Cimmerian Dragon wrote:In this case, the father faced no threat to himself, but imagine the emotional reaction to what he witnessed.
The "crime of passion" "defense" is pretty worthless. Most people who get angry don't kill other people, let alone harm them.
One case also means nothing on the grand scale of the law.
Considering neither his nor his daughter's lives were threatened, there's no self-defense case (rather, familial defense, but for all intents and purposes it's the same kind of situation). Given this fellow probably had no intent to kill the man, he would probably only be charged with manslaughter.
Yeah, I know there's no self defense case. I was merely illustrating the arbitrary nature of an uninvolved official's determinations. And I hope the father gets off scott-free, but I have a problem justifying any abstract system of justice in general, so there's that. The only people in the world who will ever know what the morally proper retribution for that man's crime would have been is the daughter, and those others personally affected by the crime and its aftermath. The law is an imperfect construct designed to take the personal out of retribution, and hand it over to a system. That's not an attack, it's just the way it is. It creates stability, it makes an attempt at equal treatment, and so on. Whether any of that makes the government's opinion of how much a victim suffers, and thus the proper extent of retribution, more worthy of respect that the victim's own opinion, is a pointless debate. The government was not wronged, the individual was. Legality is not morality, and no student of law would ever claim that the two concepts are one.
The system is an outsider that attempts to replace the natural position of the victim as the party seeking justice, and it does so for useful reasons. Civilization collapses without it. Still, what right does a mass-enacted system have to tell the victim how badly they've been wronged? None of course; but it is the trade-off we pay for living in a nation of laws. That is a very admirable thing to support. I would never want the system of justice to collapse into anarchy and vigilantism because I value a stable society
, but I'm not going to pretend that the system is anything more than what it is, a utilitarian device.
I'm also not going to judge the father that, for one brief moment, attempts consciously or unconsciously to reclaim the right of the individual to exact their estimate of justice for their offspring. Yes, that's the vigilantism I've just said I don't want to see run rampant...but that's because I value the society that the law protects, not because I think the law is morally preferable to personal retribution. I simply can't justify faulting him for what he's done.
Whether the law faults him is another matter entirely.