Things I Read On The Internet: Vigilante Justice Is OK

I was reading this thread from /r/videos on reddit about a man who shoots and kills another man who had kidnapped his son and allegedly sexually assaulted his son as well. The thread is here. You would think that reddit with how “liberal” it is would not support what the shooter did but you would be surprised. Probably 60-70% of the thread supports the position that the shooter took.

Let me first start off by saying I don’t believe in the death penalty. I think the world will be a better place once everybody realizes that it is never OK to kill another person. Ever. For any reason. So yes I am saying life in prison is OK, death penalty is not. I have no idea what the response would be from my peer group. I’m sure some people would be OK with what this guy did. I understand why this guy did what he did. I empathize with the fact that his son was taken from him and potentially sexually assaulted but it still does not make it OK to kill the man who did it.

One of the major reasons it is distressing that most of the comments in that thread support this kind of vigilante justice is that the man accused of the crime was only accused of the crime. He had no trial yet. One of the major things most Americans believe in is due process. If you are accused of a crime you go through the process of a trial. If you are found guilty then you are punished accordingly. This is how it has worked in the United States since its inception. Yes the system has its flaws and we can always work to fix them but we have to trust in the justice system.

Another thing I saw in the thread were supposed parents saying that having a child changes your whole outlook on life. You can read this post with some of my thoughts about having children. Since I probably won’t have a parent’s outlook on life I won’t be able to experience what they feel but I am slightly terrified of the fact that having a child could somehow make it OK to kill people. Yes I am stretching it quite a bit but still. There are also the comments that ask if the shooter missed and killed another person. What would have happened then?

Let’s take an eye for an eye to the extreme. Shooter kills this guy for kidnapping and allegedly sexually assaulting his son. Dead guy’s father then kills shooter. Shooter’s wife kills dead guy’s father. We continue on from there and we get this. Feuds are not OK and I think as a modern society we have gotten or should get past the point where killing somebody, no matter how vile the crime they have committed, isn’t OK.