One common response I’ve seen from the Black Lives Matter on the shooting of Korryn Gaines was that she didn’t deserve to be executed for a traffic violation. Leaving aside the accuracy of that description, I’ve noticed that refrain from Black Lives Matter before, “he didn’t deserve death for [minor crime].” This is not limited to BLM, I’ve seen it many times before from many different people of differing ideologies describing different situations. People will often say, some person didn’t deserve a relatively harsh punishment for a relatively minor crime.
To deserve is to be worthy of something, either a reward or punishment, but measure of worthiness is left open. So in conversation people have to derive a measure from context. In the case of those arguing that Gaines didn’t deserve to die, they assume the measure of worthiness is some form of cosmic justice.
But moral worthiness is not the issue in many of these cases, but rather natural worthiness. Waving a realistic toy gun at or charging a cop may not be deserving of death in some cosmic moral sense, but it is the natural consequence, and they deserve it in that they created conditions that would likely result in the resutlting negative consequence.
There are two types of deserved negative consequences: moral/judicial consequences, where someone is punished because they have committed evil, and natural consequences, where someone is punished because that is the natural result of their actions.
Moral consequences are justice and justice is meted out by God and man. Justice needs an agent to be carried out and does not necessarily occur in nature. The rare times when nature hands out justice, we always refer to it differently, such as with phrases like poetic justice or karma, because we know that it is not real justice, simply natural consequence or blind coincidence.
On the other hand natural consequences are carried out by nature, of which man is a part. There is no moral dimension to natural consequences, simply the cold, hard law of cause and effect judging man with neither mercy nor pity.
A lot of people like to try to confuse these two forms of consequences, these two meanings of deserve, often for ideological purposes, occasionally because they are incapable of clear thinking. Often, those who see the reality of natural consequences and refuse to confuse the two, are called cold, mean, and/or evil by those who do not.
To help make this distinction clear, I’ll list some examples:
Does a child who runs into the road, morally deserve to be hit by a car? No, but they naturally deserve it because that is the natural consequence.
Does a man calling another man a ‘cock-sucking faggot’ or some other very offensive epithat morally deserving of being punched in the face? No, but he’ll get punched anyway and deserve it.
Does a women getting drunk and going to a strange man’s home means she morally deserves to be raped? No, but being raped is a likely foreseeable outcome and she naturally deserves it.
Does having promiscuous sex mean someone morally deserves to suffer and STD? Maybe not, but it is naturally deserved.
Does threatening, resisting, or being stupid around cops means someone morally deserves to be shot? Maybe not, but it is the most likely outcome and being shot is deserved.
Do French people morally deserve to be gunned down for voting in favour of immigration? No, but the naturally deserve the consequences of their choices.
So yes, Korryn Gaines deserved to die for her parking ticket. Maybe not in some cosmic moral sense, but she took took actions which would naturally result in her being shot, and the laws of nature enacted their punishment.
In all cases, the question is not of whether some impartial moral arbiter would condemn the person to a punishment in light of cosmic justice, rather it is a question of whether the person brought natural consequences upon themselves by committing causes that would result in certain effects.
Do not confuse the two. God and man care about your moral worthiness, your soul rests upon it, and justice is enacted by it. Nature does not care in the least about your moral worthiness, only your natural worthiness. Contravene nature’s laws and suffer, that is natural.