Tag Archives: self-defence

In Defence of Booby Traps

Note: As COVID-19 and the ongoing culture war are likely to be saturating our thoughts at the moment, this somewhat lengthy essay may provide a refreshing opportunity to delve into some libertarian theory concerning the defence of one’s home or business premises from trespassers. Self-defence generally is relatively neglected in libertarian theory compared to theories of private policing and court systems. Nevertheless, if political division continues to translate into increasing violence and civil unrest, then the greater clarity on this topic that the essay below seeks to achieve may not be entirely irrelevant to our current problems.

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In Defence of Booby Traps

By Duncan Whitmore

Recently, Walter Block began a short thread on the LRC blog concerning the libertarian position on setting booby traps for the purpose of defending private property from trespassers. The discussion by no means exhausted all of the considerations involved in this topic, but a longer treatment may help to clarify some of the principles concerning self-defence in a libertarian legal order.

Every person in a free society is permitted to use defensive force against invasions of their person or property. Booby trapping does not question the principle of self-defence per se; rather, the difficulty is with whether this particular mode of protection may be considered defensive at all or whether the trap constitutes, in and of itself, an aggressive act in the event that it is sprung. Read more

Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Four – Liability for Wrongs

Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Four – Liability for Wrongs

By Duncan Whitmore

The fourth part of our survey of libertarian law and legal systems will explore causative events of legal liability arising from wrongs – that is a breach of some obligation owed by one legal person to another without the necessity of a pre-existing relationship such as a contract.

There are two issues that demarcate the approach of a libertarian legal system towards wrongs as opposed to that of a contemporary legal system. First is the definition of a wrong and second is the standard of liability – that is, the point at which the defendant becomes legally liable for a wrong.

Libertarian Definition of a “Wrong”

In contemporary legal systems, a wrong is some sort of act on the part of an individual that is viewed as being subject to legal sanction. Unfortunately, we have to start off with such a vague tautology as, looking at the variety of acts that are subject to legal regulation, this is about as precise as we can get. In many cases, of course, the wrong will be some form of harm caused by one individual to another which serves as the causative event to generate a legal response.

“Harm” is very broadly defined and can include violent and physical inflictions, such as murder, serious bodily injury, or damage and destruction to property, all the way to more ethereal harms that may include nothing more than speaking one’s mind such as “defamation” and causing “offence”. However, events currently classified as legal wrongs needn’t have a victim at all as the act may either be wholly unilateral or take place between consenting individuals. As an example of the former we can cite nearly all offences related to drug possession and dealing, and of the latter the criminalisation of certain sexual practices owing either to their nature (such as in sadomasochism) or to the gender of the participants (i.e. homosexual intercourse). Basically, it is no exaggeration to admit that a wrong, legally defined, in our contemporary, statist legal systems means nothing more than some act that the ruling government or legislature doesn’t like and wishes to outlaw, to the extent that even quite innocuous behaviour may find itself being subjected not only to legal regulation but to criminal sanction.

As we outlined in part one, no legal liability is generated in a libertarian legal order unless the wrong, or the “harm”, consists of a physical invasion of the person or property of another – in other words, only those actions that violate the non-aggression principle are subject to legal regulation. Read more

Has someone shot the gun control lobby’s Cumbrian fox?

Christopher Houseman

Recent events in Cumbria have led to an entirely predictable concern among UK libertarians that even more restrictions on gun ownership and usage are on the way. But on this occasion, I don’t share their pessimism.

UK domestic gun legislation is already among the tightest in the world (which is a bit ironic for a country that is one of the world’s largest arms exporters). Furthermore, even the most dyed in the wool statists are currently resigned to having their budgets (and therefore their de facto powers, at least) cut in the short to medium term. These facts, combined with the rarity of shooting sprees in the UK by licensed gun owners using their own weapons, make any attempt to administer further restrictions uneconomic.

So, might a total ban be contemplated? I couldn’t help noticing from the outset that key elements of the Whitehaven episode didn’t play out according to the standard gun control script. Jamie Reed, the local MP for Copeland was interviewed by the national media as the story broke on 2nd June. Although a Labour MP, he didn’t go along with one reporter’s efforts to corral him into calling for tighter gun control laws. Clearly, Mr. Reed knows something of the realities of his rural constituents’ daily lives. Quite simply, the prominent role of shotguns in particular in rural pest control means that a shotgun ban is unlikely to be supported.

Since 2nd June, it’s emerged that Derrick Bird had held shotgun and/or firearms licences for 20 years with no prior incidents, so it’s unlikely his actions could have been foreseen by anything short of continuous human and/or audio-visual surveillance (and then only in the very short term). Furthermore, it’s also emerged that local police officers had sight of Derrick Bird and might have been able to prevent his last 9 killings – except that the officers were unarmed, and therefore backed off when he confronted them directly.

