You are on page 1of 2

I negate, Resolved: It is morally permissible for victims to use deadly force as a deliberate response to repeated domestic violence.

For clarity, I offer the following definitions: Repeated: (American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Edition) To do, experience, or produce again (essentially, more than once) According to the Office on Violence Against Women, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice: We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines deliberate as: characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration Two observations should be made based off of these definitions. First, domestic violence is not necessarily physical abuse. The modern definition of domestic violence is one of a pattern of abusive behavior centered on control, rather than a single instance of physical violence. Second, the word deliberate in the resolution is very important since it rules out the possibility of a victim acting out of self- defense in the heat of the moment. Rather, the resolution incorporates the word deliberate to indicate that the use of deadly force has been carefully considered and planned out. That said, the resolution fundamentally pertains to what is and is not moral conduct. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy defines morality as a descriptive word which refers to some codes of conduct put forward by a society or some other group. Since morality fundamentally dictates the interaction between human beings within a society, the value standard of this round should be Justice, defined as giving each his due, since giving people what they deserve is an intrinsically good goal for any moral doctrine seeking to govern human interaction. As a criterion, I offer the Doctrine of double effect, a paradigm created by philosopher Thomas Aquinas to weigh the good and bad consequences of an action. The basic idea is that doing something morally good that just so happens to result in a bad side effect is still just, while doing something bad as a means to achieving good is not just. The other component to the doctrine of double effect is that the good end result MUST outweigh the negative side effect. I will discuss this concept further in the body of my case. Contention 1: Death and the use of deadly force are neither equivalent to domestic violence nor appropriate as a response to it, and therefore their implementation is unjust. The central question we need to as is this: is death even remotely comparable to non-lethal violence?

Though same may say, "yes, battering = worse than death", drunken punches and verbal abuse are hardly worse than repeated stabbings. Furthermore, its important to remember that domestic violence is not just limited to extreme physical force. Indeed, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services: Many domestic disputes do not involve violence and of those that do, The vast majority of physical assaults are not life threatening; rather, they involve pushing, slapping, and hitting. Furthermore, according to the National Family Violence Survey, conducted by University of New Hampshire researchers (Murray Strauss, Richard Gelles, 1985): out of all domestic violence cases considered to be "severe," only 7 percent of the victims require medical care Finally, according to the Archives of Internal Medicine (1992): A full 48 percent of "severe marital aggression" caused no injury at all SO, vast majority = very minor violencehow can we possibly expect to justify killing because of it, by Thomas Aquinas' paradigm, or any other? The fact of the matter is that the horror stories we are all familiar with of women being pushed to the brink of death by severe beatings who resort to lethal force in order to save their babies are the exceptions to the rule. The vast majority of domestic violence cases are far from life threatening. The impact of this is that the affirmative side must justify any and all cases of domestic abuse as sufficient to kill the abuser. This includes the relatively minor transgressions which characterizes the vast majority of real world domestic violence. Again, what we must see is that the bad effect of killing a man far outweighs the good of preventing this sort of violence. Contention 2: Deliberately killing an abuser is attempting to cause good by doing evil, which is unjust. A critical distinction must be made between a scenario of legitimate self- defense, and the deliberate use of deadly force. In the first scenario, while desperately trying to defend herself from imminent harm, the victim accidentally slays her attacker. By the doctrine of double effect, this would be just, since the death of the attacker is merely an accidental, unforeseeable negative side effect of the worthy cause of saving ones own life. However, in the second case, when the consequences of deadly force are clearly known, and moreover, the use of deadly force is a conscious decision, then killing the attacker becomes the means to achieving the end of stopping the abuse (which, again might not even be life threatening). The impact is that, under the doctrine of double effect, such an action simply cannot be just.