23 votes

At What Point is Using Lethal Force Towards the Government Justified?

Last week’s tragic incident unfortunately left one dead and others wounded at LAX, not something you want to read about the morning after while sipping coffee. As much disdain as I have for the cruel TSA I don’t believe an agent deserved to murdered. And if the reports were even slightly reliable coming from the mainstream media, unfortunately that’s exactly what happened – murder.

Let’s talk about cruel government employees in a larger context, however.

I asked a friend the other day - During World War 2 should the German citizens have possessed the right to kill members of the Gestapo if their lives were in danger? What if an arrest was about to take place, potentially leading to indefinite incarceration of an innocent individual? Then is using defensive lethal force justified?

It’s easy for us given the things we know to look back on the acts of the Gestapo and say “Yes!” we would have proudly pulled the trigger on Nazis. But citizens in Germany (and Russia) at the time didn’t necessarily have the knowledge we do now about the atrocities that were taking place –the gulags, the prison camps, the medical experiments and the endless torture.

Although I don’t believe the TSA (or any other U.S. agency) works in the same capacity as the Nazi secret police, I don’t doubt the U.S. is heading in that direction.

And that leads to this question: at what point are citizens justified in using lethal defensive force against the government?

Once again, I am NOT condoning the murder of the TSA agent at LAX this past week or any other government agents in general, just attempting to gain an understanding of the point at which we have a moral obligation to defend ourselves using lethal force.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
meekandmild's picture

Y our Right of Defense Against Unlawful Arrest

“Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer's life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529. The Court stated: “Where the officer is killed in the course of the disorder which naturally accompanies an attempted arrest that is resisted, the law looks with very different eyes upon the transaction, when the officer had the right to make the arrest, from what it does if the officer had no right. What may be murder in the first case might be nothing more than manslaughter in the other, or the facts might show that no offense had been committed.”

other court rulings

More info:

Union leaders say the enhanced status would help protect an unfairly demonized workforce, as well as security checkpoints like the one where Friday’s mayhem began.

“We feel a larger and more consistent armed presence in screening areas would be a positive step in improving security for both [security officers] and the flying public,” said J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “The development of a new class of TSA officers with law enforcement status would be a logical approach to accomplishing this goal.”


According to a solicitation posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the Federal Protective Service, a sub-agency of the DHS, intends to hire “armed Protective Security Officer (PSO) services at various locations throughout the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.”
“The project will have a requirement for the contractor to have a Top Secret facility clearance by the start of performance,” states the FPS notice.

For some, the idea of an ever-expanding federal government turning to a private security force with a “Top Secret” clearance will stir memories of Barack Obama’s pre-election promise to build “a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded (as the US military).”


An Alternative

Folks if you don't like the TSA, then protest by refusing to fly. If enough of us did that (and I chose to) then we'd win by shutting the whole industry down. And they'd have nobody to scan and pat down but themselves.

Good one.

Though I agree with you on one hand, boycotting the criminals is not enough. You may as well say pedophilia could be addressed if couples simply quit making children.

Not that simple

We have jobs that require travel. I wish I could!

Simple Question. Complex Answer.

The LAX incident was a tragic example of misdirected anger. The TSA Agents are underpaid workers reminiscent to fast food employees. The shooter made gun owners nationwide shake our heads in dismay. Wrong is wrong. And in typical fashion, pertinent facts (why was he so angry at this man? Was he harassed?) are left out leading us to premature public opinions. However, regarding the bubbles in the boiling water...let us remember the Constitution and promote it with the fervor of the old street preachers preaching Hellfire. Unfortunately this country likely is heading for a revolution in favor of honoring the US Constitution and cleaning house of all who dishonor it. I'm afraid that real "Constitutional Insurgents" won't have the necessary numbers because most people watch too much TV, play too many video games, take too many pills and DO NOT REALIZE that our government is intent on slowly boiling our pot of water. Most law abiding and responsible citizens see "no need" to own AR15s and other defensive firearms because their Constitutional enemy "could never be domestic". Well guess what?! Our enemy was the first to arm up with AR15s, MRAPs, drones and undercover agents willing to deceive us despite all of our desire for peaceful resolution. ALL WE WANT IS OUR CONSTITUTION FULLY RESTORED. Psychopathic and demonic mass shooters are giving them all the practice they need to employ undeclared martial law at moments notice. This is so sad.

