Saturday, November 22, 2014

Man vs. Android - The Road To Victory

It took way too long to see this...
I have something of a love-hate relationship with Android. On the one hand, as backed up by Coyote Blog, among several others, there's really no way to describe the difference between the Google ecosystem and any of the other ones. Since I work in IT, having a small, portable computing Swiss Army knife is really useful, and, for various security reasons, you can't get anything like Wifi Analyzer or Terminal for iPhone or Windows Mobile. Which is really a shame, because, like clockwork, after I keep whatever Android phone I have for about a year or so, it slowly but inexorably does its best imitation of a long-suffering Windows 98 install. It runs slower. It randomly reboots. It freezes.

I kid you not - it even bluescreens.

My current phone, a Motorola RAZR HD (XT956, for those keeping track at home), started acting up about a year or so ago after an OTA update ("Over-The-Air" - one provided by my cell phone provider). Ever since then, it just hasn't been the same. For a while, I was willing to just sort of deal with it - sure, it was slower after the update, and yeah, it wasn't as stable as before, but maybe the next update will clean some of that up. Sure enough, about a month or so later, another update came to my phone and I tried to install it.

Tried and failed.

Okay - no problem. Maybe I can install my own updates - maybe, if I'm feeling really bold, I can install my own version of Android, one without all the random apps that Verizon likes to toss on to all of their phones. Unfortunately, the first update I installed locked the door (though only temporarily, it seems) on unlocking the bootloader[1]. Once I learned that, I decided to hold off, suffer a little longer, and see if things improved over time. Perhaps someone would find a way to unlock my phone, perhaps some of the applications on the phone would get updated, or perhaps my upgrade period would come around and I'd decide whether I'd rather have a flexible but unstable Swiss Army knife or instead opt for something more stable but a little less usable in certain circumstances.

Time passed. Things did not improve.

After suffering for a while, I decided that I was close enough to my upgrade window to roll the dice - if I failed and ended up with a brick, I could always go to the store over the weekend and do a little phone shopping. So, I decided it was time to have some fun. I had recently read about Safestrap and thought that it might let me in far enough to get off of Jelly Bean and install KitKat - an upgrade, by the way, that would've been available to my phone if my phone could install updates. To install Safestrap, I needed root access - no problem, plenty of walkthroughs for that. The first step was to grab the DROID RAZR HD Utility, a handy pile of scripts and files that included a factory firmware for my phone.

Perfect - the first step was to literally wipe and reload my phone. I was pretty happy at this point.

Eventually, I successfully installed root, gained the access I thought I wanted, installed Safestrap, and... learned that Safestrap will only let you install ROMs based on the stock version of the kernel you have installed. That was a problem for me since one of the problems I wanted to solve was the lousy memory management in my phone's kernel - despite having 1 GB of RAM and consistently having over 100 MB free, it would keep trying to page from the much slower flash memory. Since one of the big benefits of KitKat was "Project Svelte", Google's focus on a leaner, meaner kernel, I was really interested in getting off of the one my phone was equipped with somehow.

After growing disillusioned with Safestrap, I began to explore my recently wiped phone and discovered that it was requesting an OTA update. Just for kicks, I went ahead and tried to install it.

It was successful.

Ah! Now we're getting somewhere. Do this a few more times and I'll finally be on KitKat yet! I installed the next one... then the next one... and then there it was, all 400+ MB of it - KitKat. The end goal was in sight.

The install failed.

I tried it again. It failed again.

Now I was desperate. I was this close to pulling this off. It was past midnight, I was tired, I was close... I made a desperate and nearly catastrophic move.

While poking around through some of the utilities that I was using to gain root, I noticed that the DROID RAZR HD Utility just had a bunch of Android system files lying around and a shell script that called some Motorola programming utilities to push the files on to the phone. "Well," I thought to myself, "what if I just download the KitKat update, replace the files in the HD Utility, and call it a night? Maybe I can force the phone to take the update!"

Oh, it took it, all right. It took it good and hard, which is why I'm finishing this blog post at 3:15 in the morning.

It turns out that the script only updates some of the files, not all of them, which is a problem since many of the files in the update deal with radio updates, changing the file structure of the phone itself, and a whole host of other changes that are far beyond the scope of a tool that's designed to get a RAZR HD back to where it was when it was first removed from the box. Consequently, when I attempted to boot off of my "updated" system, I was attempting to boot off of what was, at best, a half updated system.

