What’s the Libertarian Position on Booby Trapping

From: J

Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2019 10:04 PM

To: [email protected]

Subject: killing trespasser with booby trap

Dear Walter,

Thanks for talking to me earlier about your negative homesteading theory; you gave me a lot to think about. There’s another item in the news recently that I’m curious to get your take on. A man in Illinois was recently convicted of murder for killing a trespasser with a booby trap. I’ve asked other libertarians and they are quite divided on whether the killing was justified. I myself thought it was justified. Here are the details:

Best wishes, J

Dear J:

I say he’s guilty, not of first degree murder, nor, of manslaughter, since he did have warning and no trespassing signs; maybe, a lesser charge, such as assault and battery . He should have also had a sign saying, “warning, booby trapped.” Then, he’d be entirely innocent.

Is this to violate our libertarian stricture against positive obligations? I don’t think so. I think there is an implicit contract we have with each other to warn each other of booby traps that can kill.

Best regards,



2:56 am on October 10, 2019