Vigilantism

Kion FinkleyDecember 2nd , 2015
ENC 1101-027
Professor Lapinsky
Critical Analysis Essay
Since a child weve been basically taught that vigilantism was right or at least approved of by society. People reach the point to where they figure if justice isnt served by the legal system, and someone else steps in to take care of it themselves we become satisfied no matter where justice is coming from. Being promoted through many cartoon shows and classic movies brought upon us a trend. Many enjoy watching these films and television shows but at the same time is something that is considered a problem in American society. It can be looked at as terrorism in some cases, unsatisfactory from the police force, or just plain out revenge.
Many cases of people showing vigilantism have become very big in the media for instance the Trayvon Martin case. The problem was a man by the name of George Zimmerman who was simply part of the neighborhood watch/ cop patrol whose sole duty was to report anything that seemed suspicious to the real police and let it play itself out. Instead one night he spots an innocent 16 year old boy walking through a neighborhood and decided to follow him because he racially profiled him. In the end he ended up killing the young man for no reason whatsoever just because he took his privileges over board. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder on April 11, 2012 (the week). The trial began on June 24, 2013, following the selection of an all-female jury (the week). The following month, on July 13, 2013, the jury acquitted Zimmerman of murder, triggering mostly peaceful protests in several American cities as well as riots in other cities (Biography.com).

Comic book characters and super heroes can be looked at as vigilantes as well, whether it was Superman, Spiderman, Batman and etc. All of these characters even though they were protecting innocent people from harm they also were bringing as many problems to their cities as they took away. In television shows vigilantes are often caught up in trying to protect people and trying to avoid capture by cops. In the newly produced show The Arrow based off of another Marvel character the Green Arrow. In this show a billionaire teenage boy who goes by the name Oliver Queen is lost at sea with his father Robert Queen the owner of a multi-billion dollar company, presumed to be dead but spends five years marooned on an island or so it seems. Throughout the five years a plethora of different things happen turning him into a completely different person, and he adopts abilities or skills he never thought would happen. Hes later returned home to now become a vigilante trying to save his city from wrong doings set in play by his father, and then discovers many more problems within the city (Greenarrowtv). He soon puts his trust in others and allows them to join his crusade against crime, which makes it easier to avoid capture from the police or his identity being discovered. The city begins to worship him for protecting them from villains or crime, having them no longer depend on the police force.

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Today, we the citizens of the United States tend to put a lot of blame on the government. Some of us feel that either the government is out to get us or they dont do enough. Thats one question that can be asked, do they really do enough? Can we always rely on the courts decision? Do we get enough satisfaction when criminals are thrown in jail? Or do we need more, such as a visual entity to take care of the crime personally? As mentioned before, in the TV show Arrow, Starling City consist of many secretive felons, a lot of which get away due to inability of the police to properly respond to the crimes. Since most of crime is taken care of by The Green Arrow, the people of the city feel a sense of reliability on him being that the only time criminals get caught and justice is made is when he comes into play .So a visual entity can be viewed in a positive or negative aspect. Although they take negative actions, the outcomes seem to be positive. Today in our culture it cant be viewed too horribly since there are far worse crimes occurring around us. So whats the difference when someone commits a crime for good and to protect our people?
Wannabe Vigilantes have existed long before the cartoons, super heroes and Marvel characters. Organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan were created to bring out the type of injustice they wanted from the 1800s through 1900s towards black people, some groups still exist today (Vigilantes and unauthorized militia in America). Back then the Klan would lynch, burn, and kill only African Americans just because they felt they werent equal as a race. Also if an African American citizen was accused of any type of crime they wouldnt allow the police or government to handle it, instead taking matters into their own hands and murdering a person even if they were innocent that is where the wrong in vigilantism comes in.
Vigilantism is a matter in American society that is to be handled by the citizens themselves since we are the ones that partake in it. In the eyes of the government vigilantism will always be wrong because justice is not to be handled by citizens, but viewed from our perspective if justice is carried out in the end it will be approved of.
Works Cited
Works Cited
Citation Styles for “Vigilantes and unauthorized militia in America”
MLA (7th ed.) Calman, Anna S, and Charles Doyle. Vigilantes and Unauthorized Militia in America. Hauppauge, N.Y: Novinka Books, 2002. Print.

The Trayvon Martin Case Theweek.com, 26 Feb. 2012, Web. March 29, 2012.

The CW’s ‘Arrow hollywoodreporter.com. Green Arrow. Web 3 Oct. 2012
Anti-Government Unrest and American Vigilantism Theatlantic.com. The Atlantic, Web. 30 Mar. 2010.

The Ku Klux Government: Vigilantism, Lynching, and the Repression of the IWW, Libcom.org. 20 Dec. 2006.