The phone really didn't like that.

Thankfully, after a considerable amount of patience, holding down the power button and the down volume button for 30 seconds, then quickly flicking the volume finger to the up volume button over and over and over again, some trial and error, and an absolutely fantastic tutorial (Mr. Bluecoat, whoever you are, thank you!), I was able to get my phone back up and running with KitKat installed.

Chocolate-flavored kernel victory is mine!


1. On a computer - and, these days, modern smartphones qualify - getting from "powered off" to "usable" is a two (okay, three if you want to get really technical) stage process. In the first stage, the computer looks for what's called a bootloader, a small piece of software. The bootloader then tells the computer where to find the rest of the operating system (in Android parlance, a ROM) - this is where everything else is located. On most PCs, the bootloader is very small and limited, though that's changing somewhat; on cell phones, however, the bootloader is considerably more involved and is usually baked into the operating system directly. This is done to keep cell phones more or less secure - when a bootloader gets compromised, it can literally tell the computer which operating system to load and in what way so that whatever compromised the bootloader becomes virtually undetected. On a home computer, this is incredibly annoying; on a cell phone, it can lead to rather expensive phone bills that customers refuse to pay. Consequently, cell phone providers are rather insistent that phone bootloaders remain inviolate, save for the occasional well-heeled developer willing to spring for a developer edition phone. Even then, Android is the only platform to openly offer such an edition; Apple and Microsoft are considerably more protective of their platforms.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Let's Talk About Sex - And Rape

couple holding hands Myrtle beach sunrise by David Cooper is licensed CC BY 2.0.
After reading Reason's "Liberal Feminists, Stop Smearing Critics as Rape Apologists" on Steve Horwitz's wall, my thoughts began to turn toward my oldest son, who is rapidly approaching an age where the topic of sex and how he should react to it is going to become increasingly germane. Since he doesn't live with me, my options are fairly limited and will necessarily involve a bit of shock value - I can't just repeat the same message over and over again and hope it sticks, so I'll have to resort to somewhat more creative means. In addition, he lives in a very conservative, rural, isolated part of Nevada, one which honestly isn't quite as isolated as people think (thanks to the internet, no place really is anymore), but which is still a bit more socially and culturally homogeneous than most anywhere he might move to when he grows up. With that in mind, I've been pondering what key lessons I want to get across in a hurry that, preferably, won't fly completely in the face of what his mother is telling him (don't worry - we're not that far off and we communicate with each other reasonably well). At the same time, I've also been paying attention to the changing culture and discussion about sex and relationships, especially in colleges, with some interest, in no small part so I can fill him in on the background of the conversation and help him do more than just guess the culture's password on the subject.

One of the key pieces of advice that I've tentatively decided to give him is that, until he graduates from high school and starts dating adult women, he shouldn't have sex. The reason for this isn't moral or philosophical, at least on my end - my reasoning is actually considerably more pragmatic. Until he dates adult women, he won't be dating women that are capable of making responsible choices with their reproductive abilities - consequently, the only forms of birth control available to him will be the ones that science gives him direct and total control over. Thus far, that's a pretty short list with a high error rate if you go for the one option that actually allows insertion of a penis into a vagina. This doesn't absolve him of responsibility for his reproductive ability once he gets older and dates adult women, but the chances that a sexually active adult woman would decline to use birth control are considerably less - I suspect by at least an order of magnitude, but I don't have the numbers to back me up - than the chances that a sexually active teenage girl would be denied birth control by her parents but would still remain sexually active anyway.

Thinking about that piece of advice, however, got me thinking - the conversation about controlling reproductive decisions, due to the current state of science on the subject (which, thankfully, is improving), leaves the vast majority of the choices - and thus the responsibility - on the woman's side, at least once you choose to be sexually active. Similarly, most of the advice about preventing rape similarly focuses on what women can do to prevent being raped, which at least implies that women have choices, and thus responsibilities, when dealing with rape. This is, not to put too fine of a point on it, a... sub-optimal message. Consequently, when you stop and think about it, it makes some sense that feminists would rather shift the message from the choices that women can make to avoid getting raped and instead focus on the choices that men can make to avoid raping anyone.

Fair enough. Let's talk about those choices, then.

