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Vigilantes

Solace

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What are your thoughts on vigilantes? Vigilantes are people who take care of the bad guys that the police fail to catch. For instance, an extreme case of vigilantism would be Dexter Morgan from the TV show Dexter. It is generally frowned (illegal) upon by most law enforcement agencies. I think that it's a good thing, so long as they don't cross the line, for instance, if they make sure that whoever they are about to kill or arrest is beyond a reasonable doubt guilty first, and so long as they only kill people who committed really bad crimes like murder or rape or genocide or something along those lines. That being said, I don't know any vigilantes personally, but so long as they are doing good, I have no problem with it. If it works, it works. You know what they say, the end justifies the means.
 

peas_and_corn

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The entire point of the western justice system is that it takes the decision-making of not only guilt but the punishment away from victims and those who are personally affected by the crime and given to a third party which has the ability to be objective in making their decisions. In addition, all vigilantes think that what they are doing is right, it's why they are doing it. Basing whether an activity is objectionable or not based purely on results is subjective to the extreme- what is tolerable to you isn't to others and vice versa.

If the targets of vigilantism are beyond a reasonable doubt guilty then getting them convicted should be easy, right?
 

spud_meister

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If vigilante justice was rational and equitable, then it'd be great, but rarely does the punishment match the crime, plus, in America at least, it's unconstitutional.
 

Goshin

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What are your thoughts on vigilantes? Vigilantes are people who take care of the bad guys that the police fail to catch. For instance, an extreme case of vigilantism would be Dexter Morgan from the TV show Dexter. It is generally frowned (illegal) upon by most law enforcement agencies. I think that it's a good thing, so long as they don't cross the line, for instance, if they make sure that whoever they are about to kill or arrest is beyond a reasonable doubt guilty first, and so long as they only kill people who committed really bad crimes like murder or rape or genocide or something along those lines. That being said, I don't know any vigilantes personally, but so long as they are doing good, I have no problem with it. If it works, it works. You know what they say, the end justifies the means.

Dexter is just a TV show, and has nothing to do with reality. I mean, nothing at all.

"Vigilantes", as in people who go around, seeking out and punishing those who esape the legal justice system on technicalities, for the most part do not exist.

Most actual incidents of "vigilante-ism" are committed by an individual who was victimized, or a family member of the victim, who believe they did not recieve justice from the police and courts, or who feel they are still in danger from their criminal tormentor. They usually act only once, and the matter is usually personal.

In some cases this is understandable. As an ex-cop I've seen the System misfire and fail all too many times. However, it is still illegal, and for very good reason: the victims and their families are too biased to judge the guilt and punishment of the person who victimized them; they cannot be trusted to apply an objective standard.

Vigilantism is not to be confused with self-defense. Self-defense is a defensive reaction to an imminent threat; vigilantism is a form of revenge, or pre-emptive self-protection.
 

jamesrage

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I support it only as a last result when the justice system has failed or chosen to ignore the wrongs committed by an individual.

I am not sure if Dexter is a good example. Because if you watch the show the character only does it to fulfill sadistic urges, not because the justice system failed.
 

samsmart

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What are your thoughts on vigilantes? Vigilantes are people who take care of the bad guys that the police fail to catch. For instance, an extreme case of vigilantism would be Dexter Morgan from the TV show Dexter. It is generally frowned (illegal) upon by most law enforcement agencies. I think that it's a good thing, so long as they don't cross the line, for instance, if they make sure that whoever they are about to kill or arrest is beyond a reasonable doubt guilty first, and so long as they only kill people who committed really bad crimes like murder or rape or genocide or something along those lines. That being said, I don't know any vigilantes personally, but so long as they are doing good, I have no problem with it. If it works, it works. You know what they say, the end justifies the means.

I think that if we have so many cops and prosecutors going after people over stupid laws is a bad idea, then ordinary citizens who have no formal or technical training in law enforcement, forensics, or the legal system going after people over stupid laws is an even worse idea.
 

FilmFestGuy

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What are your thoughts on vigilantes? Vigilantes are people who take care of the bad guys that the police fail to catch. For instance, an extreme case of vigilantism would be Dexter Morgan from the TV show Dexter. It is generally frowned (illegal) upon by most law enforcement agencies. I think that it's a good thing, so long as they don't cross the line, for instance, if they make sure that whoever they are about to kill or arrest is beyond a reasonable doubt guilty first, and so long as they only kill people who committed really bad crimes like murder or rape or genocide or something along those lines. That being said, I don't know any vigilantes personally, but so long as they are doing good, I have no problem with it. If it works, it works. You know what they say, the end justifies the means.

Vigilantes are an enemy of justice and an enemy of the people of civilized nations.

Bin Laden is a vigilante because his attacks fill his warped sense of justice. Gang wars usually result out of a sense of vigilantism.

