyone who gets their catalytic converter stolen have enough money to get it fixed? If not, then this crime might be tantamount to depriving someone of their whole car


It’s not just a random part of a car their stealing. It’s entirely possible that loosing the catalytic converter cascades into being jobless and homeless.

This is an argument that the system in which you are operating is flawed, society should ensure that you are not so vulnerable that a vehicle failing will make you end up jobless and homeless. This is not a good argument that criminals disabling your vehicle for profit is an acceptable justification for killing them.

I don’t agree that you should shoot someone for stealing your catalytic converter either, but just for the sake of argument…

So what if the argument that having your car disabled could spiral you into homelessness is more of a critique on our lack of a safety net? What can the average citizen do about that? At this point, not very much. The system is cruel, yes, but it’s the one they live in.

In my city, catalytic converters thrives are known to be highly organized, armed, and prone to violently confronting people who try to chase them off. A few people have even been shot for trying to do so. The police are too busy with shooting after shooting to do anything effective to try to stop them. When you have a group of people going out night after night, stealing with impunity and threatening anyone who gets in their way, it becomes very difficult to muster any compassion for them.

(little bit confused by your first sentence, I definitely do not support shooting people for stealing ones cat converter, just for clarification)

So if the police are useless and you are beholden to this powerful and highly organized pack of thieves, you think going out there and shooting them is going to make your life any better? What happens if you don't 'get' them all and now you're in a shootout with multiple armed opponents? What about the rest of their organization, reckon they will let you get away with it? Personally, I'd rather have my car temporarily damaged.

What can an average citizen do about their safety net in the US? Probably a whole shitload, anywhere from political participation, union involvement, volunteering, voting for politicians that support a better safety net.

However this argument can be made for so many things. Even just the tall person in front of you argument, what if the movie (about lottery for example) was so moving to such a person it would have changed their life, bought a lottery ticket and gotten rich, is the person justified to kill the tall person for potentially stealing their livelihood? Joking aside, I can think of a million examples, each more comical and absurd than the last

Being tall isn’t illegal.

Physically ripping out a catalytic converter from a persons car is.

And don’t forget, it’s not like the police will do anything to help you…they’ve abdicated their role in many places for many crimes.

You can drive without a catalytic converter (though you will fail smog test so it could eventually cascade to that).

You can't drive a car safely without a catalytic converter (unless the thief has been kind enough to patch up their damage with a straight piece of pipe, which never happens.) With a damaged exhaust system under the car, the driver is at substantial risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. And with a driver so intoxicated, everybody else on or near the road is at risk as well.

When the cat is removed your car almost certainly violates noise ordinance, so it's undrivable unless you know someone quick with exhaust pipes and clips or a welder.

So, yeah, you can drive a car without a cat, but not without a muffler (generally). Fix it tickets still incur a monetary cost.

> You can drive without a catalytic converter

This is incorrect for modern diesels that have a DPF system and inject DEF fluid. The cats are required hardware. You may be allowed 50-250 miles without them then the vehicle will not operate. It is well within possibility that someone stealing your cat between two places in Texas could be a big problem for you.

I think you're confusing rights with something else here. I'm specifically talking about natural rights, and I don't know if you're trying to steer the dialog into "what is a right" or just have a wrong idea, but I am not interested in philosophy or deconstruction of well established concepts

And who is it that gets to draw the boundary around "natural rights"?

The point being that humans defining natural rights goes against the concept of "natural". The entire exercise is a catch-22.

Funny how in each case where this comes up, natural rights always means something different. Almost as if the term is consistently used retroactively to justify extreme measures rather than to inform people of their rights per se.

A natural right is a right that you are born with. Rights aren't defined prescriptively in the way that you imply. They're enumerated and acknowledged. Not granted.

Enumerated and acknowledged by whom? What happens when two people disagree about what is a natural right?

You have not proposed a solution to this issue.

Your reply also stinks of moral realism which is a huge can of worms unto itself.

We draw the line ourselves. This line will be the aggregate maximum punitive multiple that you'd append to a theft.

Property theft to many, even implicitly, is very much the equivalent of the theft of some quantity of their life. People work and struggle, expending some quantity of their life to acquire property. To forcibly deprive them of their property is the removal of some portion of their life.

The other way to view this is that in an ideal world, this is done by the state. The state alone possesses the means for other punishment. The individual cannot detain, nor can they fine or garnish wages. The sole means of action available to the individual is force. Thus, if the state is derelict in it's duty, the citizen has only the application of force at his disposal. When you're applying force, you'd better be willing to go to lethal, since being unwilling to do so drastically increases the risk to yourself if the counterparty doesn't play by the same rules.

> To forcibly deprive them of their property is the removal of some portion of their life.

This portion can be made whole again by replacing the property, either through insurance, through restorative judgements against the perpetrator, or various other means.

Taking a life is final.

Replacing property is still depriving others, just in aggregate, rather than on an individual level. Are e so divorced from the concept of how property is obtained that we think we can magic it out of an infinite pool?

> Replacing property is still depriving others, just in aggregate

Not if the original property is retrieved or the thief is made to pay.

I'm not sure in the context of this discussion, the worth of a human life, that your plea to consider where stuff comes from is that important.

I see property in the current context as a proportion of a life. People invest time and effort, the better part of their lives to create and acquire property. The theft of such is thus a theft of said life.

And so if I take a candy bar from a drugstore counter, I deserve a 9mm round between the eyes?

Sure, if you want to have 0 sense of proportionality.

Steal a candy bar, no biggie. Steal a car and I won't sweat that death.

Ideally though, the police would intervene. That they aren't is the root cause of this problem.

> The theft of such is thus a theft of said life.

In an entirely reversible manner.

> to use force (up to and including deadly force) to defend oneself against an intruder

Perhaps only one place (Texas) uses this to justify regaining possession of property, which is what the GP was talking about.


> At most the Castle Doctrine is an affirmative defense for individuals inevitably charged with criminal homicide, not a permission or pretext to commit homicide.

How can the castle doctrine possibly be applied to most catalytic converter thefts???

What gives you the right to make a life-ending determination?

The perpetrator delegated it to me when he chose to break into my house.

If you want to argue that human life has inherent value that can't be voluntarily given up, such that it's never right for me to take someone's life in defense of my property, the arguments in favor of that seem to be religious in nature. They don't always begin that way, but ultimately you have to back up your opinion with something objective if you want to convince me that I'm in the wrong. Basically you'd need to cite a higher authority in order to change my mind, and then proceed to convince me that the authority (a) exists; and (b) backs up your position.

Unless there's an argument I've overlooked, which is always possible. Are there other points of view on this, that don't boil down to either appeals to emotion or appeals to a mysteriously-absent higher moral authority? (Yes, there's the philosophical argument that the state should have a monopoly on violence, but that has the same flaws as the original argument, and can't always be applied in the heat of the moment.)

You are assuming a right to property (along the same lines as your argument about people assuming inherent value).

I agree. Throughout time there have been cultures without the concept of private property. I've been reading recently how hard-hittingly critical Native American commentary on European culture was back in that day, pointing out all the numerous problems that come with money and private property. Kondairock for example, as related by the French author Lahontan.

Lethal force to defend a life makes sense. Most cultures do not approve of using lethal force to defend property.

There's also the problem of the shooter misjudging the situation, shooting some teenager's playing chase, for example, or someone with alzheimers, etc. I actually know of a drunk that tried to break down the door into his apartment, but it turns out he was in the wrong building. Didn't deserve to die.

But I understand why people feel this way. Nobody wants to be robbed. In our consumerist culture possessions are the most important thing to many people.

I have a problem with those: when the Europeans came they brought with them disease. Other than Columbus's initial contact (which didn't last long as only hit islands), we are no longer dealing with the same situation. The population was greatly reduced and never recovered. This would of course make a lot of major changes to the culture, and for the most part they didn't leave a written record of what things were like before. Gift giving in a culture is something that we cannot learn from unwritten records. Even if there was a written record, in general people write down what they want to be seen as not what they were.

I'm not saying that they didn't give gifts. Lots of people like to give gifts. I'm saying that ownership probably was a bigger deal than we give them credit for - but we will never know.

> for the most part they didn't leave a written record of what things were like before

Europeans and Native Americans interacted. They observed each other. They talked to each other. For quite some time.

Kondiaronk [0] was a highly respected chief, statesman, and political philosophizer. Louis Armand de Lom d’Arce spent time in North America and wrote a book based on his dialogs with Kondiaronk [1]. This book was famous for a while. It contrasted the freedom and justice Indians had for themselves with the injustice of Christianity, subjugation to lords, and the problems associated with money and other facets of the European way of life. The book precipitated a lot of philosophical soul searching, an off-shoot of which was the idea of the "noble savage", which was used to eventually discount any ideas these primitives had as irrelevant to civilized modern people.

I'm not sure if I understand your comment. Are you saying that Kondiaronk would not have known how Indians lived?

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kondiaronk

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Voyages_to_North_America

I'm saying he wouldn't have known how they lived 100 years before he was born, and there were major changes to culture then, caused by disease.

He was commenting based on the culture he lived in at the time and based on their known history, and how different it was than European culture. He made a point that it was much better in many ways.

I wouldn't think that the spread of smallpox invalidates what he said, just because things may have been different in the past, maybe for his tribe, maybe not so much. I'm sure that he would have known if a disease drastically changed his culture a hundred years prior.

Even before smallpox there was quite a variety of native cultures, Kondiaronk being Huron, who were quite different than the Inca and Aztec, for example. He probably would have criticized them, also.

I'm not saying there is nothing to learn from him. I'm saying be careful as we are limited to his viewpoint. (history is about trying to find a truth from limited information and biases sources)

Agreed. I'd say that we've tended to be more biased against and dismissive of his viewpoint, though. Primitive. Noble savage. Convert. Re-educate. Exterminate. etc.

> there have been cultures without the concept of private property

Someone taking your car is fine if you can go take a different communal car.

If everyone else still has private property, and now you can't get to work or the store, that's a very different and very bad situation.

Not necessarily. In a home-invasion situation, the only person who really knows what's going on is the burglar. I have to assume that he doesn't just want my stuff, he wants to harm me or my family. It's unreasonable to require me to trust the intruder's good faith. These things aren't exactly negotiated in advance.

As used there, the word 'invasion' assumes property rights exist.

> assumes property rights exist.

which, in the OP's world view, does exist, and it overrides the burglar's right to life.

Your argument against the OP's moralism is that the burglar's right to life should not be overridden by the OP's property rights. This is why moralistic arguments are flawed - different people (perhaps different cultures) have differing morals. The law, as codified by society (and hopefully, agreed to democratically) is what should be used to judge actions, not moralism.

Incorrect, I'm pointing out to OP that they are making a moralistic argument. They argue as if their position is objective.

edit: changed "claim" to "argue as if".

Rights are a matter of human convention. Property rights are as real as any other rights however.

How so? I don't follow. It's true that the original question posits a robbery or other home-invasion scenario with the goal of stealing property, but how am I supposed to know that the intruder is only interested in my stuff?

There's no threat created when someone simply moves into a shared space.

