Regarding the March / April LD resolution, "Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law."
1. You can't avoid the Batman. In fact, you might be encouraged to bring up his name every now and then.
2. Vigilantism, according to Ron Levi, is "one of the least developed topics in criminology." Great. The dearth of expert advice is a double-edged sword of justice: it means difficult research, but may spark more imaginative cases.
3. What kind of context surrounds the resolution?
a. A society, since "the government" is implicated, and "the law" (especially with the article) takes on a social meaning. See definition 2a here.
b. Thus, a society with some kind of established order, and therefore not anarchy, because of the existence of "the government" and "the law."
c. Thus, society with a weak, distant, apathetic, or evil government, since it has "failed to enforce the law."
4. Any Neg that allows the Aff to equate enforcing the law with attaining justice is well on the way to losing the round.
5. Are private police forces--security guards, mall cops, Disney police, Blackwater--a form of vigilantism?
6. Weber's thoughts on the "monopoly on the legitimate use of violence in the enforcement of its order" may come into play.
7. The resolution simply does not specify which aspects of "the law" have not been enforced; the Affirmative needs to try and limit the discussion to some sort of harmful, dangerous crimes, perhaps using rhetoric about "moral seriousness." Otherwise, this might mean we could fear "420 patrols" springing up in jurisdictions where the cops pay no mind to the stoners at the bus stop.
8. The prospect of individually pursuing justice is equally alluring and terrifying--Romantic with a capital R, and brimming with existential implications. Films like The Ox-Bow Incident and The Brave One and Memento are worth watching just to get in the right spirit for debate.