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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:25 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:50 am
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North Korea doesn't have the infrastructure to control it's population in the same way we do. I very much doubt the state can afford to employ four out of every ten workers, neither can it's beurocracy be so advanced or it's surveillance systems so integrated.
I imagine their remote rural area's to be something more akin to China's, with state interference limited to a single party member or local mayor/policeman.
It's not really in the same league.

Further to this, it is a revolution culture.
Like China, Russia, France and the U.S., it regularly celebrates the overthrow of the state by the people.

Here in Blighty, we regularly celebrate the failure of the people to overthrow the state. In my opinion this critical difference leaves the door wider open to totalitarianism than in many other cultures.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:13 am 
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North Koreans apparently enjoy freedoms like the freedom from eating, the freedom to be publically executed, the freedom from the burden of public expression, the freedom from due process, the freedom to get tortured etc. etc.

Personally I wouldn't regard this situation as less totalitarian than here and I find the whole comparison a bit fatuous.

From what I've seen from other communist states they really do attempt totalitarianism in a very nuts and bolts fashion from school onwards.

I'd bet that Kim Jong Il appears personally in school textbooks, for example (I crap ye not, you see similar things in Russian textbooks from during communism).


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 12:35 pm 

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Brian Haw the Iraq war protester hasn't been allowed freedom of expression. In the last year the government has withdrawn everyones freedom to express themselves completely.
Racists aren't allowed freedom of expression.
Religious intolerants aren't allowed freedom of expression.
You are not allowed to preach seditition here.
The Imam's have all been expelled for it recently.
The anarchists driven out in the 80's.

You are not free to express anti-government ideals. In North Korea they torture you to find out who else you have been expressing yourself with, here they just tap your phone and open your mail.
It's not the use of torture that defines totalitarianism. It's state control.

Where is this freedom of expression?
You are free to express yourself as long as what you express is politically correct. That's totalitarianism in action.
We're free to do as we are told and free to think and believe in what we are told.

Central governments control over our freedom of expression starts subtley with education and then a process of demonisation and media management but also has the "nuts and bolts" tools of secret policing and censorship available to it. All are used.

If I was to use the current political correct of global warming as an example, we can see that this freedom of expression has been actively encouraged by the BBC (state run media) and any dissent has been poo pooed (rightly or wrongly) by the media, education system and political bodies until by now anyone who who does not subscribed to it is dismissed as being fringe, and those who do not actively pursue an anti global warming agenda in their personal lives have gone from simply being demonised to being state legislated against. Taxed, impuned and penalised.

Now you may well argue that this is for the betterment of society. And you may even be correct. But it is also Totalitarianism. A political correct assigned from central government. Your freedom not to subscribe to this theory has been taken away from you.

North Korea? What a bunch of noobs.

Nuts and bolts fashion is for amateurs.
I think it's fair to say that in the very early days of this society our own government enforcements were very nuts and bolts. But things have got a lot more sophisticated. Layer has been built upon layer, where in many of those communist dictatorships, the slate had been wiped clean by revolution and the process started again from scratch. Ours has simply got more embedded.

No one could call Henry the Eigth subtle.

With the example of anti terrorism laws, we can see that while in the U.S. they use "sunshine clauses" for every war related removal of freedom, a legislation that must be renewed every few years, here in Britain no such clauses are ever considered. Any removal of liberties, any increase in state control taken in periods of emergency here, are permanent. None of us even blinks. But the U.S. a revolution culture, does not surrender it's civil rights to it's government quite so gayly.

Freedom from food?

The famine they had a decade ago was hardly state enforced. I really find it hard to believe that North Korean policemen were arresting people for eating.
They might have had similar totalitarian controls to eating as we did here in the forties and fifties. A system of rationing perhaps. (So that we could afford to build nuclear bombs instead of buy food).
But quite frankly this would be primitive compared to current governmental controls from DEFRA, Health and Safety, Food Standards and Advertising Standards.

