It’s Not Attempted Murder When We Do It: David Hogg

David Hogg was recently swatted. Which means that someone called the State and requested that they violently attack the house that Hogg was believed to be in. The State did not see him as a target, but they also aren’t know for precision in target identification or aim. Since it is commonly known that State LEOs have issues with target identification and aim, the person making the call in effect sent  the State to use lethal force against Hogg and any other occupants of the house. It might not be the most reliable method, but whoever made the call took out a hit on Hogg.

Hogg has dismissed this as a “prank,” which to be fair is a respectable way for him to classify it if he sees his own actions as non-violent. Some other people are calling it an attempted murder, which is internally inconsistent. It is either an attempted defensive killing or it is an elaborate exercise in nothing more than being annoying.

If summoning the State to kill people on your behalf is not killing, or attempted killing, then the person who made the phone call did nothing wrong and did not violate the NAP. I find this extreme rejection of agency theory to be absurd, but if that is the standard of people upset about the raid on Hogg’s home then they should apply it consistently. The State is, among other things, a weapon. It is neither entirely reliable nor entirely safe, but that doesn’t make it not a weapon. The fact that parts of the State are sapient does not change this; it just means that the sapient parts of the State (State agents) are also morally responsible and capable of violating the NAP for their actions as weapons. If my Glock was sapient (and animate) then it would be morally responsible and capable of violating the NAP for anything I shot with it, but so would I still. The moral responsibility or lack thereof of the weapon the you choose to use is irrelevant to the moral or NAP value of your actions. Using the State to kill someone is not morally distinct from using a hitman to kill someone, and there is no difference under the NAP- it is a use of force.

Things do not suddenly become not NAP violations or not immoral simply because they are done through the State. Calling on the State to kill a particular individual, a group of humans, or any humans who commit some non-aggressive act that you don’t like is a initiatory death threat. (Laws that criminalize NAP violations *can be* retaliatory death threats, depending largely on how the victim feels about it and if they have the actual aggressor.)  And advocating for any law that either criminalizes or makes actionable an non-NAP violation does just that. The fact that the overwhelming majority of victims comply rather than shoot it out with the State does not change that.

Laws are not suggestions. They are not guidelines that will have people gasping at you if you deviate. They are statements by the State that if you do not do what they say they will fucking kill you. Laws are conditional death threats, not unlike the conditional death threats that armed robbers make when they demand your property.  For practical reasons the State often avoids it getting to that point- by giving you ample opportunity to surrender to either being kidnapped and locked in a cage, often to be used as slave labor, or handing over some property instead. And since “even” being locked in a cage and used as slave labor is a pretty grievous NAP violation, if the State did refrain from killing people who attempt to escape arrest, laws would still be initiatory threats of force. Laws are death threats against people who do things the State says not to, people who would do things the State says not to but due to the threat choose instead to comply, and those who do as the State says but are suspected of doing things the State says not to.

Giving the most generous (depending on which you think is more generous) interpretation possible to the State, laws are slavery threats- if you do not follow the law and the State finds out about it, it will lock you in a cage and commonly use you for forced labor. But laws are also death threats, if you go about your life as if the State does not exist at some point a State agent is going to walk up to you and tell you that you have to come with him after he puts some restraints on your wrists. If you continue to ignore the State he will physically subdue you and if either he is unsuccessful or you continue to defend yourself, he is authorized by the State to and most likely will kill you. Numerous people who were believed by the State to be breaking the law or were alleged to be defending themselves against the police have been killed by the State, so the death threat is not limited to those who decide not to comply with their aggressor.

Advocating that the State pass victimless laws is a death threat as well as a threat of kidnapping against, in the case of the US, hundreds of millions of people. Requesting that the State pass a victimless law is in fact taking out a hit on anyone who doesn’t do what the State says and anyone who is accused of not doing what the State says. And Hogg was and is advocating that the State pass a victimless law. In my opinion gun control is one of the most serious victimless laws as it forces you to choose between confronting the State, and confronting private sector aggressors unarmed. The caller did attempt to kill Hogg, but it was defensive force and it wasn’t immoral as Hogg is currently attempting to kill and enslave millions of people.

It is typically not very effective and a bad plan to use illegal defensive force, but that has nothing to do with either the NAP or morality.

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