The word "burglar" assumes that property rights exist.

Note that I mostly think the inconsistency is silly and should be pointed at, I don't have a problem admitting that property rights exist in most societies.

edit: "intruder" has the same problem as burglar. Along with "home" and "robbery".

There's no threat created when someone simply moves into a shared space.

What I'm hearing is that you've never been the victim of any sort of assault.

Lucky guy.

No, I'm arguing that the right to protect property is the same sort of social construction that the value of human life is.

Without a layer of social construction, it's just the use of dominating force, an exercise of power. If you want to argue that is how the world works, that's fine, but you are demanding that other people justify their social constructions and then assuming that your social constructions are not social constructions.

but you are demanding that other people justify their social constructions and then assuming that your social constructions are not social constructions.

It's natural for me to defend my property with lethal force. (Consider how many animals will do the same thing, if another animal tries to take their food or mate away.) Consequently, assuming it's your position that I should not be allowed to do that, you have to pass a law and use force to stop me.

That means that yes, you're the one who gets to justify your unnatural (but still potentially optimal) point of view. Exactly why are we better off if we strive to remove the personal safety risk from criminal acts? It seems that we're starting to see the results play out in real time -- ask anyone who was shopping at the Nordstrom's in Walnut Creek the other day, for instance.

Does that mean I'd be inclined to shoot someone for stealing the catalytic converter from my car, parked at curbside on a public street? Honestly, I can't see myself doing that, because according to my personal values that would be a pretty sociopathic thing to do. But I'm also not inclined to interfere if someone else wants to do that. The recent trend towards de-policing and non-prosecution of property crimes will certainly lead to more instances of this kind of dilemma playing out on the street. If law enforcement won't act, you can't be too surprised when individual citizens do.

What's our address? I'd just like to enter our shared space and borrow our computer. Maybe our wallet too.

You must have missed the comment elsewhere in the thread where I explained that I do believe in property rights.

I'm making an abstract point about the form of the argument the other commenter constructed upthread, not advocating that property rights aren't real.

Typically, the laws governing one’s jurisdiction.

I'm asking on a moral level.

If human lives are valuable, then I suppose the same also applies to my own life. If a hostile stranger appeared at night in my house, I would take his life to protect mine. Yes, the entire situation is regretful, but it was his choice to make it happen, not mine.

I wouldn't kill a person over stealing a candy from me, or trespassing on my lawn.

morality is subjective; there's no universal morality. That's why laws exist - to make clear what is acceptable to do, and what is not.

> if it's generally accepted that if you're gonna steal something you are putting your life on the line - that means people would think twice before stealing something from other people.

what they'll think twice about is making sure you're not around when they steal your stuff, either by not being at home or not being alive. and i have bad news for you, the aggressor has the advantage.

You see someone under your car, shoot them dead, and it turns out to be a teenager who was crawling after their pet cat.

It doesn't matter what happens to you after this. The child is dead. And the killing of that child was encouraged by your hypothetical "legal to shoot thieves" law. Barring that law would have saved that child's life.

Coaxing a cat with a cordless angle grinder? Your hypothetical concern might seem plausible the way you've written it, sparse on descriptive details, but in real life there is a lot more information to consider that will almost certainly disambiguate the situation.

> your hypothetical "legal to shoot thieves" law.

Not hypothetical in Texas. So if you've got any real examples of teenagers looking for cats under cars getting shot, by all means trot them out.

A quick Google search for [child killed because mistaken for thief] brings up this 2017 case in Alabama: https://www.wjhl.com/news/family-22-year-old-mistaken-as-thi...

In this case the killer was indicted and pleaded guilty to manslaughter: https://www.cullmantribune.com/2019/10/24/cullman-county-fat...

Because it's obviously not legal to murder your own son even if you think they're a thief.

The court seems to be doing its job then. I could cite many examples of justified shootings due to the stand-your-ground statute in Texas, and there are a few examples that are unjustified.

In the unjustified cases, the shooter is found guilty. That's how the system functions: by shooting, you are certain enough that the individual is committing a crime that you are willing to go to jail if incorrect.

It's certainly better than the alternative found in other states, where people are tried and found guilty for defending themselves, their loved ones, and their property.

> In the unjustified cases, the shooter is found guilty. That's how the system functions: by shooting, you are certain enough that the individual is committing a crime that you are willing to go to jail if incorrect.

And meanwhile, the innocent dead person remains dead. Your system may be "functioning" but that's hardly a good outcome.

> if it's generally accepted that if you're gonna steal something you are putting your life on the line - that means people would think twice before stealing something from other people.

For how well that works, see:

- drug related crime in countries where it’s a death sentence

- militarized police forces and the overall outcome for society

- effects on crime levels in US states where such a crime is a capital offense vs states where it isn’t

All this does is raise the stakes and people committing the crimes resort to more violent means of committing the crime/avoid capture.

While it might feel good to know you’d be allowed to kill a thief, it won’t stop it from happening. It’ll just make it that much more dangerous to be around when that crime happens and more likely to get shot as a result.

Well, regarding drug crime, you can look at singapore.

They also have programs to tackle drug addiction. The effects can't be attributed solely on the death penalty when trafficking. If that worked, we'd have no murders in US states where it yields death penalty.

>The effects can't be attributed solely on the death penalty when trafficking

Sure, everything is multimodal. But likelihood of getting caught (consistency of enforcement) and penalty size can both mediate the incentive. I'm not sure why everyone likes to boil it down to "PENALTIES DON'T WORK ONLY SOCIAL PROGRAMS".

>First - why should I value life of someone who's actively robbing me? In my mind, the moment they attack my rights, including my property rights - I don't owe any moral consideration to them anymore, they broke the social contract with me, and I'm going to use anything at my disposal to stop them.

Well then you've just broken the social contract. Since Hammurabi created the first written rule of law(at least this was taught growing up, but I believe they've found earlier tablets since) society generally agrees that an eye for an eye is the rule. The most you can do to an offender while being morally justified is the equivalent. Except in the case there's a proximate threat to your life, of course, owing to the fact that dead people can't get justice.

If you kill someone for stealing, off to prison you go. To put it into terms similar to yours-- why should I value the life of someone who broke the social contract as well as the law? The death of a man shakes me more than the theft of a catalytic converter, and the second you kill a man in my country you are affecting me far more than some common thief. Now you're making my family feel unsafe

Super weird mental gymnastics you got going on there. Hope you find love, and you don't kill them because they cross you.

It’s a bit more complicated in practice though. Are you saying you’ll be OK shooting a mother stealing a loaf of bread for her kids? What about a child stealing a loaf of bread?

What about the neighbor who likes your wife and decides to shoot you and then plant his wallet in your pocket?

Vigilante justice is not the answer.

> It’s a bit more complicated in practice though.

What if the person had a gun pointed at the head of your child, finger on the trigger, ready to go.

What if they had already shot one of your children in the head?

Do you use the gun in your hand then? Or is it not the answer?

I replied to a comment about executing thieves.

Not sure if any my examples match any of yours.

Besides, vigilante justice is breaking the social contract. He's committing the same problem and therfore by his own logic subject to the same treatment

The problem with this approach are those cases where it is not clear cut.

The consequences of being wrong outweigh the benefits of being right.

And have you ever taken someone's life before? It is not to be taken lightly and will no doubt haunt the shooter for many years. And for what, because someone stole $1000, $100, $10 or $1? If you are comfortable putting a value on someone's life and ending it with a bullet without remorse, that would make you a sociopath or a psychopath.

Yeah, if it's not clear cut - don't shoot anyone. I'm talking about people who are in the process of the crime when you caught them as it happened, not about some kind of vigilante track-them-down. As for shooting someone - I haven't, and I hope I'll never have to, but I can't imagine feeling remorseful for stopping a crime against myself. Yeah 10$ is pushing it, but as I've said - it's more about the violation than the actual value here. I have no idea what someone is trying to steal from the car, but just breaking into it is enough.

> Yeah, if it's not clear cut - don't shoot anyone. I'm talking about people who are in the process of the crime when you caught them as it happened

Can we trust you to accurately determine which situations are "clear cut" (and therefore justify summary execution)? Can we trust any random with a gun to make that determination? And can we trust them when they're the only surviving witness?

Is it a crime worthy of death when someone wanders onto your property due to some kind of mental illness? Is it a crime to accidentally open the wrong door? What about when you accidentally open the wrong door (see Amber Guyger)? Is it a crime to be in a store 1 minute after closing time? Or to walk on someone's property to deliver a package?

Is it a crime to upset someone at the bar and then turn up dead on their property, "in the process of committing a robbery"?

You are advocating for giving everyone the power of judge, jury, and executioner, regardless of whether they are qualified or honest. And you are encouraging those people to engage in gun battles where the "victim" is also at risk of death.

Spend more time thinking about your opinions.

> Is it a crime worthy of death when someone wanders onto your property due to some kind of mental illness? Is it a crime to accidentally open the wrong door? What about when you accidentally open the wrong door (see Amber Guyger)? Is it a crime to be in a store 1 minute after closing time? Or to walk on someone's property to deliver a package?

One does not have the luxury to perform moral analyses of this nature when somebody hostile is running toward them with ill intent. In the heat of the moment, you have to make split second decisions to survive.

OP was trying to justify killing thieves and trespassers on sight. Self-defense is a completely different issue.

To be clear: the idea of someone breaking into your car is enough to justify ending a human life?

It’s not quite enough for me, but I would not judge others if they drew the line there certainly.

Also keep in mind that while it’s happening, you have no idea how far this individual intends to go. Were they just intending minor theft? Or maybe they broke into your car because they were trying to get to you? If they announce their intentions, do you even believe them?

Of course it’s easy to make the decision in the middle of the day with perfect information. Now picture waking up at 2am to sounds in your drive way and there’s 2 or 3 guys out there fucking with your car.

One way to have better information about the situation is to not shoot them.

Again, very easy to say as you talk about the issue in the abstract, behind a keyboard across the internet. Wake up in the middle of the night to strangers at your home - you just caught a bunch of people in the middle of committing a felony and maybe they are not the type to leave witnesses behind.

I don't know if you are putting on the airs of being a brave knight, or you truly are detached, but there's such a thing as visceral fear that people are coming to take your stuff or hurt you. Be glad that you've lived a privileged life where you've never known such a fear

The strangers are outside my home, and your suggestion is to leave my home to confront them? With lethal force?

That is crazy to me. Truly insane. If they tried to enter my home or harm my loved ones, that’s a different story. But if I saw people destroying my property, not attempting to get to me, I would call the police and lock the doors, not go fucking hunting.

No one in this thread that I've seen is using the language of hunting. No one is saying "boy I wish some fools would come try some shit so I can bag a couple of heads". Do those people exist in the world? Sure, of course there are. There's a few people of every view point given 7 billion of us.

Here people are saying, "Well I can't just let them have this valuable part of my car (that I might not be able to afford to replace). And I'm pretty sure the police aren't going to help me. And I don't think they will stop if I ask them. So I guess I have to shoot"

If you've already judged those people in your head as "hunters", then you're the one who's lost, not them. You have this completely distorted perception of your fellow human perhaps based on the media reporting on 0.0001% of crazy people in the world, and now you believe everyone who lives in texas thinks that way or something.

