Arizona massacre -- Where does JW line of self defense get crossed?

by FatFreek 2005 20 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • FatFreek 2005
    FatFreek 2005

    Jehovah's Witnesses are peaceful folks, just ask them. Having been one till many years ago I used to know the stock answers to questions about that fine line between being peaceable and defending oneself.

    This came to front and center during the past several days with that horrific Arizona shooting where some 7 folks have lost their lives. It could have been more if it weren't for several onlookers ganging up on the perpetrator after he emptied the first magazine of bullets, getting ready for his spare magazine.

    These onlookers instinctively became aggressive and restrained the perpetrator, one of them choking the man when needed, etc., and etc.

    Heroes, all of them, in my opinion.

    None of them remained passive, thinking that this man wasn't really a threat to them personally so why get involved. No, they were unselfishly (and instinctively) thinking of all those around them. Had this man placed his spare full magazine inside his weapon there would have been some 31 more rounds that would have taken numerous other lives, wounding many more to boot.

    So, the question is, how does the modern JW feel the fine line is defined when it comes to remaining peaceable or defensive?

    Defend yourself but only if you are attacked?

    Defend yourself and your immediate family but only if you or they are attacked? Spouse, children, father, mother.

    Ditto the above but include siblings -- brothers and sisters?

    Ditto the above but also include the immediate family of your siblings?

    Ditto the above but also include first cousins, their children, your aunts and uncles.

    I think you get the point by now. We could go on and on and on -- including an entire nation of people since we're all virtually related to everybody in some way.

    Fact is, none of the lines of blood relations was crossed with that real life example in Arizona. Those people were not even related yet the heroic bystanders stepped in and squelched this sick person from destroying and harming more people.

    Recently, someone close to me posed a similar question when talking to one of Jehovah's Witnesses. He cited the recent case of a bystander going into a public rest room where this bystander saw a rapist doing his horrific deed at the expense of some pre-teen girl. The bystander did nothing. The bystander reportedly even suffered no legal ramifications for being passive -- but that's not my point. My friend asked this JW, "What would you have done if you were the bystander?" The JW responded with some diversionary answer (a red herring), in order to avoid a direct answer that he suspected would be weak.

    So my dear friends -- the question remains, where does the modern JW feel the line is defined between remaining peaceful and being aggressive?


  • leavingwt

    They allow their kids to die, be refusing modern, lifesaving, medical treatment involving blood products.

    They know very little about DEFENDING others.

  • MrFreeze

    I always believed, even when I was a JW and defended what they say, that in an event like that, it would be permissable to stop a maniac. It's called valueing life and if the JW's had a problem with it, too bad.

  • jamiebowers

    I don't know if this is still the case, but per Watchtower rules, a woman was supposed to fight to the death to avoid being raped. But I don't know if defending strangers is as or more important than a woman "committing fornication". GAWD, I hate this cult!

  • Bungi Bill
    Bungi Bill

    The JWs have always been down on the learning of self-defense:

    - defensive techniques that might enable one to disarm a violent attacker.

    From what I could see of this particular case, it seemed like those members of the public who overpowered that gunman knew what they were doing:

    - like they had received some basic training in self defense.

    So even if the JWs do permit their members to come to the aid of a victim of violent attack, the typical JW would not be much use in such a situation as this one:

    - simply because they are never permitted to learn how to handle themselves.

    In dealing with a violent attack (particularly by lethal weapon), it is often prior training that makes all the difference

    i.e. as to whether you walk away from it alive or not.

    I know, as I have survived a few!


  • FatFreek 2005
    FatFreek 2005

    Good comments, all. I agree with all your sentiments.

    What's surprising to me is that no one, including JW lurkers, have posted anything definitive as to the Watchtower's official position. It just may be that WT hasn't been definitive and that's a surprise to me since they are one of the most legalistic corporations I've seen.


  • ThomasCovenant
  • Heartofaboy

    The Watchtower org' makes JW's impotent in violent situations by twisting their minds into mental knots.

    If I saw a filthy rapist attacking a child I hope I could kill the bastard!!

  • finallyfree!

    jws in general are taught to be forgiving and turn the other cheek so to speak. jehovah will take care of it...and its not up to man to exact judgment...(even though they judge the hell outta people)...that is the typical response a jw would give you. i had the same discussion with my jw parents about certain wars like ww1 and ww2 when hitler was going for world domination...if nobody stood up to the nazis, who knows what kind of world we'd be living in now!! of course i was reminded that jehovah would have never let that happen. lol! its kinda ironic as my dad always told me "never let anyone walk over you"...funny how the mind works when we dont use it...

  • blondie

    *** g87 11/22 p. 28 From Our Readers ***Taking Another’s Life

    I am writing you in regard to a statement made in the article "World Peace—How and When?" (June 8, 1987) The statement is made regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses: "They have become peaceful persons, and under no circumstance will they take the life of their fellowman." Does this mean that we cannot use deadly force to protect ourselves or our family?

