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Oh, the cognitive dissonance! What’s a pacifist to do when threatened with death or grievous bodily harm? From the Land of Enchantment comes this news: “A gun toting suspect who broke into a New Mexico home early Wednesday proved no match for the homeowner, a pacifist armed only with a cane who police say disarmed the suspect and shot him dead.” . . .

The un-named homeowner’s attorney had this to say:

“My client is completely traumatized,” Cravens said. “He’s a pacifist and was forced to deal with an extremely violent situation.”

Repelling an armed invader with extreme prejudice would be an upsetting event for anyone. But if you’re an avowed pacifist, successfully defending yourself by ballistic means and sending your attacker to the morgue might also make you re-think your world view.

Will the anonymous victim turn over a new leaf? Will his experience impress upon him the virtues of walking softly and carrying a big pistol? That remains to be seen. But if he does, TTAG will be happy to buy him his first firearm.

[h/t Dirk Diggler]

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    • I suspect he had never actually given a great deal of thought to what being a pacifist meant. Lots of people adopt labels, a popular philosophy name, but never do the research or deep thinking required to integrate it with their true personality. The cognitive dissonance that comes with something like this can be terribly disturbing, but he will hopefully take some time now to really think about it. I’m glad he let his natural response loose and prevailed, rather than freeze up and dying.

      • First off I think he should be able to keep the gun he used. By all rights it’s his now.
        Second I think he needs his pacifist card revoked. Good too pacifism is a morally corrupt belief, and I dare any pacifists who think otherwise to say it to my face.

      • I think most here are missing the real message, although you’ve heard it many times before. “Rules for thee, but not for me!”

  1. I’m sorry that the man had to experience of a violent home invasion. I’m glad that he was able to be the survivor.

    I’m reminded of that bit from the 70s: a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged.

    Seriously, I believe that most people who profess non-violence/pacifism will find that [what’s left of] their base survival instinct will kick in in the face of a potentially deadly attack on them or people for whom they are responsible (e.g., children).

    I hope the he will find, in the end. that saving his life was the correct thing to do.

  2. He lied, he wasn’t a pacifist. A pacifist believes all violence is unjustified. Obviously he believes that violence in the form of self-defense is justified.

    • Resorting to dictionaries in place of philosophy books in these maters is always problematic.

      Pacifism and non-violence are not equals.

      Nonviolence is just a branch of pacifism, it isn’t the wholeness of pacifism.

      An example of pacifist philosophy and practice that is different and is opposite to non-violence is the libertarian non-aggression principle.

      • The Pacifism/Non-Aggression thing can get muddy sometimes as well… I’ve had many a talk with self-described libertarians that wave the non-aggression principle around like some sort of magic wand. Many look at me like I have a d*ck hanging off my face when I explain that being non-aggressive simply doesn’t equate to being exclusively non-violent.

        Challenging the world-view of certain people can seriously f*ck their mojo up.

  3. Isn’t this the plot of the Death Wish series? Watch out, by the third movie or so the former pacifist will be mowing down bad guys with an M-60.

  4. His lawyer says that he’s a pacifist. I expect a defense lawyer — named Craven! — to try to make his client look as good as possible for the investigation, but that doesn’t mean that I believe Craven or that the victim is actually a pacifist. More likely, he’s just a non-aggressive guy who just wants to live out his life in peace.

    We should all thank the victim for administering the taxpayer relief shot. He’s done more to balance New Mexico’s book than the governor.

      • I’m saying that he’s painting his client in the best light. One definition of a pacifist is someone opposed to violence as a means of settling disputes. Well, I’m opposed to violence as a means of settling disputes, but I’m not opposed to using violence, even lethal violence, to save the life of me or mine. Am I a pacifist?

