Friday 9 December 2016

Rush to judgment

Published 29/11/2012 | 17:00

• The legitimate purpose of any moral use of force is neither to kill as many as possible, nor to avoid all killing – it is to remove a threat, to stop an aggressor.

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When and where you open fire, and for how long, depends on the decisions and location of the enemy. If you are firing in self-defence, you are duty-bound to remove the actual threat, no matter how many or how few are killed.

If three armed gardai confront four armed robbers, but only one garda is killed by those robbers, the moral duty of the two surviving gardai is not to kill only one robber (because only one garda was killed) but to remove the actual threat facing them – which, in such a case, means firing on all four.

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