Ethics of Shooting People

I was traveling in Poland and we came to the small village where my co-worker was from.  We stopped at his parent’s farm where I met his parents and grandmother.  They were warm and friendly, and we had a great time.  It happened that his parents had never been further than Krakow, and they were excited because I was the first American they had ever met.  They knew a lot about us from American television programs, dubbed into Polish and broadcast on Polish stations.
Since I was a genuine American, his father thought it was a great chance to get the straight scoop about something he wondered about from the TV shows he saw.  He asked me, “When do Americans shoot people; when you see them in your yard or when they come in the house?”  I was taken back by the question, but told him with a straight face, that Americans have a long-standing tradition to not shoot until we see the whites of their eyes!   My friend was embarrassed, and told his father those were fictional TV shows and not how Americans act.
The question made me think though.  When is it Okay to shoot someone, and under what circumstances?  Most people agree that shooting someone in the back is not Kosher.  The idea being that if you shoot someone in the back, they didn’t see it coming and couldn’t defend themselves.  Personally, I don’t see the logic in that.  Even if you saw it coming, how many people are faster than a speeding bullet?  I know of only one person, and bullets don’t work on him anyway.
From a practical standpoint, you really can’t wait until you see the whites of their eyes, because if they are that close, they could overpower you.
What about if someone is stealing from you?  If someone is running out the door with your plasma TV or your gold jewelry, don’t you have the right to shoot them then?  That’s considered unethical too, because they haven’t hurt anyone, just ripped them off.  Even low-life human life is more valuable than a TV or jewelry.
What if someone threatens you in a public place?  We don’t allow that kind of shooting either.  If you get threatened in a public place, you would have to prove that shooting them was necessary.  In our society, people would kill each other over parking spots, and while a parking spot is important, it would be difficult to prove the necessity.   The legal bills alone would be astronomical, and in the long run, paying for parking is cheaper.
Lately in the news, a young black teen was killed by an idiot vigilante block watch guy who chased him down and killed him.  There was no evidence of wrong doing by the young man.  The jerk killed someone’s son. Skin color is not a reason to kill someone. A case could be made for killing stupid, but that’s another issue. This was definitely NOT Kosher.
The one kind of shooting that is Kosher, is if someone breaks into your house.  After all, your home is your castle, and if someone entered uninvited and unwanted, you have every right to shoot them.  According to legal guidelines, you have to kill them if you shoot them, or they can turn around and sue you for assault and battery, maybe even attempted murder; so if you are going to shoot someone, make sure they are in your house, and make sure you kill them.   If you do kill someone in your house, keep in mind that you will have to have HAZMAT cleaning, to get all the blood and body matter cleaned up that’s splattered all over the room. The cleanup fee could run into the thousands.  It actually might be cheaper to invest in a good security system.
The problem is not guns.  I shoot targets, and enjoy it, but I have never shot a living thing.  I don’t plan on ever killing another human being, unless it is to protect particular humans I love who are in immediate danger.  Other than that, tin cans and targets are definitely in jeopardy.  In the long run, killing humans is just too complicated and expensive.  It’s just not worth it.