    • pac·i·fist
      noun: pacifist; plural noun: pacifists

      a person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable.
      “she was a committed pacifist all her life”
      synonyms: peace-lover, conscientious objector, passive resister, peacemaker, peacemonger, dove

      adjective: unjustifiable

      not able to be shown to be right or reasonable.
      “an unjustifiable restriction on their freedom”
      synonyms: indefensible, inexcusable, unforgivable, unpardonable, uncalled for, gratuitous, without justification, unwarrantable

      • Well, in a way he’s right:


        : to declare or state (something) in an open and public way

        So, an “avowed pacifist” is just someone who has declared openly that they’re a pacifist. Doesn’t necessarily mean they actually adhere to the principles of pacifism, just that they claim to. Which pretty accurately describes 99% of people who claim the “pacifist” label. Like the good homeowner here, when the rubber meets the road (or, more accurately, when the gun muzzle meets their face), the lizard-brain survival instinct overrides whatever bullshit they started talking in college to score with hippie chicks.

      • Resorting to dictionaries in place of philosophy books in these maters is always problematic.

        Pacifism and non-violence are not equals.

        Nonviolence is just a branch of pacifism, it isn’t the wholeness of pacifism.

        An example of pacifist philosophy and practice that is different and is opposite to non-violence is the libertarian non-aggression principle.

    • You can be an avowed pacifist and be armed to defend yourself.

      Wrong, but thanks for playing. You may pick up your consolation prize on your way out.

    • BullShit.

      “Leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone” isn’t pacifism.

      “OK, I’ll just get on the cattle car,” That is pacifism.

      Language matters. Once the term “pacifist” includes those who use any form of physical self-defense, call the cops, etc. are considered pacifists, then we are truly fucked. As are you.

  5. I am reminded of that old saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”

    Glad to hear that his survival instincts kicked in at the right time.

  6. Assault Cane! High-capacity rubber nubby thingy that doesn’t go up! That handle, OMG! Who needs to hold onto a cane that well? Only baby-killers, that’s who! Real men don’t need canes, they fistfight their well-armed attackers! If you’re that old you deserve to die anyways. He’s just soaking up money better spent on buying votes from crotch farmers. He’s racist and is committing microaggression against women every time he inhales!

  7. It could easily be the case that this defender has never even fired a gun before in his life, especially not whatever random make and model in whatever random condition and setting this invader showed up with.

    Yet, a successful disarming of an assailant and subsequent defensive gun use ensued. Curious, that.

    So much for the “Only highly trained, professional agents of the state can effectively utilize firearms to quell illegal violence” myth.

  8. If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? If Shannon Watts uses a gun to dispatch a thug in her home, does she tell the crowd? Just thinking.

  9. What I find insulting is that some believe that a pacifist automatically means wuss who would rather die than defend themselves. I’m a pacifist in that I will try any means necessary to avoid conflict, but when it comes to a choice between the life of me or the bad guy, I make the more rational choice to remain in existence. HE is the violent one, and eliminating him is more likely to produce a more peaceful world than eliminating the one who would rather not be violent.

    Really aren’t we all pacifists to a degree? We don’t like violence in it’s many forms, and thus we arm ourselves to prevent the violence that would be visited upon not only us but everyone else.

    • Really aren’t we all pacifists to a degree?

      No. Words mean things. You can’t just go around independently making up your own definition of words.

    • “HE is the violent one, and eliminating him is more likely to produce a more peaceful world than eliminating the one who would rather not be violent.”

      That there is the justification for every war ever fought.

      You aren’t a pacifist. You’re just like most people who prefer peace and harmony but understand the need for lethal force in certain situations.

      Thanks for playing. You can pick up your consolation prize on the way out.

  10. Pacifist-a person who believes that war and violence are unjustifiable. I say cut the guy some slack. While some may believe the idea of the pacifist shooter is a a well crafted defense ploy by a crafty legal advisor, I would entertain another idea. Evolution of ideology. We have heard numerous times from public figures how their view on a particular issue has evolved, over time. I would say the cane toting gentleman’s ideology of pacifism evolved instantly when faced with the life and death decision of-“him or me?”. Funny thing that survival instinct…….

