As any man who is traumatized by repeated untoward incidents, the reaction of the storeowner, Joe, may be considered natural. It may be possibly caused by adrenaline rush that occurs when a person is faced with any danger or emergency. However, no matter how much it is of natural causation, Joe’s action may still be considered wrong and morally unjust.
There are a number of factors that made the action of Joe unjust. Primary to this is that the both parties’ weapons are at hand. Joe’s assailant entered the store as normal as any ordinary customer might possibly be in order not to attract attention. He pulled a knife as he reached the counter and demanded for the money. Joe, on the other hand, upon being insisted to surrender the day’s profit pulled out a gun. A gun, being a range weapon, has the capacity to inflict damage even from afar. Compared to a knife, the bullet from a gunshot travels faster than any man’s ability to manoeuvre the arm for a good stab. The knife may also be easily snatched from the handler. At times, it may require strategic moves but basically it is easier to disarm a man holding a knife rather than a man with a gun. As such, Joe’s reaction is unfair in the sense of a good and clean fight.
Second factor is the number of times Joe fired his gun at the assailant. A single shot can be enough to slow down and threaten the assailant, two shots may be considered agreeable if the assailant tried to attack him back. But since there had not been any signs of retaliation on the part of the assailant, even three shots may be considered too much making six shots an obvious overkill – something that even the most evil crook does not deserve given that there are existing criminal laws to condemn their acts.
Relative to the number of shots Joe fired, is the part of the mugger’s body on which he shot them. Joe shot six continuous shots directed on the assailant’s chest that may suggest that Joe had the intention to kill him. The chest is a sensitive area to target especially since it houses two of the most sensitive human internal organs. To aim for the chest and pulling the trigger once may already inflict a fatal wound. If there had not been any intent to kill the mugger, the leg should have been the first place to aim for.
A third factor to support the thesis is given in the fact that the assailant did not do anything violent to Joe that could have pushed him to grab the gun and fire. There are many other ways that Joe could have handled the situation with that given. He could have drawn the gun and threatened to shoot without actually meaning it. He could have also negotiated with the mugger. With Joe’s reaction it may be said that there was aggression and violent thoughts on his part. As such, his acts may not be justified as right or moral.
An act that led to the harm or death of a person or a number of persons may only be considered moral if the person who caused it has exhausted all means in order to prevent it. The person will be morally culpable unless his act was a means to save more than the number of people that would be victimized by the act. A person’s act may also be considered morally just if it was out of the call of duty. In the case of Joe, he was neither a person of ranks that is required to act upon the call of his position nor did he exhaust all means to prevent the occurrence in his store. His act may also be considered not qualified as something that would have saved more lives than that of the mugger. Thus, Joe’s act was morally unjust. However, given the trauma of the recurring incidence in his store and the knowledge that a gun is at hand for any untoward incident, Joe may not be blamed for his irrational reactions. It should not be overlooked that the desire for vengeance may greatly urge a person to act immorally and commit a crime, but this still may not save him from being morally culpable and guilty of homicide.