Monthly Archives: July 2011

Vigilante Scenario #1- The State has enacted good laws, but is failing to enforce them.

Now that we have a definition of vigilantism, it seems apparent that an individual or group’s actions as a vigilante must take into account the context in which the individual acts.  Any look at the efficacy of a vigilante’s actions must first consider who should defend the values being violated as well as the quality with which they accomplish that task.  First, society has appointed a group of men and women for the purpose of creating just and fair laws as well as a trained and controlled force for the purpose of enforcing those laws, the government and the police.

Both have their sillier moments....

It is not the vocation of the individual citizen to create laws or enforce them.  Whenever possible, enforcement of values and laws should be left to those who society appoints to enforce them.  For example, if I learn two criminals are on their way to beat up my neighbor, the proper course of action is not to wait on my neighbor’s doorstep with a shotgun.  Instead, I should contact the police in order that they might stop the attack.

See? All better!


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When Should You be a Vigilante?

No discussion of heroes would be complete without a discussion of the phenomenon of vigilantism.  Even though heroes are found among fire departments, police, and the armed forces, many of our superheroes serve independent of all three.  While this trend is by no means universal, of the top 20 selling comic titles of April 2010, only one, The Walking Dead, does not directly feature a vigilante or group of vigilantes.[1]  Moreover, of the top 20 selling comics of all time, only #19, Scrooge McDuck, does not feature a vigilante, but rather features the only slightly less plausible talking millionaire duck.

Never thought you'd see him here, did ya?

(Side Note: Scrooge McDuck is more of a vigilante than I give him credit for.  After all, he was featured in a plot exactly like the movie Inception)

The concept of a superhero taking on evil without the help of the police is simply too embedded in the modern imagination to completely separate the roles of vigilante and superhero.


Moreover, real life examples of vigilantes such as Continue reading