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From: "Grant Callaghan" <email@example.com>
> >Even the laws of most countries make allowances for people when they
> >"my home, my family, my children, my beliefs, my property." If you
> shoot a
> >stranger on the street, you go to jail for murder. If you shoot a
> >in your home or while they are attacking your children, or your
> person, it
> >is called self defense and not prosecuted. There are no limits to what
> >can do in defense of what is "mine."
> >On the contrary, what you describe is virtually uinique to the USA.
> >Ecuador and the UK (where I have some personal experience) would put
> >behind bars for a very long time if you shoot somebody just because
> >are intruders on your property. The situation in the USA is a
> >relic of the time when cowboys had to forcibly clear stray indians off
> >their ranches. The law had to be made so that they could do this
> >ending up in court every other day. It's a historical accident, not a
> >cultural universal.
> How about if someone attacks you or your country? Are you allowed to
> yourself with force? What are most of the laws in our respective
> but tools with which to defend our property from others? The weapons
> may be
> different, but the intent is the same. Most of those laws, in my
> were made to prevent people from killing each other. Amongst the
> that is still the rule. But the need and desire to defend our property
> coded into the law to keep us from doing what comes naturally.
This isn't 'my' area but as I recall you don't exactly get to shoot
trespassers and get away with it. Normally self-defense is not a valid
legal defense if when a person is attacked retreat is viable option. When
the person attacking you is a tresspasser retreat is not considered a
I don't know whether any research has been done on whether humans have an
instinct sense of property or not but I have always felt that it might be
an interesting area to research (more sociobiology than than memetics
though). Certain animals have a territorial instinct and if my dog
growling at strangers who go near her food dish is any example, that
territoriality can extend to possessions as well. I am not certain
whether primates are truly territorial. I think that primate males all
try and limit each other's access to females in an almost possessory
fashion, and females recognize the exclusive nature of their relationship
to their offspring.
Using a family example I can remember all too well how quickly 'my'
daughter learned the word 'mine'. When you think about it recognizing
something as a possession is a rather sophisticated notion. I am sitting
writing this document on 'my computer' and 'my desk' neither of which is
really is mine because I am at work.(see also the 'my' in quotes at the
top of this entry). I can also recall a novel called 'The Dispossessed'
set in a utopian society where all notions of possession were suppressed
where children had to taught to overcome their natural tendancies to
treat things as possessions.
(legal disclaimer - the trespass rule may not be the law in all
jurisdictions and may not even still be the law in 'my' jurisdiction. In
all cases if an intruder enters onto 'your' property and is attacking you
please have a credit card handy and consult with an attorney before
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