Neither the right of self-defence, nor the right to property, includes the right to pose an immediate threat to another’s life. In the absence of circumstances which would justify the need to carry loaded, high-powered weapons around other people, the implied threat to those other people in having the immediate ability to inflict serious harm or death upon them is a violation of their right to life and liberty.
Justin Bourque (the Moncton shooter) is not a defender of liberty, he is a violator of liberty. He is abusing his own liberty by threatening that of others. By doing so he forfeits the claim he has on others to respect his rights. It is irrational for anyone to conclude that the rest of us are safe merely because he is shooting at state agents. That is far too fine a distinction to make when your life may depend on it. What if he is looking for whatever target of opportunity present themselves? What if he mistakenly takes you for a state agent? What if he decides you pose a threat to his rights and decides to execute his judgment against you right on the spot? What if he is simply deranged? High? Intoxicated?
Even in my perfect political model, if I see Bourque walking around as he was, I call whatever agency is obliged to defend me. In fact, I would be justified, once I see him actually initiating deadly force against others, to use it against him.
Anarcho-capitalism is based on the right to do what you want with what’s yours – not the right to hold the lives of others on the thinnest of treads that you can snip on a whim.
Consider the perspective of the woman who phoned in the complaint. She did not see Bourque and think, “I believe he is breaking the firearms laws. I must report him.” She saw him and thought, “There are no wild animals about, there are no criminals, no invaders. I see no possible threat to this man that could justify him walking about with a deadly weapon. Perhaps he sees me as a threat or perhaps he is the one about to initiate violence.” Under the circumstances, for her to have taken the chance that he possed no threat of initiating violence, when she might never have a chance to reconsider, would be unreasonable to the point of insane.
Even if we assume we were endowed with some super power of perception that assured us that his only targets were state agents, and that he would not misidentify anyone as a state agent, we should not condone his actions. Just as electoral politics is a deceptive shell game rigged to ensure statist outcomes, surely armed revolution is even worse. If it comes down to a matter of who can exert the most force, the state clearly wins. What is so attractive about the agorist position is that, over time, given the rapid pace of technological change that empowers the individual vis a vis the state, the power and therefore authority of the state will inevitably whither and die. The only thing that could interfere with that is if the state’s pseudo-authority to use force were bolstered by people worried about idiots like Bourque roaming the streets.
Nothing can set the cause of liberty back so efficiently as a good scare. Remember 9-11?