What is a vigilante? Is that a good or a bad thing?
I decided to start a new thread based on my comments in this thread about the Guardian Angels:
I guess it's only OK to be a "vigilante" if you're paid and armed by the government to go out and look for trouble. It's called the POLICE. But the police aren't vigilantes because they are sanctioned by the government.
Mere citizens may not stop crime (other than in self defense) while in possession of a firearm for fear of prosecution or media crucifixion as a vigilante.
Let's remember that the police exist because society deemed such a job necessary to augment, and eventually replace, the citizens' duty and grant more authority to the traditional "night watchmen."
Does a citizen today have a right or responsibility to stop crime? Is there a place in law abiding society today for an armed man to patrol his neighborhood "looking for trouble" without being labeled a vigilante? A vigilante is defined as one who "takes the law into their own hands" but also as one who "administers his own form of justice." Hmmm, perhaps "vigilante" shouldn't be such a bad word, since most acts of modern vigilantism do not entail the administration of personal justice, which I assume would be considered summary execution, excessive force, or torture. A citizen, perhaps on patrol, who stops a crime and hands the criminal over to the police is not a vigilante, is he? He is actually a good citizen in the traditional sense of the word.