If you approve of vigilantism, this is the type of society you'll achieve.
 

samsmart

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What are your thoughts on vigilantes? Vigilantes are people who take care of the bad guys that the police fail to catch. For instance, an extreme case of vigilantism would be Dexter Morgan from the TV show Dexter. It is generally frowned (illegal) upon by most law enforcement agencies. I think that it's a good thing, so long as they don't cross the line, for instance, if they make sure that whoever they are about to kill or arrest is beyond a reasonable doubt guilty first, and so long as they only kill people who committed really bad crimes like murder or rape or genocide or something along those lines. That being said, I don't know any vigilantes personally, but so long as they are doing good, I have no problem with it. If it works, it works. You know what they say, the end justifies the means.

Can I also point out that television and movies are bad lenses for viewing a society? If you want to learn more about our justice system PLEASE don't try to get educated via "Dexter," "Law & Order," or "Walker: Texas Ranger."

Rather, go outside and talk to cops, maybe see if there is some kind of community out-reach program with your local law enforcement agencies that you can join, but also look at local legal advocacy groups, such as groups that want to legalize marijuana, groups that want to reinstall ex-convicts with their full rights, and groups that provide legal support to illegal immigrants here in the U.S.

One of the things about our justice system is that, generally, it allows for both sides of an issue. And our legal issues can be greatly complex. It is important to understand the basics of those complexities from both sides. While it is understandable for you to take one side or another on an issue, it is important to be informed on the arguments from both sides in order to take an informed stance for your own side.

I only say this because you are relatively new to the forum and from what I guess of your posts you are also relatively young as well.
 

Hoplite

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I have to say I favor the idea of Lex Talionis
 

The Baron

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“What are your thoughts on vigilantes?” - Solace

Unfortunately, I’m all for ‘em.

My house was broken into a couple of years ago by some young people (one was 16 the other 21) looking for a place to hang-out and do drugs. My neighbors saw them break-in and called the cops. The cops found them in the house smoking pot. Please understand:

1. My neighbors witnessed these people break-in to the house.
2. The cops found them inside the house using drugs.
3. These people admitted to being in the house.
4. The finger prints of the kids were found in the house.
5. Their drugs were found in the house and on them.
6. I had a private contractor come out and gave me a $1,700 estimate to fix the damages they did to the house.
7. I provided pictures and the estimate to the prosecutor.

All of this was admitted into evidence during the trial including my testimony that I had never seen these people before and that they did not have permission to be in my house at any time.

All of this and the judge found them "not guilty".

Sadly, the system is broken and does not work for decent people anymore.
 

samsmart

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“What are your thoughts on vigilantes?” - Solace

Unfortunately, I’m all for ‘em.

My house was broken into a couple of years ago by some young people (one was 16 the other 21) looking for a place to hang-out and do drugs. My neighbors saw them break-in and called the cops. The cops found them in the house smoking pot. Please understand:

1. My neighbors witnessed these people break-in to the house.
2. The cops found them inside the house using drugs.
3. These people admitted to being in the house.
4. The finger prints of the kids were found in the house.
5. Their drugs were found in the house and on them.
6. I had a private contractor come out and gave me a $1,700 estimate to fix the damages they did to the house.
7. I provided pictures and the estimate to the prosecutor.

All of this was admitted into evidence during the trial including my testimony that I had never seen these people before and that they did not have permission to be in my house at any time.

All of this and the judge found them "not guilty".

Sadly, the system is broken and does not work for decent people anymore.

That may be true.

However, for every instance in which a guilty person isn't punished, there's an instance where an innocent person is punished.

And with regards to vigilantism, such instances may increase.

On TV they show drug dealers being gunned down by vigilantes for selling crack to kids to glorify vigilantism, but they don't show how 50 years ago the KKK used vigilantism to enforce racism in the Deep South because they couldn't bear the "crime" of allowing African-Americans to be on the same social level as Caucasians. And that was real, not television.

Mississippi civil rights workers murders - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

The Baron

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"However, for every instance in which a guilty person isn't punished, there's an instance where an innocent person is punished." - samsmart

I understand your point. But is this instance there was no doubt of guilt...only the sheer incompetence of the judge and D.A.'s office.
 

samsmart

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"However, for every instance in which a guilty person isn't punished, there's an instance where an innocent person is punished." - samsmart

I understand your point. But is this instance there was no doubt of guilt...only the sheer incompetence of the judge and D.A.'s office.

Indeed. Even so, that is not enough justification to allow vigilantism, as it could get quite out of hand extremely quickly.
 

Goshin

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That may be true.

However, for every instance in which a guilty person isn't punished, there's an instance where an innocent person is punished.

While I understand the point you are making, I would have to dispute the numbers.

Having been part of the system at one time, and seeing its inner workings, I would guesstimate that 500 guilty go free (or nearly free) for every 1 innocent who is incarcerated.... at a minimum. Honestly, the way in which career criminals get off with short sentences, probation, or acquittal over and over is truly nauseating to those of us who worked to put them away, where they would be no threat to honest citizens. I've seen it so many times it makes me sick to think about the damage these individuals cause when they are put back out in society again and again.

