Thou shalt not kill?
The right to self-defense against illegal attack is by no means an unconditional license to kill
A society that is doomed to live forever by the sword cannot hope to be truly humanist and democratic. Originally published in the Jerusalem Report.
According to longstanding rabbinical tradition, “if someone comes to kill you, you should act to kill him first.”
The right – which is often a duty – to defend life and limb of persons under attack is a basic tenet of natural law. It is intended to protect not only the intended victims, but the legal order as a whole. Therefore, persons defending themselves against attacks on their sexual freedom or their physical integrity are permitted to kill the assailants if they cannot fend off the threats in a less lethal manner.
Nevertheless, the right to self-defense against illegal attack – from which the law enforcement authorities derive their right to intervene – is by no means an unconditional license to kill.