No, no one in this thread is using that vocabulary. I am, because I think that's what people are describing, and it makes me sick.

I'm not misinterpreting a thing you said. No, I'm looking at exactly the situation you are describing:

I'm in my house. It's 2am. I see a couple of people in my driveway fucking around under my car.

And you're saying that a valid moral decision is to leave my house with the intention to kill someone?

That is seeing a situation that you know you could leave alone, and choosing to introduce lethal force. That is fucking hunting for conflict to a degree that is absolutely frightening.

> I don't think they will stop if I ask them. So I guess I have to shoot

You are not saying "I would confront the thieves and bring a weapon in case I am attacked".

You are not even saying "I would use a weapon to threaten them into compliance".

You are saying you would shoot on sight. Instead of de-escalating, you would take the opportunity to ambush and kill. Can you see why some people might call that "hunting"?

I'm sorry you live in a world where the theft of a car part is a life-threatening event. I can see how vigilante justice would make a crazy sort of sense in that situation. However, in a stable society, those actions would be considered a serious crime.

'Wake up in the middle of the night to strangers at your home - you just caught a bunch of people in the middle of committing a felony and maybe they are not the type to leave witnesses behind.' Literally every country deals with this problem, the vast majority of us do without using firearms.

Do you think that 'visceral fear'? only exists in the USA? Normal people in England, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, etc have had their home invaded or the car broken into and have dealt with the situation without guns.

Well what do you want me to do? Apologize? Parts of the US are shitty and not as good the countries you listed. The police show up and beat the people who called them


You can judge us if you want. It really doesn't matter what some far away people who have no understanding of the way of life here think. It's good a thing we have a system where we are judged by a jury of our own peers here.

Police have beaten people who have called them in Australia, it does not justify me shooting criminals for taking my car parts.

You say 'not as good as the countries you listed.' Yet you dismiss the thoughts of someone from who is trying to explain why people like YOU think we are 'good' countries.

Your last sentence is the summation of the modern American attitude that is so problematic, it is parochial, arrogant and unable learn from the rest of the world unless it is for profit.

And re jury, who do you think the jury is in each of those countries I listed? In Australia my jury is made of my 'peers' too buddy. It just my peers in my system don't believe crime against property justifies summary execution.

Not the idea, but the act, if I'm going to be pedantic. If the law would've been on my side and I would've seen my car broken into with someone in there, I would not hesitate to use lethal force at that point.

Wow, okay, I guess we are just on fundamentally different pages. That is, quite frankly, sickening to me. I cannot imagine valuing human life – any human life – so lowly.

That is, quite frankly, sickening to me. I cannot imagine valuing human life – any human life – so lowly

Don't tell me, tell the perp. He's the one who determined what his life was worth.

What? You’re gonna point a gun at someone who is not threatening your personal safety in any way, and tell me they gave away their life?

What sort of moral framework do you subscribe to that makes that okay?


Do you think a person who is stealing catalytic converters thinks like that? They already could get crushed by the car and don't seem to care. You are the only one in the situation who thought it through and still made the decision to end a life, you are a sociopath.

For me? No.

For a single parent who needs that car to provide for their kids and risks losing their job if they don’t have it? Perhaps.

Here's another viewpoint: why is 10$ so valuable and life-ending for you?

I would argue that the fact that one would be so scared of losing money would be that they fear losing their shelter, food, water etc., no?

Would it therefore not be more condemnable that a society is pitting people against each other in such a way that money is survival? Isn't this Squidgame's whole point?

Thank you for the response, so many interesting points. I’ll try to address most of those from my viewpoint, and why I think the current solutions US are attempting are not effective, but comments like this help me understand other peoples’ point of view so they are really valuable.

So here we go.

The way I think about it its perfectly fine to use a bit of force to protect yourself, a little bit of thrashing of the thief will make him reconsider their actions. What I find weird is the execution bit. We condemn public beheadings and hangings in places like Singapore, but think its totally ok if our neighbors does it? Is our neighbor wiser than a whole state + the legal system?

If you shoot him dead, first of all there is little lesson learned, as there is noone to lean from. Yeah somebody else might hear about it, but how much will it affect them? The stats from the US are quite clear that deterrence does not actually happen, and other more lenient policies can be more effective. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel just copy some of the more successful societies.

I’d imagine a thief who gets a beating, some punishment and a path of redemption will be a hugely more influential to future thiefs as it will act both as a deterrent and a guide. Being dead doesn’t seem to be teaching anyone, or at least thats what the stats show us.

You are totally right about the emotions of being mugged, or live in a house that’s been broken into. Both have happened to me (though maybe on a much lower scale than what I see is the norm in the us). But to be honest I don’t _really_ want to punish the person for that. What I want is for that to never happen to me again. Punishment is just a tool for that to happen, and I believe a very blunt and ineffective at that. I want to leave in a society where stuff like that just doesn’t happen. And we have plenty of examples of more effective solutions. I’m not aware of any state that’s “solved” it, but I think more than half of the world are “better” based on objective stats and talking to people who live in those societies (highly subjective based on my experiences).

Funny thing - where I live you are not aloud to take someone’s life even in self defense, if your home is being robbed. E.g. if you wake up to someone in your house going through your things and shoot him with your shotgun you will be charged with murder. With mitigating circumstances, but still murder. Its only when your own life is threatened are you allowed to defend yourself.

Lots of people dislike this, but its actually surprisingly safe to live here, so I guess its effective.

For example, nobody has pulled _any_ weapon on me in my entire life (35 years) and I’ve never seen a drawn gun outside of a range.

And I’m pretty happy that the chances of someone ending my life on purpose (or even accidentally) are astronomically low, I kinda like living.

You want to shoot someone for stealing a Catalytic converter?

I pull mine off and throw them in the bin lol

Just piling on, the big thing that I note is that it's not just stuff for the poorer people in society. It's their livelihood. If you screw up someone's car, you are taking away their ability to get to work, to drive their kids to daycare, and so on.

I'm privileged enough that if someone puts my car out of service, I can swear gratuitously, call my boss to tell him that I'll be late to work, and get a rental while my insurance handles my car. As frustrated as I might be, it's not a life-and-death situation for me.

By contrast, Jimbo the night-shift line cook at Waffle House has significantly less margin for error. If he doesn't show up to work, he at best doesn't get paid and at worst gets fired. If he gets fired, he's now behind on his rent, plus he has to fix his car with money he doesn't have. He might need to take out a payday loan, or sell something important, or borrow money from family who is just as poor as he is.

With this in mind, I'm not going to say that Jimbo is morally justified in whacking a criddler who's messing with his car, but I'm not going to say he's not, either.

You see the same thing in action with immigrant-owned bodegas. It's just entries on a spreadsheet to Walgreens and CVS, but that's rent and food to Mr. and Mrs. Kim's family, and it's not surprising that they're significantly more inclined toward the shotgun-and-bat approach to loss prevention.

> By contrast, Jimbo the night-shift line cook at Waffle House has significantly less margin for error. If he doesn't show up to work, he at best doesn't get paid and at worst gets fired. If he gets fired, he's now behind on his rent, plus he has to fix his car with money he doesn't have. He might need to take out a payday loan, or sell something important, or borrow money from family who is just as poor as he is.

This is in large parts because of the cruel society the US chose to build even though the economy is developed enough to support a less exploitative model. I’m not saying poverty and hard lives don’t exist outside the US, but being fired from your minimum wage job because you called in sick once which kickstarts a series of events which has a very real chance of making you become homeless and without health insurance is a uniquely US-specific thing.

Perhaps that makes "standing" one's "ground" towards thieves catharsis-by-proxy? ;)

There is much less recourse for having one's surplus labor "stolen," as it's normalized. Legally-sanctioned shootings could be the U.S. society's relief valve.

> Legally-sanctioned shootings could be the U.S. society's relief valve.

No, legally sanctioned shootings aren't a relief valve, they ratchet up social tension rather than relieving it.

On a grand scale, yes.

But on an individual scale, the tension is released for the individual.

In exchange for releasing the emotional pressure of one person, another dies, and many more are imbued with negative emotions.

Very fitting parallel for the greater whole: zero sum.

Even on an individual scale, I suspect it is only a short term amelioration that exacerbates the underlying problem in the long term.

The grand scale ratcheting-up effect is a result of processes that, while not narrowly focussed, most acutely apply to those associated with shootings.

> Very fitting parallel for the greater whole: zero sum

Its not zero-sum (if it were, the grand-scale effect would be neutral.)

Yes. It seems like there's a baseline tension in the U.S. from socioeconomic circumstances that doesn't allow for a long-term approach. It's like constantly being in survival mode, one happenstance from ruin (real or imagined).

As if the lower one's income, the closer one is to the heaping mass of natural inevitability: decay and death -- its gravity crushing.

> Its not zero-sum (if it were, the grand-scale effect would be neutral.)

I think I was referring to emotionally. There are so few great sources of positive emotion to tap into, that the zeitgeist is simply "take as much as you can for yourself, before it runs dry."

That in order to escape from "loss," you must create negative externalities and emotions -- no matter how small.

It feels cultural. There is no great basin of tradition and culture here; the positive emotions built off the backs of forefathers that sacrificed and endured negative emotion for the hope of a better tomorrow: missing.

Marxist fighting words like "stolen surpulus labour" have barely anything to do with the problem.

Protecting your property is an innate human tendency. I'm pretty sure even in a marxist utopia, I wouldn't shed a tear for home invaders getting shot.

or Jimbo is tempted to steal a catalyzer to avoid getting into a high interest debt spiral that ends in homelessness?

And this is also contributes to people deciding to steal catalytic converters to get by or get their fix.

> It's their livelihood.

But it's also not their actual life.

He might even resort to stealing catalytic converters to get by.

If it helps, in TX you don't need auto insurance, just liability or ability to pay, last time I checked.

My friend just had his catcon replaced. Was $1,800

I’m pretty sure any car equipped with a catalytic converter is still perfectly drivable if the catalytic converter is removed.

this is absolutely true, when you startup your car it will become immediately obvious because the engine exhaust sounds will be tremendous. Basically all those exhaust strokes of the engine pour out directly to the atmosphere never making their way to the muffler which muffles their sounds.

Right, but it won’t impact the livelihood of the victim which is the reason the person I am responding to has justified violence in response to catalytic converter theft. For what it’s worth I think people should be able to defend their property with force- but at least let’s be clear as to why.

Diesels with DPF systems will not operate correctly without cats. You will have 50-250 miles on DPF system error that you MUST get it fixed or the vehicle will go into a limp-in mode.

That’s true, but the vast, vast Majority of people getting their cats stolen are Honda Element and Toyota Prius owners.

yes but it wont pass an emissions test. And the repair can easily be $1,500 plus

So we’ve got a government that isn’t enforcing any sort of rule against catalytic converter theft but is also forcing us to pass an emissions test after someone steals my catalytic converter.

catalytic converter theft is already illegal. You want a government agent assigned to watch your car 24/7?

No, I want to be able to protect my catalytic converter.

