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Why vigilantes make lousy cops (Nauseatingly awful)
The Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest ^ | April 17, 2012 | Ken Trainor

Posted on 04/17/2012 10:31:04 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

When I heard about George Zimmerman killing Trayvon Martin in Florida, I thought about the 1992 Clint Eastwood film, Unforgiven. I wondered if Zimmerman had ever killed a man before. I wondered how he was feeling about it.

"It's a hell of a thing, killing a man," says Eastwood's character, Will Munny, who has killed more than his share. "You take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."

The Schofield Kid (after killing someone for the first time) had just finished telling Munny, "It don't seem real ... how he ain't gonna never breathe again, ever ... how he's dead. All on account of pulling a trigger."

Right now, I suspect George Zimmerman would agree. It's a hell of a thing, killing a man.

But he "stood his ground."

Whatever comes of this case, of one thing we can be fairly certain: Mr. Zimmerman may think twice before he goes hunting "bad guys" again.

Zimmerman, it's probably safe to assume, thinks of himself as one of the "good guys." That's the problem with vigilantes — that righteous certainty.

Florida's self-defense law encourages gunslingers to "Stand Your Ground." The name of the law is a dead (so to speak) giveaway. It's all about machismo, defiance, fighting back (pre-emptively if necessary) against all the "bad guys" out there, real and imagined.

When I'm out walking at night, I know I'm innocent, that I'm not acting "suspicious," but I'm not the one defining that, am I? The guy concealing and carrying a loaded gun is defining it. If I make a "wrong" move, if I'm in the wrong place at the wrong time, I could be shot, maybe killed.

Whatever else we learn about this case, one thing seems pretty clear: Zimmerman was the protagonist. He initiated the contact.

By the time he ended it, was his life in danger? Or was he merely in danger of getting a sound thrashing? There's a difference, but a guy with a gun is not likely to make such fine distinctions.

Might this kid have been a hothead (or just having a bad night) who retaliated when confronted? If he did, was Zimmerman justified in shooting him?

Did Zimmerman show his gun first or did he conceal it until he fired? If he showed the gun, did Martin grab for it? If he did, was it because he was trying to attack Zimmerman or was he desperately trying to save his own life? At what point in such an altercation does "stand your ground" shift over to protecting Trayvon Martin? Would he have been justified in killing Zimmerman if he ended up with the gun? After all, his life, we now know, was clearly threatened.

Maybe Martin would have been more merciful with Zimmerman than Zimmerman was with him.

We'll never know for sure. Lack of witnesses makes this a "he said/he said" incident. Oops, I forgot. One of the "he"s is dead. It's now down to a "he said" case. Very convenient for Mr. Zimmerman.

This incident reminds us, as if we needed a reminder, that vigilantes make lousy cops. I guess the Bernard Goetz lesson has worn off. Was Zimmerman inspired in his pre-emptive law enforcement efforts by the Bush administration's pre-emptive invasion of Iraq (international vigilantism)? Were the two revenge-seekers in Tulsa, Okla. encouraged by the "stand your ground" laws in more than 20 states?

Creating a climate, it seems, has consequences, many of them unintended. If you have a gun and permission to use it, you're not necessarily going to wait for the other guy to possibly shoot first. Too risky. Safer to ask questions later.

But Mr. Zimmerman might think twice the next time.

Maybe he'll think about the film Body Heat, where Mickey Rourke, playing a two-bit criminal, reminds William Hurt's character about some advice he once received: "In any crime, there are at least 50 ways it can go wrong. If you're a genius, you can maybe anticipate 20. And you ain't no genius."

There are a lot of vigilante wanna-bes out there who either applaud George Zimmerman or think they could have avoided whatever mistakes he might have made. But vigilantism is a lot like committing a crime. As Zimmerman now knows, there are plenty of ways it can go wrong.

But maybe others think they could do better. They can tell the difference between a bad guy and a scared kid in the dark. They'll only shoot if their life is truly threatened. After all, they're the "good guys." I can't tell you how reassuring that is for the rest of us — because it's not.

Vigilantes make lousy cops because they have an ax to grind — or they wouldn't resort to being vigilantes in the first place. Their judgment is questionable, and reality just isn't as clear-cut as it is in all those "righteous revenge" action flicks that thrill them so. Life isn't so black and white — well, maybe in this case, though not the way Zimmerman figured.

A nationwide movement has begun to repeal these vigilante laws, and that's a bandwagon Oak Park should be jumping on. If it happens, Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman may get his wish at last: Making all of us safer — from people like himself.

