Oblique intent

Why the name? Well criminal law afficionados will recognise the phrase 'oblique intent' as referring to a problem of mens rea:can a person who intends to do x (such as setting fire to a building to scare the occupants) also be said to have an intention to kill if one of the occupants dies? This is a problem that has consumed an inordinate amount of time in the appeal courts and in the legal journals, and can be taken to represent a certain kind of approach to legal theory. My approach is intended to be more oblique to this mainstream approach, and thus to raise different kinds of questions and issues. Hence the name.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

On standing your ground (again)

The focus of my previous post on this topic was the law, and in particular the definition of what it means to 'stand one's ground'. But it is important to remember that the impact of laws such as these also depends on the social context in which they are enforced (or not). It is fascinating then to read this story which traces a correlation between US states with 'stand your ground' laws, weak gun control laws and an apparent rise in the numbers of justifiable homicides.

Little surprise there, you might think. One final thought, though. The article wants to see the problem of increasing homicides in terms of the nexus between weak gun control and permissive laws, but it may be that it is the background culture which produces both. Either way, the problem is that of how to stop the escalation.

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