Tino y desatino de la autodefensa

Si el patriotismo es, como afirmaba Samuel Johnson, el último refugio del sinvergüenza, entonces la autodefensa es el último regufio del agresor. Tanto los paranoicos como quienes con legitimidad buscan protegerse de un ataque inminente tienen a flor de labio la justificación de la autodefensa. El argumento que se quiere utilizar para la putativa invasión estadounidense de Irak es, por supuesto, la autodefensa, es decir, la necesidad de protegerse a sí mismos y a sus aliados en contra del posible uso por parte de Saddam Hussein de armas de destrucción masiva.

Sin embargo, también se ha invocado la "autodefensa" en circunstancias mucho menos honorables. Timothy McVeigh, quien puso la bomba de Oklahoma y mató a 168 personas en 1995, pensaba que estaba defendiendo a la constitución de los EU en contra de un gobierno federal depredador. Yigal Amir creía que estaba defendiendo a Israel en contra de un primer ministro que estaba dispuesto a entregar tierra sagrada al enemigo cuando asesinó a Yitzak Rabin ese mismo año.

Quienes llevan a cabo actos violentos rara vez aceptan que se trata de agresiones simple y llanamente, y no de acciones en defensa de la vida, la libertad o algún otro valor importante. ¿Existe acaso una delimitación razonable entre el tino y el desatino al invocar la autodefensa? Los abogados deben buscar esta distinción, ya que si nos rendimos ante las afirmaciones de estadistas y paranoicos, la línea entre la agresión y la autodefensa desaparecerá.

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