Freedom from due process is the opposite of totalitarian. Due process is state controlled. Take note that the absolute rule of law (a George Bush and Tony Blair favourite) is more often referred to as Draconian and not historiclly associated with freedom.
Corruption is a double edged sword, while on the one hand it allows for injustice and abuse, on the other hand it allows unjust rule to be escaped.
Robin Hood was free from due process too.
Personally I wouldn't mind being able to bribe my way out of certain "offences" in this country.

Freedom to get tortured... righto. Here we go with the demonisation. First we say North Korea is evil and all their people downtrodden, tortured and starving. And what we never say is that only 40% of our population supports our own governmental leader where as about 99% of North Korea loves and even worships Kim Jong Il, isn't tortured and isn't starving. All of them being "free to express" that love as often as they may please. I bet that makes Blair and Bush sick to the core.

Have you ever met a tortured or starving North Korean? Have you ever seen one on TV who said he hated North Korea?
I think the best we can do here is find some old defector to reinforce our own politcal corrects on that one. If Britain wasn't so totalitarian, how come most people think North Korea is such an abode of evil despite not knowing anything at all about living there and never having spoken to anyone who has?
A classic example of a political correct in action. The state told you North Korea was evil, and you bought straight into it without a moments dispute.

I would agree that Kim Jong Il is taught about in text books. They have him down as a god who brings sweet harmony and makes flowers grow with his smile etc.
Loony I know.

However all British textbooks are state approved by central government too.
It's not what is in the textbooks that makes them totalitarian, it is their government prescription. Our own textbooks tell us how free we are, how enlightened our own system of government. The benefits we gain from democracy and how much better things are for us here.
Now there's a suprise no one saw coming.

We are all indoctrinated to believe different things than the North Koreans perhaps, but we are indoctrinated nevertheless. It's only the details the differ.
The basis is identical from country to country. We are living free, our way of life is best.

Totalitarianism is about the control by central government. It doesn't have to be achieved by torture. It doesn't even have to physical. So much easier by nationalisation, state institutions and political corrects.

Here are some definitions of the word totalitarian from
to·tal·i·tar·i·an –adjective 1. of or pertaining to a centralized government that does not tolerate parties of differing opinion and that exercises dictatorial control over many aspects of life.
2. exercising control over the freedom, will, or thought of others; authoritarian; autocratic.
–noun 3. an adherent of totalitarianism.


American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source to·tal·i·tar·i·an (tſ-tĿl'ĭ-târ'ē-ən) Pronunciation Key
adj. Of, relating to, being, or imposing a form of government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the state, and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed: "A totalitarian regime crushes all autonomous institutions in its drive to seize the human soul" (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.)

n. A practitioner or supporter of such a government.

[total + (author)itarian.]

to·tal'i·tar'i·an·ism n.

1926, first in ref. to Italian fascism, formed in Eng. on model of It. totalitario "complete, absolute, totalitarian," from the It. cognate of Eng. total (q.v.). The noun is recorded from 1938.

1. characterized by a government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control; "a totalitarian regime crushes all autonomous institutions in its drive to seize the human soul"- Arthur M.Schlesinger, Jr.
2. of or relating to the principles of totalitarianism according to which the state regulates every realm of life; "totalitarian theory and practice"; "operating in a totalistic fashion"

1. an adherent of totalitarian principles or totalitarian government

Last edited by baff on Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 1:37 pm 
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I did have a big long reply typed out with quoted chunks of your first post and appropriate replies but I managed to close the window so forgive me answering out of specific order.

Amnesty aren't a British government institution. They also criticise the British government.

You are free to express anti-government ideals. The state funded BBC do it all the time as do our newspapers.

Censorship of the media isn't something the state have a monopoly on. The private sector do it all on their own.

Your first post misrepresented British self defence law as I understand it. There's nothing in there that would specifically forbid you from shooting an armed intruder in your daughter's bedroom provided you believed you were doing so to prevent an immediate threat to you or anyone else in the house.