    H. N., United States

    The expression ‘take the life of a fellowman’ implies a conscious effort to kill another. A true Christian would not do this. If attacked and unable to flee from his assailant who is determined to inflict injury or death, a Christian may try to ward off the blows or even strike out in defense, perhaps using whatever was at hand to protect himself or others. But his actions would be defensive only. He would not try to kill or punish his attacker but only try to neutralize the attack. If the attacker was to receive a fatal blow, it would be accidental, not intentional.—ED.

    *** g91 7/8 Self-Defense—How Far Can a Christian Go? ***The Bible’s Viewpoint

    "Why live in fear? Learn practical ways to defend yourself and to escape an attacker. Easy and effective defense techniques are demonstrated in detail. This instructional video could be the difference between being a statistic or a survivor."—Advertisement for self-defense video.

    NO ONE has to explain the selling power of such a video today. In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., packs of youths chant "Beat, beat, beat" as they prowl the streets seeking victims to mug. "Fear of crime colors the character of the entire city" of Rio de Janeiro, reports Time magazine. In Hong Kong armed robberies and shootings are occurring in areas where violent crime has been almost unknown—until now.

    Similar reports are heard worldwide. With what result? "Citizens weigh the risks of shooting back," says Newsweek. Christians are not shielded from these "critical times hard to deal with," but will shooting back really make "the difference between being a statistic or a survivor"?—2 Timothy 3:1.

    Meet Violence With Violence?

    ‘If I carry a gun,’ some believe, ‘I’ll be safe. I’ll get him before he gets me. At least I’ll scare him off!’ However, it’s not that simple.

    George Napper, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., public-safety commissioner, says: "Owning a handgun means being prepared to live with the aftermath of killing another human being." Is a Christian prepared to live with such a consequence, which may well include bloodguilt?—Compare Numbers 35:11, 12.

    Also, God’s Word commands, ‘Beat your swords into plowshares’ and, "Seek peace and pursue it." (Micah 4:3; 1 Peter 3:11) How can Christians seek protection in firearms and at the same time live in harmony with the Bible’s requirements? In any case, the attacker is likely to be quicker on the draw than the victim.

    Jesus rejected armed resistance. True, he instructed his apostles to carry two swords to the garden of Gethsemane, the place where he would be arrested. But why did he do this? Having weapons, yet not using them, powerfully demonstrated that Jesus’ followers should not resort to carnal weapons. It is noteworthy that having a weapon available, Peter impetuously used it. Jesus strongly rebuked him for this rash act with the words: "All those who take the sword will perish by the sword."—Matthew 26:36, 47-56; Luke 22:36-38, 49-51.

    ‘That is all well and good for owning firearms,’ someone may say. ‘But what about learning the martial arts for self-defense, such as judo, karate, and kendo?’ Ask yourself, is not the object of this instruction to fight or hurt others? And is not such training really equivalent to arming oneself lethally? (1 Timothy 3:3) Even practice sessions have resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.

    Romans 12:17-19 offers wise advice in this regard: "Return evil for evil to no one. . . . If possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.’" The Greek word Paul uses for "evil" (ka·kos´) could also mean "destructive, damaging." Hence, Christians are to keep from all thought of vindictively damaging or harming another person.

    Rather than impetuously expressing his own wrath, a Christian fully trusts in God, who says of his people: "He that is touching you is touching my eyeball." In harmony with this, God promises to ‘annihilate the wicked’ in due time.—Zechariah 2:8; Psalm 145:20.

    A Time to Fight?

    ‘I won’t give up my money without a fight!’ some daringly exclaim. Dick Mellard, manager of education at the National Crime Prevention Institute, cautions: "It’s human nature to resist, but human nature can get [you] killed in the wrong situation." Many muggers are dangerously armed and are tense and nervous. Lost money can be regained, but what about a lost life? Is it worth the risk?

    George Napper gives this advice: "Perhaps the best way to protect yourself is by risking your property rather than your life. Most robbers and burglars are there to steal, not to kill." In situations where a person is simply accosted or when his money is demanded, a sound principle is: "A slave of the Lord does not need to fight."—2 Timothy 2:24.

    This is not pacifism, a policy of nonresistance under any circumstance. At Exodus 22:2, 3, a situation is described in which a thief is fatally struck while entering someone’s home during the day. Such a defensive measure was considered tantamount to murder, since the thief could have been identified and brought to justice. But during the night, it would be difficult for the householder to see an intruder and ascertain his intentions. Therefore, the person killing an intruder in the dark was considered guiltless.

    Thus, the Bible does not uphold impetuous attempts at self-defense. In not supporting pacifism, however, the Bible indicates that there is a time to defend oneself. Christians may ward off physically aggressive attacks against themselves, their families, or others in genuine need of defense. But they would not initiate an attack, nor would they physically retaliate to save their possessions. They would not carry weapons in anticipation of such an attack; rather, they endeavor to "live peaceably."—2 Corinthians 13:11.


    While the context shows that Paul was here referring to verbal fights, the original language word rendered "fight" (ma´khe·sthai) is generally associated with armed or hand-to-hand combat.

    A woman threatened with rape should scream and use any means at her disposal to resist intercourse.—Deuteronomy 22:23-27.

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