This last snippet of news has clearly been released in an effort to deflect criticism away from Cumbrian officers. It may have the effect of relaunching the debate over the routine arming of police officers (that would be the state-thinkful option). This is unlikely to be deemed acceptable, but combined with the recent attack on 2 baby girls in their London home by a fox, it opens up new public debate opportunities for libertarians.

What’s the point of relaxing or scrapping the “reasonable force” restriction on householders’ defence of life and property against intruders if householders aren’t allowed to own and train with the best technical means available for home and self-defence (including pepper sprays, tasers and guns)? No wonder ministers are getting jittery about changing the law. And as urban foxes get more numerous and bold, isn’t it time to stop thinking of home defence purely in terms of repelling human burglars?

But what, you may ask, if the forthcoming debate does result in the police being routinely armed? In that case, civil libertarians of all stripes will unite to get it reversed. A significant number of police officers will meanwhile complain about the potential damage to their public image, and the extra pressures routine carrying of a gun will put on them. And then we will have to wait and see how well the state’s prefabricated “one rotten apple” justification will stand up to the public outcry when an armed police officer finally goes on the rampage with a Heckler and Koch. What, then, will be the justification for using the law of the land to allow only the police and the criminal classes to carry guns in Britain?

Intellectually speaking, at least, I suggest the gun control lobby is only a few steps away from shooting itself in the foot.

Let’s hope it’s not just the GramscoFabiaNazis desperately trying to look popular with humans

…and that they really really did mean him to be released on account of bad justice and law.

David Davis

About time this happened, and all.

Watch for excitable PR announcements delivered by newcasters called things like “Kirsty” or “Shan”, and coming from the Home Office Interior Ministry about “Gordon Brown today announced that he has demanded a review of the laws about people defending themselves against intruders…here’s Candy Linkwoman at the Court of Appeal with the the latest…..etc etc etc etc etc….”

When the Law is not on our side, hard cases make bad Law

David Davis

Knife crime

There are things which need to be said about the horrific murder of “Ben Kinsella”. I didn’t do it at the time, because we were diverted by expenses stuff and slaying GramscoFabianazis, for other and more global crimes. Stalin said I think that “one death is a tragedy, but many are a statistic” – I hope we are not getting like him. Now, as to people like Ben Kinsella, I often put these people’s names in parantheses, whether they are alive, or increasingly these days sadly dead, because I do not really know who they are. They get in the news via minor celebrity-connections, and tragically sometimes meet with misfortune: not that I’d wish misfortune on any human being, and certainly not being stabbed in a dark street, whether in front of people or otherwise. But what happens to them matters, as it throws up signals about what the Enemy Class are trying to do to us all.

For foreign readers unfamiliar, this poor young man was the younger brother of a moderately-famous “TV” “soaps” “actress”. He by all accounts had a bright future and everything going for him (…er…these unfortunate people always do…so why doesn’t everyone?) and got knifed to death in a London street some months ago. It was something to do with being on the periphery of, but in the line of vision of, some GramscoFabiaNazi-engendered-underthugs who have been created on purpose to execute acts like this, outside a “bar” in a rather exciting area of London, well after dark: he and his “mates” having attracted the afforesaid attentions and enquiry-facility of the said droid-underthugs, whose *.exe file acts as a caller-to-dll, to “demand respect”.

When you remove guns, major criminals will pile heavily into guns, and use them all the time, as is the case in the UK today. These people fear nothing, for they know that nobody except their turf-enemies (who will be dead) and the Police, who are (not dead but) bribable –  being Gramscian State-agents – has guns. Minor criminals, such as people with plangent and honourable names such as “Lee”, “Ricky”, “Winston”, “Leroy”, “Patience”,  “Praise-the-Lord-Small-Glass-Ball”, “Duane”, and the like, will take the low road, and will get more simple weaponry for otherwise inconveniencing ordinary people who are in the way. This can mean knives, for knives are freely available for lawful and incontrovertible reasons, and you can hurt people with knives if you know what to do (it’s not as easy as it looks on film.)

The solution to “knifecrime”, as with “guncrime”, is to allow individuals to carry concealed weapons. Being as old as I am, I cannot imagine any normal grown man going about without at least a sharp and multibladed pen-knife in his pocket, as we did as boys in the 1950s. It was what you did – it was your job, and you’d been shown how to whittle sharp sticks with it by your granfather: it was what our fathers and grandfathers did all day, after fighting wars. Students whom I teach are shocked and scandalised and in awe of the fact that this was what we did: if they did so much as go into school with a folded pen-knife in their pocket, they would certainly be “suspended” and possibly “excluded”. I caused a minor stir at the Liverpool office of the Passsport Agency nearly three years ago, when one (with a fortunately short blade, under the minimum length for summary arrest, having been so sharpened for so many decades) was lifted from me by the metal-searching-machine: I have carried it for 49 years. I would no more think of sticking this item into another human than I would fly through the air. But if in a sticky situation in the Small Hours, “in the wrong place at the wrong time” (terrible phrase used by Armed Police who shoot people) it might save my life. Similar items moght save others.