Your problems would arise if you shot them fleeing your house (if they're fleeing there's no immediate threat and thus no reason to shoot them). The famed Tony Martin case was pretty straightforward. He shot some repulsive pikey scallies in the back as they were fleeing his property. That wasn't self defence.

This is the same basic legal principal under which the police would operate when shooting someone incidentally.

You seem to be failing to differentiate between the things that should worry one, things that are simply part of the definition of "government" and things that would not change if they were left up to the private sector.

I mean for example you're saying that everything being regulated is totalitarianism (you also mention food), would you include Health and Safety legislation in this?

Surely regulation of food manufacture is a safety concern rather than anything hugely sinister? Noone likes Listeria or Ecoli:(

This was the original basis of speed limits as I understand it too.

I'm not trying to set this up as a strawman BTW. I genuinely see this as a question of management rather than a tendancy towards despotism or an attempt to exert cultural control in most instances.

I also think you're failing to acknowledge the role democracy plays in these things.

Yes, the British constitution is all kinds of flawed. Yes, we still have unelected officials able to if not prevent then seriously hamper legislation. Yes, the Executive is part of the Legislature.

We do still have an abundance of representation though. Checks and balances and all that. Could be better but not terrible.

I read the definition of Totalitarianism when I was typing the reply to your first and I'd probably concede the point that any government over a certain size probably has the means to, it's the "absolute" part that draws the line in this case. I think there has to be some accounting for real directed motivated effort in that direction and probably also the degree to which it's exerted.

Does having legislation aimed at the BNP and the like or coming down on one side of the global warming debate (yes, I do think this is a politically charged issue. No, I don't think automatically coming down on the other side is at all sensible, since the other side want to sell me petrol. The UN say global warming is a concern. What do they want to sell me?) really set Britain up for comparison with countries that do operate proper media censorship?

Incidentally, the NK government cut food aid right back for 2 years. They're only just inviting outside help from the west in.

I don't especially like Blair or CCTV cameras designed to do anything other than detect crime or GCHQ but you seem to be mixing up recent trends with post-war and older institutions.

I also wonder how you split up state run control and social constructions that are there in society anyway.

Meh. That was rambling and TL;DR. Sorry :D

I am leaving out discussing things like the Midlothian Question, low voter turnout, approval ratings etc. etc. specifically because that's a whole different thread.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:41 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 5:50 am
Posts: 78
I'm not very intrested in Amnesty if the truth be known. They criticise everyone. I find a lot of it sensastional and spurious. Both about the British government and every other.
Do you really base your opinions of a country on the words of Amnesty international alone?
You must be thinking the world is an extremely evil place.

Yes the BBC do criticise our government. I can't speak for North Korean media, but I'll bet they do too.

I bought a Russian newspaper last week. They also criticised their government. What you might remeber about the BBC, however is the lessons learnt from the Falklands War and the Iraq war, they can only criticise it so far before they lose their jobs.

The heads of the BBC are political appointee's taken by the elected government in office.
The government is not limited to those partisan elected members. Outside of the MP's there are millions more people who make up our government. The BBC is not anti-government at all. It's part of the goverment. Run by political appointee's paid for out of taxation.
The exact amount of funding it receives prescribed by parliament.
A state institution.

The self defence laws.
I am allowed to use "reasonable force" only. It is not considered reasonable to shoot someone. Not only am I not allowed to actually shoot someone, but if the police even heard me suggesting that I might do this, they would withdraw my firearms lisence on the spot. I'm not even free to suggest that point of view. I can only imagine from your own bold post, that you are not in possession of a firearms certifcate.
I need my guns to maintain my estate. I am not free to buck the political correct on this one. In true catch 22 style, I would be free to say whatever I liked if I didn't wish to own one. But I do, so I'm not.