You are drastically underestimating the level of danger a criminal presents.

First of all, they are ready to damage your property to the point where it puts your life in imminent danger. A car without the converter might still drive, maybe with a light on the dashboard and a loud noise, while ejecting hot exhaust gases under the passenger section and straight towards the fuel tank. Some diesel cars periodically inject unburned fuel to clean the filter at temperature over 900K. A fire in the passenger section is a distinct possibility, but imagine even just the panic response of someone who thinks they are on fire while running on the freeway.

So whoever is interfering with the safety of your car already has little regard for your life.

Secondly, they are risking a long prison sentence for something that's worth a few days of unskilled labor. So they have decided they won't even spare a few days of their life for the value they can steal in 10 minutes - let alone years in prison. If caught in the act, they will most certainly not put their tools down and say "Oh, you got me, darn, I guess we need to call the police now". They are by definition ready for violence, and they WILL use force against whomever attempts to retain them.

So a law abiding individual has a choice between confronting a violent criminal, by all accounts ready to kill them, and not protecting their property. It's a violent blackmail, and one solution, unless we want everybody's catalitic converter to be stolen, is to balance the violence disequilibrium and make it much more riskier for the thieves.

There is another choice; Just file a claim and let your insurance take care of it.

Insurance companies can lobby for political or policing changes if it becomes a significant problem for them -- just like they already do for a plethora of other reasons.

Sure, it's a hassle being inconvenienced by a disabled vehicle, but having to deal with the image of some kids brains splattered all over your driveway is inconvenient too, and maybe for much longer.

Investigative resources can be devoted to following the illegal supply chain and prosecuting those who either run or purchase from illegal smelters.

We could also recognise that many of the actual thieves may be junkies funding a fix, and treat their condition as a medical problem rather than criminal one.

And then we wouldn't have to execute anyone.

The person who will be deeply hurt by this theft doesn't have insurance that will take care of it.

Ok, but if you see someone steal your catalytic converter (which you must in order to be in a position to shoot them...), you know it's gone so there's no danger of a fire on the freeway or whatever.

He is saying that to establish the mindset of the theif.

>How does the moral calculous work for Americans? Genuinely curious. Is it “something bad is being done to me, I am therefore justified to use any means necessary” kind of thing, or there is something else/more?

In the USA there is what in known as the castle doctrine. If someone tries to break into your home you may defend your home no different than a lord defending a castle. Pouring boiling oil on their soldiers scaling your walls ... Or more appropriately the modern equivalent action with your AR-15.

Texas goes one step further, they allow you to use force to protect your property from nightime theft or criminal mischief. It's not about retaliation, it's a matter of protecting what is your property.

I’m a life long Texan. I’d agree with it being about property and it one’s right to protect at all means. In a sense, we feel it’s a Wild West mentality. We shouldn’t have to wait for cops to come, much of the state is rural and out of reach of first responders, or reasonable response times. I’m not sure most people would actually shoot someone outside their house, doing minor property damage/theft but they would pull their gun if they had one (many of us do) and it could escalate from there.

However, saying that, I recall when I was a kid it was legal to shoot someone just for stepping on your real estate property (or was widely believed if not current law). I recall “exploring” in rural areas and being encountered with people with rifles telling us to “get off their land”. Usually with a “next time I won’t ask, shoot first” type comment. If I was an adult/POC, it could have gone any direction.

I personally don’t like to agree with these laws, but I don’t see any reduction of crime and I’d like the ability to protect my home and property without having to think about whether I’d become a criminal if I did have to use my weapon.

There is a deterrent effect against property crimes due to widespread firearm ownership.

See https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?arti...

Not American, but I've really liked this one line I've heard.

"Property and freedom are the past and future of a human life"

People invest nontrivial amounts of their life into the acquisition of property. The theft of property is a theft of that proportion of their life. All you need is a sufficient punitive multiplier to said theft, or a sufficiently valuable item stolen, before lethal force becomes an option in said moral calculus.

Where I am, theft is punished severely, thus I see no need to take things into my own hands. The social contract is that the state handles such crime, and in response citizens forgo vigilantism. If repeated thefts of my property were met with no response, or a consistently ineffective response, you'd probably see a very different reaction from me.

The pithy response is that it's not me deciding that your life is worth less than my stuff, it's you deciding that and me agreeing.

This. It's not like "i have nothing to eat, I'm gonna steal some catalytic converters".

> How does the moral calculous work for Americans? Genuinely curious. Is it “something bad is being done to me, I am therefore justified to use any means necessary” kind of thing, or there is something else/more?

Generally speaking, it works just like it works everywhere else--we don't execute people on the street. We sometimes have the legal grounds to use lethal force in defense of our safety or that of our property (rarely, but apparently in Texas), and we very rarely choose to actually use it.

Intrinsic morals don't have a whole lot to do with laws.

> We sometimes have the legal grounds to use lethal force in defense of our safety or that of our property (rarely, but apparently in Texas), and we very rarely choose to actually use it.

That's not how it works in most first world places. You can't murder a person to protect property.

A man with with a crowbar breaks into your house at 2 AM. Do you feel obligated to figure out if he's after your property or your life, or would you justify killing him on sight?

A man stealing your cat converter infringes not just on your property, he's possibly making you unable to go to work tomorrow, unable to pay your rent next week and putting you to the streets. If I was in a situation where the livelihood of my family depended on a piece of property I would definitely kill to defend it.

By that logic you should be right to kill me if I outcompete you and steal your client away from you. Because that threatens your livelyhood.

Even if you compete illegally there is typically much less urgency in those matters. You can't quite send a cease-and-desist letter to a guy wrecking your car.

By definition, it isn't murder


And by definition anyone in drone weapon blast radius is enemy combatant.


It might be advisable to take their point in good faith by considering what they may be saying instead of resorting to mentioning something about US foreign policy.

Based on the definitions I can find of murder in various dictionaries, it seems almost universally defined as an unlawful act. If you choose to go by the commonly-accepted usage of the term, it would not be a murder if the killing is found to be lawful. There are other words, such as homicide, that could be used here [1, 2]. The CPS themselves (in the UK) have a whole page about this distinction.

[1] https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/homicide-murder-and-ma...

[2] https://murphylawoffice.org/john-murphy-law-office-blog/77-w...

I was just pointing out that definitions can be really flexible. Sure, murder is a crime of intentionally killing someone. So if something is not a crime then it's not a murder. But since criminal law is vast and varied same deed in one country might be a crime and in other it is not. I used the word "murder" in non-US definition of what crime is. And pointed out that such actions are not a murder specifically in USA. Implying that with respect to other countries laws they might be. And they are.

And calling indiscriminately killing people "a foreign policy" and legal is another can of USA made worms.

Check out how narratives created and pushed by evil people affected your moral sense.

I’d say this is a valid argument, because it shows how little someone else’s life means to many Americans.

and your comment shows, again, how little ability you have to comprehend what you're reading

It is still defense of life in robbery cases. Robbery is potentially lethal violence or the threat of violence to get what they want. That is what justifies self-defense.

When life or health is threatened it's understandable, but if just the property is threatened? In most first world country you are not allowed to go out of your way with intention to kill the offender.

The parent made this exact point.

I think the logic is something like this:

People who do wrong should be punished. Otherwise, they will continue to do wrong. The wrongdoers, most likely, aren't going get prosecuted by the relevant government officials and the police aren't going to investigate. The best way I have to punish them and prevent further crimes upon the area in which I and my friends and family live and work is to use a gun, as this is quick, highly punishing, can be explained by self-defense, and used with minimal danger to myself.

A lot of men who’ve never been to combat like to imagine themselves as John Wick, and look for opportunities to execute what they’ve been practicing. There is such a reverence for the military here, and these men have the subconscious hope that they can spring into action with their gun, prove they are “men” and save the day. That overweighs the thought about someone else’s value. To answer your question, these people don’t think about what the other person would think or feel, or what their life is worth. They only think of themselves and their experience.

A lot of us also know how to diffuse a situation using the threat of lethal force without actually using lethal force. (I don't, which is why I'm not a concealed carry holder.)

Don't go to Texas and steal stuff, and you won't get shot. I don't really have sympathy for crime rings being executed by vigilantes for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property.

What inevitably happens when this is legalized is an individual without law enforcement background or training but with a gun ends styling themselves as a neighborhood watch and killing an innocent person (usually non-white, who in this case might be working on their own car). This prominently happened with Arbery and Martin.

People have looked beyond fearmongering at these policies, and unbiased research (which is why it is banned from being federally funded) always shows castle doctrine / other stand-your-ground laws are not a net benefit to reducing crime and lead to avoidable deaths of innocent people (https://www.rand.org/research/gun-policy/analysis/stand-your...)

Yeah those people who do that are bad and shouldn’t do that. Just like the thieves are bad and shouldn’t do that.

It’s not one extreme or the other. I have no idea why it’s “inevitable”. I own a gun and I haven’t mentally devolved into the Punisher yet.

Imagine you live in a rural area where things are far apart. Someone breaks your car, and now you can’t get to work. And if you don’t show up for work, now you’re fired. And now you don’t have income, so now you might lose your house or miss meals. Asking that person to have sympathy for the thief is asking for a lot.

Those people aren't "bad", they're murderers.

No one here is arguing that it's OK for people to steal essential parts from cars, just that it's morally reprehensible to kill that person for doing it, if they aren't threatening your life.

Livelihood and life are separate things. In the situation someone gets fired for missing a day of work, you should be arguing against the ability for an employer to fire someone for something outside of their control, not for the ability to kill someone for a non-violent act.

The reason our justice system is structured the way it is precisely to take these emotions out of justice. Property theft isn’t a lifetime sentence or death sentence because our society tries to give people chances to make a mistake and recover. The aggrieved party can’t be trusted to maintain the level of impartiality and long term thinking required for metering out our form of justice, that’s why we have impartial judges and juries. Losing property isn’t worth a death sentence, and everyday people aren’t tasked with protecting their own property to the point where they are given the power to kill, you’re only “supposed” to use deadly force to save a life when no other option exists. Pulling the trigger and killing someone has lifelong consequences for everyone that touches these people, this isn’t a video game.

Also, your example of harm is nuts. Someone steals your catalytic converter you can still drive to work, the car still runs it’s just loud. So, see, you own a gun and you’ve already talked yourself into a situation where having a catalytic converters is some life threatening event, worthy of taking someone’s life for, or at least not having sympathy for. That’s callous. If I were you I’d rethink that position.

This seems contrived to me. Cars frequently break down, get flooded, hit deer or other cars, get hit by trees, etc without their owners suddenly becoming destitute.

More to the point, if some other driver isn't paying attention and damages your car to the point it's inoperable, are you justified in shooting them? In most cases, they won't face any criminal liability even (perhaps a minor ticket).

Intention matters in our framework of law. "If the driver isn't paying attention" is a key factor and it means that no, you aren't justified.

No one accidentally steals a catalytic converter. You have to plan it ahead of time and you need to acquire special tools to do so. This is not a crime of opportunity where maybe you find 100 bucks cash in a wallet on the street and you just grab it.

