Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Greg Carvell defends himself again, this time in court

Greg Carvell is in court tomorrow at 9:30am, defending himself against the charge of defending himself. As I've said before, it's not a court appearance he deserves but a medal.

If you want to help, you could show up in the Auckland District Court to give him support, or you could just send funds to the Greg Carvell defence fund. As Oswald says, "that could easily be me -- or any one of us. It doesn't have to be a shooting, either-- you could cream some lowlife with a frying pan and wind up in the dock in this country..."

Do you think you should have the right to defend your life? Now is the time to stand up for it!

UPDATE: Greg Carvell has elected trial by jury, and will reappear for that in the new year. Good to hear protests outside the court upholding the right to self-defence as a a real human right.

LINK: Gun shop shooting - a father's hell - Stuff
Medal for gun dealer, not court - Not PC (Nov, 2006)
Libz on the NRA news - Not PC (Aug, 2006)
Greg Carvell defence fund
A worthy cause - Oswald Bastable

Politics-NZ, Self-Defence


  1. I have just one question for all those Kiwis who regard themselves as free people:

    if you cannot defend yourelf or if the cost of defending yourself is bankruptcy and a criminal record then in what respect are you "free"?

  2. I'm still not clear on how being charged with "possessing a firearm without lawful, proper or sufficient purposes" means we have no right to self defence...

    And now, sans glibness: while I agree that the guy doesn't deserve this, I'm getting annoyed at people deliberately mischaracterising his charge to push their own ideology. Whence the Principle of Charity?

  3. You make a good point, Josh, one all too easily overlooked. Better to demolish a well-presented argument than a shoddy strawman.

    I guess the problem here is that the prosecution itself is shoddy. The charge was reported in the media before it was even issued, and rather than taking it under the Crimes Act, where (and I'm willing to be corrected here) Mr Carvell would be likely to find a defence for self-defence, this bullshit prosecution was taken instead.

    So short answer is this: the charge has been characterised as one of a denial of the right to self-defence because it seems that this is what is intended by the prosecution.

  4. This case in one the greatest travesties to hit our court system! The right to defence is inalienable just like any other right!

    As you say, PC, he deserves a medal. And as I said on my blog, he is a hero not a criminal!

    Oh, and well said, KG!

    Josh, the thing is he did have proper and sufficient purposes to possess a firearm, i.e., self-defence. Any weapon is justified when for that purpose. No weapon is ever bad, only it's user's intentions. And that is what makes this case a classic example of no legal recognition the right to self-defence. The Bill of Rights may say we can use even fatal force in self-defence, but as long as this sort of thing can happen there is no real recognition, only pretend.

  5. On a related note, perhaps one of you can explain to me from a Libertarian perspective how the right to life works in the case of self-defence?

    My understanding is that you view the right to life to be inalienable and a necessary logical entailment of your existence as a human being, and yet it seems to evapourate the instant you initiate force against another. How does this happen?

    It's not enough to say "you aren't respecting others' right to life, so you don't deserve yours" if this right is as inalienable and innate as it's meant to be.

  6. Robert Winefield6 Dec 2006, 18:17:00


    The problem is that the Police/government do not want people to own firearms for the express purpose of defending themselves. That's the way the law is written, that's the way they enforce it.

    WRT "we have no right to self defence." The law states that you do have a right to defend yourself. But the Police and the government are undermining that right by denying access to the ~means~ to defend yourself.

    The fact is that not everybody is Bruce Lee and even Bruce got the shit kicked out of him now and then.

    Weapons are a means to offset the physical prowess of an attacker. A handgun can allow a 150lb woman defend herself against a 200lb man intent on raping her.

    But the government and the Police won't allow you to have firearms - hell they won't even allow you to own pepper spray (something that might have come in handy in this case). Every instance where someone has used a firearm in self defence in recent times has led to that person being prosecuted.

    First it was Paul McIntyre (who used a gun to stop a theif from taking his farm equipment). Now it's Greg Carvell.

    The only contemporary instance that I can recall where the shooter wasn't prosecuted was in the case where Steven Wallace was killed by a Policeman. Double standard? I think so!

    WRT the case:

    If you look at the gun laws you will see that the Greg Carvell used a handgun - perfect for self defence and therefore evil in the eyes of the law.

