Sunday, January 27, 2013

Self-defense vs Vigilantism

From Fox:
Wisconsin sheriff urges residents to arm themselves

...The ad has generated sharp criticism from other area officials and anti-violence advocates. The president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, Roy Felber, said it sounds like a call to vigilantism...
Self-Defense:
1: a plea of justification for the use of force or for homicide
2: the act of defending oneself, one's property, or a close relative 
 
Vigilante:
: a member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily (as when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate); broadly : a self-appointed doer of justice 
 
 
All definitions come from Merriam-Webster.
 
How then is this vigilantism?
...In the 30-second commercial, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. says personal safety is no longer a spectator sport.
"I need you in the game," he says.
"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option," he adds. "You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. ... Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there."
Sheriff Clarke is not advocating vigilantism, but self-defense. If he was asking for people to patrol, looking for crimes to stop, without being a member of a legal law-enforcement organization, that would be vigilantism. It is not vigilantism when someone assaults another person or yourself with a deadly weapon and you use a gun to defend that other person or yourself. It is vigilantism to go out looking for that sort of thing. Before people start talking about something, perhaps it would be best if they did a little research?