And if Trayvon Martin turns out to be the guilty party? It's still a hell of a thing to kill a man.

In Unforgiven, the Schofield Kid says, "Yeah, well, I guess they had it comin'."

To which the Clint Eastwood character replies, "We all got it comin', kid."


TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS: florida; georgezimmerman; trayvonmartin; zimmerman
It's like some dam has broken and every Lefty from here to there feels like he or she has permission to vent their anger, frustration and hatred of gun laws and white people. I've had just about enough.
1 posted on 04/17/2012 10:31:17 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Photobucket
2 posted on 04/17/2012 10:40:28 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (It's time for the 47% to start paying their "fair share" of income taxes. Hypocrites!)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

Beat me to it. Bronson dishes out serious punishment in Death Wish III


3 posted on 04/17/2012 10:50:09 PM PDT by LukeL (Barack Obama: Jimmy Carter 2 Electric Boogaloo)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

The “author” sounds like he may be doing too many recreational drugs. First of all, Zimmerman was working a Neighborhood Watch. Secondly, ZIMMERMAN WAS NOT A VIGILANTE. Kenny boy here needs to do a little research.


4 posted on 04/17/2012 10:50:28 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (It's time for the 47% to start paying their "fair share" of income taxes. Hypocrites!)
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To: LukeL

He was always one of my favorite actors.


5 posted on 04/17/2012 10:54:55 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (It's time for the 47% to start paying their "fair share" of income taxes. Hypocrites!)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

3-7-77.


6 posted on 04/17/2012 10:55:34 PM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: All

“Vigilantes make lousy cops because they have an ax to grind — or they wouldn’t resort to being vigilantes in the first place.”

####

Who said they were “vigilantes”, jackass?

Oh, that would be YOU.

Old, transparent Leftist trick: Set the terminology ground rules to tilt the argument from the outset.


7 posted on 04/17/2012 10:59:51 PM PDT by EyeGuy (2012: When the Levee Breaks)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

A screed a child might come up with. Seems the author gets his views about serious issues from fictional Hollywood characters. My twelve year old boy is about at the same level now. I often have to remind him movies are just movies, but I’m hoping that he’ll grow out of it, so he doesn’t become a liberal journalist.

As another observant poster has noted, he sets up a straw man. What makes it more pathetic than the usual liberal tripe is that he’s too lazy or stupid to tear it down himself, so he needs pithy lines from play actors to do the heavy lifting of dispelling the shadows he sets up.


8 posted on 04/17/2012 11:24:00 PM PDT by M1911A1
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Personally I have no problem killing anyone - anyone - trying to murder me. They are trying to take everything away from me, plus take me away from everyone and everything that depends on me.

No problem. Man, woman, punk kid. No problem at all. Mentally there because I am going to do everything to survive.


9 posted on 04/17/2012 11:38:31 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
What a hack. He can't write himself so he quotes from a 3rd rate, shallow, hackneyed, predictable, movie instead. And one about bounty hunters at that.
10 posted on 04/17/2012 11:39:51 PM PDT by expat1000
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Nothing vindicates the stand your ground law more cogently than the vigilante-ism which even now is unjustly pursuing George Zimmerman.

The left far better than the right knows how to identify, personalize and destroy its enemies and it has very acute early warning system for threats to its ideology. The left knows that the stand your ground law was a safeguard to protect innocents from the mob. Regrettably, the mob magically erupts in full cry whenever it can exploit race for political gain even at the cost of fundamental justice. We have seen it in the Duke lacrosse case and in the Tawana Brawley travesty. Indeed we have seen the same players strut the same roles.

The stand your ground law has been enacted to protect the Second Amendment. The stand your ground law has been enacted to protect the individual from the lynch mob. The stand your ground law has been enacted to protect the dignity of the individual free from assault. The stand your ground law has been enacted restore the natural right of self-defense to the innocent. The stand your ground law has been enacted to restore the public streets to the law-abiding. The stand your ground law has been enacted to protect victims of racialism. The stand your ground law has been enacted to protect the individual from ambitious prosecutors. The stand your ground law has been enacted to restore proper balance between the individual and the state.

Ultimately, the stand your ground law has been enacted to save us from the kind of demagoguery one reads in this article.


11 posted on 04/18/2012 12:33:44 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The silver lining: they are showing who they really are. This idiot is a prime example...
12 posted on 04/18/2012 12:47:02 AM PDT by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

Right on.


13 posted on 04/18/2012 12:48:29 AM PDT by antceecee (Bless us Father.. have mercy on us and protect us from evil.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I don’t make distinctions about getting my assets handed to me or getting g a thrashing from anyone who initiates violence against me.

