Foot and the Fat Man, Terrible Trolleys, and Threatening Tyrants

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Thomas Aquinas is credited with introducing the principle of double effect in his discussion of the permissibility of self-defense in the Summa Theologica (II-II, Qu. 64, Art.7). Aquinas was struggling to reconcile the law of בא במחתרת with various Christian teachings that seem to forbid homicidal self-defense, as […]

Tortious Malediction

For S.B., who is a blessing, not a curse. Prof. Eugene Volokh: Prayer as Attempted Murder? A reader asks an interesting question: Some Christian Reconstructionists are urging their fellows to pray for the death of John McCain so that Sarah Palin will be become President. [Example here.] Are those who pray for McCain’s death guilty […]

The Pious Poisoner

We have previously seen various cases in the Halachic literature of wives poisoning their husbands; I recently came across this dramatic tale, out of the eighteenth century Ottoman Empire (translated from the original in Spanish, from “Barbaria”): שאלה מארץ ישמעאל. משרת יהודי אחד העיד שהיה בעיר פלונית ושמה היו יושבים שלשה תפוסים ונהרגו שנים על […]