Torm said:I hate to jump in here, but I think the difference between the puppy in your analogy and the pedophile-rapist is that the puppy, in piddling on the carpet, is not traumatizing anyone for the rest of their lives, or possibly killing them!
Let's not mistake a humorous example of an incidental point for the cornerstone of my argument.
In fact, the rapist was a low-level commoner. The paladin's actual belief was that he was a low-level commoner. In fact the rapist was unarmed. The paladin's actual belief was that he was unarmed. Therefore, both according to the actual situation and according to the paladin's belief about the situation, the paladin had at least two available alternatives to killing the rapist, either of which would have been just as effective in protecting the girl from further harm. Killing the rapist was not necessary to protecting the girl, and the paladin knew it.
So the paladin threw away the chance of saving the rapist if, for example, possession or compulsion, were involved. The paladin ran the risk of killing an innocent man and losing his powers if the situation were other than his first impression suggested (eg. because of illusions). The paladin threw away the chance of interrogating the rapist to discover who his accomplices (if any) were. The paladin threw away the chance of demonstrating the lawful dispensation of justice. And according to both the facts and his belief, he gained nothing by it.
That being the case, I cannot accept that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the paladin's choice. I agree that it doesn't constitute a 'lose-you-powers' offence. But if the paladin keeps behaving in such an intemperate and injudicious way he will soon commit such an offence.