My only concern is to end the the threat to me.

Any man who commits first action and aggression against another should expect it will be met with an equal or greater force to end that aggression against.

It may result I don’t in death answer forever stain the conscience of the defender for the result.

I have been attacked and defended myself and regret every instance and outcome.

I hate fighting and while I never instigate nor initiate and don’t condone violence , I won’t cede my right to self defense.


14 posted on 04/18/2012 12:52:26 AM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Fictional stories are interesting when they mirror real life. In the case of “The Unforgiven”, the writer selects his dialogue to provide the reader with an insight into the mind of a killer, when Eastwood’s character, Will Munny, makes a couple of moral judgments: “It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man,” and “You take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.”

The plot of a movie or any other form of fiction must be honest in order to succeed. Any obvious lack of authenticity destroys the ability of the audience to suspend disbelief and there goes any emotional impact.

The Propagandist has a different objective than the artist. Instead of making the story mirror reality, the storyteller must make reality seem like his story. To do this he must be deceptive. Deceitful things like equating George Zimmerman with Will Munny, then implying that it was Travon, not Zimmerman, who “stood his ground” in the face of danger.

The “Stand Your Ground” law applies to the victim and was intended to give the victim a better chance to defend himself. Bad things that can happen include the “perp” disarming the “vic” and killing him with his own gun.


15 posted on 04/18/2012 1:08:36 AM PDT by haroldeveryman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
But he "stood his ground."
No. He was flat on his back with a 6'3" thug straddling him, banging his head repeatedly into the pavement. HE SAVED HIS OWN LIFE.
16 posted on 04/18/2012 3:22:28 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: M1911A1

>>>My twelve year old boy is about at the same level now. I often have to remind him movies are just movies, but I’m hoping that he’ll grow out of it, so he doesn’t become a liberal journalist.>>>

LOVE IT!


17 posted on 04/18/2012 3:39:55 AM PDT by kitkat (Obama, ROPE and CHAINS.)
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To: samtheman
"By the time he ended it, was his life in danger? Or was he merely in danger of getting a sound thrashing?"

Is the idiot author suggesting that a victim should accept a sound thrashing and rely on the skillfull thug to only crack open his skull but not actually kill him?

18 posted on 04/18/2012 3:46:11 AM PDT by Fred911 (YOU GET WHAT YOU ACCEPT)
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To: Fred911

I think that is what this idiot author is suggesting, along with all his dem/media cohorts... that in cases like this the victim should trust in the basic goodness of his/her attacker.


19 posted on 04/18/2012 3:50:03 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The author of this article apparently has only one touchstone of morality: liberal movies. The bible? Why, "that's the problem with vigilantes — that righteous certainty."

Get right with God, cowardly libtard. Your kind ain't gonna make it in the future.

20 posted on 04/18/2012 3:50:23 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer (I will vote against ANY presidential candidate who had non-citizen parents.)
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To: FlingWingFlyer

This piece is wrong in so many particulars, and on so many levels, that it would make a great target for analysis in a course on how to spot sloppy and deceitful political writing.


21 posted on 04/18/2012 3:53:58 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: Fred911

Sadly, even a few freepers have wondered if you should shoot someone if they are “just” beating you up.

Oddly enough, in my liberal state of Washington, the law considers it a lawful shoot if it is used to stop a felony. Such things as assault, robbery, theft over $250. Even shooting at a fleeing violent attacker if you think they run the risk of attacking someone else. Just last week some guy shot at a truck fleeing his home after the guys were banging on his front door trying to break in. The only comment the police had was “the rear window in the truck may be broken”.

Maybe not the wisest move considering one’s individual state or city, but as in another recent home invasion (among many recently), the cop said, after the suspect was killed by the owner “It seems to be open season on criminals here”.


22 posted on 04/18/2012 4:02:01 AM PDT by 21twelve
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To: FlingWingFlyer
Secondly, ZIMMERMAN WAS NOT A VIGILANTE. Kenny boy here needs to do a little research.

To panty-pissin' hoplophobes like Kenny boy, EVERY armed citizen is a "vigilante." In his world, only cops and jackbooted government thugs have "legal" guns; all others are "illegal".

Yes, it's a sick and unconstitutional mindset. So why is his side winning? Power.

23 posted on 04/18/2012 4:19:58 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer (I will vote against ANY presidential candidate who had non-citizen parents.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Whatever else we learn about this case, one thing seems pretty clear: Zimmerman was the protagonist. He initiated the contact."