As any self-respecting Christian will tell you, the easiest way not to rape anyone is to simply not have sex with anyone. Of course, as most people these days will tell you, "simply not have sex with anyone" is about as useful a solution as suggesting starvation as a food poisoning prevention plan and about as effective. At the same time, the people pointing out that there's a noticeable correlation between alcohol consumption and rape also have a point - it's not just drunk (or otherwise incapacitated) women getting raped, it's also sometimes drunk men who inhibitions have been removed that are doing the raping. Consequently, most of the advice I'd recommend for men is the same advice that people give women:

  • Don't lose control. As you get increasingly intoxicated, stoned, or whatever, your ability to control your own behavior decreases. Alcohol, for example, lowers your inhibitions and increases your tolerance for risk. That might sound wonderful if you're a wallflower that's ordinarily afraid to talk to people, but it also means that you might interpret actual resistance and rejection as "hard to get" behavior.
  • Control what you consume. Keep an eye on what you're being served and how your drinks are being prepared. Don't get pressured into drinking mass quantities of alcohol or anything else - this means no more than a couple of shots per hour tops. Don't let friends tell you that you need to "catch up" - you don't. If friends are mixing your drinks, pay attention to what they're putting in them and how much and control future consumption accordingly.
  • Designate a sober(-ish) wingman. A good wingman will keep you from getting sloppy. He won't let you get sloppy drunk. He won't let you make a fool of yourself. He won't let you drive home if you're in no position to. He won't let you get in trouble by trying to take advantage of a half-comatose sloppy drunk woman. He's got your back. To do this, he makes sure he's in a position to watch his own by controlling what he consumes and maintaining control. Note that, even if you and your wingman are avid "pick-up artists" and are looking to "score", it's in both of your best interests to make sure that everything happens on the up and up - you can't watch each other's backs if one of you gets expelled or ends up in prison. Oh, and don't forget to return the favor from time to time.
  • Know who you're having sex with. It's true that date rape happens more often than stranger rape, but that really shouldn't be surprising - it's a lot easier to talk yourself into interpreting a "no" as a "yes with objections to overcome" when you're comfortable around the person, especially when the person knows you well enough to care about your feelings and soft-pedal that "no". Similarly, salespeople sell more to people they know than people they don't. Even so, that same familiarity also gives you both a better understanding of the non-verbal cues you're each giving off, which should - assuming you remember to care about her feelings at all - make it easier to tell whether she's really interested in what you're interested in or not. Oh, about that better understanding of non-verbal cues? Yeah, it also applies in the bedroom, too. Familiarity can be a good thing!
  • Sex is like humor - don't push it. Ever try to crack a joke, only to have nobody laugh, and then try to tell the joke again or explain the punchline? Does it ever help? Well, sex is like that, too, only with potentially legally binding consequences. If her body is saying "no", even if her mouth hasn't bothered to say it yet, listen. She's probably trying to spare your feelings and is hoping you'll take the hint. Can't tell if her body is saying "no"? Well, that probably means you've lost control of yourself, in which case you need to start assuming a "no" ASAP and getting out of wherever you are, stat. Or, you're having sex with a dead carp. Either way, stop what you're doing - you're better than this. And where's that useless wingman of yours, anyway? He's supposed to keep you from doing stuff like this...
Now, is the above a comprehensive list? Not at all, but I think it's a good start. Granted, it's not going to stop the 4% that are actual, honest-to-Jehovah rapists - the kind of people that just don't give a single flying fornication for the feelings of others and behave accordingly - but it, or other lists like it, just might help a guy or two who doesn't want to rape from inadvertently raping someone. At the very least, it should help reduce the prevalence of awkward sex in this country, which, anecdotally speaking, is as endemic as ever. 

