Apr 26, 2009

the case of Aaron Vargas

Recently, I had blogged about the National Forensic League's March/April resolution, "Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law." This weekend, a visitor to the blog sent me a story of her brother, Aaron Vargas, who will soon stand trial, accused of murdering Darrell McNeill of Fort Bragg, California.
My brother was recently arrested for killing the man who sexually and psychologically abused him for 20 years. Many others in our small community were abused. Victims, and a former wife of the abuser, went to the police but not investigation was done, only a report was filed. The abuser abused his own children. He was involved in Big Brothers and Boy Scouts. His "little brother" was a victim, abused for 5 years and then harassed. [The victim] killed himself three years ago. A second victim also killed himself. My brother was stalked and harassed by his abuser. The abuser would show up at his house and ask to see his baby and to babysit. My brother quit his job because he was stalked at work. I launched a website for my brother www.saveaaron.com. I'm trying to get the word out about his case and this issue of abuse and the system failing the victims.
According to the local paper, Vargas shot McNeill with a muzzle loader, and made no attempt to flee or resist when arrested a while later. The paper notes that McNeill was suffering from Parkinson's and had lost ownership of his home.

I can't vouch for all the claims in the story above, since they were sent to me by a total stranger. If true, they illustrate the pain of abuse compounded with injustice, the difference between vengeance and retribution, and the dilemma society faces when a victim feels forced to take the law into his own hands.

Put in Aaron Vargas's place, I wonder what I would do. Honestly--and fortunately--I can't say.

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