“Twenty-three-year-old Zach Peters of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, caught three masked burglars breaking into his house one night, and the end result were three shots by Peters from his AR-15, and three dead burglars. The burglars brought two weapons — brass knuckles and a knife — but neither melee weapon fared well against Peters’ rifle. . . . [O]ne of the deceased burglar’s grandfather . . . said the AR-15 made the fight unfair.”
Maybe it was “unfair,” but it was stupid and immoral for the three criminals to break into a house with the intent to do harm.
When three people break into your house at night, you don’t have time to assess whether the weapons they’ve brought are less lethal than yours. You also don’t know their intent, whether it’s robbery, rape, kidnapping, or murder. Read the book In Cold Blood and watch the film of the same title.
Self-defense is a biblical option in such cases. Consider this passage from biblical case law:
“If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account” (Ex. 22:2).
The homeowner can assume in a nighttime invasion that someone breaking into his house has nothing but bad intentions. He may be armed or not. The homeowner does not have to ask any questions to find out. The homeowner can respond by striking the intruder “so that he dies.” If this happens, even if the attempt was only theft (unknown to the homeowner), the homeowner is cleared of all guilt in the thief’s death.
Daytime is a different story because the victim can make a better assessment of intent. If two people enter a building with AR-15s and/or other weapons, killing these people before they kill you and others is the right thing to do. An AR-15 is a rifle, not an automatic weapon. Being loving, peaceful, just and generous, and self-giving do not apply. To put it simply, there’s no time to negotiate with people whose obvious intent is to do harm.
The story of David and Goliath is helpful since “five smooth stones” and a “sling” are the closest equivalent to a handgun we can find in the Bible. David seems to have been armed with his weapon at all times. There was no way he could run home to get his sling when a lion or a bear was about to attack his flock (1 Sam. 17:31-37, 41-54)…