As for the first point... we I don't know how to convince you but those people exist. For us, the privileged software developers, you can dial in to work and submit code remotely. You probably get paid enough and get PTO to take a couple days off work if you can't make it. But there's ppl who are not so fortunate.

I don't have examples of ppl who became destitute, but look at this news story where the school faculty by this janitor a car: https://youtu.be/XqyvWqYVHcU

Look at 0:17 where he describes a 4 hour commute with 3 separate bus lines

Now if someone was trying to steal this man's catalytic converter, and he shot them. Well of course it would definitely depend on the exact circumstances, letter of the law, and charges pressed, but at a glance I'd say man, I understand it...

I agree intent matters. My point is that harm here is the catalytic converter being stolen, not the unfortunate chain of events that might befall someone as an indirect result (and other things that can cause that indirect result aren't even crimes). That unfortunate chain of events can't be used to justify murdering the thief of a relatively inexpensive car part. It's like saying a pickpocket should get murdered because they might steal your bus pass and that's how you get places.

For the record, I'm immune to catalytic converter theft because I don't own a car. I've had bike wheels stolen multiple times though, and that's no fun, but certainly no justification for murder.

I don't think you understand the precarious position many workers in the US are in. We have few labor protection laws and few social safety nets. Accordingly, may people are in desperate straits and stealing one's catalytic converter could indeed have very serious ramifications for the victims life, including losing one's job and subsequently their home.

I think we have largely done this to ourselves, and catalytic converter theft is the result of the unforgiving social and economic climate. That said, stand your ground laws and castle doctrines do not result in lots of murdered criminals. Despite people's theoretical support in this thread of shooting people who are robbing them, it does not happen much and most of these people value human life far more than their support indicates.

My point isn't that there aren't people who are in such a precarious situation, just that the existence of people in precarious situations does not justify murder of catalytic converter thieves any more than it would justify the murder of a lousy mechanic or bus driver who doesn't show up for their shift who could equally cause such serious ramifications to someone in such a precarious position. We don't punish crimes (or non-crimes) based on some theoretical indirect consequences.

The vast majority of people do not react to crimes based on theoretical indirect consequences either, despite the replies you see here on HN. While some who shoot people robbing them are indeed sociopathic outliers, the majority who do are responding to something that legitimately threatens the lives and livelihood of themselves and their family. It would be great if that was not the case like in other Western countries but it is.

For starters, here's the relevant part of Texas penal code which GP mentioned. You can read the whole thing, it's very short:


IANAL, but it seems you can shoot someone in Texas for stealing your catalytic convertor if you "reasonably believe the deadly force is immediately necessary" and the catalytic convertor "cannot be protected or recovered by any other means."

It also requires that "the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury."

So not only must deadly force be the only option to keep the property, but you've got to believe that if you tried something other than deadly force you'd be seriously injured or killed.

A great American once said an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The justification is that the person committing the crime has little to no value in civilized society and should be killed off, because the chances of the thief being caught are very low, so one only has a moment to carry out justice and create a deterrent to future thieves. In a country like America where people are very sensitive to property rights, theft is far more heinous than in other countries. If you’ve ever had anything stolen here and reported it to police, you’ll be frustrated when all you get is a shrug and a promise that they will “investigate”, which basically means do nothing. People get tired of that and take matters into their own hands.

I did not read all responses, perhaps someone mentioned it already...

It is not about execution or killing someone. In fact, the very first thing I was taught in the CHL class - never think about shooting someone as killing someone, but rather as "stopping them". In the court, such a small detail of intent will matter.

The idea of letting shooting someone who is stealing at night is again - stopping them, because otherwise in nighttime it will be nearly impossible to find them (hence limitation of night time).

I don't hear many cases like that. It is certainly not widespread. People are given a right, but not a requirement to stop criminals stealing property.

The going theory is, I wouldn't be making that choice, the thief and the people of the state did by passing a law allowing me to use deadly force to stop thief. If I used deadly force without catching them in the act I would be subject to trial and criminal sanction.

These thefts mostly effect poorer people who are least able to absorb the loss, for someone of my income, it's an inconvenience, for a poor person, it may knock them back down the economic ladder.

Something to note, the US existed in a space for much of its existence particularly out here in the West, where the nearest law enforcement might be hours away, where I am in my county, the county seat is a half a days ride by horse - and our county is a PLSS county, so its not particularly large, they get larger - because of that, we have a permissive culture in allowing people to defend themselves and their property from others, because once its gone, you will likely never get it back again. This only changed with the invention of the automobile and the two way radio, but the culture was formed before that, and culture adapts to technology slowly.

>Huh only in America it might be considered OK to execute a person for a theft of an automative part.

I'm not american but I agree with his views. Being the victim of a break-in, I want nothing more than to cave in the fucker's skull with a metal rod to this day. These people will continue to get away with it ad infinitum unless someone teaches them a lesson. It makes me so irrationally angry that it's among the top 3 issues when I'm voting.

If the police won't do anything about this issue who will?

As someone who grew up in Texas and is generally in favor of these sorts of "use of deadly force" prosecution defenses, I think I can at least articulate the motivations in a way that makes more sense, even if it's not convincing.

Many Texans conceptualize government and state uses of force (ie prosecution that can lead to imprisonment) as restrictions on their rights. This "negative rights" conceptualization is pretty common in the US, but especially common in Texas.

In the specific case of using deadly force to prevent somebody from stealing your property at night, the idea is something like the following. Absent any government intervention, you have a "property right" which allows you to prevent the thief from taking the property. In some cases, the balance of public policy concerns should lean in favor of government restrictions on this property right, to protect potentially innocent people or to prevent nonviolent criminals from dying, or to sustain an orderly justice system without vigilantes.

However, many Texans believe that the government should not intervene in this case because the restriction on an individual's right to protect his/her property is more important than the other policy goals.

Like I said, this is just my attempt to articulate the way I'd guess many Texans feel about this. I don't necessarily agree with all of the above.

To add: an urban and rural split. By geography, Texas is like 85%+ rural or semi-rural.

In $MAJOR_CITY suburbia, you can call 911 and expect police or fire response within 5-15min.

In $RURAL Texas, response times may be significantly longer which helps to explain a self-reliance culture.

Property theft deterrence, prevention, and enforcement being neatly bundled in the revolver at your hip (think 1850s “old west” town) is what was codified into law in Texas. Particularly theft of horses (eg: mobility or necessary farm labor) was severely punished.

Different challenges often call for different responses to be most effective, and it’s helpful to try and understand the situation and expectations before passing judgement.

I think this is an overlooked part of our daily lives: the impact of things as primordial to the human experience as space and time, and how they shape our socioeconomic, political, and even romantic facet of our lives.

> Many Texans conceptualize government and state uses of force (ie prosecution that can lead to imprisonment) as restrictions on their rights. This "negative rights" conceptualization is pretty common in the US, but especially common in Texas

So, the government/state has guaranteed a negative right to life, i.e. citizens are prohibited from actions that deprive someone's right to life, and in order to enforce this prohibition, citizens are deprived of their right to arbitrarily commit violence to each other, while the government/state has a monopoly.

Where does our right to arbitrarily commit violence come from? Is it just a "natural right"?

See that's why there's a big difference in conceptualization. Texans would certainly not say you have a "right" to arbitrarily commit violence. They conceptualize rights "negatively", as things the state shouldn't take away from you. In this case, the right is the freedom to not not go to prison after protecting your property.

In fact, a Texan may also believe that since you have no right to violence, it would be perfectly fine for a police officer to stop you from using deadly force, as long as that police officer doesn't use deadly force on you!

Thanks, but I guess I just don't understand how this concept - negative rights are things that the state shouldn't take away from you - fits the concept of a "negative" right given here [0]. Following that definition, negative rights require that some actions are not allowed - the government/state (i.e, society?) takes these actions away.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_rights

The basic principle is that your negative rights are a prohibition of what others can do to you. If someone violates the negative rights of others, they forfeit theirs.

for example, people have a "negative" right to be free of physical violence. If someone uses physical violence an another, that person forfeits their rights, and the state can use violence against them. It can also take away their freedom of movement and incarcerate them.

> The basic principle is that your negative rights are a prohibition of what others can do to you.

Agreed - rights that are guaranteed by prohibiting certain actions, i.e. you have a right to $FOO, meaning that $BAR is prohibited.

Compare with:

> They conceptualize rights "negatively", as things the state shouldn't take away from you.

The formulation seems a little different: you have a right to $FOO, meaning that $BAR is allowed ("the state shouldn't take [$BAR] away from you").

The way it would fit:

You have a negative right to freedom from the state: the state can't lock you up without a good reason.

Also relevant, you have a negative right to your property: someone can't take your property from you.

Contrast with a postive-right versions of these two things, right to due process and right to property protection by the police.

I don't grok the real difference between the positive and negative rights example. Do these lead to different policy decisions? I'd like to know.

In the property case, my understanding is that people cannot take your property, this you are permitted to defend your property.

In the positive rights case, the state extends property protection via the law and police, thereby implicitly granting you property rights. This is a grant, and you are not allowed to defend your own property?

That's my rough reading of ops text.

> Where does our right to arbitrarily commit violence come from? Is it just a "natural right"?

If you down the rabbit hole far enough, rights do not come from anywhere other than the extent to which an opposing party is able to punish you. Aka, might makes right.

What's wrong with choosing rights democratically?

Minority rights.

You either believe in a democracy or you don’t. Minority rights have been pretty well protected through democratic decisions.

Minority rights are well-protected in America as a constitutional republic.

An actual direct democracy, like Switzerland, isn't as great as protecting minority rights. There's plenty of examples of democracies trampling minority rights, and there is a legitimate fear of tyrannical majority in most democracies.

America is quite unique in its system and how well it protects rights.

Sometimes, but not all times. It depends on what minority

I disagree, but you are entitled to your opinion. And also to try and change the situation democratically.

San Francisco is becoming the poster child for what happens when you decriminalize / remove consequences for theft.

I think the lawlessness in San Francisco is more the poster child for what happens when we treat people as disposable.


SF is spending 100k per homeless person. It’s not going well.

What’s the correct amount of caring?

It's not about the amount, which I agree is both ridiculous and yet still ineffective once someone becomes homeless and addicted. It's about when intervention is effective, which is most certainly before they become homeless. How is every other Western country managing to not have nearly the amount of homeless people and drug addicts as we do? Maybe start by doing what they do?

In case anyone is curious, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_homeless_... appears to list 15 OECD countries as having a higher homeless rate than the United States: New Zealand, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Luxembourg, Greece, Sweden, Mexico, Latvia, Israel, Austria, Czechia, Netherlands, Slovenia.

Generalizing about "America" usually doesn't work. It's a huge country, both in terms of land area (about the size of Europe) and population (about half of Europe). Politically, it's much closer to Europe in terms of heterogeneity than most people assume.

It's like a spectrum: on the one hand we have countries like Singapore, where all the laws and the people they apply to are the same pretty much anywhere you go, and on the other hand we have loose multi-national confederations like the E.U. where laws change significantly, but there are some generalities.