This is one of the reasons why I advocate some very serious changes in our CJ system. I have come to agree with Korimir, that our system needs to be changed from an orientation towards punishment, to an orientation towards reform. Most minor offenses should involve repayment of those harmed, and/or community service activity. If a person commits a serious felony, (and I mean the FIRST time they commit a serious felony!!) then they are incarcerated in a reform instititute, and they don't leave until there is solid evidence to believe they have truly changed and will go straight. If this takes 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or 40 years, they don't leave until they exhibit changed behaviors and attitudes. I'd then give them 5 years on probation, where they are monitored closely for signs of recidivism, before restoring to them their full rights and freedom.

Those who don't change never get out. I would also say that certain crimes still carry mandatory life-without-parole, and that the death sentence remains suitable for certain heinous crimes. No more of this smack-on-the-wrist for first-time burglars and carjackers.

Pardon me, this is a subject about which I am passionate, because people I care about have suffered at the hands of repeat offenders.
 

The Baron

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"Indeed. Even so, that is not enough justification to allow vigilantism, as it could get quite out of hand extremely quickly." - samsmart

Really? In my scenario there is justice. In yours...there is none.
 

Goshin

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"Indeed. Even so, that is not enough justification to allow vigilantism, as it could get quite out of hand extremely quickly." - samsmart

Really? In my scenario there is justice. In yours...there is none.



It is necessary that vigilantism remain illegal.... by definition, it is action that takes place outside the law.

Historically, there is plenty of evidence that vigilantism, when used in place of a formal justice system, tends to get out of hand and go to extremes.

In such a case, if you are wronged or still in danger and the law is not giving you justice, and decide to take action outside the justice system, you have to realize that you are acting illegally, and that if caught you will be punished. This is necessary, otherwise we would have chaos as every person who felt themself wronged, and felt the court did not adequately redress that wrong, sought personal revenge. It would be very anarchic, in the worst sense of the word.

If you choose to take such action anyway, you must be aware of the consequences, and should be aware that such consequences are necessary to maintain anything like peace in society.
 

samsmart

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While I understand the point you are making, I would have to dispute the numbers.

Having been part of the system at one time, and seeing its inner workings, I would guesstimate that 500 guilty go free (or nearly free) for every 1 innocent who is incarcerated.... at a minimum. Honestly, the way in which career criminals get off with short sentences, probation, or acquittal over and over is truly nauseating to those of us who worked to put them away, where they would be no threat to honest citizens. I've seen it so many times it makes me sick to think about the damage these individuals cause when they are put back out in society again and again.

This is one of the reasons why I advocate some very serious changes in our CJ system. I have come to agree with Korimir, that our system needs to be changed from an orientation towards punishment, to an orientation towards reform. Most minor offenses should involve repayment of those harmed, and/or community service activity. If a person commits a serious felony, (and I mean the FIRST time they commit a serious felony!!) then they are incarcerated in a reform instititute, and they don't leave until there is solid evidence to believe they have truly changed and will go straight. If this takes 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or 40 years, they don't leave until they exhibit changed behaviors and attitudes. I'd then give them 5 years on probation, where they are monitored closely for signs of recidivism, before restoring to them their full rights and freedom.

Those who don't change never get out. I would also say that certain crimes still carry mandatory life-without-parole, and that the death sentence remains suitable for certain heinous crimes. No more of this smack-on-the-wrist for first-time burglars and carjackers.

Pardon me, this is a subject about which I am passionate, because people I care about have suffered at the hands of repeat offenders.

Oh, I absolutely agree with you that we should change our criminal justice system from one focused on punishment to one focused on reform.

But my issues with it is that there are some things that I don't think should be criminalized. I think we criminalize far too many behaviors, or that we criminalize certain behaviors but do not give enough nuance to them.

For instance, I think we should legalize all recreational drug use. If someone wants to do crack, they should be allowed to do crack. If someone does heroin, then they should be allowed to do heroin.

But we are never going to legalize recreational drugs. Why? Because
  1. Drug cartels make too much money with drugs unregulated
  2. Officers of law enforcement agencies make too much money enforcing those laws
  3. The judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys make too much money trying, prosecuting, and defending drug trials
  4. Corrupt law officers and lawyers make too much in bribes from the drug cartels

So there's a lot about criminalizing behaviors that have nothing to do with public safety and public order and have everything to do with the economics of the legal system.

And that goes both for and against people who do not belong in jail.
 

Diogenes

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There was a time in the late nineteenth (and early twentieth) century when heroin and its cousins were over the counter remedies, but we had some progressive do-gooders who were not comfortable with allowing people to make their own decisions. Success in regulating drugs made them cocky enough to push for and pass prohibition, and we know how well that worked out. The progressives made the case that drugs and alcohol *DID* have a lot to do with public safety and public order

I would be in favor of removing the restrictions on drugs and alcohol for adults and minors (who are the responsibility of their parents) if -- and only if -- I as a taxpayer am spared the cost of picking up the pieces. As long as I don't get my pocket picked for ambulance calls, hospitalization and rehabilitation, I say let 'em have at it. But if I'm going to pay for picking up the pieces, then I want criminal sanctions against the behavior.
 
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