Also, to be perfectly clear, I'd rather have this conversation with everyone now than explain to my son in a few years why he has to fill out a poorly proofread quiz before registering for class, why his rights to due process don't exist at college, and why people who should really know better think he should be in a state of perpetual fear regarding sex and consent. At some point, we have to take this issue back from people with an ax to grind - on both sides - before we and our sons become whetting stones ourselves. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Libertarians and Veterans Day

Sunflower Field in Kansas by Ted Duboise is licensed CC BY-SA 2.0
Libertarians have historically had a conflicted view, if not an openly contrarian one, regarding militaries in general and the US military in particular. There are a variety of reasons for this, some philosophical and some historical. From a historical standpoint, the Libertarian movement was birthed in the United States and is consequently focused on its own backyard - since Libertarians advocate non-interference in other countries' affairs, it makes sense for them to focus near-exclusively on the actions of their own country. Also, since the modern Libertarian movement was established in the late 1960's, its views on the foreign policy and the government of the United States are very consistent with many of the concerns people shared back then. Between the poor behavior of American troops in Vietnam, the discovery of Operation Northwoods and Project MKUltra, the Tuskegee syphilis experiments, and J. Edgar Hoover's notorious conflicts with the Civil Rights movement, it's not surprising in the least that leaders of the Libertarian movement of the time began to openly sympathize with the Soviet Union, a decision that many of us might understand under the circumstances but find regrettable today. Meanwhile, from a philosophical standpoint, Libertarians are naturally allergic to "aggression", which, in Libertarian circles, roughly translates into, "making someone do something they wouldn't otherwise do through threats or use of violence". Since a military's sole existence revolves around perfecting the use of violence to serve its ends, it's no surprise that Libertarians are more than a little nervous about the existence of a military, to say nothing of its use. Following the Civil War, for example, Lysander Spooner, widely considered the grandfather of the modern Libertarian movement, had this to say about Abraham Lincoln and the war effort:
Abraham Lincoln did not cause the death of so many people from a mere love of slaughter, but only to bring about a state of consent that could not otherwise be secured for the government he had undertaken to administer. When a government has once reduced its people to a state of consent – that is, of submission to its will – it can put them to a much better use than to kill them; for it can then plunder them, enslave them, and use them as tools for plundering and enslaving others. And these are the uses to which most governments, our own among the rest, do put their people, whenever they have once reduced them to a state of consent to its will. 
The idea that, although government should rest on the consent of the governed, yet so much force may nevertheless be employed as may be necessary to produce that consent, embodies everything that was ever exhibited in the shape of usurpation and tyranny in any country on earth. It has cost this country a million of lives, and the loss of everything that resembles political liberty. It can have no place except as a part of a system of absolute military despotism. And it means nothing else either in this country, or in any other. There is no half-way house between a government depending wholly on voluntary support, and one depending wholly on military compulsion.
This tradition of suspicion, if not outright hatred and hostility, of the government and the power it wields through the military continues today. Joseph T. Salerno from the Ludwig von Mises Institute demonstrates the tone:
All governments past and present, regardless of their formal organization, involve the rule of the many by the few. In other words, all governments are fundamentally oligarchic. The reasons are twofold. First, governments are nonproductive organizations and can only subsist by extracting goods and services from the productive class in their territorial domain. Thus the ruling class must remain a minority of the population if they are to continually extract resources from their subjects or citizens. Genuine "majority rule" on a permanent basis is impossible because it would result in an economic collapse as the tribute or taxes expropriated by the more numerous rulers deprived the minority engaged in peaceful productive activities of the resources needed to sustain and reproduce itself. Majority rule would therefore eventually bring about a violent conflict between factions of the previous ruling class, which would terminate with one group establishing oligarchic rule and economically exploiting its former confederates. 
The second factor that renders oligarchic rule practically inevitable is related to the law of comparative advantage. The tendency toward division of labor and specialization based on the unequal endowment of skills pervades all sectors of human endeavor. Just as a small segment of the population is adept at playing professional football or dispensing financial advice, so a tiny fraction of the population tends to excel at wielding coercive power. As one writer summed up this Iron Law of Oligarchy: "[In] all human groups at all times there are the few who rule and the many who are ruled." 
 Thus, a permanent state of war or preparedness for war is optimal from the point of view of the ruling elite, especially one that controls a large and powerful state. Take the current US government as an example. It rules over a relatively populous, wealthy, and progressive economy from which it can extract ever larger boodles of loot without destroying the productive class. Nevertheless, it is subject to the real and abiding fear that sooner or later productive Americans will come to recognize the continually increasing burden of taxation, inflation, and regulation for what it really is — naked exploitation. So the US government, the most powerful mega-state in history, is driven by the very logic of the political relationship to pursue a policy of permanent war.
The article continues in that general vein - read the whole thing if you're so inclined. Personally, I think it is a grand example of how some in the modern Libertarian movement learned a little too much from Communism, including the use of emotionally charged, polarizing hyperbole, and the embrace of a reductionist Marxist-style dialectic in which all of human and social history can be viewed through an idealized Libertarian political-philosophical lens and critiqued accordingly. However, that sort of thing is coin of the realm at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, among other venues - that's not what compelled me to write today.

