Saturday, 24 June 2017

A Lone-Wolf Killer Is Never Alone

Vigilantism and Lawlessness

A lawless society is one where, ironically, people take the law into their own hands.  We have seen yet another example, in this case from the United Kingdom.  A man from Wales, father of four, decided to be judge, jury, and executioner on his own account, and used his van as a weapon, running down an entirely innocent person.  He committed murder.  The great, eternal indictment of God now stands against him: "Thou shalt not kill".

It's early days, and we don't yet know enough about the individual involved.  Initial reports indicate that he was a troubled individual, estranged from family and friends, acting bizarrely at times.  It is possible that he was becoming progressively unhinged and manic.  For whatever reason, he determined that he would kill some Muslim people, despite having Muslim acquaintances with whom he was on friendly terms.

Somewhere along the line he decided to take the law into his own hands.  He would "set things to right".  He would help relieve Britain of the lawless, murderous terrorist attacks inflicted upon it almost daily by Islamic insurgents.  He would exact vengeance and murder some Muslims on his own account.

Why do people take the law into their own hands?
 Most often, somewhere along the line, they have determined that the state is failing to carry out its divine responsibility to be a terror and punisher of evildoers.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgement. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. [Romans 13: 1-5.  Emphasis, ours.]
It is incumbent on the governing authorities to be implacable and resolute when it comes to apprehending and punishing evildoers.  When the state fails in this fundamental duty to God, people are tempted and provoked to take matters into their own hands and do what they believe the state is failing to do.

The government cannot prevent all unhinged, mad ideas entering into the heads of its citizens.  But it can and must be responsible for preventing conditions where people come to believe the government is failing in its fundamental duties to apprehend lawbreakers and punish them appropriately.  When people reach that conclusion, rightly or wrongly, they are ripe for vigilantism.  They, themselves, then become lawbreakers, even murderers.

Darren Osborne needs to face the magistrate for his murderous actions.  Thankfully he will.  But to help prevent the Osbornes of this world becoming lawless outlaws the state has a bounded duty to ensure that it enforces the law persistently, fairly, and "blindly" throughout the entire country, across all social classes, races, ethnicities, and faiths.

These days many police forces appear to have fallen into the trap of being more concerned about how communities think about the authorities, and so calibrate their enforcement of the law and their actions according to how various community groups will view the police, rather than according to what the law stipulates and requires.  Thus, the Rotherham debacle--which is not an isolated case by any means.
The failure to address the abuse was attributed to a combination of factors revolving around race, class and gender—contemptuous and sexist attitudes toward the mostly working-class victims; fear that the perpetrators' ethnicity would trigger allegations of racism and damage community relations; the Labour council's reluctance to challenge a Labour-voting ethnic minority; lack of a child-centred focus; a desire to protect the town's reputation; and lack of training and resources. [Wikipedia.  Emphasis, ours.]
When the state authorities and the police are implacable and relentless towards crime and lawbreaking in general, people will be far less likely to take the law into their own hands.   When the state's message to citizens warns them there will be zero tolerance if any are tempted to lawbreaking, whether in the name of some political cause or because they think they can take the law into their own hands, vigilantism will be choked off.

The state has a duty to ensure that there is no room for a vacuum of power to develop where the police and courts and failing in their God-given duties.  If not, into that vacuum the vigilante will step.

When men start taking the law into their own hands, government and society itself are likely to have already been showing symptoms of lawlessness on their own account.

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