Lethal Force Towards the Government

If the state legislators and governors do their job and Nullify, it shouldn't be necessary.

Don't Comply! Nullify!

In the interim, since you brought up the rise of the Third Reich, people at cocktail parties used to say, "Why didn't somebody stop him before he got so powerful?"

That's exactly where we are now, witnessing the Rise of the Fourth Reich right before our very eyes.

Freedom is my Worship Word!

FiresofFreedom's picture

It is important to remeber

That the government is a collective term used to describe the people that work for the system in place. Us as people who believe in freedom and individuality should recognize this and understand it might look like the entire system wants to hurt us, but it is only the people at the top who are following special interests. So to go into LAX and shoot up the TSA was not justified because the TSA agent that's making a crap wage has nothing to do with the conspiracy to extract our wealth and make us slaves to a one world government. However if nothing is done the powers at be will move full speed ahead, we must resist. If not for success against there diabolical plan then to show them that even with all of there power they cannot destroy the freedom within the hearts of man. So when is lethal force nessacary? When the government has shown its true nature, when the government makes the aggressive motion and throws its own laws out the window. Watertown, MA is a good example of this, the government had shown its true colors, it was up to the people to rise up and put themselves on the line, however the establishment has done a good job of making the american people docile. Do not seek violence against these monsters no matter how tempting, they will use it in there advantage; we must wait for them to remove the mask so the world can see the justice in our cause.

Isn't that the argument used by German concentration camp


I was only following orders, just a cog in the wheel, and I might have been punished myself if I did not do as told. So where does one become personally responsible for his participation in a tyrannical gang?

As a practical matter, the lower level gang members are the ones least protected, and those with more power and at a higher level are more protected, making attacks against more sinister targets less possible.

I personally think revolution is a long process, maybe 20 years or more, beginning peacefully and culminating in a violent struggle. I think we are in a period that parallels that leading up to 1775 and 1861, and the transition from peace to violence may later be marked by historians with a specific event, but which as it unfolds will be much more murky. I think of it like water coming to a boil with early bubbles being barely noticed, with the rolling boil to later come. Looks to me like this was a politically motivated killing, a little bubble, perhaps premature, but certainly not premature or unjustified in the mind of this young shooter. If this unfolds as natural forces in motion dictate, more bubble will follow with greater frequency.

From the reports coming out, this young man's views of the world are not much different that I see on various conservative sites, including this one.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

FiresofFreedom's picture

Yes and you are correct to a certain extent

However, There is a large difference between some TSA agents fondling people and the Concentration camp guards taking part in a mass murder. I certainly don't condone either actions, The TSA guards who do sexually abuse people need to be punished for there crimes. TSA agents are people too and although a job that lets you look at nude scans of people, allows you to touch people and have government protection is going to attract sexual perverts and weirdos, some are just there to collect a check ; in there eyes anyway. They are not the ones to blame for the tyranny that is coming towards us, even the sickos. This tyranny is coming from a group of men who desire power over other people, politics is just the game and the government is there tool. So to attack on the TSA as this man did only hurts the tools, The men who run this game have plenty of tools at there disposal; but they only have one brain.

I believe the water is coming to a boil as well, I do not know what will be the event that leads to the boil but I hope it is one that shows the world the crimes of our systems and shines light on our divine justice.

Yes, the views that man had are very similar to ones found on various conservative sites but the vast majority of us see that it would be foolish and unhelpful if we ran up to a TSA checkpoint with guns blazing. We are in the downstream position, The public inspects everything we do. If some people continue to run into airports and shoot TSA agents it will make the public think we are a bunch of loons. We can write the laws and throw out the politicians as much as we want but tyranny will come again if we do not win over the minds of the people.

Before, During & After

The dog, the judge, the cop, the doctors. But that would only apply to a civilized society that condones justice, which we do not have.

Of course not. Worthy of a

Of course not. Worthy of a lawsuit? Certainly. His life was not threatened.

So you think foced sodomy is not a defendable action?

Come on man. I guess if a woman is being raped she should not use lethal force to defend herself because her "life" is not in danger?

I know the people in this country loves sodomy in all its disgusting forms but it is still a sin no matter what excuse they use and the wages of sin is death.

Yes this guy has the right to use what ever force is necessary to stop these perverts from sticking things up his ass.

His life WAS threatened.

