We’ve all seen it recently, with social media bubbling up to the point where most people have either a Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest account in which they critique what is going on with the country. One could point to many vigilantes of late such as; A family in Louisiana taking matters into their own hands when a girl was kidnapped, a Marine stealing a truck and driving victims to the hospital during the Las Vegas massacre, and how social media has brought down Titans in the filming industry due to social media. Trust in authority is at all-time lows and people have started to take more action.
We do not trust the police or the justice system, so why wouldn’t we as a society do something more? Reading comics the main characters in Kick-Ass resorted to vigilantism, but in an ironic twist, we see as the vigilante’s butt gets kicked as he is trying to save a victim from being attacked (Vaughn, 2010). These actions have real consequences, even as one has to chuckle at the comedic side of the film, it brings dark realities such as being stabbed may have ended our heroes life, unlike the DC or Marvel universes where the heroes seem immortal. A victims cousin kicked in the doors to shoot and kill the kidnapper, the Louisiana parish’s own sheriffs department even ruled it as justifiable (Marciana, 2015), but at what point do we go from a lawful nation to complete anarchy?
We see daily on Facebook or Twitter pictures of dogs with their ears cut off or wanted posters with people on them that are not authorized by police, nor do they go through the proper channels, yet social media has become an ironic platform for vigilante justice. Recently, in Nevada, we had a tragic terrorist style massacre in Las Vegas where a Marine stole a truck, broke multiple laws to save people from the bloodshed (CBS News, 2017). Ask yourself this question, would you have done the same, risked your own life via prison time, fines, fees, legal battles to save lives or would you have waited for the paramedics and police to arrive on scene?
Social media has helped but there are other examples of how a victim can get justice and also heartache because of this. When we hear about yet another sexual assault, the irony is that the victim of such an attack is usually put on trial before a rapist, which makes our society grow more and more critical of victims of crimes. Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein have recently been torn to shreds rightfully so on social media, but we as critiques have always attacked the victim’s look, what they have been wearing, where they were at 3 A.M. and their motives. Years in the past people such as; Woody Allen, Bill Clinton, George Bush, George H. W. Bush, Donald Trump and even JFK have been accused of doing not so appropriate things with women up to and including sexual assault. Social media and this upcoming generation of social justice warriors are the modern day vigilantes, they don’t stay quiet when a crime is committed.
In vigilantism, there isn’t a justice system, did the criminal in Louisiana stand trial when the cousin put a bunch of bullets into him? What if someone would have been injured in a high-speed accident due to the Marine speeding to the hospital to save victims of the Las Vegas shooting? In conclusion, we have to be careful to not throw out our justice system, because if we do we will be throwing away much of what our justice system was founded for, there have been lynching mobs in the deep south, killing innocent African-American men due to hunches of them breaking laws, will we be no better than that when we assume the role of Judge Dredd? I think so, even though it feels good to witness acts of bravery.
CBS News. (2017, October 03). Veteran steals a truck, transports dozens to hospital after Las Vegas shooting. Retrieved November 05, 2017, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/las-vegas-shooting-veteran-takes-truck-transports-wounded-to-hospital/
Marciana, J. (2015, May 11). Police Wouldn’t Do It, So Kidnap Victim’s Family Kicked Down Door and Killed Abductor. Retrieved November 05, 2017, from http://countercurrentnews.info/2015/05/police-wouldnt-do-it-so-family-did/
Reese, F. (2013, August 19). Rise In Real-Life Superheroes Reflects Shrinking Faith In Police. Retrieved November 05, 2017, from http://www.mintpressnews.com/rise-in-real-life-superheroes-reflects-shrinking-faith-in-police/167281/
Vaughn, M. (Director). (2010). Kick-Ass [Motion picture on DVD]. USA: Universal.
Wampole, C. (2012, November 17). How to Live Without Irony. Retrieved November 05, 2017, from https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/17/how-to-live-without-irony/?_r=0
– Tommi Asylum