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  • A young man has had his house broken into and two of his laptops as well as a game console

  • have been stolen.

  • Some hours later, around midnight, he hears a noise coming from his garage.

  • It sounds like someone is in there.

  • As he hears a volley of bangs and the sound of rummaging, he's scared and not quite

  • sure what to do.

  • But he doesn't call the cops.

  • Instead, he grabs his Samurai sword and slowly creeps through the yard, his presence barely

  • perceptible in the pitch-black night.

  • When he gets closer to the garage, he sees that the door has been forced open.

  • He slowly moves inside only for a burglar to attack him, at which point the man swings

  • his sword.

  • The upshot of that is a dead intruder and a homeowner looking at a lengthy stint in

  • prison.

  • The question is, should the man be charged with murder?

  • Or what about involuntary manslaughter, seeing as he likely didn't intend to kill the intruder?

  • Or do you think the man didn't commit a crime at all?

  • Do you think the killing was justifiable?

  • Think about that for a second or two.

  • It's not so easy to answer, is it?

  • As you'll see many times today, sometimes you can lawfully kill someone, but it's

  • usually a matter of intense controversy.

  • The scene we just talked about actually happened.

  • In 2009, a student at Johns Hopkins University took his sword and slashed an intruder who'd

  • lunged at him after trying to steal from his garage.

  • The sword was legally owned, and the cops later said anyone has the right to defend

  • their property.

  • The court found that the studentreasonably believed he was in danger of death or serious

  • bodily injuryand so he wasn't charged for killing the man.

  • Would the same have happened elsewhere?

  • It's debatable.

  • In the UK, you can use reasonable force against someone who has broken into your house, and

  • that includes picking up an object to use as a weapon.

  • But it's very likely that if a student over in the UK slashed and killed an intruder with

  • a sword, they'd have a harder time staying out of prison.

  • It all depends on the circumstances.

  • A court in the UK would have to hear that the person was in fear of his life and had

  • a very good reason to believe that.

  • The UK's Crown Prosecution Service states that if a person goesover the topin

  • their actions they are not protected by the law.

  • As you'll see, going over the top in the UK and in the U.S. might not be the same.

  • In the U.S., you are also expected not to go over the top.

  • If someone is, say, stealing flowers from your garden and you knock them out and then

  • bounce large stones off their head, you are going to be prosecuted.

  • Still, the U.S. stakes something quite seriously called theCastle Doctrine”, which relates

  • to the saying your home is your castle and so you have the right to defend it by any

  • means.

  • How it's applied depends on which state a person lives in.

  • For instance, in some states, you might get away with using deadly force even if you just

  • found an unarmed intruder going through your collection of Playstation games.

  • In some other states, you might only have some immunity from prosecution if you can

  • prove the intruder was about to inflict serious harm on you or your family.

  • Some states may prosecute if the victim could retreat but instead went on the attack, while

  • other states fully embrace theStand Your Groundlaws wherein a homeowner has every

  • right to attack even if there is the possibility of retreating.

  • It's complicated, so let's have a look at some other controversial cases and you

  • can act as judge and jury.

  • An extremely sad and very divisive case involved a young Japanese guy named Yoshihiro Hattori.

  • In 1992, he made the fatal mistake of going to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the U.S., to

  • join an exchange program.

  • After about two months he was invited to a Halloween party as part of the program and

  • so he dressed up as John Travolta's character from the movie Saturday Night Fever.

  • That all sounds innocent enough, but Hattori and the son of the American family he was

  • staying with got the location of the party wrong.

  • Dressed up in strange-looking costumes they rang for the doorbell of the house.

  • A woman answered only to see a young American man dressed in bandages and another guy looking

  • that might have reminded her of the fictional gangster Tony Montana from the movie, Scarface.

  • She panicked and told her husband to grab his .44 Magnum.

  • We're here for the party,” Hattori said innocently, now looking down the barrel of

  • a gun once called was the most powerful handgun in the world.

  • The husband shouted, “Freeze”, which was an expression the Japanese student wasn't

  • familiar with.

  • He kept walking towards the husband, and then he was fatally shot.

  • Ok, so you are the judge and jury.

  • Was this a justifiable homicide?

  • Was the husband's and his wife's life threatened?

  • Was there going to be imminent violence used against him or his wife?