    • “Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accept the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay-and claims a halo for his dishonesty.”

      Robert A. Heinlein

  11. He’s a progressive pacifist. He didn’t bring the gun to the fight so its okay for him to kill the guy that did.

    Now he’s more convinced than ever that guns should be banned. Just don’t muck about with his walking stick.

  12. It is 2015. Obviously his ancestors were not paificists. They triumphed and he is the result of a 1000 generations of humans determined to survive and reproduce at all costs to others. You do believe in Evolution, don’t you.

    You can breed survival out of humans but it takes concerted effort over generations.

  13. I am a pacifist. That means that I am against the use of war among countries to solve international conflicts. This fellow should get a gun and a dictionary.

    • What about when one country invades another? Or if it nationalizes the business investments of another? Or establishes an economic embargo?

      • The first one is covered, exactly like for people, by the right of armed-self defense. I am against again the use of force in the other two. Like everyone else: resorting to war because economic interests abroad are menaced is so XIX century…

  14. “I thought pacifist’s would rather die than use violence of any kind? Guess he doesn’t hold true to his confections.”

    He’d rather you die than use violence of any kind. And if you say you had not choice, he doesn’t believe you. He, however is allowed to defend himself if needed, and will be right and righteous in determining that need.

  15. This just goes to show that pacifism is not a natural condition. When push comes to shove, the survival instinct will over ride silly notions. While it is good to avoid violence whenever possible, regrettably, the universe may have different plans seeing how a majority of it is hostile to human life.

  16. A few years ago during a conversation with a younger sister I suggested that she and her husband might want to consider purchasing a firearm for home protection.
    Knowing she had no exposure to firearms I did suggest training before and after purchase.
    Sister told me she was a pacifist, I tried the bad guy, daughter, husband scenario
    I ended up telling her that I like most responsible gun owners that I was a pacifist and just wanted to be ready if someone else’s decision to threaten my family changed my mind

  17. That ain’t no pacifist-those old order Amish would die from gun guy. Sorry you had to pop your cherry. We live in an evil violent world. Be prepared.

  18. I am a pacifist. Peace through superior firepower. Now you’re dead, and peaceful. Just lay there and bleed. Where you goin’? NOWEAH!

  19. I’m glad he prevailed but he isn’t a true pacifist. I remember reading that Betty Friedan argued that women should not fight back against abusers and rapists. Doing so perpetuates the cycle of violence. Better that they sacfifice their lives for Friedan’s ideals. The good news is that she is no longer around to spout such claptrap.

  20. Resorting to dictionaries in place of philosophy books in these maters is always problematic.

    Pacifism and non-violence are not equals.

    Nonviolence is just a branch of pacifism, it isn’t the wholeness of pacifism.

    An example of pacifist philosophy and practice that is different and is opposite to from non-violence is the libertarian non-aggression principle.

  21. This is amazing! A person who not only has no firearm training ( I assume) but has a life-philosophy of non violence, was able to disarm, then use said gun to kill said bad guy. I guess all them antigunists are right. We don’t need to own guns. Just take a vow of pacifism and we’ll be fine…..right. Another note: once pacifist disarmed badguy, did he have the right to shoot him…according antigunists thinking? At any rate, he’s lost him membership in the “I’m a lover, not a fighter” club.

  22. I have a hard time figuring this out. Pacifist or not, was he unaware that he was cultivating 200 pot plants, or that could get him years in prison (and probably will)? Sounds like it was a good time for the rural farmer’s answer for “protected” predators eating their profits; “Shoot, shovel. and shut up!”

  23. Reality check! Avowed pacifist finds his inner warrior when confronted with death, shoots home invader with his own gun. Now he’s all conflicted. Hopefully he finds a path to peace with his actions.


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