I like my lawyer costume, because I am comfortable wearing it and because it permits me to pontificate on things from a different perspective than do many others on this site. I recently did so in an article focusing on the legal aspects of "torturing" terrorists to gain information needed to avoid future terrorist attacks.
The Law is a wonderful thing, often a creature of logical coherence and beauty. It allows reasonable people to live together with minimal friction. It also allows reasonable people to have realistic expectations as to the consequences of their actions. Those expectations involve a basic concept of fairness and, in Western societies at least, a reasonable understanding that obedience to The Law will keep one safe from excessive Governmental abuse. It is not reasonable to expect that a meter maid will shoot one for failing to put coins into a parking meter or that a policeman will cut off one's head for attempting to walk across a street in the middle of the block; or even riddle one with bullets for committing the sin of adultery in a field somewhere. One need not live in constant fear that the Government will behave inconsistently with The Law, even when one fails to do so oneself. The laws and the Constitution are designed to provide rights to all, good and bad, and more often than not, do so.
Despite these wonders, The Law is sometimes very frustrating and there are contexts in which it simply cannot function as one would wish. I shall now remove my Lawyer costume and try to talk about defending against those who are completely outside the law as we know it, who present a very real danger personally, to lawful society and to civilization in general.
Some have probably heard of Krav Maga, a personal self defense system developed in Israel for her commandos and now gaining popularity worldwide for civilian self defense. As I understand Krav Maga, it teaches that in defending oneself in a violent context, such as a street attack by a mugger or a rapist, or in a home invasion by armed burglars, to take every possible advantage even if in a more civilized context to do so would be "unfair." Outside the civilized context, there are no rules of fair play. On defense, one strikes as quickly as possible where it hurts the most, going for the eyes or other highly vulnerable body parts. The idea is to put the attackers on the defensive and to disable them, as quickly as possible. The only rules are to disable attackers efficiently and quickly, and to keep from being hurt oneself; the Marquess of Queensberry probably would not approve, nor would Emily Post. Were I to put my lawyer costume back on for a moment, I would pontificate that only proportionate force should be used, and that no unnecessary harm should be caused to one's attackers. However, I took that costume off when I started this article, so will say nothing of the sort.