  • Could he even have fired a warning shot?

  • Do you think he was guilty of a crime?

  • Well, the courts thought the killing was justified and the man was acquitted.

  • This caused a huge stink in Japan, as well as in the U.S. among some people who espoused

  • stricter gun control laws.

  • In fact, for years after, Hattori's family and the family of his hosts in the U.S. campaigned

  • for gun law reform.

  • Not much ever really got reformed, as you're about to see.

  • When it comes to defending your castle, the U.S. could be said to embrace the use of deadly

  • force more than most developed countries.

  • But what if you intentionally plan to kill someone in the U.S.?

  • What if you set a trap for criminals?

  • We saw if that happens in the UK the law will definitely not be on your side.

  • It's usually the case in the U.S., too, but not always.

  • We might take the 2001 case of two brothers in Baltimore who shot one man dead and injured

  • two others after they'd set a trap at the concrete plant they owned.

  • The brothers were sick and tired and having their plant burgled, so one night they armed

  • themselves and waited for the thieves.

  • When the thieves arrived, the brothers opened fire.

  • The men were not indicted by a grand jury, even though some law experts said the brothers

  • were not in any kind of danger.

  • You might be wondering, how does a jury assess a clear and present danger?

  • Well, that's also complicated.

  • In 2019 in the UK, a 79-year old man was found to have lawfully killed a burglar.

  • The man said a man had entered his home and was armed with a screwdriver.

  • He said he confronted the man with a kitchen knife, after which the burglar just walked

  • into the knife.

  • The court ruled that the man had given the intruder every possibility to leave his house

  • and he had only acted in self-defense.

  • It doesn't always happen that way, not in the UK or the U.S. or elsewhere.

  • There was a recent incident in Scotland in which a man's house was broken into and

  • the burglar armed with a knife threatened to kill a man and his wife if they didn't

  • hand over some money.

  • A fight ensued and it ended with the burglar being stabbed 17 times.

  • Ok, so it seems the burglar was armed, and he was certainly threatening, and the man

  • had every right to think he and his wife were in imminent danger.

  • Even so, the jury found the man to have acted over the top and he was convicted of culpable

  • homicide, meaning he killed someone but hadn't intended to do so.

  • Similar cases have happened in the U.S., too.

  • In 2014, in the state of Montana, a man was found guilty of killing an intruder even though

  • the state has the Castle Doctrine.

  • In that case, a homeowner discovered a young man in his garage.

  • He didn't ask too many questions and just opened fire.

  • During the trial, it was revealed that the man had been the victim of burglary before

  • and so he laid a trap by leaving his garage door slightly opened.

  • He even told a friend, “I've been up for the last three nights with a shotgun wanting

  • to kill some kids.”

  • The defense argued that the man had only been protecting himself and his family, but he

  • was found guilty of deliberate homicide.

  • Strangely, the 17-year that was killed was another exchange student, this time from Germany.

  • So, there have been cases when it looked like people went completely over the top but weren't

  • convicted of a crime, and there have been cases when people seemingly acted in self-defense

  • but were convicted.

  • As we said, there is a lot of grey area.

  • Possibly the weirdest case we could find that seems to defy any kind of reason happened

  • in 2009.

  • Some of the American press simply called itlunacy”, further demonstrating that lawful

  • killing is very controversial.

  • In this case, a man was bored on Christmas Eve and so decided to find a female escort

  • on Craigslist.

  • He talked to a woman but they didn't go through all the services included in the fee.

  • The parameters of services should always be discussed prior to any payment being made,

  • but that didn't happen.

  • It turned out that the man expected more than a chat at his house for the $150 he'd paid.

  • The 23-year-old woman stood up and said she was going, which infuriated him.

  • He thought he'd paid for sexual services, which was actually illegal in Texas and still

  • is.

  • The woman managed to get into her driver's car, but the man chased after it while firing

  • a gun.

  • He hit the woman in the head and neck, which paralyzed her.

  • She died from her injuries several months later.

  • Surely that was a clear cut prosecutable crime?

  • The jury acquitted the man because it was deemed that his property had been stolen.

  • It was found that he'd used deadly force on a person who was in the commission of stealing

  • from him.

  • As some U.S. media later pointed out, does that mean if you advertise something for sale

  • and someone turns up to buy it, they have the right to return with their gun if they

  • find out what you sold them was not worth the price they'd paid for it?