I don't really see what difference democracy makes in totalitarianism. Only a very minor portion of the government faces election. All parties campaign on the same issues, removing the oportunity to vote on different principles entirely. Once elected your representative does what he wants anyway.
I don't recognise any of the checks and balances found in many other government systems. No sunshine clauses, no elected judges or police commisioners. No elected Attorney Gerneral. All checks and balances tend to be internal systems behind closed doors. And if you are the prime minister's mate, he can override them all anyway as he has final say.

Importantly, it's not how you get into power that matters, it's what you do once you are there. Elected, self declared or hereditary. Once you are in power, you are in power.

I'm not trying to suggest to you the Britian has the worlds most evil government. Only the worlds most totalitarian. I by no means think it's all bad. I'm a product of the machine. I think it's the best government there is. It does have it's faults mind you and that's one of the less ignorable ones.

The global warming legislation may or may not be similar to that found in other countries. While one side wants to sell me more petrol, the other side wants to tax me more for my petrol. It's the same old format. Demonisation then penalisation.
Name your issue, every government does it.
Good or bad, right or wrong, it's politicised and follows the usual pattern.

What makes the government control of British life absolute where North Korean is not, is it's infrastructure.
There is not one element of British life that is not legislated, lisenced or regulated by the goverment. It is absolute. It is involved in every aspect of our lives. It's not in absolute control of a few aspects, it's invovled in absolutley every aspect. Without exception.

I really can't give you even one example of something I do in my daily life that the government hasn't legislated in someway.

Do you think a chicken farmer in North Korea is told how he must keep his chickens, or how he must feed them?
You can be as obscure as you can imagine, but here it will still be legislated, and even regulated and inspected.

Do you think a bar in outback North Korea gets regular health and saftey inspections?

Do I think regulation of food manufacture is a good or bad thing? I'll save that for a different topic.
In this topic it is simply another example of goverment control into every aspect of daily life.
They don't just regulate food safety, they regulate car safety, road safety bicycle safety, football safety, playground safety, classroom safety, park safety, sports safety, swimming safety, river safety, glass safety, furniture safety, workplace safety, home safety, clothing safety, investment safety, consumer safety, sxual safety, medica safety, school outing safety, garden safety, electricity safety, aeroplane safety, diet safety, drug safety, gun safety, child safety, toy safety....

You name it they regulate it. I'm sure each and every little thing they regulate in the name of safety is a good idea. Don't you agree?

It's also totalitarianism. You don't have to find it sinister. That's your choice. Totalitarianism doesn't mean "sinister" it doesn't mean
"evil". It is what it is.

I myself, I'm willing to take some more risks.

Our government specifically attempts to manipulate the public into adopting new ways of life. Be it healthier living, longer education, war, federalisation, globalisation, enviromentalism or whatever else. It actively attempts to use it's power to subvert our freedom to it's own ends. It makes choices for us, and then forces us to go along with them. Whatever the fashionable vision of the day.
It is a totalitarian state, unrivalled in the history of the world.

I'm by-partisan. I don't see the Totalitarianism of Britain as sometrhing that happened overnight or under any one goverments watch. It's more of a death by a thousand cuts scenario. I gave recent examples because they are not ageist. We have all lived through them.
But we can go back as far as written history to find more.
Neither do I imagine there to be an evil mastermind behind each and every encroaching regulation. No simplified demon named Stalin, Hitler, Kim Jong Il or Dr No.
Rather a natural progression of successive leadership.
It's is to be expected that rulers will create rules. The larger the government, the more it seeks to govern and so on. The more succe4ssive rulers the more successive rules.

The difference between our culture and many others is twofold, the size (and wealth) of our government, and the period of time elapsed since our last revolution.
I believe as another poster above suggested, ultimately a government can only stand with the support of it's people. The only real check on government is the threat of revolution (or perhaps overthrow by a foreign power).
Everyone here is pretty wealthy, and predominantly disarmed. The security forces are all over place and the chances of a modern day Guy Fawkes having any luck are far slimmer than the originals.
The government may go on with it's regulation without any fear of reprisal. Are you going to stand up against it?
I very much doubt I ever will.

