One more word on extra-judicial killing
OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide () - May 18, 2008 - 12:00am

I do not believe in any civilian, or for that matter, any group of civilians that professes to fight crimes. Superman is in this category and thank God, he is only a fiction. Besides, have you ever noticed that Superman has the appearance of a crazy character? How else do you call a man who wears his underwear over his tight fitting jeans?

Seriously, even in the dramatized presentation of Superman, like the movies, he is portrayed to be using violence to pulverize the denizens. By what authority does he pummel criminals? Self defense, which, in our penal statues, includes defense of other persons? At the pain of being called a purist, to me, no one but the authorized agencies of the government such as the police must fight crime.

Before I may be misconstrued though, let me acknowledge the important role of ordinary citizens. True, civilians like me, should and must assist our police authorities solve, if not prevent crimes, but the matter of fighting crimes is very well defined in our democratic system such that volunteering to fight criminals is an anathema.

Having said that, it is easy for me to argue that the new espousal of the volunteers against crime is never sanctioned in our constitution. The fact is that it is against the letter and spirit of our fundamental law. I am referring to the report that this group now encourages extra-judicial killings. They are in favor of unauthorized gunslingers called vigilantes shooting to death criminals or persons perceived to be crime-prone like those who have just been released from the prison. Of course, they hasten to add a condition. It is not alright for them that vigilantes include in their murderous spree innocent ones.  Perhaps, they think that by assigning this warning, they have somehow righted a grievous error.

It does not escape me that the members of this club had relatives who were victims of various crimes, mostly heinous. This could be possible the reason that pushed them to their newly-found cause. Whoever might have said that misery loves company must have this group I his mind, Probably someone in their families was kidnapped, murdered or raped. They felt so severely wronged, (and rightly so), that criminals would violate their helpless relatives and angered that police forces seemed inutile to combat them.

In the midst of their sadness, they have decided that thenceforth, each time someone is reported to be terrorizing the community with any form of lawlessness, they band together, mount their proverbial horses, pursue the man they believe to be criminal and pronounce judgment of conviction upon him. Without their knowing it, they relive the untold stories of posse comitatus on whose hands and at some rare times, innocent ones were mistaken as criminals and their lives taken.

Now, let me ask this question. Who are these earthly gods, not judges going thru a painstaking analysis of evidence at hand, but cold bloodied pistoleros, who proclaim it is their birth right to determine who might have wronged the society and therefore shot to death? Who would be made to answer for those innocent ones whose only fault could be that the resemble the sketches of rogues?

Such is my fear. Vigilantes are lawless elements. They are unnamed murderers hiding behind the mask of civic-mindedness. Increase their number or encourage them and we become an unjust society or worse, a society of killers. One murder can lead to another. Killing will then become a horrible cycle when relatives of mistaken victims take the law in their own hands and in the name of cleaning the streets of criminals become criminals themselves.

I believe that this is not what this group I am referring to wants them to become. They don’t want their names associated with crimes and this early, I hope that they take back their endorsement of vigilantes.

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