In a much-hailed if morally problematic act of righteous revenge, an African-American inmate managed to inflict minor injuries when he sucker-punched creepy racist murderer Dylann Roof in the prison showers - an act that sparked online praise for the "vigilante hero," a flood of donations to his commissary account, and, finally, the posting of his $100,000 bond by a supporter. From another fan: "It's not justice, but it's something."
A step in the right direction, as well as the punch in the face George Zimmerman got last week bragging about killing Trayvon Martin.
What @Tom1 said.
And let's get things a little straighter: You noted Roof "is being held in protective custody" in the County Detention Center. He's not in prison, and neither is the one who punched him. You can't get bonded out of prison, because you've been sentenced. And this kind of incident is exactly why a Dylann Roof needs to be held in protective custody. And because the attacker got out of his own cell (was this in the same, protective, part of the jail?), the County would be liable for any serious injuries.
This is a very, very sad story.
Do we favor vigilantes now? I protest the viewpoint of this article in the strongest terms possible. A jailhouse assault is nothing to take lightly, no matter who the victim is. The whole point of the legal system is to adjudicate disputes and dispense justice peacefully. The law, not fellow detainees, should deal with Roof. Yes, I know that, in practice, "the law is an ass," but it is what separates us from animals.
This is a sad commentary unworthy of Common Dreams. While emotions seem to validate acts of violence, that is not what our system of laws (or our culture) should be about. Even the worst should be protected from vigilante violence which is more or less what this is. So if a group of brothers had taken Dylan Roof and lynched him - it would have been ok? - because he did something repulsive and evil.
Violence cannot be the solution even though it satisfies our lowest instincts. Whether it be the drone, the electric chair, gas chamber, the needle, the drive-by, the assault attack, etc, etc, - none of these advance humanity even though they seem to give emotional pleasure to some.
I see a trend here: consequences that are narrowly targeted and arguably appropriate. Exasperated by art that lauds slavery in Calhoun Hall? Take out that one window but don't rampage the building in general. Disgusted by a white racist murderer? Let that murderer have it good, but don't start a general race riot. This is different from what happened when anger would boil over in the 60's and 70's. Back then we were likely to see an over-generalized reaction against "the system" or "the police" or "white people." That approach always generated more backlash than sympathy. I consider this new trend to be quite a positive development. It brings "justice" squarely into the center of the frame. Of course the systemic racism (and other inequality) still needs to be addressed, but not by individual acts of violence.
As a daily reader of Common Dreams I was extremely disappointed by the inclusion of this article in today's edition. I agree with xtc4:
"Do we favor vigilantes now? I protest the viewpoint of this article in the strongest terms possible. A jailhouse assault is nothing to take lightly, no matter who the victim is."
The article comes dangerously close to advocating for violence and torture as acceptable forms of justice.
What a load! Have you been paying attention? And I can only imagine on which side of the system you see yourself.
Where is Calhoun Hall?
Justice comes in shades of grey. If it is clear and attainable, there's no need for vigilantes. But if justice remains elusive in a system supposedly governed by the rule of law, then vigilantes play a role. There is no doubt that Black and Brown folks have struggled under a different form of justice than most white folks have, a system that finds them guilty simply by the color of their skin. And it is not outside the realm of possibility that some Black folks will seek alternative justice when the prevailing system fails them over and over. The Movement for Black Lives has offered up a pretty comprehensive platform that could achieve the elusive justice that community seeks. In so doing, it will lift all communities. Helping them achieve their goals will go a long way in curbing the vigilante behavior demonstrated by Stafford and others.
The authorities should have known better than to house Roof in a location with Black inmates. It's almost as if someone wanted it to happen. I won't judge Stafford or the folks who support him; the blame lies with the system that creates and encourages this behavior.
Good point. The jailers had to know this guy was at risk and yet they put him in a vulnerable position. Many of the corrections people are sick and sadistic too.
I'm not sure if I believe punishment ever does much good in a society where some of the worst crooks and killers walk free. And I'm not talking about street thugs. Also, people with money have usually been able to escape the punishment put on poorer people. This guy is obviously a very sick, disturbed individual who has to bear having destroyed innocent lives. Seems to me like he was so alienated from his own humanity that he already was in a kind of punishment. Living in hate and demented cruelty cannot be a joy ride of a life.
Just brutalizing someone as punishment doesn't seem to help but to help them see what they did and understand it fully - when a person gains some kind of maturity to face their own evil and realizes the solemn impact of what they did, then maybe something can be accomplished.