The Clownish Rise of Vigilantism

Minneapolis says they’re going to abolish their police force; ok.  Whereas I don’t believe in the slightest it will actually happen, let’s explore this new world without police.

 

A lot of people have said that a lack of police will give criminals free reign to run around stealing and robbing, while all of the poor, defenseless, law abiding citizens are left to the mercy of a world without law.  First, where are these bands of nomads and hooligans that wait around for the police presence to diminish, all to enact their diabolical scheme to sneak in and steal your bottlecap collection so they can get rich hawking your stuff on the black market?  I could cite various studies that have proven police patrols don’t diminish crime even 1% in a crime ridden area, but I won’t.  I’ll just make fun of this idea on its face and point out that no one changes their behavior because the police are around.  If anything, they simply wait until they go away and continue on with whatever illegal activity they were planning on doing in the first place.  Second, this is America; ‘Murica.  While criminals are going to attempt to do criminal things, this is a country so polluted (or blessed, based on your viewpoint) with firearms that the idea of a defenseless neighborhood under siege from lawless vagabonds is just absurd in thought.  If anything, the law keeps THE GOOD GUYS in check more than the bad guys.

 

Now let’s explore the other side of this coin.  How many people have said in their life, “if I had a get out of jail card I’d…” or, “if it wasn’t for the fact that I’d spend the rest of my life in jail I’d….?”  Quite a few of you, if not all of you, I’d imagine.  The idea of jail keeps criminals in check, but only to a certain extent.  At some point, a criminal has slipped so far down the rung of life’s ladder that jail, or freedom, means very little; they’re simply focused on the next score.  What DOES scare them is dying.  A law abiding citizen has everything in the world to think of when they process the thought of what they want to do vs. what they actually will do, because they don’t want to end up in jail and lose their family, their job, their possessions, or anything else.  What happens when a upright citizen no longer has the threat of the police investigating his actions looming over him?  What happens when a man who’s lived under the thumb of bureaucracy and red tape law finally realizes, “I can take care of this problem, no one will ever find out it was me, and my conscience will be clear?” They will act on that thought, and this is how vigilantism is born.

 

Bill has been a good man his entire life.  He’s always paid his taxes, he holds the door open for others, he’s polite and courteous, and the worst crime he’s ever committed is getting a speeding ticket for going 3 over in a 35.  Bill is the quintessential citizen.  What people don’t know is that Bill has been complaining to the city for years about his neighbors and how they’ve illegally been hijacking the cable he pays for, they throw their trash over the fence into his backyard, they hold parties until early hours that keep him awake and make him a zombie the next day, and they let their dog crap on his lawn.  Bill has called the police, gone to town hall meetings, called the cable company, and done everything he can think of for years; simply put, no one cares.  Bill hears on the news that the police have been disbanded, and the city is enacting a citizen patrol of local residents within each neighborhood.  Bill doesn’t even think; he grabs his gun, walks outside, and shoots the dog in his front yard.  Knowing his neighbors aren’t home, he walks next door, douses the front of the house in gasoline, and sets it on fire.  Problem solved, problem staying solved. 

 

If the idea of disbanding the police is somehow rooted in some noble idea that racism will be curtailed and the plight of the minority will suddenly be lifted, anyone who meddles with kicking their law enforcement to the curb is going to get a rude wake up call.  Since the beginning of mankind, every civilization has dealt with racism, classism, sectarianism, or some kind of “ism” that puts one group of people at a disadvantage to another.  However, it’s usually the institutions of law, no matter how strictly they’re enforced, that keep the people in check.  Sane people simply don’t want to rot behind bars.  They don’t act on their impulsive, emotional snaps by doing something that will put them in jail forever.  Some do, and that’s why we have jails.  The deterrent for lawlessness is law; period.  I look forward to the great social experiment of Minneapolis to unfold in 2020.  It will be studied the world over for how not to respond in knee jerk fashion to a crime that should be prosecuted by the law, in a court, by a judge and jury.

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