Mar 2, 2009

modern vigilantes

Those looking for stories to match the March/April vigilantism resolution have plenty to choose from. Consider the experience of the Subway Vigilante, Bernie Goetz.
Bernhard Hugo Goetz, better known as Bernie Goetz, (born November 7, 1947) became a symbol of New Yorkers' frustrations with high crime rates when he shot four men intent on robbing him on the Seventh Avenue 2 express subway train in Manhattan in 1984. The incident sparked a nationwide debate on the issue of crime and self-defense.

In the incident, Goetz fired an unlicensed revolver five times, seriously wounding three of the would-be muggers and rendering the fourth a paraplegic. The unknown shooter, dubbed the "Subway Vigilante" by the New York press, was both exalted and vilified in the media and in public opinion.

Goetz surrendered to police nine days later and was eventually charged with attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment, as well as with several gun law violations. A Manhattan jury found him not guilty of all charges except a single gun law violation, for which he spent eight months in jail. Goetz and others have cited his actions as a contributing factor to the groundswell movement against urban crime and disorder in subsequent years.
More recently, Washington state's Tammy Gibson gained internet notoriety for beating a sex offender she had seen chatting with her teenage daughter--the summer before.
And even after her conviction Friday on assault charges, Tammy Gibson says she still has no remorse for what she did.

According to police documents, Level-3 sex offender William A. Baldwin had moved into his uncle's Puyallup home in early June. Following his move, Pierce County deputies distributed flyers around the neighborhood to alert residents of his presence.

On June 19th, Gibson, an area resident, went to Baldwin's house in the 1800 block of River Road and asked for him.

When Baldwin stepped outside, she claimed she was going to kill him because Baldwin had molested her children. Gibson then proceeded to hit Baldwin repeatedly with her bat, the document said, leaving him with an injured arm.

"I kept swingin' and swingin', and swingin'," Gibson told investigators.

Contrary to what she had said to Baldwin, Gibson later told investigators Baldwin had not molested her children.
Baldwin has since moved to Seattle. Asked if she'd handle it diferently if given another chance, Gibson said, "No, I'd do it again if not better." Her sentence: 90 days in jail.

3 comments:

WannabeKH said...

Hi, I'm a novice debater and I really like this website; it's been very useful for the vigilantism topic.
Regarding modern vigilantes, however, I am still unsure about the example of Batman. I understand him being a vigilante, but what about the counterargument that Batman is a fictional character?
Is there any real evidence I can use to support the fictional example of the vigilante Batman?

Anonymous said...

I posted this on one of the other pages, but a counter argument to Batman being a fictional character would be the fact that he is a role model for many. This is what the media is wanting us to see. Shouldn't we follow example? Batman is one of the most popular shows ever, and that can also factor in. They are projecting this for us to see and use as a guideline, almost, why not use it?
-Ava

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