Poor Ben Kinsella was killed because of these things:

(1) He was in a silly place – as a teenager you do NOT go to interesting and exciting bars in shaky places, and _in the night too_ , specially if you have a sexy sister who is on the Wireless Tele Vision, and so you might be a bit known,given what GramscoFabiaNazis have done on purpose to create an agressive and uncontrollable subclass of orcs,

(2) He was unused to personal hand-weapons, probably having grown up in a culture where their very mention is taboo, and thus both unable not only to use them, but more vitally, to parry the blows without too much injury to himself,

(3) He grew up in a culture where you “celebrate” something, such as GCSEs (what’s there to celebrate?) by going to the very places where the gramscoFabiaNazis have put killer-droids masquerading as gin-traps for the unwary.

The Bad Law comes in when our “legislators” recommend huge prison sentences – or worse – for “knife crime”. The solution is threefold: (a) better people, and the elimination of deliberate Gramscian destruction of that fragile fabric of society which gives rise to “better people”, (b) remembrance of the fact that one has a duty to protect one’s own life and that of those one loves, since the State is currently so bad it this job, and (c) not to be railroaded by the MSM into meekly accepting bad abd draconian limitations on one’s own ability to protect against the temporary (hopefully) products of GramscoFabiaNazism.

Have the Trash Who Rule Us Done Something Half-Decent?

Sean Gabb

(For those not familiar with the background to this story, the Blogmaster adds a comment:-

Since the Socialists set out to destroy British civilisation in earnest for what they thought would need only to be the last time, in May 1997, there have been carefully-disguised but also sharply-rising crime levels against the person.  In particular a recent spate of lethal stabbings of (mostly) teenagers and young men, in the citadels of New-Labour-urban-Stalinist-Soviets, such as Britain’s major cities – where their Political Writ runs most surely.

So……the government seems intent on letting citizens take back some of the burden of law-enforcement and retribution. Truly, we are heading backwards into the future. The real solution is of couorse based on only two things:-

(1) Better people, this to be ensured (but it will take some time) by abolishing all the trappings of politically-correct socialist “education strategy” in the UK,

(2) Armed people, which is to say that weapons, possibly up to and including semi-automatic firearms, may be kept by Freeholders or (nett) taxpayers.)

(3) And here’s some other stuff about crime statistics and “reporting” of same.


Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (c. 4)
  Main body
  Part 5 Criminal law

Reasonable force for purposes of self-defence etc.
This section applies where in proceedings for an offence
an issue arises as to whether a person charged with the offence ( D) is entitled to rely on a defence within subsection (2), and
the question arises whether the degree of force used by D against a person ( V) was reasonable in the circumstances.
The defences are
the common law defence of self-defence; and
the defences provided by section 3(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 (c. 58) or section 3(1) of the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1967 (c. 18 (N.I.))(use of force in prevention of crime or making arrest).
Click to open 76 Reasonable force for purposes of self-defence etc.Prospective - this provision has not yet been brought into effect


The question whether the degree of force used by D was reasonable in the circumstances is to be decided by reference to the circumstances as D believed them to be, and subsections (4) to (8) also apply in connection with deciding that question.
If D claims to have held a particular belief as regards the existence of any circumstances
the reasonableness or otherwise of that belief is relevant to the question whether D genuinely held it; but
if it is determined that D did genuinely hold it, D is entitled to rely on it for the purposes of subsection (3), whether or not
it was mistaken, or
(if it was mistaken) the mistake was a reasonable one to have made.
Prospective Version Click to view attributes for this levelProspective - this provision has not yet been brought into effect

Self-defence etc.

But subsection (4)(b) does not enable D to rely on any mistaken belief attributable to intoxication that was voluntarily induced.
The degree of force used by D is not to be regarded as having been reasonable in the circumstances as D believed them to be if it was disproportionate in those circumstances.
In deciding the question mentioned in subsection (3) the following considerations are to be taken into account (so far as relevant in the circumstances of the case)
that a person acting for a legitimate purpose may not be able to weigh to a nicety the exact measure of any necessary action; and
that evidence of a person’s having only done what the person honestly and instinctively thought was necessary for a legitimate purpose constitutes strong evidence that only reasonable action was taken by that person for that purpose.
Subsection (7) is not to be read as preventing other matters from being taken into account where they are relevant to deciding the question mentioned in subsection (3).
This section is intended to clarify the operation of the existing defences mentioned in subsection (2).
In this section
legitimate purpose means
the purpose of self-defence under the common law, or
the prevention of crime or effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of persons mentioned in the provisions referred to in subsection (2)(b);
references to self-defence include acting in defence of another person; and
references to the degree of force used are to the type and amount of force used.
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