Vigilante Justice

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Liadan, Mar 9, 2011.

  1. Liadan

    Liadan Insert Title Here

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    So I came across this thread/topic on some other forums: a father vows to kill his son's murderer if he's released.

    Sounds extreme, vigilante, and unnecessary, doesn't it? Not if you clicked that link: The murderer sexually molested, murdered, and ate a five-year-old child, and then kept a journal about it.

    Let me make it clear: I am not a proponent of the death penalty. Neither am I a fan of vigilante justice. That being said, I am also only twenty years old. I have never lost a loved one due to a violent death. I'm certainly not going to go and judge the father for seeking vengeance. In fact, I understand why he would, but I would also argue that if he did kill the murderer, the father would need to be submitted to a legal trial. That's the way the law works.

    However, "the law" is an entirely human construct that's constantly under a state of revision. (I'm sure anyone who's studied US history remembers a period of time, not so long ago, in which slavery was legal. Even if we're not looking past some 150 years, it was legal to discriminate against non-white ethnicities fairly recently.) Clearly, this law needs to be changed. I also feel that sometimes the law needs to be taken into its own hands--Rosa Parks, for example, "defied the law."

    Obviously, looking back on it 50 years later, everyone can agree that RP's defiance of the law is hardly similar to killing another person... but that's only because most of us have grown up in a time and place where such racism is unthinkable. In this case, the system's clearly flawed. Would vigilante justice help create a better law? Should it take such extremes? Or is it wrong for the man to do so?

    Comments on both vigilante justice and the incident welcome.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Vigilante solving of crimes has a major flaw and that flaw is that its fast, often final and not always fully thought through. It tends to lack the investigation process and aims for a more quick solution often in response to charged emotional situations and feelings.

    In such cases if you allow this method to slip into the public domain you can quickly end up with a situation where the vigilante will strike before the police and that is dangerous. I'm not saying the police are infallible, but removing investigation and trusting to early reports is risky - there are many cases where someone is accused or rape (or murder) only to find that its far from the truth (its a lie to start with or someone makes an honest mistake of your find out that the creepy guy really isn't that creepy after all and it was the butler that did it etc..). A large society such as we live in needs an independant and as impartial as possible, legal control in order to maintain the order that we live in. Allowing it to break down into personal squabbles quickly results in societies fracturing from the greater whole of the country (and even the city in the case of large urban populations). You can already see this in ghetto areas where they do have their own forms of vigilante and self policing and where the regular law cannot easily take over (and it quickly leads to empowered gangs and such problems).




    As for the case in question the fact that they are considering release based upon, what appears to be, good behaviour in prison rather than reform (stating that they don't know the persons plans tells me that reform and such has not gone on because plans would surely have come out in such discussions if release was on the cards). I think that for some crimes it is ok for an slightly early release if the person shows true reform for their action - however that is not the same as just being nice to everyone else in prison and not stabbing each other. Especially so in this case where the victims were an age group that the guilty has been separated from for a prolonged period of time (ie no temptation in prison at all for his target group so its easy to reform ;)).
    I think that in the case of this crime its hard to say that release should be given at all - the closest I can come is to suggest the formation of criminal societies where they can have a degree of freedom, independence and a chance to give back to society; whilst also protecting. Protecting society from them and them from society (for crimes like this even full reform will not protect the person). I would also say that that is more fair than releasing known offenders of serious crimes into areas where the general population would greatly oppose to them being present.

    As for the father I suspect that he is already prepared to accept that he would go before the courts should he enact his proposed actions upon the release of the guilty. That does not always mean that he would give himself in (he might and he might not - depends how many depend on him and how aware of that he is - a person on their own has little to remain free for compared to those with dependants) but that he wouldn't try to hide his guilt. In fact its possible that giving in is part of his protest, just as much as killing the person.
     
  3. Ser Land

    Ser Land New Member

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    "Vigilante justice wouldn't help creating a batter law. It would, actually, lead into anarchy. Which is the precise opposite state. Now, as liberal as I am, I admit that wouldn't be good at all.

    I can sympathize with the father in question, and I only hope that, should he exact vengeance, he has the nerve to not rush it up, but take his time. Whether that will "fill the gap" is another subject.

    However, even so, the father would have to be put on trial for his crimes.
     
  4. LyannaWolfBlood

    LyannaWolfBlood Ella Dictadora

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    I'm more or less in agreement with the rest of you here. In this particular case, I'd have a lot of sympathy for the father given what he has gone through. IMO he's not free to murder his son's killer in revenge without suffering any punishment himself for it, but I wouldn't object to him being given a relatively light sentence since you don't get provocation any more extreme than that.

    I don't think vigilante justice helps the system though. OR made some very good points about the problems associated with it - in particular the lack of an investigative process. I think mistakes were definitely made in this case, because it seems bizarre that he can just walk free. However a justice system, like any system, will always have its flaws and I can't see any way in which vigilantism would reduce those flaws.

    I think the Rosa Parks case is rather different - civil disobedience doesn't harm anyone. I do think there are times in which it's appropriate to break a law, but I'd draw the line well before permitting murder.
     
  5. Turambar

    Turambar Harebrained Staff Member

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    I wouldn't say that the case presented is an example of vigilante justice. It's more a system to deal with crime when the law (or, indeed, any law) is more or less completely absent. Committees of civilians try to fill the void that the lack of official law-keeping leaves. It's not preferrable as such, but civilians taking responsibilty is unavoidable in some cases.

    I would say that the specific case is rather a matter of revenge - and I don't believe in revenge. Revenge can be a self-perpetuating mechanism and for that reason alone, we should try to refrain. In all, we have agreed to laws to gouvern these kinds of situations, and keep justice from being purely about revenge. I would say that individual cases of revenge can't be avioded - but they should be judged like ordinary murders to avoid further escalation or application.
     
  6. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    I don't know man...in Athens there's chaos right now.I don't live in Athens,but downtown Athens has become a ghetto.A place where people are afraid to walk in even during daytime.

    A few weeks ago 3 illegal immigrants stabbed and killed a man while he was going to get his car,just to get his camera.What was happening?His wife was pregnant and he was about to take the car and take her to the hospital and he was carrying a video camera to film the birth of his child.He was stabbed and killed in cold blood.
    The criminals were 2 Afghanis and a Pakistani.
    That brought tremendous rage to the people all over the country but especially over there in Athens and right-wing party members along with others started chasing immigrants wherever they found them and beat them,kicked them and they are still very angry about it.
    And right when the useless government that we have right now announced that the entire center of Athens would be transformed into a clean,beautiful and safe area with policemen patrolling all the time and keeping order and moving the immigrants and criminals away from there and especially all the junkies etc.....yesterday emerged a video of a woman being brutally beaten up during night-time downtown Athens by probably foreigners.
     
  7. evadra

    evadra New Member

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    Foinikas what is your point with that story? Are you saying vigilante justice needs to be fished out in some cases because the government let's you down?
     
  8. Foinikas

    Foinikas Playing backgammon!

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    I am just saying that when the government doesn't do what is right,people are often pushed to the limits in taking law in their own hands.I'm not saying if it's right or not.I'm just saying that sometimes when the State does nothing,society gets angry and becomes the law and this could wrong.