His life, liberty and property were all threatened. Police escalate their violence very quickly: refuse ANY of their commands, and you risk everything.

And serious risk existed even in compliance: colonoscopies are not risk free, nor is full anesthesia.

Remember too that this man was not even SUSPECTED of having injured or another person or their property, which SHOULD have made him immune from being interfered with. The "law enforcers" who enforce violations of the rights of peaceable people forfeit their own rights. It may not be advisable to pull out a gun and blow them away, but it is certainly morally justifiable.

Recommended reading: The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose

I guess if I classify that incident as institutional rape...

...then some could argue lethal force would be justified.

Clearly it's impossible to predict how I would react in that situation, but I was just posing a question to continue the discussion.

But it begs the question, does rape qualify as an instance that would justify the use of lethal force in defense? Most would say yes I would guess.

The argument would arise on whether or not the cavity search was rape or not. It certainly does not seem moral. Couldn't a simple x-ray have done the job?

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


Yep. THAT Was Rape.

Unless one believe in "legal rape".

Rape is an initiation of force!

Are you suggesting that one should submitt, and then sue?

The creation, production and fair exchange of values is the business of evolving consciousness, love and life.--Craig Johnson

a. when you can win a1. as a

a. when you can win
a1. as a corollary to a, when you don't need to talk about it on someone else's public website

Certain Roman senators believed murder was justified

In order to protect the Republic.

By doing so they hastened the destruction of that Republic.

Strong political statements and stands are more effective in my opinion.

If the Zeitgeist, Occupy, Tea Party, 9/11 truthers and Libertarians were to set aside their differences and work together, the Dem and Republican establishments would be utterly destroyed and perhaps the two-party system itself might finally be dismantled.

Notice that the Mainstream Media constantly decries "gridlock" in Washington and especially loves to fearmonger about government shutdowns.

That would make one think that the MSM prefers dictatorship over the Republic: that the MSM thinks the Senate and Congress should only vote as the President prefers. Be it Dem or Repub in the White House.

In Indiana, its legal to

In Indiana, its legal to shoot law enforcement if they enter your property without a warrant. Not sure if it applies to all government though.


Are you sure?

I was under the impression that Indiana passed a law just the opposite!

Can someone provide a definitive answer with documentation?

Freedom is the ability to do what you want to do.
Liberty is the ability to do what you ought to do.
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Corinthians 3:17

IC 35-41-3 (See thelastbill's comment below.)

This was posted by at least a couple folks (if memory serves) here on the DP a while back. Here's the biz:

"Public servant" includes definition(s) here: IC 35-31.5-2-185, which specifically includes "law enforcement officer":

IC 35-31.5-2-185 Version c
"Law enforcement officer"
Note: This version of section effective 7-1-2013. See also preceding version of this section effective until 5-9-2013, and preceding version of this section, effective 5-9-2013 until 7-1-2013.
Sec. 185. (a) "Law enforcement officer" means:
(1) a police officer (including a correctional police officer), sheriff, constable, marshal, prosecuting attorney, special prosecuting attorney, special deputy prosecuting attorney, the securities commissioner, or the inspector general;
(2) a deputy of any of those persons;
(3) an investigator for a prosecuting attorney or for the inspector general;
(4) a conservation officer;
(5) an enforcement officer of the alcohol and tobacco commission;
(6) an enforcement officer of the securities division of the office of the secretary of state; or
(7) a gaming agent employed under IC 4-33-4.5 or a gaming control officer employed by the gaming control division under IC 4-33-20.
(b) "Law enforcement officer", for purposes of IC 35-42-2-1, includes an alcoholic beverage enforcement officer, as set forth in IC 35-42-2-1(b)(1).
(c) "Law enforcement officer", for purposes of IC 35-45-15, includes a federal enforcement officer, as set forth in IC 35-45-15-3.
(d) "Law enforcement officer", for purposes of IC 35-44.1-3-1 and IC 35-44.1-3-2, includes a school resource officer (as defined in IC 20-26-18.2-1) and a school corporation police officer appointed under IC 20-26-16.
As added by P.L.114-2012, SEC.67. Amended by P.L.13-2013, SEC.118; P.L.221-2013, SEC.6; P.L.172-2013, SEC.10.

What would the Founders do?