A U.S. state is much more like a country in the E.U. than the U.S. is like a country in the E.U. Further, there are huge differences in the makeup of populations in different parts of the United States, in terms of economic stratification, ethnicity, race, education, and most importantly local culture.

First off, no one is getting executed. It's not a case of I capture you stealing from me and make you stand still while I shoot you in the head.

As for intruding into my house, you are going to be killed if I see you. I have a 13 year old daughter to protect and there is no debating why you are in my house uninvited.

How do you feel that your lack of action with an intruder may have emboldened the criminal to do it again? Maybe next time the home owner gets hurt, raped, killed, or has to watch a loved one get hurt, raped, or killed.

I respect that you see things differently than I do, but you come across as someone who does not respect other's views and would restrict those if possible.

How will you prevent people who want to steal from stealing? Closure rates on theft cases is low to nonexistent.

Does it prevent stealing? Are there fewer catalytic converter thefts in the US than elsewhere, per capita?

I think the relevant comparison is Texas, not the U.S.

Why do people steal? Address the motivation to steal and the rates will drop.

Because it's an easy way to acquire resources. And a low-risk one, in your punishment free world too. Look at SF, where crime rings will happily walk straight into a store, scoop things off the shelves and walk out with nary a care.

People like to talk about desperation, and "they're just poor", but this is very much not the reality. SF again, the crime isn't from some down on their luck guy trying to get his next meal, it's organized crime.

There will always exist people who will happily and without remorse take from others for their own benefit. The motivation here is always the same. Getting shit without having to work for it. The disincentive is similarly the same. Risk-reward balance. The motivation? The risk is negligible and the reward is large. Either reduce the reward or increase the risk, or both.

In countries with good social safety nets, crime like this is relatively non-existent. Organized crime's recruits are the poor, who see it as a more reliable way of making a living wage, when alternatives for doing so don't exist.

Take the Japanese Yakuza as an example. Japan's still enforcement of laws against the Yakuza definitely helped reduce their membership, but if you look at why they're failing to recruit, it's not due to law enforcement, it's because people are looking at the risk/reward: the Yakuza doesn't have a retirement plan, health insurance, etc. Combined with the risk of jail, it keeps the recruitment lower. They're so desperate at this point that they're targeting the homeless for recruitment.

Without the financial side of the equation, law enforcement simply doesn't matter. If you can make a living wage through crime, but can't without crime, you'll have more people joining criminal organizations, regardless of the risk. Do we need laws to be enforced? Of course; I don't know why you think I want the world to be punishment-free. But we also need to fix our social issues for that to be at all effective.

I'll flip this on you: Without law enforcement, the financial side of the equation simply doesn't matter. There will always be people who want to get things for free, regardless of the societal cost. Remove this disincentive and they'll run rampant.

Besides. This is a non-sequitur anyway. You need both; Security nets reduce the desperation motive, and enforcement penalizes the "get shit for free" incentive. As you've said so yourself

>it's because people are looking at the risk/reward

Most countries with good social safety nets also come with good rule of law and enforcement. Removing enforcement in place of a good social security net isn't compensating, it's lunacy.

> Most countries with good social safety nets also come with good rule of law and enforcement.

The US has good rule of law and enforcement. Even SF, as much as people complain about it, has historically low crime rates. Police stats show crime hasn't drastically increased, but videos of crimes are being shared virally, increasing the perception of crime. The police haven't been defunded, the prosecution rates for most crimes are similar to before Chesa (some are higher, and others are lower, but none are drastically lower). The most visible issue is the crime rings that are wiping out stores, and those crime rings are profitable enough to pay much higher than a living wage, which is attractive for desperate people.

This isn't a non-sequitur. You're looking at countries that have good social nets and saying they also have good law enforcement, but if you look at countries with poor social safety nets and high crime rates, they also have tend to have tough crime enforcement. The common thing across countries with low crime rates, is good social safety nets.

Two parts here:

Crime in the USA:

>The US has good rule of law and enforcement. Even SF, as much as people complain about it, has historically low crime rates. Police stats show crime hasn't drastically increased, but videos of crimes are being shared virally, increasing the perception of crime.

I'm rather doubtful of this, especially with the spat between the police and boudin regarding the stats. However, comparing what I've seen and been told SF to multiple other cities I've seen, the US seems to be in a particularly bad situation, crime-wise. Car break-ins are rare in what I'd consider low-crime cities. Where I live right now? They're completely unheard of.

Furthermore, you get a lot from the type of crime. This isn't some desperate poor person trying to sneak essentials. It's blatant, bold shoplifting that clearly demonstrates that they have no expectation of retribution or arrest.

Security nets as the end-all:

My take on this is that it boils down fundamentally to incentives. Social security nets help on one end, reducing pressure on said desperation, reducing the desire to steal for some. Proper, consistent enforcement helps on the other, providing a countermeasure to the fundamental incentive of "free stuff". A common refrain here is about how incentive structures can result in dysfunctional results. The standard example is the company that breaks the law, earns a billion from that and gets fined a couple hundred million. Why is it that this no longer applies once you talk about property crime.

"Tough on crime" is a red herring here. It's not just about the penalty. It's also about the consistency of enforcement and likelihood of arrest/capture.

Driving without a converter is incredibly polluting and should be considered a crime against humanity, so stealing them should definitely be a serious crime and not just stealing an “autopart”

As is driving a SUV with a converter, in most cases.

Regarding "moral calculus"... I would never condone killing someone for stealing.

From another perspective, why should you value the life of a person more than said person values his own, e.g. why would I value your life, as clearly you value it less than you do the parts on my car, or items in my house?

When society permits people to hold you hostage via your "superior morals", so they can take advantage of you, your work, your family etc, isn't this a major breakdown?

Consider the (stupid IMHO) duty to retreat laws in some places. You are locked inside your safe place, your home, or your car, likely with your family. A person decides they want your property, or possibly your life. And these laws require you to retreat, to possibly vacate your home or car, pulling your family out of harms way if you can. Because these bad people are what? Misguided?

I don't believe (except maybe DC) any US state requires you to retreat from your domicile.


From your source:

12 states impose a duty to retreat when one can do so with absolute safety: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. New York, however, does not require retreat when one is threatened with robbery, burglary, kidnapping, or sexual assault.

No mention of domicile in this text.

It may not say in that specific spot. The map, however, does indicate what I said. Looking specifically into, for example, Wisconsin:

> If an actor intentionally used force that was intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm, the court may not consider whether the actor had an opportunity to flee or retreat before he or she used force and shall presume that the actor reasonably believed that the force was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself if the actor makes such a claim under sub. (1) and either of the following applies:

> 1. The person against whom the force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering the actor's dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business, the actor was present in the dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business, and the actor knew or reasonably believed that an unlawful and forcible entry was occurring.

> 2. The person against whom the force was used was in the actor's dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business after unlawfully and forcibly entering it, the actor was present in the dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business, and the actor knew or reasonably believed that the person had unlawfully and forcibly entered the dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business.



Also New York:

> (a) The actor reasonably believes that such other person is using or about to use deadly physical force. Even in such case, however, the actor may not use deadly physical force if he or she knows that with complete personal safety, to oneself and others he or she may avoid the necessity of so doing by retreating; except that the actor is under no duty to retreat if he or she is:

> (i) in his or her dwelling and not the initial aggressor; or

PEN 35.15


> How does the moral calculous work for Americans? Genuinely curious. Is it “something bad is being done to me, I am therefore justified to use any means necessary” kind of thing, or there is something else/more?

In some sense, it’s implicit in the concept of self-defense. As others have pointed out, property crime is not automatically a victimless crime. You aren’t really obligated to execute criminals in the commission of a such crime. The purpose of the law is mainly to preclude an uninformed assessment (or malicious assumption by a prosecutor) of e.g. “she was just stealing a catalytic converter, she didn’t mean any harm” which implicitly excludes the exposure of harm to the property owner, whether immediate or consequent. The perpetrator is actually a predator, an outlaw who views others as prey and imagines an entitlement to theft.

We put up with outlaws to a certain degree for "minor crimes", but the specific law is founded on the the premise that the outlaw predator is significantly ill-intentioned and potentially violent. The assumption is the thief is committing a crime with potentially serious consequences to the victim or proximate others. It’s not always obvious in the moment that such a criminal attempting a disengagement is incapable of or has no intent of further harming the victim.

There are capital crimes where it is obviously clear that great harm is prevented by killing the perpetrator caught in the act, but predators are willing to push the boundaries to obscure the issue for other crimes. Thus the people of the State of Texas (from whom government authority flows) decided to clarify it.

With respect to the benefit to society, diminishing the class of people who prey upon others specifically when they’re caught in harmful acts is often viewed in Texas (and by many Americans) as a social good and moral responsibility. You are not obligated to participate if you think it repugnant, but obviously predators caught in the act can’t be relied upon to be bound by your concerns, or sense of morality, or by laws.

>Huh only in America it might be considered OK to execute a person for a theft of an automative part.

We used to hang horse thieves and for the same reason. Theft of someone's transportation is a serious matter. It's not about the theft itself, or the 'auto parts' it's about depriving someone of their ability to be employed. To feed their families and themselves. To maintain their residence.

These are not small things. Try to take these from another and there is a common law right to stop that theft by force if necessary. Choices have consequences.

I carry a gun everyday just as I carry my wallet. I would not shoot someone in this situation. If you shoot someone who is simply under your car, you will be arrested and most likely go to jail. It does depend on your state but generally you will have trouble if you do not have a legitimate fear for your life. You may have justification to hold him a gun point (again depending on the state).

I don't think lethal force should be used in the case of theft like this, but I support it for any kind of home invasion/breaking and entering.

> Huh only in America it might be considered OK to execute a person for a theft of an automative part.

This is a peculiarity of Texas property law. It would not be legal in the other 49 states. It's a relic of cattle rustling in the 19th century, when the population density of Texas was too low to properly police and its primary industry required more protection than could be afforded by local law enforcement.

15 or 16 States have "strong" castle laws, and a further 6 or so have defense of home but not car.

That's more than a third. Texas and Florida have the strongest, such as shielding from civil liability and such.

I think it has to do with the idea that someone who does a bad thing is a bad person and we don't want bad people in our society.

As opposed to, someone who does a bad thing is a person in a bad situation and society should help them.

How about people just don't steal? A thief deprives somebody else of opportunities. If somebody steals your catalytic converter and you need to be on time for a job you're going to be screwed at the job and you will have to replace that stolen property.

I don't understand how people can just handwave away this stuff. I would genuinely rather have my arm broken than my bike/phone stolen. My arm will heal in a few weeks, but my bike won't.

Thieves are not one big homogeneous population, consisting of lazy ne'er-do-well people that simply don't feel like working - it's incredibly complex.

Yes - there's organized crime, where theft is basically just part of their business, but on the other hand you've got junkies, desperate poor people, people that are marginalized and completely locked out of the workforce, etc.

I think the Opioid epidemic is a shining example of how companies can legally turn normal citizens into addicts, and down the road into full-blown junkies. Then you get all the problems with petty crime, that's related to this lifestyle.

One of many examples where profits trumps human life, and where the criminal justice system has to deal with the aftermath.