No, what got my attention was "What Makes Someone a Hero", by Bleeding Heart Libertarian's Jason Brennan (quoting excerpts to get to the point - please read the whole thing):
Today is Veteran’s Day, yet another day when Americans are supposed to thank soldiers for their service. But are (some, most, all?) soldiers heroes? This depends on the facts. A hero–as we use the term in typical English discourse–is someone who voluntarily engages in rightful service to others, even though that service puts him at risk of harm, and who does so out of benevolence rather than a desire for personal gain. So, to assess whether soldiers are heroes, we’d need to know 1) what their motives are, 2) the degree to which they were at risk of harm, 3) whether they were rightfully serving others. The qualifier “rightfully” is important. After all, Nazi soldiers and Gulag guards served others, but they don’t serve the right ends, and they didn’t conduct their service in a morally permissible way. Superman is a hero not simply because he puts himself at risk on behalf of others, but also because he serves the right ends the right way. 
Whether you think the typical American soldier is a hero or not will depend a great deal on your view of American foreign policy. Some American wars are beyond the pale; no reasonable person could believe them to be justified: e.g., the various wars fought to exterminate and uproot Native Americans, the Mexican-American War, and the Spanish-American war. What about other wars and military incursions? I’ll lay my cards on the table and say that I think hardly any US military actions have been justified according to the correct theory of just war.
From a very narrow Libertarian-Anarchic philosophical sense, a sense that Brennan is adopting, there's no such thing as a "just war", at least in any view of "war" as we would recognize it, as the book Brennan links to at the end of the excerpt above discusses. Since, according to a particular vein of Libertarian philosophy, there's no such thing as groups - only individuals choosing to act individually or collectively as they deem fit - the only "just war" is one in which you defend yourself from someone who is quite literally walking up to you, gun in hand, and getting ready to point the trigger (I exaggerate slightly, but you get the idea). Anything short of immediate individual self-defense requires such a high moral and philosophical aversion to murder to overcome that it's virtually impossible to do so, especially at the level of an organized nation-state. Since it's also assumed that governments and states are openly antagonistic against individuals (see the LvMI post linked above), even an invasion by a foreign power wouldn't meet the necessary qualifications of a "just war" unless each individual was personally confronted violently by an armed soldier from the invading army - until that happened, each individual would be morally required to assume that the invading army was an enemy of the state, not of the individual, and should thus be morally compelled to assist the invasion to help overthrow the state, at least unless or until the invading army attempts to set up another state or government to replace it.

Though this certainly seems a principled approach to war, it's actually just the philosophical and deontological codification of the Worst Argument in the World:
"X is in a category whose archetypal member gives us a certain emotional reaction. Therefore, we should apply that emotional reaction to X, even though it is not a central category member."
To apply this to our current topic of discussion, X is the military, or the state, or government in general, and the archetypal member it belongs to is "murder". Let's sketch this out:
  1. Murder is wrong.
  2. Murder is defined as the killing of a human being by another human being, usually intentionally though not exclusively.
  3. In war, humans kill other human beings.
  4. Therefore, wars are conducted through murder, which is wrong.
  5. By the transitive property, war is therefore as wrong as murder, times the number of casualties.
Let's continue on this train a little farther...
  1. Wars are conducted by opposing militaries, which are trained to kill on command.
  2. Since the primary goal of a military is to successfully kill others in war, the primary goal of a military is therefore murder, which is wrong
  3. By the transitive property, militaries are therefore wrong.
  4. Due to #3, anyone who chooses to participate in a military, either by volunteering or by refusing to conscientiously object to participating if conscripted, is therefore a murderer
  5. Therefore, Veterans Day is a holiday explicitly designed to celebrate murderers.
If you ask most people about this line of reasoning, they'll instinctively flinch away from it, though they won't be able to tell you why. If you ask deontologically driven Libertarians why that's the case, they'll tell you it's because of cognitive dissonance, or just a general unwillingness to face the truth - the rules for moral human behavior are plain as day, after all, and here are people violating them in the worst way possible. I have a different hypothesis, however - emotions are the mind's way of communicating to us what our words cannot, and, for most people, even if they can't quite articulate it, this line of reasoning just feels wrong.

