Committing crimes to instil justice?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by delc, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. delc Registered Member

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    4
    This might sound paradoxical but is it possible to commit crimes to actually instil justice? The movie Death note traces the acts of a law student who murders criminals who manage to escape the long arms of the law. Is this justifiable or should criminals be allowed a fair trial without being judged through tinted glasses? There is only so much the law can do, year after year criminals can escape scot-free and by then the damage has been done both psychologically and financially to the victims. Surely it is not wrong to kill criminals who have committed acts of atrocities since they have forfeited their own sanctity of life by callously killing others? What do you think?
     
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  3. Pinwheel Banned Banned

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    Have you been watching Dexter?
     
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  5. delc Registered Member

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    nope. What is it about?

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  7. Pinwheel Banned Banned

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    TV show based on a novel where Dexter is a serial killer who kills murderers he believes have escaped justice.
     
  8. dbnp48 Q.E.D. Registered Senior Member

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    Television shows a world in which the person's guilt is usually known. That is exceedingly rare in the real world (I have a brother-in-law who is a Crown attorney (the Canadian equivalent of a DA)).

    The vast majority of the time, the system works. Unfortunately, the media creates a big flap every time it doesn't work so people get the impression that lots of criminals get off.

    There are a set of rules designed to protect the innocent from being charged and convicted. ("better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer", Blackstone's formulation) The police are thoroughly trained in those rules. If criminals get off on technicalities, it is because the police failed to do their job properly. Even with all the rules, innocent people still get convicted of crimes they didn't do.

    Vigilante action may start with good intentions but it usually ends badly.
     
  9. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Then you would be no better than they are if you choose to go out and become a vigilante and not use a legal way to impose justice, for what is justice without a proper implementation of those laws by public servants that are paid to do just that, not free lancers shooting up the town.
     
  10. Rav Valued Senior Member

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    I do not believe in capital punishment, regardless of the nature or severity of the crime. Having said that, consider the following hypothetical:

    A man arrives home from work one night to find his wife and kids brutally raped and murdered. A few days later he is informed by police that they have arrested and charged the perpetrator, and that he has made a full confession. Knowing that he will soon be transferred to a new location to be held for trial the man waits outside the police station. When the moment arrives he takes out a gun and shoots the killer in the head. He dies instantly.

    This scenario isn't meant to be analyzed from a purely intellectual standpoint. And you shouldn't infer or suppose anything in particular beyond the example itself. You have to simply put yourself in the shoes of this man who has just experienced a truly unimaginable horror. With that in mind my own reaction is this. Fair enough. If it was up to me I wouldn't even prosecute him. I'd provide him with all the support he needed and chalk this one up to natural justice.

    People will be split on this one I know. We all have different ideas about justice and about what actions can be justified in the course of serving it. But examples like this one are as murky as the waters can get in my opinion. Do I think this man did the right thing? Not really. Is it the way I'd prefer our legal system to work? Not at all. But can I condemn him? No. It's very possible that I would have done the same thing. I guess that in the end I believe the scales of justice in this case are balanced well enough for me to able to live with and that is primarily the result of factoring in the empathy I feel for the person who took revenge. I can accept that he did what he did when he did it. What I wouldn't be able to accept is a clinical execution 12 months or 2 years down the track performed by someone else. Nor could I accept, at least not to the degree that would be necessary for me to be ok with it, a third party dealing out justice outside of the law, no matter when it was.
     
  11. delc Registered Member

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    Consider this: It is precisely because the law is a system that there are loopholes and openings within this intricate system that criminals can exploit. It might not necessarily be the enforcers' error when there might be intrinsic weaknesses within the law which is constructed by human beings, meaning its not infallible. While vigilante justice should not be encouraged, who are we to decide and judge their acts?

    I concede that only in a utopia can the law be full-proof and all criminals be apprehended but sometimes rules ought to be broken and a degree of flexibility be allowed as long as it is not abused. What are your thoughts about this?
     
  12. IndianCurry2010 Registered Senior Member

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    In places like Nigeria, Mexico and Brazil I believe that vigilantes are rampant. As the locals are tired of the police not helping so they take the law into their own hands.

    I am sure in Nigeria there is a group of vigilantes who cut of the heads of criminal gangs.
     
  13. elte Valued Senior Member

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    Vigilantism can cause trouble because there are so many details that the victim's grieving close ones don't know about the incident. I imagine there have been stories of people getting killed even though the death they had caused was really an accident. The legal system helps to sort that kind of stuff out.


    My view of utopia is that people will know a few basic moral principles and understand why to behave based on them. Then, there wouldn't be laws and criminals.
     

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