Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Vigilantes

What exactly are those baying mobs outside courtrooms trying to achieve? Do they think screaming abuse at offenders adds something useful to the situation?

I look at all those shrieking voices and maddened faces and raised fists and I wonder how they think all that hatred and raging emotion is helping anyone.

Especially if the person concerned hasn't even been found guilty of anything but is still awaiting a court hearing. Or even if they insist on their innocence and say it's all a big mistake.

I suspect that quite often it's also an embarrassment to the victims, who just want to see the offender dealt with by the court without all the self-appointed guardians of morality spoiling for a fight.

Given the prevalence of these instant lynch mobs that pop up wherever there's some controversial figure on trial, I'm very thankful mob rule was replaced by due legal process and that nowadays (in theory at least) you get a fair hearing with a proper weighing-up of the evidence.

Otherwise I shudder to think what these headstrong vigilantes would do to people before they were restrained or ran out of steam.

We all know the horrific blunders some of them have made when left to their own devices, like singling out a blameless paediatrician in the belief she was a paedophile. Or putting the boot into harmless Muslims they imagine to be terrorists.

But as long as the sensation-hungry media keep feeding lingering close-ups of these rabid zealots to their fascinated audiences, I'm afraid we're going to see many more of them on the streets.

8 comments:

Medbh said...

The mob is one remnant of our ancient selves that we can't seem to shake. I'm all for political protest but this kind of display in front of a courtroom is irrational and thuggish.

You can riot after the verdict, not before.

Conortje said...

not really much of an intelligent comment but the riot police in NL are very sexy - that's why I'm always hoping for an angry mob. Sorry :-)

Nick said...

Medbh - yes, rioting after the verdict makes more sense. At least there's a considered decision to agree with/complain about and not just a lot of wild suspicion.

Con - you little rascal. And lucky you, all those dishy guys. I'm afraid the riot police here are distinctly ordinary-looking. Well, the blokes at any rate.

Manuel said...

you judge a people a country by how it treats the worst of it's own not how it judges the best.......I blame the news of the world for everything......and I mean everything.....and conortje hahahahahaha

Nick said...

Absolutely, if a country doesn't look after the young, the old, the poor, and the ill, it's not a civilised country it's a backward one, whatever it may claim. And most western countries should hang their heads in shame on that definition. The way so many old people are treated right here in the UK is a disgrace. (I'd better stop here before I get too worked up....)

Manuel said...

and how it deals with it's prisoners and the so called "scum". They have rights too.......and I mean that....

Wisewebwoman said...

I don't watch TV so haven't seen any of this.
Makes me wonder why I'm commenting:
Oh yes, it reminds me of the "pro-lifers" years ago, maybe still, who would hit the abortion clinics en masse. Hundreds of them screaming at young girls who put blankets over their heads as they went in.
I guess just a different script with these folks, scary though. I had no idea....
Though I must admit to hitting up the US Embassy in Toronto in anti-war fervour (Vietnam and Iraq).
Where's NL, Con? NL means Newfoundland & Labrador to me, there is another? Netherlands??

Nick said...

Manuel - Quite so, prisoners as well. I think most prisoners wouldn't be in jail at all if they'd been brought up better by loving parents and not turned into anti-social tearaways through neglect and emotional violence. As it is, prisoners are further brutalised and not given the rehabilitation and training and education (and love) they're crying out for. It's tragic.

www - Yes, pro-lifers are a good example of sanctimonious vigilantes. What I was actually thinking of was these fanatical crowds who hang around outside courtrooms wanting to lynch the poor buggers coming in and string them from a gallows. Thank God they're kept in check.

Conor's from The Hague in the Netherlands, btw. Thus NL.