It should.

What most people are intuitively sensing is the same thing most people intuitively sense when faced with something like PIV is always rape, ok? - the feeling that, yes, there might be some logic to it, but there's so much wrong with it that it's not even wrong anymore, even if they don't possess the intellectual or rhetorical chops to meaningfully identify where the point of ultimate confusion lies. In the case of the deontological Libertarian critique of Veteran's Day, and militaries in general, the ultimate point of confusion lies in the fact that we have separate words for "soldier" and "murderer", separate words for "murder" and "kill", "war" and "mass murder", and so on. That we have separate words or phrases for these concepts suggests that there are distinctions between each of them, much as there are distinctions between "ice" and "water vapor" even though they are both technically "water". Just as the "PIV is always rape" article broadens the definition of rape so broadly that it's impossible to conclude that any sex involving a penis can't be rape, assuming you accept that author's definition of "rape", many Libertarians make the mistake of broadening the definition or "murder" so broadly that self-defense almost becomes murder itself[1].

In the case of soldiers, militaries, and war, versus murderers, gangs, and the like, the distinction ultimately comes down to who's ordering the killing and why. Wars, at least in principle, are supposed to ultimately benefit someone other than the people doing the killing, especially in the long term. Militaries obey the commands of their government - which, in principle, are supposed to derive their consent by the governed. Soldiers obey the commands of their military. This is why we view military service as a form of service worth honoring - for a limited but predefined period of time, in principle, an individual chooses to act in the interests of their society. By contrast, a murder kills merely to satisfy their own desires.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that there's a wide gulf between principle and reality. Soldiers, for example, are not just morally required to refuse to follow an unjust order - in many militaries, they're now legally required to refuse one as well, which is a consequence of some of the worst excesses of the two World Wars. Militaries, meanwhile, don't always obey their governments - oftentimes, they become the government, especially in places with otherwise weak public institutions. As for the benefits of war, they rarely accrue to everyone in the society that wages it, and they certainly never accrue evenly; however, it wasn't just arms suppliers that benefited from the Allies' successful prosecution of World War II, and it was a lot easier and considerably less bloody for America to overcome Jim Crow than it was to overcome slavery. Incidentally, even within the Bleeding Heart Libertarians community, there are some who see the glimmer of a difference.

Of course, that some wars have had some positive benefits for large groups of people shouldn't be used to excuse all wars, or all militaries, or all soldiers, or even all American soldiers. Some American soldiers behave badly. Some American military leaders give and follow morally reprehensible orders. Some American Presidents are power-hungry demagogues. However, it's important for all of us, as Libertarians or as Americans, to remember that, unlike a common murderer, a military, the soldiers that constitute it, and the government it serves are reflections of ourselves. They reflect our ambitions, our fears, our desires, and our needs. If our ambitions are violent, our government and its military will be at least as violent. If we are fearful and defensive, our government and its military will behave at least as defensively. If we prioritize our desires and needs over the desires and needs of our neighbors, so will our government and its military. Even so, despite our imperfect natures, there are those among us who voluntarily choose to grant us the power to control whether they live or die and whether they kill or demonstrate compassion, either by explicitly volunteering into our military, or implicitly by accepting its summons when conscripted, even though they know that the people they are granting control of their lives to aren't infallible or incorruptible. That's a bold choice, one that the rest of us should treat respectfully while we decide whether we should be allowed to have that sort of power over another human being to begin with.

With that respect in mind, while remaining skeptical of the institutions that we grant these powers to, and while remaining skeptical of the nature of power itself, I publicly wish our veterans a Happy Veterans' Day. Here's to each of us doing what we can to ensure that those of you that make the choice to become a soldier are ultimately placed in positions to act heroically, preferably filling sandbags instead of corpses, even though we all know that we will, at times, fail in this.


1. As things currently stand, our cultural norms on self-defense have shifted broadly enough toward a consensus that human life is sacrosanct. So sacrosanct that, in many states, you have to be able to assess the threat level of the intruder before you kill them in self-defense, even if they've violently entered your home and even if they're taking your belongings, since no personal possession is worth a human life. Back