Every Revolution...

starts with a first shot. Someone has to take that shot. I agree that I don't condone the outright murder of the TSA agent BUT I also don't condone them molesting young children because they are looking for "terrorists." Now they are calling for the TSA to have "law enforcement" powers. That means they want them armed. This raises the stakes. We hear all this talk about revolution and about taking our country back but let's be honest. Do we have a population that can stomach that kind of fight? I don't think we do. We are a nation of boiling frogs and we are almost cooked. Many don't even know that there is a fight taking place. By the time they do we'll be speaking about America in past tense.

When they start confiscating

When they start confiscating our weapons and putting activists in fema/concentraion camps. The jewish citizens of germany waited too long to act in the 30s. Their government killed 6 million of its own citizens.

Another Christian perspective

It's not an easy question to answer from the Christian perspective, and I don't think I can answer it fully, but I'll just share some thoughts. One may think an obvious example of where it would be justified would be an assassination attempt on Hitler in WW2, but Dietrich Bonhoeffer(a Christian minister who took part in such a plot) was torn on the issue. If you read "Foxe's book of martyrs", you'll see several Christians who didn't resist their own martyrdom. And even within the Bible, there is no record of Daniel resisting the execution attempts by the pagan king. Jesus did authorize the carrying of weapons in Luke 22:36-38, but ended up healing the one whose ear Peter cut off, and allowed himself to be put to death for a greater good. The command of Jesus was to love your enemies and to love each other as you love your self (not to love them slightly less than you love yourself). So in a situation where you are the only one in danger by the government, it's hard to say when self defense would be appropriate. The situation may be different where it is not only your life in danger, but the lives of others. It seems like that is when a moral judgement would have to take place to weigh the costs and benefits(eg. how many lives would be saved versus how many would be lost). There are also certain offenses such as rape, where it would seem immoral to not resist. The obligation to defend ones own family who you are also obligated to provide for (1st Timothy 5:8) would weigh heavier than an obligation to defend someone else's family, though there would still seem to be some measure of moral weight to be weighed in both instances.

The common reference to obedience to Government is Romans 13:1-7 which says: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."

The sections of Romans 13 which say "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil" and "For he is a minister of God to the for good" are sections which some have said qualify the command to obedience, so that the kind of government to be honored is the kind that is fulfilling the purpose God has established for it in those sections. If the government is not operating within the role that God has designed for it, but is abusing the power God has given it to such extremes as seen in Braveheart, then some would argue that the Romans 13 command to obey wouldn't apply because that Government stepped outside of it's role. Similar to how a child is supposed to obey their parent; If the parent steps outside of the role of parent and tries to molest the child, the child ought to resist and is under no obligation to obey that kind of unjust command. But the issue is not as simple as obeying the good and resisting the bad. 1st Peter 2:18-21 says: "Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps."

It would seem that there is a time where it would be more moral to suffer under unjust rulers than to resist them. So if a parent was merely being unreasonable in prohibiting certain activities, or unjust in giving the child's privately owned toys to another child without consent, but was not abandoning the role of parent given by God, then it would make sense for the child to bear these hardships rather than disobey. People have to weigh the moral costs and benefits of their actions, and avoid overreaction, but the decision to act would be made by a persons conscience and moral intuition. It's a difficult question I hope none of us ever have to answer. I'm not sure I would have done as Bonhoeffer if I were in his situation, but most people typically think he was justified.

Resistance to tyranny is

Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.

All of the natural rights philosophers—such as Blackstone, Montesquieu, Hobbes, and Locke—who provided the intellectual foundation of the American Revolution saw self-defense as “the primary law of nature,” from which many other legal principles could be deduced.

John Locke argued that a man’s life belonged to God. Accordingly, the life was inalienable property; a man could not destroy his life by suicide, or sell his life by voluntarily choosing to become a slave. To allow one’s life to be destroyed because one failed to engage in self-defense was a form of hubris. As a 1747 sermon in Philadelphia put it:

He that suffers his life to be taken from him by one that hath no authority for that purpose, when he might preserve it by defense, incurs the Guilt of self murder since God hath enjoined him to seek the continuance of his life, and Nature itself teaches every creature to defend itself.

Like the Catholic canonists, the New Englanders connected the natural law right of self-defense to the duty to protect one’s national liberties:

There is a Principle of Self-Defence and Preservation, implanted in our very Natures, which is necessary to us almost as our Beings, which no positive Law of God ever yet contradicted….When our Liberty is invaded and struck at, ‘tis sufficient Reason for our making War on the Defence or Recovery of it.

