My Philosophy of Killing in Self-Defense
- Do nothing to defend yourself and those around you,
- Or to use a weapon to defend yourself and others.
Which will you choose? Chances are very good that you’ve already given this some thought and made up your mind. My goal is not to change your mind or prove that you’re right or wrong. I’m nobody to tell you how to act! All I can do is tell you what I’ve decided for myself. I really want to avoid coming across like I know it-all and I’m right and you’re wrong, because there is no clear-cut right or wrong on the issue of self-defense and taking another human life. So I’m going to ask and answer questions for myself and for myself alone. You have to answer the questions for yourself. My hope is that if you haven’t made up your mind, you’ll find some ideas to help you do so.
When would you need a Weapon?
Humans are unique in that we are both predator and prey. On one hand we hunt other animals to kill and eat them, and yet we are also prey to larger or more deadly animals. You may recoil at the thought that you are a predator, but there is no way to get around the fact it is part of your evolutionary past. We like to think we are far removed from the wild but it’s still alive and well inside of us whether we’re aware of it or not. Generally, it’s been so long since it was an active part of our life it’s virtually gone dormant, but for some of us the wild urge to hunt and kill is still very near the surface. If you need proof of that go out into the country in September and you’ll witness the annual hunting season where the predatory urge in humans is in full display!
But humans aren’t just predators in the sense of hunting other animals to eat, we are also predators when it comes to other humans. As modern society becomes more tame, boring and tedious, there are some people with such an overwhelming urge for excitement, adventure and wildness that they simply reject all the normal rules of society and live by their own codes. A prime example of that is the Hells Angels. After World War II a small percentage of American soldiers came home from war and simply could not settle down from the constant adrenaline rush of battle to the straight-jacket life they were offered. So they rejected it, bought war surplus motorcycles and lived a totally lawless, wild and free life. Whether we like it or not a certain percentage of Americas have that same irresistible urge to defy all the normal rules and take whatever they want from whomever they want. There has always been a small percentage like that and there always will be. We need to protect ourselves from them.
Shouldn’t we trust the police to protect us from predators?
Society has an obligation to protect itself from predators so we have Law Enforcement Officers to catch them and prisons to separate them out so they can’t hurt others. But we all know the police can’t be everywhere—their job is to bring you justice after the damage is done. If you want protection while the crime is occurring, that’s up to you and you alone. Each of us are fully responsible for their own self-defense and society doesn’t even pretend otherwise
But isn’t human life sacred and not to be taken?
This is basically a religious question so let me define my religious beliefs. I believe in a Higher Power but I believe he speaks to humans through nature. Every human no matter where they live, or in what culture, or at whatever time, see the exact same messages and lessons in nature. Yin and Yang is the single most obvious lesson of nature and every human everywhere can plainly see it. Life and death, predator and prey, darkness and light, summer and winter, dry and wet, male and female, and a million other complimentary opposites are nature’s way. I live my life based on that as the inspired Word of God and base all my moral decisions on it.
Part of Yin and Yang is life flowing into death, flowing back into life again. It’s everywhere in every part of nature and from that I see the lesson of reincarnation. Just like everything else in nature, humans live and die and live again. Our bodies are literally stardust from stars that lived and died billions of years ago and just like them we will live again in another way. So whether this life is long or short, hard or easy, it’s just a tiny, infinitesimally small sliver of our total time here. Death feels like the enemy and it brings us tremendous heartache, but the truth is it is our ally and to be embraced because we know that life can only come from death. I absolutely believe that we can’t truly, fully live until we fully accept death. Human life is no mare sacred than any other life in nature and it doesn’t end with the death of the body, it merely transforms into something else.
You shouldn’t own a weapon unless you are willing to use it. Are you willing to take another life in your own self-defense?
Yes, I am. Death and killing is nature’s way and therefore I believe it is a message directly from “god.” Its nature’s way for there to be predators and that they should kill prey. It’s also nature’s way that prey should do everything it can to keep from being killed, even to the point of killing it’s attacker. That’s the message that everyone can see in nature and in my religious/spiritual view that makes it moral. Because humans are omnivores (eating almost everything) we are both predator and prey so killing in self-defense is a normal and natural part of our life.
But shouldn’t we rise above our animal nature?
No!! Absolutely not!! For millions of years we lived as hunter-gatherers and nearly every anthropologist will tell you that we lived wonderful lives. The greatest mystery in Anthropology today is why we abandoned that way of life and adapted agriculture which naturally led to civilization. Civilization is truly, deeply immoral and evil. As hunter gatherers there was virtually no or very little:
- no crime,
- no murder,
- no genocide,
- no slavery,
- no treating women as possessions,
- no modern diseases,
- no long, grueling days of labor,
- no rape, (Sex was considered normal and natural and not as dirty or immoral so rape never occurred in any primitive culture we’ve studied. When the first good, civilized, Christian men started raping Native Americans they had never seen anything like it before and didn’t even have a word for it.)
None of those things are found in nature and they are not nature’s way. All of them are the wonderful gift of “civilization” and us “rising above our animal natures.” Animals (including hunter-gatherers) don’t do those things, only civilized men do them! It’s very interesting that every time civilization invaded the land of hunter-gatherers, 100% of them rejected civilization as a horribly immoral way to live. So being good civilized Christian people who had risen above our animal natures we promptly slaughtered and enslaved them, stealing everything they had and treating them like dirty animals.
I not only don’t want us to rise above our animal natures, I want us to return to them so we can finally start living moral lives again!
How can you live with yourself if you kill another person?
Killing someone in self-defense is nature’s way, and following nature’s way is always moral. What is not nature’s way is to do nothing to help another person. Generosity is the highest value in every aboriginal culture. The idea of failing to help someone by giving your all to them was the highest immorality. For you to eat while someone else went hungry was one of the few crimes that would get you excommunicated from the tribe. In the same way, if I see you being attacked by another person the moral thing is for me to do everything in my power to protect you from them including hurting or killing your attacker.
The question in my mind is not how can I live with myself if I kill someone in self-defense, but how can I live with myself if I don’t defend another person to the utmost of my ability–including using any level of violence that is called for.
Some people think that it’s okay to fight to defend others, but not okay to fight to defend yourself. I can understand that position, but I don’t agree. I am as worthy of life as anyone else and it’s against nature’s way for me not to do everything I can to live.
As a prepper, will you kill to defend your supplies?
I can’t give you a simple yes or no answer to that. Nature has two conflicting moral absolutes:
- Generosity toward the tribe and strangers is mandatory.
- Fighting to live is nature’s way.
Sometimes they can appear to conflict and you have to work out a balance between them. Each situation is different and must be handled individually. I don’t have a blanket answer.
This post got too long so in the next post we’ll look at my recommendations for weapons.