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Was the use of force justified in these situations? a. A 19-year-old woman was raped by two men. She subsequently invited them for a return date, at which time she killed one with a shotgun, while...

Was the use of force justified in these situations?

a. A 19-year-old woman was raped by two men. She subsequently invited them for a return date, at which time she killed one with a shotgun, while the other man fled.

b. A 62-year-old retired army officer was awakened by noise in his home. He got up, and armed with a pistol, walked into a hallway where he saw two men coming toward him. He fired his pistol, killing both men, who were in the act of burglary.

Does it matter if the burglars were unarmed?

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ggunkel eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Legally, use of force was not justified in either case. However, looking at each case from the standpoint of societal good, it could be justified. None of the 3 perpetrators killed would would ever commit another crime.

In the first case the woman was undoubtedly reacting on emotion. In the second case, the man did not know if the burglars had a weapon, so it could be argued that he acted in self-defense. Although property comes second to human life under the law, the man may have felt that his life was in jeopardy.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The problem with the first scenario is:

1. The lady's actions were pre-meditated and planned, which in some states carries an automatic first degree sentence, as it was intentional.

2. She is practicing the vigilante paradigm which is illegal (taking matters into her own hands)

3. She had not reported the authorities (according to what I am reading) within the 12-48 hour period required to obtain physical evidence. For all we know, 2 weeks could have been spent shopping,...

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brettd eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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