Simeon Howard, preaching the Boston artillery company in 1773 likewise asserted the natural law right of self-defense:

Self-preservation is one of the strongest, and a universal principle of the human mind: And this principle allows of every thing necessary to self-defence, opposing force to force, and violence to violence. This is so universally allowed that I need not attempt to prove it.

According to Howard, failure to practice self-defense was a sin, one reason being that tame submission to tyranny created an environment conducive to sin: “Such submission tends to slavery; and compleat slavery implies every evil that the malice of man and the devils can inflict.” Samuel Cooper likewise connected servility with moral degradation, for servility was “commonly accompanied with the meanest vices, such as adulation, deceit, falsehood, treachery, cruelty, and the basest methods of supporting and procuring the favour of the power upon which it depends.”

The New Testament said that a man who neglects to provide for his family has implicitly denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. “But,” asked Howard, “in what way can a man be more justly chargeable with this neglect, than by suffering himself to be deprived of his life, liberty or property, when he might lawfully have preserved them?”

Preaching the Boston election sermon of 1776, Samuel West pointed to another implication of “the law of nature” and its “principle of self-defence.” Self-defense included a duty to one’s community. It was violation of common sense and of natural law for people to think that they “did God service when they unmercifully butchered and destroyed the lives of the servants of God; while others, upon the contrary extreme, believe that they please God while they sit still and quietly behold their friends and brethren killed by their unmerciful enemies without endeavoring to defend or rescue them. The one is a sin of omission, and the other is a sin of commission…” Both sins were “great violations of the law of God.”


Denise B's picture

Correction -

Just wanted to correct my post below in that it was Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego (not Daniel) who refused to worship the golden image (shame on me!), but the concept remains the same. In both cases, Daniel and the other three stood in outright defiance of the Kings decrees because they put obedience to God above all things, including submission to the authority of their day. Also, in our country today, the highest authority is the Constitution, so demanding that our public officials submit to that authority would be a biblically correct thing to do and Christians should take it seriously and be willing to defend it (and seek to punish those that would violate their oaths to God)...and if in the process of doing so the use of force is required, I don't think that would be unbiblical when all other possible means of doing so have failed. I believe that God takes oaths made to Him very seriously and I think that we should also do the same.

Denise B's picture

I agree with your overall (corrected)

assessment b, and believe there is not a "one size fits all" answer to how Christians should respond to tyrannical governments because there are a lot of variables that have to be taken into consideration. While it is true that Daniel did not resist his execution attempts (because he had 100% faith in his God), at the same time, he continued to worship God 3 times a day after the King had made a decree making it illegal and punishable by death to do so. In the same book, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, also God's people, refused to comply with the King's decree to worship the Golden Image. They were willing to face a horrifying, torturous death rather than submit to the Kings authority. They felt that death was a better option than defying their God's Commandments. I think that both of these passage, as well as many others, show us that Christians are called to resist governments that implement laws which cause us to violate God's laws and we certainly have reached that point in this country in a number of different areas, where outright resistance and defiance is long past due. That is different; however, then engaging in violence against said government. If there were more Christians in this country who were willing to resist and defy government mandates and laws that cause us to violate God's laws and were willing to hold unlawful and immoral politicians accountable for breaking their oath before God to uphold the highest law in the land, well that alone would go a long way to turning things around in this country.

There was a time in this country when public officials were held accountable for immoral and unlawful behavior (including oath breaking), which of course is also 100% biblical, and Christians in general have completely dropped the ball in this area. We basically have lawbreakers, God haters and criminals running this country and where is the Christian community standing and demanding that these people be held accountable and removed from office and many of them put into jail? If Christians had stood firm in the above areas, well maybe we would not have come to the point where violent revolt is even in question. I think what we are seeing happening in this country right now is Americans (including many Christians as well) reaping what they have sown. As a whole, the Christian community has allowed God to be removed from the public square, allowed the wholesale slaughter of unborn children to become the law of the land and has sat back while corruption has overtaken every aspect of our governance. I think before violence even comes into the equation, maybe Christians should get back to putting God first in their lives in every area, including standing together against the immorality and criminality that has over taken our nation and then trust God with the rest. If this leads to persecution, or maybe even violent conflict, so be it.