Have you seen that vigilante man? Ry Cooder sings. A familiar tale these days, most but not all hollywood movies feature themes of retribution, ‘Death Wish‘ being a prime example. In fiction, lets not forget, the protagonist is the partner of a murder victim. Fed up with the lack of action on behalf of the law, and action to mean not just arrest and the usual capital punishment but an equal punishment (The Equaliser?). Death in return for death. An eye for an eye and all that which stems from premature judgement.
Facebook (The worlds greatest spying machine) seems to have spawned a new culture of local crime detectives and individuals who play judge, jury and executioner. “Look what this bastard did, lets lynch the fucker, shame him for ever, lets catch him and hang him ourselves.” You know what i mean? A new kind of cyber-mob rule with all the trappings of violent retribution. Remember that ‘convictions make convicts’
I often see a moral game of trumps playing out, regarding who killed the most people, or who suffered the most, or who really should be arrested and tried. Tried not by the court systems, but by citizens interested in bringing justice and equality to their fellow citizens and humanity as a whole. I would recommend looking at government representatives, lobbyists and corporate CEOs who many of the would be cyber-executioners seem happy to sing praises for, vote for, and invest hard earned money in.
Although i am probably best described as left-liberal leaning, going as far as to label myself a mutualist anarchist on the weekend, this author understands that the process of criminal trials, and our system of courts hold a critical and potentially helpful alternative to lynch mobs, and ‘batman vigilante’ types, solving crimes alone without peer review, and administering due punishment, like most but not all crime solving ‘super heroes’ of fiction. These are acts of retribution based on a singular point of view. A trial includes at least 13 points of view, if you can temporarily forget about the odd stacked jury and biased (paid off) judge.
I hear you though, I know where your coming from, a lot of criminals have been caught and shamed and punished through the use of social networks, surveillance culture and digital informants. Many, i presume are guilty of the crime they are shown to be committing. It’s a double edged sword (word) Based upon the sensibility toward other media, pictures, news reports, video clips and social phenomena, i must stress CAUTION when making 100% identifications in the age of photoshop, Newscorp, Daily Mail readers, and global propaganda warfare.
I truly hope not to sound like I’m telling anybody what to think or not to think, no. I write this to inspire a deeper and closer scrutiny when joining in with a campaign to enact ANY kind of violent retribution for a crime, so explicitly propagated.
The great British philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russel once said that the greatest invention of the 20th century is the human capacity for suspended judgement. “Have you seen that vigilante man, on facebook?”