I'm not too worried about the private sector's self censorship. It is my choice whether or not I buy their products.
State run institutions however, don't allow me that choice, I can either pay or be imprisoned. At gunpoint if necessary. At 40% of the workforce that's the biggest monopoly in the country by an enormous factor. The dangers of megacorps such as Shell and CocaCola or even Branson and Murdoch or whatever are somewhat insignificant by comparison.

I consider any institution that has government apointee's or is funded by taxation revenue to be state run. What sort of social constructions that would be there anyway are you thinking of?

The Church? The Royal family? I'm enjoying your replies (and the sound of my own voice) but with the greatest repect I'm unable to reply to that one with out further elaboration.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:12 pm 
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Amnesty's website was offered in response to you saying NK's human rights record was an article of political correctness from our government.

Yes, they do criticise everything. All news is biased. My point is just that if an international NGO who will happily criticise UK government are publishing reports saying it then it isn't just an exercise in perception management by the UK government.

How are Russia relevant? I didn't really comment beyond saying that the government butting out really hadn't worked for them as far as I knew. Putin is elected. Russia is a democracy. I don't understand why they would be a point of reference.

North Korean media criticise their government? Seems rather unlikely since there's only one news agency in North Korea, that being state run.

The BBC ream the government all the time.

I mentioned the unelected officials. I guess there's also advisors and thinktanks to consider. To what extent you see the civil service as part of the problem depends on how much you subscribe to the "Yes, Minister" model I suppose.

I'm aware that home defence is no longer an acceptable reason for applying for a firearms license. Wasn't really commenting on firearms ownership. I probably agree with you on that one. However, the law does not say you cannot shoot someone in self defence.

Again, I agree with you on much of what you're saying about the need for constitutional change. It's not quite as bad as you are making out though. Regional assemblies and referenda do even things out somewhat. Ultimately Blair is answerable to the electorate. If he goes too far off base he also has problems from his own party. Yes, it would be better if we had more seperation of powers.

Both parties are much the same. Yes. And? If they are the same it's because they're marketing themselves to the same "customers". Societal norms informing would-be government policy. Not the other way around.

I think you're drastically overstating the importance of the potential for armed revolution. It's just not gonna happen. The entire notion is silly in the context of Britain or indeed any other G8 country / first world nation. Something that simply isn't going to happen isn't going to keep anyone honest.

Global warming... meh. It's hotly contested, that I will agree with. I don't really see what's in it for any government that wants to get elected to decide on "Global warming therefore taxes". Voters do like cars and don't like taxes.
I'd assume the UN are talking more in terms of the Kyoto protocols (which basically noone is following anyway). Don't worry. I'm not so naive as to assume "It's science so it must be true".

I do see your overall point but I really disagree.

Scandinavian countries also do the social democracy thing and they tend to have bigger social security set-ups. I don't think they're so hot on privatisation either.

Then you've got countries that truly are totalitarian in their near total oversight of the media and the much broader spectrum of opinions that they censor. I mean they have their fingers in a similar number of pies but they actually exercise that to a much greater degree in a unified self interested manner.

Leaving it all to the private sector doesn't in my view diminish the risk of totalitarianism either. Yes the "GLOBAL MEGACORPS RULE OUR LIVES THROUGH ADVERTISEMENT MIND CONTROL" line is Image but to my mind there's as much truth in that as in the "NANNY STATE RULING OUR LIVES POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD" line.

Rural China ain't that cozy. ... 9620070314

Yes, I guess if it's reaching the mass protest stage they've ballsed up on the machiavellan machinations somewhere. However, note the way they come down on these things.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 11:22 pm 
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baff wrote:
You name it they regulate it.

"If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." Too bad Reagan didn't really live up to fighting that mentality.

