I’m a full-blood European, born and raised. I pride myself in being more Dutch than most Dutch. Currently, as in all of my past, residing in Europe. As such I have been a subject to a long-standing, well-established culture, tradition, heritage and a large variety of social conventions and rules.
I’d like to think I know how to behave like a man, a gentleman maybe, perhaps despite the fact I most often do not.
One of these things we are ingrained with as Europeans, is a concept called “constitutional liberalism”, which for as far as the terminology goes has little to do with freedoms being enshrined, largely solely, in to something as benign as a constitution — despite the many monarchies here.
I can do another post on what “constitutional liberalism” entails exactly, but — for the sake of this post under the title I have given it — it is to say that we, Europeans, need not point to a document with some potentially ambiguous text from yay fathers. We’re all, by and large, obedient servants of our lords and kings and queens. Free as fuck, but servants nonetheless.
We’re also subject to a monopoly on violence by the states. This is to say that, literally speaking, our states have a monopoly on all sorts of violence. This is emphasized most clearly in Great Britain, where law enforcement officers do not carry firearms of any sort.
To illustrate, a story:
A man walks in to my home in the middle of the night. It’s an intruder. I don’t know what his intentions are, but I punch him in the face — coward nerd that I am, that probably won’t happen precisely like that, but that’s not the point.
Let’s say the intruder goes down — fuck knows why, but he does, and you are going to need to keep with the story I’m telling.
Maybe, if I can tie him down or something, he gets arrested. While I question my ability to achieve the force necessary, maybe he needs to go to the hospital to get checked out. All of it is completely besides the point. Fun, but besides the point nonetheless.
I would get charged with assault, as the intruder is entitled to file charges against me — and why wouldn’t he, if not just for the sake of leverage?
It’s like my home is the state itself first, rather than my home, and therefore all have equal rights of being in my home, first and foremost, and then maybe second to that I might feel like somebody’s trespassing.
If it’s somebody I know, who knows what story-line’s needed for aggravated assault. Maybe I picked up a kitchen knife. You know, that thing you do when you’re not confident about the effect of your fist hitting somebody’s nose. Whatever.
I would get charged with shit for counteracting the original offence, and that might put me behind bars for much longer than the trespassing charge put on Mr. Intruder.
Bearing in mind IANAL, the conceptual principles at play here are known in Dutch as “noodweer” (self-defence) and “noodweerexces” (use of excessive force in self-defence).
Rather than just use force against the a-hole, I can only use force proportional to the risk posed to me and mine.
So to speak, if the intruder is emptying my fridge I really have no punching rights. Regardless, it is for the criminal justice system to decide what constitutes “proportional”, presumably on a case-by-case basis — in short, in no way do I have any sort of unquestionable undeniable right to defend my property, my family or myself.
Also, while I do not care about the contents of my fridge, I would be scared shit-out-of-pants-at-both-ends. Between just myself and “fight-or-flight”, I’d take flight and go:
“V1 ……… Rotate ……… Positive climb” while doing so.
I have a daughter and a wife though, and the last thing I’ll have happen to them is to hate to deal with it because I’m such a worthless shit-head (or so I imagine in such hypothetical scenario, and yes, also it is analogous to offering protection).
Long story short, putting up a poor impression of a Delta flight taking off from LAX is not an option.
Q: So, would I use force?
Yes, if I had any, and any other thing I do have otherwise.
Q: Would I use force almost certainly to cause another human being’s death?
Yes, if I had the means.
Q: Would I face the charges dear Mr. Intruder can hopefully not file against me any longer, but his family still can, if it came to that?
Q: Would it help me if I had a firearm available to aim at the intruder?
Yes, because I’m half the (wo)man you are, dear reader.
It is, after all, my home, and my family at risk, including just your proverbial punch in nose.
Now I ask you, what does that mean for my stance on gun control?