I’m in the mall with my two children*, taking them shoe shopping.
We are minding our own business, hurting no one, just trying to live our lives. My kids take off, running around a corner and I tell them not to get too far ahead. Just as I turn the corner behind them I see that a man, one who has been killing people in my family for years, is holding a gun on them.
He says he is going to kill them. I know that he is not bluffing.
I ask him what he wants, he tells me he doesn’t want anything, except to kill my children, me, and anyone else he can find who is related to me.
There is no negotiation possible with this man as a result.
Now I have two choices, I can wait for mall security to call the police and hope they can negotiate with this man, which I already know for a fact that they cannot, the man is clearly psychotic.
Or I can reach into my purse and pull out the gun I bought for protecting my self and my family. I’ve been trained to use it and I believe that I can shoot the man before he shoots my children.
So I make a judgment call, I pull out my gun and fire at him.
As I fire the weapon he grabs a child out of the crowd and uses them as a human shield to protect himself from the bullet. He throws the child to the ground and runs away, to attack my family another day.
Now the question is this.
Which one of us is morally and legally responsible for the death or injury of that child?
I legally own my gun, have gone through all the necessary training, and it is completely legal for me to use said gun to defend myself.
The man was given his gun by a friend, who also hates me and my family, and has been using it to kill my family members, one by one.
I was legally within my rights to discharge my gun, I was not aiming at the child, I was aiming at a man threatening me.
He was the person who was so psychotic that he thought it was fine to use a child as a human shield.
I am not the one at fault here, not morally, not legally, though there is no doubt that emotionally I will take a toll and the parents of the child may blame me for a time regardless of the facts of the situation.
He is the one that will be held at fault by the legal system.
So why is it that when the same thing happens in the war between Hamas and Israel, it’s the mother protecting her children that’s told they are at fault?
*I don’t have two children, but for the sake of the scenario, please play along.