Whatever else we learn from this opinion piece, one thing seems clear: Trainor starts with a preconceived conclusion and twists the facts to fit.

There is no evidence I've seen that warrants Zimmerman being knocked down, his nose broken and his head smashed into the concrete.

If we ever hear of it happening to Trainor, I guess we can say, "He had it coming".

24 posted on 04/18/2012 4:28:43 AM PDT by kanawa
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To: backwoods-engineer

Look to England if you want to see the role model for government thugs and the lefties who love them.

In England, citizen self-defense is a much more serious crime than attacks on the lives or property of citizens.

It’s what the lefties here want for us.


25 posted on 04/18/2012 5:45:44 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

You have to think, what is the goal here? Is it to change laws? Of course that’s on their wish list but they have to realistically know that’s not going to happen. At least not now.

Is the goal to make citizens personally doubt their right to defend themselves? Maybe. But again, they have to know that’s a long shot.

No, I think the main goal here is to convince the Trayvons of America that the citizens are weak and that the rioting can now begin.

The goal is to encourage race riots.


26 posted on 04/18/2012 5:51:52 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: samtheman

Problem is, race riots usually end up burning down their housing and driving stores out of their neck of the woods. In other words, it hurts the rioters, not the “weak citizens.”


27 posted on 04/18/2012 6:00:08 AM PDT by Little Ray (FOR the best Conservative in the Primary; AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
And if Trayvon Martin turns out to be the guilty party? It's still a hell of a thing to kill a man.

Maybe, but it's better than being beaten to death.

That is why it is called self defense.

28 posted on 04/18/2012 6:09:52 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorists savages.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“By the time he ended it, was his life in danger? Or was he merely in danger of getting a sound thrashing? There’s a difference...”

No, there’s not actually a difference. People can die from a single punch, so anytime you are in a fight, your life is, by definition, in danger.


29 posted on 04/18/2012 6:52:16 AM PDT by Boogieman
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To: samtheman

Probably saved a lot of trouble down the line as there will now be no further victims of said thug.


30 posted on 04/18/2012 7:19:02 AM PDT by Free in Texas (Member of the Bitter Clingers Association.)
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To: Little Ray

The people pushing for these race riots don’t care about the well-being of the rioters or their neighborhoods.

Obama needs an excuse to through the “kill switch” on the constitution.


31 posted on 04/18/2012 7:26:59 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: Fred911

That baseball fan at Dodgers stadium got a thrashing and was in a coma for months and is severely brain damaged to this day. Is that what Zimmerman was supposed to endure.


32 posted on 04/18/2012 7:50:29 AM PDT by freedomrings69
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To: FlingWingFlyer

Actually in the movie (which Iam sure was much later than 1992) Eastwood kills to collect a bounty or reward. This makes him more like the New Black Panthers than George Zimmerman.


33 posted on 04/18/2012 7:52:54 AM PDT by freedomrings69
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

By the time he ended it, was his life in danger? Or was he merely in danger of getting a sound thrashing? There’s a difference, but a guy with a gun is not likely to make such fine distinctions. <<

This is not a case of a referee and shaking hands and wearing protective gear. This is being attacked by someone breaking your nose and pounding your head into the pavement. He had every reason to think his life was in danger.


34 posted on 04/18/2012 8:00:01 AM PDT by freedomrings69
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
“I think he's up to no good,he looks black”...yup,sounds like vigilante to me.
35 posted on 04/21/2012 5:48:55 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Unlike Mrs Obama,I've Been Proud Of This Country My *Entire* Life!)
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To: Gay State Conservative

Was that comment serious or sarcasm?


36 posted on 04/21/2012 8:21:51 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: Gay State Conservative

Was that comment serious or sarcasm?


37 posted on 04/21/2012 8:22:11 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: nathanbedford
"The left far better than the right knows how to identify, personalize and destroy its enemies and it has very acute early warning system for threats to its ideology."

This is why our loss of Ann Coulter to the cult of Romney is all the more tragic. She was one of the few conservatives who could and did go toe-to-toe with the left and carried the battle to their turf. She fought by their rules and they didn't know how to handle it.

38 posted on 04/21/2012 8:36:30 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Ken’s comments about vigilantes are entirely appropriate, for actual vigilantes, which have a long and well-documented history in America. Vigilante movements invariably went bad. Those few that didn’t had precisely defined objectives and disbanded as soon as they were achieved.

But self-defense against an attack has nothing at all in common with vigilantism.


39 posted on 05/10/2012 8:52:37 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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