“Despotism despises nothing so much as righteousness in its victims”  – Gregory David Roberts

Statements by well meaning gun owners are often made in the form of “I wouldn’t hesitate to use violence“, or, “violence can solve problems“.

When I hear them, I cringe. 

In class I ask students: “Who here, if called upon, could be violent.” And, of course, using the old psychology trick, I raise my own hand while asking. This causes the peer pressure effect of agreement to kick in, and all hands go up. I then say (with a smile), “Well, then, none of you can be my friends, as I won’t have violent people in my life.

I go on to explain that within the etymology of language the word violence is related and rooted to the words violate and violation, meaning: “a sinful act“. Using violence against another is a violation of that person’s natural rights. Violation, by definition, is illegal. In fact, when we consult Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (Webster’s will not be what the court cares about) the definition of violence is:

The abuse of force 

[Theorie des Lois Criminelles, 32]. The force which is employed against common right, against the laws, and against public liberty [Merl. h. t, 2]

The difference between violence and force used to stop violence is literally the difference between good and evil!

Using force to end violence is not only lawful, just, and moral, it is our right, and in some cases, duty. Use of violence, however, is never allowed!

The same issue exists with the words murder and kill. Many who consider themselves religious, especially those who practice forms of Christianity and Judaism, often find themselves in a moral quandary with the 6th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill. But, the answer lies with translation. In the below video Dennis Prager explains:



All violence is force, but not all force is violence. All murders are killings, but not all killings are murder. I think we do ourselves a potential legal/moral disservice in misusing the terms.

I’m not interested in using violence or committing murder. However, I will use whatever force is necessary to stop violence, which may require me to kill a violent felon. So be it. I am not a violent man – I take no joy in the idea. It’s simply a fact of life that such measures are sometimes necessary. Reveling in it, bragging on social media, printing it on a t-shirt – all, in my opinion, the acts of those who are more concerned with impressing others rather than focusing on the ugly realities and potential prosecution after the fact. We can’t be so naive as to think Facebook boasting about embracing violence won’t some day be presented by a prosecutor to our jury – it will. 

We’re good people. Understanding and living the difference between right and wrong is what separates us from criminals. We don’t have to be them to defeat them…and we might even reduce our billable hours.

“And it was most important to do what one knew was right, for otherwise the day might come when one could no longer tell the difference between right and wrong.”  – Anne Holm, I Am David