    Handguns by law are only allowed to be used on the range. That's it. The regulations governing the use and storage of handguns are only slightly less stringent then those governing the use and storage of Military Style Semi Automatic weapons (ie AK47s).

    The argument from the prosecution (I imagine) will run along the lines of - if he'd been storing the handgun properly (locked up seperate from the ammunition) then he'd never have had time to ready the gun to fire in his self defence.

    This of course ignores the fact that Carvell owned & was in a gun shop at the time and has used guns all his life. It isn't that hard to load an automatic pistol and shoot something at close range - especially if that's how you earn your money to pay the rent.

    There is another issue here. Both Greg's father & Greg are big in the NZ pro-gun lobby. The NZ government and the Police are anti-guns... Connect the dots!

    Are the NZ Police malicious enough to go after someone to smear the pro-gun lobby? I think so. Any force that can promote a guys like Clint Rickards & Co. has some serious problems with its moral compass.

    Afterall there has been a rash of sedition prosecutions lately hasn't there...

  7. Josh, the thing is that as soon as you violate the right of another you forfeit that right. You cannot have a right you do not allow others to have.

    Sadly, this gun madness extends to police to a lesser degree. Remember, unless things get violent they must leave their guns in the boot. So even the police are limited.

  8. "The thing is that as soon as you violate the right of another you forfeit that right."

    See, that's exactly the sort of reasoning that doesn't work for me in the context of Objectivism. Are you saying one's right to life is contingent on their actions? All of the Objectivist literature I've read (and to be fair, it's not a huge amount) suggests that the right to life comes from the very nature of your existence as a human being - that has nothing to do with how you act, and suggests it's not something that can be forfeited.

    Unless you want to claim that your right to life comes from your existence as a rational human being and that it's contingent on your acting rationally. Of course, the problem there is that it's possible to act irrationally without endangering someone else's life, so your right to life could be blinking on and off all over the place.

    This is why I have little time for rights-based ethical systems...

  9. Is there a possibility for a good outcome from all this?

    Would an aquittal mean a precedent for the legality of storing of firearms for self defence in a ready to load or loaded condition?

  10. Josh:

    "This is why I have little time for rights-based ethical systems..."

    Objectivism is more a system of virtue ethics than a rights based system (if by rights based you mean like a Kantian deonotological system.

    And to an Objectivist, linking them to Kant is one of the worst insults availible.

    Also, "Are you saying one's right to life is contingent on their actions?"

    Well sort of, but not completely. If you walk down the street randomly shooting people then you have forfeited your right to life in that others can justifiably kill you to stop you killing others.

    If you nick a pack of chewing gum from a dairy then the dairy owner would not be justufied in shooting you in the head. Context and proportion.

  11. Josh, rights define what is right for human beings when we live together in a social setting -- they essentially set out our legitimate boundaries of action in a social context -- but they do carry with them the corollary that you recognise those same rights in others.

    That we all have equal rights before the law (if the law is properly defined), this is what sets out those boundaries.

    What those boundaries say is this: my freedom ends where your nose begins. And they define quite explicitly where your nose starts.

    (The purpose in part is to exclude the initiation of force from human affairs, so that humans may function (and flourish) by the use of their minds, rather than (as it has been for so much of history) by the use of their fists.)

    Properly defined, there is no conflict between your rights and my rights, but if you break my nose -- if you choose to introduce force -- then I'm entitled to defend myself, and it's right to do so.

    Rights are not out-of-context absolutes or some sort of floating abstractions as you seem to suggest. They are intended to allow us to function as human beings in the real world, and they often require upholding in the real world, in this world.

    If I have no right to defend my life or my property, then I have no right to my life.

    If you don't wish to recognise living by right, by for instance choosing to try and take my property or my life, then you must accept all that comes with that, including possibly the end of your own life.

  12. CD, you asked, "Is there a possibility for a good outcome from all this?
    Would an aquittal mean a precedent for the legality of storing of firearms for self defence in a ready to load or loaded condition?"

    I guess that's possible, but if so it will be bought at the price of some very expensive legal fees (up to $100k has been suggested) and some terrible pressures on the Carvell family.

    I guess if that's a verdict we would all like to see, and we would all receive some advantage therefrom (as we did with the Paul McIntyre verdict), then it becomes in our selfish interest to help support Greg.


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