The Journal of Libertarian Studies

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The Human Body Shield

The Journal of Libertarian Studies

Tags Legal SystemCalculation and KnowledgePhilosophy and Methodology

07/30/2014Walter Block

A grabs B to use as a shield; A forces B to stand in front of him, and compels him to walk wherever A wishes. A then hunts C in order to murder the latter by shooting him. C also has a gun. Is it legally permissible for C to shoot at A in self defense under libertarian law? Were C to do so he would have to kill B, the innocent shield, in order to defend himself against the perpetrator, A. Assume that this tableau takes place on unowned property, so that the issue of the owner’s rules does not come into play.

Volume 22, Number 1 (2011)


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Walter Block is the Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics at Loyola University, senior fellow of the Mises Institute, and regular columnist for

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Cite This Article

Block, Walter. "The Human Body Shield." Journal of Libertarian Studies 22, No. 1 (2011): 625–630.