Sunday, 9 February 2014

Vigilante Justice - Do we need an assassin?

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"The course of the law is the longest course in the world"

Important NoteThis is just a thought experiment - I DO NOT endorse nor encourage anybody to take law into their hands and go around dispensing theirown brands of justice. 

Not a single day goes by when we don't see the words 'scam' or 'rape' or pseudo-secular behaviour in the news. Everybody talks about how corruption is bringing ruin to the country. Some others talk about this as the reason for Indian brain-drain and talk about how the Satya Nadellas are leaving for the US because of transparency and openness. Fine, the need of  the hour is a political overhaul, they said, and at the risk of sounding like Rahul Gandhi, let's bring the youth into politics, they said... There was great rejoicing when AAP came to power in Delhi and people waved brooms, promising to sweep away the filth of corruption from within the system. We will punish the corrupt, they said.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans of men and mice. Nothing happened. I look around at people and I see different kinds of people - But there is something common in all these people, they are all in stage five of the stages of grief - Acceptance

  • Those who have accepted and say that if you don't do it, someone else will do it, so why not we do it?
  • Those who have accepted and say - This is the way it is, but I will try to be correct
  • Those who have accepted it and decide to leave the country for greener pastures
Then there are the fourth type who believe that the so called "Following the course of the law" is a big joke. Everybody knows that the course of the law will do nothing - And even if it does, it will take so much time that by the time the perpetrator actually gets the sentence he deserves, he'd have been long dead. So this group of people believes that the need of the hour is vigilante justice.

Now for a moment, forget about everything - drop all morals, drop the thinking hat that talks about repercussions, don't worry about practicality - Just imagine this world... There is a man with a very strong sense of justice, a man who has reached the psychological state of mind of God. A man who can judge what is right and what is wrong and also the extent of wrongness with absolute precision. He is intelligent, wise, strong and fast... Let's also throw in handsomeness just to make him likeable. This man possesses a sniper rifle and a scope, both so powerful that he can eliminate an enemy from a great distance - Maybe a couple of kilometres. And because of that great range, he will never get caught.

Assume that he has access to all the facts - He knows for a fact who is corrupt and to what extent... He begins to eliminate corrupt people. People whom he kills are those who are 100% criminals - Those who have killed and raped and done all kinds of evil activities. Maybe for some lesser crimes, he shoots at their legs or arms or whatever... For pettier crimes like jumping signals, maybe he shatters windshields or punctures tyres with his sniper rifle. Imagine he can be everywhere, just like a superhero. Just let your imagination flow...
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What are the advantages of Ideal Vigilante Justice?

  1. Justice will be swift - There is no lengthy stretched out processes and loopholes using which people will escape
  2. His punishments are guaranteed to be just - Like I said, he is an ideal person and has 100% accurate facts and his decision making is impeccable
  3. People will begin to fear repercussions - they know for a fact that their actions are now being judged and that punishment is swift. Crimes will begin to drop
Now for the flip side. Let's start to look at it more practically. It is impossible for one person to be all over the place and dispensing justice. India is after all a country with a population of over a billion. So let us not make our superhero punish people who jump signals and overspeed. Let's take the top 10 crimes in the country, top 10 scams, or rather, top 10 people who are in such a position that their actions can have severe detrimental effects by virtue of their position and who are absolutely evil. Everybody knows of their crimes, just that nobody has the guts or resources to prosecute them, and also know that legal prosecution will take ages before a resolution is reached. But it is 100% known that they are criminals. Would you want this superhero to kill them? He will keep killing in batches of 10 till substantial reduction is brought about. People in power to stop but do nothing also are included
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Practical problems of such vigilantes


  1. 100% facts are often not known. A lot of things appear to be in a certain way but in reality can be something entirely different. Your sources might feed you incorrect information (intentionally or unintentionally) resulting in loss of innocent life. The life on an innocent person is worth more than the death of several criminals is a commonly held belief.
  2. A lot depends on the superhero. He should not, at any point, become biased, take a side, get carried away. He should not dispense harsher punishments than what is required. His ability to remain absolutely just and error free is very vital
  3. Seeing the success of the Superhero, there will be copycats. This will create a very dangerous situation because people will start killing others and think they can get away with it just like the superhero. This will create situations of anarchy. So the existence of the superhero should not become public. Or perhaps, instead of using bullets, he should use very small poison darts I am guessing...
Then of course there is the moral question - Is killing someone else really justifiable? Taking law into your own hands, is it correct? I will not discuss this in this post. 

Hajime Saitou said - "Slay evil immediately"

Important Note - This is just a thought experiment - I do not endorse nor encourage anybody to take law into their hands and go around dispensing their own brands of justice. 

Recommended Watching

Deathnote - An extremely intelligent boy gets a notebook that can be used to kill people (akin to sniper rifle) and he kills criminals with it. Highly recommended
Gangajal - People in a town decide to dispense justice on their own and a state of anarchy and fear gets created.
Rang De Basanti - A group of students decide to take law into their own hands after a corrupt minister gets acquitted by pulling some strings
Jinpuu Squad episode 15, season 1 of Kenshin - A group of assassins kill 'corrupt' people - but their information is false.

Related Posts

Moral Right
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