But you can buy a used bike for less than $50 and typically your homeowners/renters insurance will cover it (and a stolen phone) anyway (though typically with a deductible).

>But you can buy a used bike for less than $50

Yeah, I wonder where that used bike came from. Some other poor sod had his bike stolen.

>and typically your homeowners/renters insurance will cover it (and a stolen phone) anyway

If it does and if the insurance pays out. You're still out the deductible and anything you had on the phone. Even now I don't think I would hand over my phone to a thief.

Well if you walk to your car and someone is stealing the CC they often have an armed accomplice. Should you not have the right to get in your car because someone else is implying violence? And if you want to get in your car, and they’re going to potentially kill you for it, don’t you also have the right to defend yourself? Would someone (say, a lone woman in a dark parking lot) be unreasonable for assuming violence was imminent if she walked to her car and found people stealing the CC from her car? I’d have a hard time blaming her if she shot them both on sight, even if they were unarmed.

I love it. Let the streets be bathed in their blood. Maybe I'll move to Texas someday.

Most people don’t think like this in America or anywhere. It’s a vocal minority of fanatics and marginal personalities that has disproportionate influence due to political dysfunction.

After the civil rights era, southern democrats were politically isolated and ended up in a coalition with western resource people (oil, big agriculture, etc). This coalition ended up as this thing that focuses on a few key, hardened issues like “low taxes”, abortion and guns.

Nobody likes taxes, but the farmers and the resource people hate taxes as it is just an overhead. So you end up with these weird scenarios where small farmers passionately support a platform that puts them out of business.

Guns are another similar issue. Gun companies made a FUD business model in the 90s about the “government is taking your guns” that was very impactful on rural folk and eventually became a mainstream thing.

When you architect a political movement around fear and grievance, you create a culture of aggrieved people who thing “they” are coming to get them.

Catalytic converter theft is obnoxious, and I'm fine with it being a felony (in particular as the cost of repairs is substantial higher than the "raw cost" of the stolen converter itself).

That being said: It isn't a capital crime and shouldn't be. If people can legally justify deadly force without self-defense (e.g. finding someone under their vehicle and shooting them) then the law itself is a problem.

If the state wants to make things a capital crime they should just do so directly, because at least then you get your day in court, a jury who could nullify, and lawmakers have to suffer the political ramifications of killing a bunch of petty thieves.

Or, alternatively, thieves could decide to not try and steal catalytic converters knowing they could get shot for it at no legal repercussion for the owner.

If you gamble with your life, you're bound to lose eventually, and I just struggle to feel sympathy for those who knowingly ruin their own lives with full conscience of the consequences.

I have the right to defend my property.

My the law prescribes what punishments are correct for property damage. Its not something that will give them a firing squad when convicted, so you shouldn't be acting as a firing squad yourself

Stopping a crime in progress is not a punishment. We have different measures to stop crime happening now and to punish a crime that happened in the past. E.g. a punishment for an assault is not death either but you are still entitled to defend yourself from one with deadly force. This is because we, as society, place higher importance on preventing the crime than on punishing the criminal post factum. You are free to disagree and not exercise deadly force or any force at all and submit to the criminals, it's your choice.

The social contact granting the state it's monopoly on violence is contingent on its execution of its duty, herein being the enforcement of law.

Where do we draw the line, really? Probably not at catalytic converters.

It doesn't worry you that people could misuse the law? For example, shooting someone to death first, then placing them under their car, and that way get away with murder?

In most states, you can claim under almost any circumstances that a person came at you with a weapon (a rock?) and you shot them in self-defense.

It is up to the criminal justice system to investigate and determine if you are lying.

This situation is no different.

> In most states, you can claim under almost any circumstances that a person came at you with a weapon (a rock?) and you shot them in self-defense.

Yeah, I realize I'm with water over my head as I don't understand US laws at all, and how it can legal to kill other people like that.

I'm pretty sure any country would be fine with you killing someone in self-defense...

You are wrong. In most EU countries self defense has to be proportional to attack, and to be used only when necessary. So if you exceeding limits of self-defense and you kill or damage someone using forces disproportionate to the danger you can go to jail.

> > In most states, you can claim under almost any circumstances that a person came at you with a weapon (a rock?) and you shot them in self-defense.

A rock to the head can be quite deadly; every situation will have its own important nuances still.

You'd be surprised.

No, there are many places where you want to think twice about responding to violence with violence, because if your violent response is deemed exaggerated, you end up being the one worse off on day of judgement.

Technically I suppose you could get away with killing if it can be shown that your life was in immediate danger, and not in the "old hobo waves a knife so cop shoots him in the back from thirty feet away" way like in the US. In practice that never happens, because it is very difficult to show that the only thing you could've done was to kill. Even if someone had you at gunpoint. Someone waving a rock or a knife? Lol no, unless you emerged out of a struggle with stab wounds or broken bones.

I would never want to live in a country that would prosecute me for defending my life and safety.

Your example is interesting because 21 feet is enough distance for someone with a knife to stab a someone before they can draw a gun (under 2 seconds)

I think most would agree that waiting to shot until you are suyre you will emerged out of a struggle with stab wounds or broken bones is too late.

Most in America? Shrug, maybe.

In many other parts of the world, someone having a weapon out is not sufficient evidence to show that they were going to murder you in 2 seconds unless you did it first. Even if they seemed angry and threatening. A threat of violence is not violence, a weapon is not violence, and an unstable person is not violence, and even violence doesn't justify killing unless that violence was life threatening.

That's the difference. The question here isn't about what they could in theory do. If you're going to kill someone in self defense, you'd better have very convincing evidence or other means to show that they were in fact about to kill you. Without signs of struggle, that evidence can be quite hard to procure.

So what do you do in this situation? If you can run, you run. If someone chases you with a knife and you can't outrun them, that's already much better for your self defense claim than if you just decided to shoot them the moment you got scared.. If you can fight or shoot back, you don't have to kill them, just respond enough to fend off the immediate threat. If you're not good enough with guns to make a non-lethal disarming shot, then I don't recommend bringing a gun (not that it'd be legal here anyway, guns are for sport and hunting). Your self defense can be regarded as exaggerated even if you didn't intend it that way. So if you accidentally make a lethal shot or accidentally punch someone to death, you're on the hook for it.

> If you're not good enough with guns to make a non-lethal disarming shot

This suggests to me that you don't know much about guns, gun safety, or gun laws. I'm not trying to be insulting, but saying something like that indicates that you really have no idea what you're talking about. No use-of-force experts recommend attempting a "non-lethal" shot with a gun. In fact, you'd almost certainly get in more trouble for doing that than for killing the person, at least in the US.

A gun is a lethal weapon, and there is no way to reliably perform a "non-lethal" shot. If you shoot someone in the leg, they can very easily bleed out. Aiming for the arm or hand makes it extremely likely that you will miss and hit someone/something downrange.

Oh I know what the gun nuts in the US say. I don't believe their view is universally shared.

I agree that there is no way to reliably perform a "non-lethal" shot which gets us back to my previous message: you'd better not bring a gun to a knife fight if you don't want to end up sitting in jail for killing. Use-of-force experts here would not recommend shooting at all if there's any chance a missed shot is going to hit someone downrange, unless again it can be shown that killing is absolutely the only choice left.

However, if you read the news here, you find that the police regularly manage to hit a leg and thus disable the assailant without killing them. Every time this happens, there's going to be an investigation into whether gun use was justified. And if the assailant ended up dying, it'd be much worse for the cop.

I don't know if they're specifically instructed to aim for legs, but maybe it's easier to stop bleeding than to revive someone with a bullet in the heart.

> Use-of-force experts here would not recommend shooting at all if there's any chance a missed shot is going to hit someone downrange, unless again it can be shown that killing is absolutely the only choice left.

Then it seems like we're on the same page? You shouldn't be shooting at all unless you're trying to kill the person. You shouldn't be trying to kill the person unless it's absolutely the only choice left. Given that it's the only choice left, potentially hitting someone downrange is a regrettable but possible outcome. Given that you're trying to kill someone, aiming somewhere other than center mass has an unacceptable risk of missing or not disabling the person.

> A threat of violence is not violence, a weapon is not violence, and an unstable person is not violence, and even violence doesn't justify killing unless that violence was life threatening.

> If you're going to kill someone in self defense, you'd better have very convincing evidence or other means to show that they were in fact about to kill you.

I don't understand this at all. A mentally unstable person shouting threats and approaching me with a deadly weapon is 150% enough evidence that my life is in danger. I can't see any other possible rationalization.

It is a complete failure of the state to make someone scared of defending themselves against legitimate threats.

For example, Soviet Union made self-defense illegal. This was part of a larger strategy to encourage crime against citizens, because the more the citizens are worrying about criminals, the less they think about the regime they are living in. They will even welcome more police oversight, because it is the only protection against crime they have. (Crimes against the state, on the other hand, were punished extremely.)

Congratulations you made me make an account.

Do you have any sources for that story? I would be interested in reading them because what you are describing sounds so idiotic that it seems like a parody of anti-communist talking points.

In the US it is legal to defend your life and safety from those attacking you.

This seems super unlikely as the framer would need to have specialized saws to plant on the victim.

If someone wants to abuse a castle doctrine law there are already easier ways to do that.

I’m also not aware of any stories where the existing laws have been abused to kill people legally (eg, shooting someone, planting them in your house or as a carjacker). Although maybe they are just so successful they aren’t caught.

Is a battery sawsall very specialized?

In the sense that it’s not commonly carried, then yes.

That can happen anyway. Place them in your house and say they broke in

You're not joking, apparently it's legal to shot people to death if they've entered your home. Learned something new today. I don't understand it all, but certainly puts the new law into perspective and apparently what I was thinking about wouldn't be a problem.

Invite them over to your house without anyone knowing about this, then shoot them. Would it work?

People keep coming up with these fanciful scenarios because they don't like the idea of being able to shoot intruders, but think about that for a second. You're positing that a person wants to kill a random person they don't know, but also wants to do it in the loudest, messiest way that absolutely guarantees a police investigation. And the outcome, if their brilliant little scheme fails, is the death penalty.

Texas also has the death penalty for premeditated murder, which would probably be the case if you're prepared enough to frame the victim for catalytic converter theft.

So if you're going to use an affirmative defense ("Yes I did it, but it was justified") then that seems like a pretty big risk, especially if there's no real evidence the victim was a cat thief.

That's what investigations and courts of law are for. Your hypothetical of "what if you killed someone and then framed it as self-defense" is an argument as old as time. It is the basis of every justice system humanity has ever created. This idea goes beyond the Bible.

That's your ethical call to make, at the end of the day - but I think putting property above human life shows a distinct lack of empathy.

So you come out of Walmart somewhere in Texas, having bought a black sports bag. As you pass by a car, you notice your shoelace is untied, so you get down and tie it. Coming up, you lose your balance a little and put your hand on the car. At that moment, the owner of that car comes, sees you coming up a little clumsily from underneath their car with a big black bag, thinks "damn, he's stealing my catalytic converter" and shoots you dead.