  • Yep, that doesn't sound right at all.

  • Ok, let's move on.

  • You won't be surprised to hear that you can lawfully kill a person during a war or

  • in a conflict when you are hired to do so.

  • But you can't always just kill with impunity, and you shouldn't kill noncombatants.

  • There's something calledhors de combat”, which is international law and relates to

  • times when you can't lawfully kill people in a conflict situation.

  • So, if a soldier is lying on the ground disabled after being hit, you cannot by law finish

  • him off.

  • You shouldn't kill someone jumping out of an aircraft that's going down and you shouldn't

  • kill a prisoner of war, but of course, it happens.

  • In 2020, the UK media talked about British Special Forces in Afghanistan.

  • An investigation found that during night raids the special forces would look for the Taliban,

  • but it seems that's not only what they were looking for.

  • They also killed quite a few unarmed innocent civilians.

  • This is called a war crime, and it seems in Afghanistan both the U.S. military and Australian

  • military have committed their own war crimes.

  • A notable war crime was that of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales who in 2012 went

  • on a killing rampage.

  • He murdered 16 civilians in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan, many of whom were just children.

  • He's now serving life without the possibility of parole.

  • Those were unlawful killings since the enemy wasn't killed.

  • But there's more grey area regarding this topic.

  • There are rules of warfare, but they don't always apply.

  • Let's say the military wants to take out a terrorist leader, but by doing so there

  • will be some innocent bystanders that get hurt.

  • This happens, and it happens a lot, and almost always no one is held accountable.

  • So, we could call this getting away with murder.

  • According to a non-profit human rights organization called Reprieve, for every person the U.S.

  • tries to assassinate, nine innocent children will die.

  • In fact, it's thought that the failed assassination attempts on Egyptian terrorist Ayman al-Zawahri

  • led to the deaths of 29 innocent bystanders and 76 kids.

  • Some people call this a kind of state-sponsored murder, but others say it's just the unfortunate

  • consequence of fighting a war on terror.

  • It's hardly a one-off, though, when innocent people get hurt during targeted attacks.

  • Leaked Pentagon documents showed that in one drone program that lasted five months in 2013,

  • 90 percent of strikes didn't hit the intended target.

  • That doesn't necessarily meant that the strikes hit only civilians- simply that the

  • intended target wasn't present.

  • As for how many collateral deaths there have been over the last decade or so, it is very

  • hard to say.

  • Not many people in the know would deny that hundreds of civilians have died as a result

  • of targeted killing, and no one is going to be arrested for it.

  • In 2016, the UK Prime Minister called such strikes, “an act of self-defensewhile

  • the U.S. has been accused of secrecy and having impunity.

  • Under Obama, U.S. officials said the bombing was lawful, but as was pointed out, the laws

  • were written out of sight of the public and even Congress.

  • One must always question however, how much life was spared by the killing of terror VIPs,

  • even if innocent life was taken in the attempts.

  • That's an extremely gray area, and it doesn't help that terrorists often purposefully use

  • civilians as human shields.

  • Most times, those same civilians know they are being used as shields- so does that now

  • make them enemy combatants if they have full knowledge they could be targeted and are being

  • used?

  • Welcome to the gray zone.

  • You could call the next part of this video almost-lawful killing.

  • You've all heard about honor killings, notably in the countries of Iran and Iraq.

  • We found a fairly recent case in Iraq in which a bride was sent back to her family because

  • the groom complained she wasn't a virgin.

  • The reports say a relative killed her because she had dishonored the family.

  • A man was actually arrested for murder, but the reports say his sentence will be very

  • short because he killed in the name of honor.

  • We found another case in Iraq where a father shot and killed two of his daughters and badly

  • injured a third daughter.

  • He'd accused them of not being virgins, and it turned out he was very wrong.

  • His sentence: two years!

  • That sounds close to lawful murder.

  • On the other hand, if a person in the West has suffered terrible domestic violence and

  • they kill the perpetrator of that violence, in many cases they might receive a lenient

  • sentence.

  • That said, most of the time they will still do time behind bars.

  • We found some data from an Australian University that told us over a period of 20 years women

  • who killed their husbands after years of domestic violence usually went to prison for the crime