It is my choice whether or not I buy their products.
State run institutions however, don't allow me that choice, I can either pay or be imprisoned.

A State-side example of this is sewer versus septic tank. In my state, when a house is built, the builder can choose sewer service or a septic tank. And it can never be changed. You can't even cancel it. I can't STOP paying the state for my sewer service, even if I cut it off myself. And I can't change to anything else. That would be considered robbery if done by a private organization.

spm1138 wrote:
However, the law does not say you cannot shoot someone in self defence.

But you cannot shoot them unless that is the amount of force they are bringing to bear against you, yes? You must meet someone with "proportional" force, from what I understand. Criminals, by nature, break laws. So they have an ace in the hole. If the victim meets their level of force, they can escalate. The victim doesn't know what they will be using or when. You would need everything from harsh language to pepper spray to a cricket bat to a gun and right there when you required them, to meet a criminal's potential force.

I don't really see what's in it for any government that wants to get elected to decide on "Global warming therefore taxes"

We already tax gas in America. 18.4 cents per gallon at the Federal level. Add in state taxes and you could be paying 62.9 CPG in New York. In a few places those taxes are at least partly enviromentally related.

I know a number of people who want to tax gas even more, to "wean us off Middle Eastern oil." (Presumably the Canadian oil too, since they are the biggest supplier in the US) Or to styme global warming(which I could use right now, it's reaching record lows for the this time of the year). And you can't win an election in this state if you are branded a liberal. I have no idea how people in California look at this. It's not out of the realm of possibility, especially with the global warming hysteria reaching new heights every day.

Leaving it all to the private sector doesn't in my view diminish the risk of totalitarianism either.

Wal-Mart can't send men with guns to lock you in a cell with a man named Bubba for shopping elsewhere or opening your own store. The government can.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 2:34 am 
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it's a sad thing but the usa is following in Britian foots steps we are slowly having our feedoms takin away so slowly most people havn't even noticed and by the time the masses relise it it's going to be to late land of the free my ass

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don't mess with a nation that needs medication

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 5:04 am 
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But you cannot shoot them unless that is the amount of force they are bringing to bear against you, yes? You must meet someone with "proportional" force, from what I understand. Criminals, by nature, break laws. So they have an ace in the hole. If the victim meets their level of force, they can escalate. The victim doesn't know what they will be using or when. You would need everything from harsh language to pepper spray to a cricket bat to a gun and right there when you required them, to meet a criminal's potential force.

Not really my understanding.

The term for what is required is not proportional force.

It's "Reasonable Force".

You are not required to employ the same level of force as the criminal, only to employ what you believe is a reasonable level of force based on what you believe the situation is.

Obviously your actions will be considered afterwards by a jury but the question won't be who is right after the fact, it's whether you acted reasonably at the time.

Crown Prosecution Service statement:
Does the law protect me? What is 'reasonable force'?

Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. You are not expected to make fine judgements over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary in the heat of the moment, that would be the strongest evidence of you acting lawfully and in selfdefence. This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon.

As a general rule, the more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence.

CPS Guidelines.

Telegraph article on self-defence including statement from head of prosecutions:
Householders can kill burglars and not face prosecution as long as they use only "reasonable force", the Director of Public Prosecutions said yesterday.

Even using a knife or a gun would not lead to a charge as long as the householder's actions were what they "honestly and instinctively" believed was necessary "in the heat of the moment".

Click to enlarge

The advice from Ken Macdonald, QC, was given in a leaflet issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service. It said that only those acting with "very excessive and gratuitous force", such as knocking out an intruder then killing him as a punishment, would risk prosecution.

Yes, I guess proportionality does come into play in determing what is reasonable but it's not the stated requirement.

The change here has been that you're no longer given the benefit of the doubt because it's your property.

Interesting discussion of some high media profile cases. Yeah, I know the author of that website has a bias. Has some interesting details about where people were wounded etc.


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