See the problem? You weren't stealing anything. They just thought you did. In most other places on earth, if you were really unlucky, you'd get arrested and put on trial, until it became clear that you really didn't do anything wrong. In Texas, apparently, instant game over is an acceptable outcome. Sure, the shooter would also get in trouble, but that's not going to help your spouse and children, is it?

Edit: typo

I also agree that it shouldn't be a capital crime, but I don't think that automatically implies that deadly force cannot be allowed to prevent the theft in the first place. The distinction really comes down to your belief on public vs private use of force. On one extreme, you could believe that only the state should be allowed to use deadly force to enforce, on the other extreme you could believe the state should never use deadly force.

I would guess that many Texans who support the use of deadly force in this situation accept this difference. Personally I feel there should be no death penalty, but also believe individuals should generally be allowed to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property. I'm worried about cases or mistaken identity or collateral damage, but that should be an empirical question rather than one of justice.

>If the state wants to make things a capital crime they should just do so directly,

whoa, easy there fella! Don't go giving this guy any more zanny ideas. He'll call another special session just for it (no governor has called this many). The wackier the idea, the better he'll like it.

Texans are like this about everything. Bloodthirsty and armed to the teeth, even when they're going to a flower garden to drink herbal tea.

I live in a neighboring state and we get a lot of Texan tourists. You can't get them to honor a stop sign or even drive on the right side of the road with anything less than the threat of deadly force. It's utterly exhausting.

edit: in the interest of a having worthwhile discussion, let me acknowledge that there's an over-generalization here. Sorry about that. But, in the interest of valuing expertise, let's also keep in mind that Texas has to be experienced to be understood.

Flamewar comments in general, and regional flamewar in particular, are not allowed here. If you'd please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and not post like this again, we'd appreciate it.

In Texas, one is allowed to use deadly force against the perpetrator of theft, even if one is not threatened (say the perp is running away) with the proviso, for some reason, that this crime happens at night.

In 2013, a man hired an escort off of craigslist. She took $150 payment, then refused to have sex with him and left. She made it to her car, but he grabbed a gun, ran to her car, and shot her in the neck. A jury acquitted him.


The reason why at night, because it is not about killing/executing/etc, but about not letting the perpetrator to run away without consequences, which is very likely at night - hence the night provision.

Apparently I'm not sane enough to see how committing a murder is being law abiding. Texas is definitely now on my do-never-go list.

DW, if you're a tech worker pretty much every silicon valley company is finding out they won't find talent in Texas, so I think you'll never have to go there as they pull out.

And you're clearly not sane enough to understand what 'murder' means either

and no one's made a mod yet for GTA:Texas Edition talk about missed opportunities..

Great! This is exactly the kind of action we need up and down the West Coast, in LA, SF, Portland, and Seattle. In all these cities “restorative justice” policies have essentially legalized crime, while still subjecting law abiding taxpayers to every statute. As an example: if a vagrant using up public parking spaces as a home dumps sewage from their RV into the street, they’ll face no penalties. If a homeowner drops a thimble of anything into a drain, they’ll face significant fines. Without real consequences and deterrents, criminals and low lives will victimize others with impunity. The catch-and-release policies used by activist DAs like Chesa Boudin have massively backfired and turned livable, attractive cities into dangerous slums. It needs to be fixed now.

There might actually be things you have posted in this thread I agree with but why then do make other dumb wild claims. "If a homeowner drops a thimble of anything into a drain, they’ll face significant fines." Nobody knows what you dump down the drain.

"turned livable, attractive cities into dangerous slums." Weird as I have not seen housing prices slump in value, they just keeping getting more costly.

They probably weren't being literal.

I cannot even begin to understand the rationale for executing someone stealing your private property. That’s some failed state shit.

I personally view it as the exact opposite. I feel that defense of- and autonomy over- my person and property are the most fundamental tiers of liberty. A society that does not uphold defense of property is effectively arguing for a lack of private property (a certain ideology starting with ‘C’ also has this trait). If we had enough surveillance, police officers, and so forth to catch criminals, hold them to consequences, and deter others, I would support avoiding a stricter law like this. But the reality is cities simply cannot afford the amount of staffing needed to stop these crimes from happening, and I don’t think hardworking taxpayers should have to shoulder that burden.

These criminals are also not helpless victims - they are most typically lazy bandits who are breaking down society when they could very easily go get one of the millions of jobs available today and make an honest living through hard work - like the rest of us. If these people want to operate outside what a just society requires, then we need real, harsh consequences so that we have an effective deterrent that will put an end to this. Citizens being able to defend their property without expensive or time-consuming legal complications seems like a great way to have a distributed policing force at no cost, to uphold the very laws that our society has already put on the books.

When society does not uphold defense of property you get things like this: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/15/walgreens-cl...

Unless something is done soon those areas are going to decline. The stores closing is a symptom of there being no safety. It screams "don't do business here". No businesses means no jobs, which means more poverty in the area.

Saying that you can't defend property means that you're tolerating this theft. The police don't do anything for property theft. This isn't a uniquely American problem - property theft is just too hard to prove, the legal teeth on it have been neutered in the world etc. The only one that can really stop property theft is yourself, but if you're not allowed to defend it then you can't even do that. Being able to defend your property doesn't stop the problem, but it gives you the ability to do something about it.

"Unless something is done soon those areas are going to decline."

I think the thing to do would be to not treat people as disposable so that they end up poor, homeless, addicted, and desperate in the first place. I am not opposed to Texas' laws about protecting one's home and property with deadly force but the prevention can come far sooner i the form of better workers' rights, better working conditions, and social safety nets that drastically reduce the number of people incentivized to do things like steal catalytic converters or form organized crime gangs of addicts to routinely rob the Walgreens and CVS. You don't see that kind of thing nearly as often in other wealthy Western countries.

>If we had enough surveillance, police officers, and so forth to catch criminals, hold them to consequences, and deter others, I would support avoiding a stricter law like this.

The fact that you don't, and that you think street executions are a substitute, is what makes it a failed state.

Due to the lack of police enforcement and prosecution by the courts, a segment of the populace has figured out that they can do things like this and get away with it, with no consequences.

There's a segment of the population that seems to believe this kind of looting and other theft/crime is largely a product of poverty; that if we would increase the minimum wage, have more affordable housing, and generally improve the conditions of the working poor, that these crimes would go away.

I believe that kind of thinking is dangerous and foolish.

The punishment for petty crime in cities has been getting smaller and finally reach a threshold that people no longer see it as a real deterrent.

Or there are more desperate people now willing to take the risks than before. Or some combination of both.

Ah yes, desperate people that need designer handbags to survive. They’re so desperate, they pull up in their private vehicles to commit such an act of desperation. Their desperation has inspired them to dress in hoodies and a mask to prevent identification.

I strongly suspect they’re fencing them, and if you’re going to commit a crime a mask is a good idea. As is getting the most bang for your buck, committing crimes repeatedly is a good way to get caught.

These aren't desperate people trying to feed their starving infant babies; it's organized crime. Their get away vehicles are often nicer than my car.

Do you have some data? I’m curious to learn more.

The lack of workers rights, the high price of housing, and the lack of decent social safety nets has helped to create a lot of poor, desperate people and a high property crime rate, high enough that police do not have enough manpower to prevent them or even respond to them.

And the fact that we would rather spend the money on ineffective social programs like police and prisons rather than the equivalent on preventative measures that keep our communities from becoming shitty in the first place, like most Western countries do.

The state abdicating its monopoly on violence is the definition of a failed state. The dictionary definition. [1]

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failed_state

The state allowing lethal force in defense of property is not abdicating a monopoly on violence any more than allowing lethal force in defense of life. In both cases the state is allowing somebody else to use violence, therefore if one counts as abdicating its monopoly on violence then so does the other.

Respectfully disagree.

Texas passed the first version of section 9.42 in 1974, if it's such an effective deterrent, why is the crime still happening? You just hate that poor desperate people have the unmitigated gall to try and survive.

The rational is that you wouldn't have to do this normally. No sane criminal would value their life less than some catalytic converter.

Doesn't this ensure catalytic converter theives will be prepared to shoot back?

And indeed they are, even in states without Texas-like legalized summary execution.


By that somebody do you mean someone that random vigilantes assume stole a cat in the past with little proof? And then grab shotguns and pick up trucks to chase the somebody if they ever see that somebody again and proceed to execute the person?

There is no law for shooting people with property. Self defense, even in Texas, requires an imminent threat of grevious bodily harm. Texas DA's on the other hand do not follow the law, and generally will not prosecute unless you're not the right kind of person.

Content warning. 1. https://youtube.com/watch?v=Xo4H5ijVPEE

> There is no law for shooting people with property.

See 9.42: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.9.htm#9.42

That section makes no mention of classification of the crime. It would be the same scenario felony or misdemeanor.

Just make sure you shoot 'em in the back several times



What goes around comes around. Or if you prefer:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 7:2

Wouldn't the dollar amount of the theft had made it a felony?

> let owners use deadly force against anybody who is under your car or running away with your converter during night time.

WTF? Why don't you think that should result in a murder charge?

Ironically, Texas would probably also have one of the highest percentage of vehicle owners who have removed and replaced their catalytic converters with a straight pipe. It's called a "cat delete" and common in the performance community, probably because there is no emissions testing.

Yes, because, the right answer to someone stealing your catalytic converter is to shoot them and get the lifelong trauma from it. Such a great idea.

Some people are not affected by the taking of someone else's life. Not everyone will be affected the way you might be, and hell, you might not be affected the way you think you might. It could be worse, it could be less. Hopefully, you never have to know, but to assume everyone does is not realistic

Ahmaud Arbery’s case is a reminder that a significant number of people dream of carrying out vigilante retribution/enforcements without cause and shoot people.

What you said is true of psychopaths and sociopaths, but rarer in the general population.

Generally speaking, PTSD is an extremely well-documented consequence of killing.

"killing or seriously injuring someone in the line of duty was significantly associated with PTSD symptoms (p< .01) and marginally associated with depression symptoms (p < .06). These results highlight the potential mental health impact of killing or seriously injuring someone in the line of duty."


"Killing in War Leaves Veterans with Lasting Psychological Scars, Study Finds"


lots more evidence out there.

If it caused 10% of individuals to have symptoms then they’d detect a p value like those, the other 90% could be pleased as pudding for all the p value would care. I doubt it’s that high, my comment is just that the quoted p value and association does not actually provide any support for the statement

And the first of your sources does say that 7-19% of officers get ptsd but also that 25% kill or seriously injured someone, which is a larger number than get ptsd. so that suggests 6-18% officers kill or seriously injure someone and don’t get ptsd. Assuming the ones that get ptsd are the same as the ones doing bodily harm, unrealistic but conservative, that means half of officers who do that could easily be just dandy.

yeah, 25% killing, 19% getting PTSD, and 6% getting PTSD but denying it.

While under reporting is possible, please stick to the actual data.

That data was in the intro. The study itself had a drop out rate that surprised me, about half the participants.

Conclusion, better studies needed. Also conclusion, did not support the original point.

I'd have no problem putting someone down for it. I'll sleep like a baby knowing they aren't ruining more people's lives.

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