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Name: Rex Stetson
Occupation: Masked Avenger Type
Base of Operations: Washington, DC
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Friday, April 09, 2004

Meditations on the True Meaning of Easter...

Over at Hit & Run there is a description of an an unusual Easter celebration, involving a quasi-Passion play featuring the Easter Bunny, who is whipped and beaten a la Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ.


Artist's Conception of the Bunny-Scourging


Performers broke eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt and also portrayed a drunken man and a self-mutilating woman, said Jennifer Norelli-Burke, another parent who saw the show in Glassport, a community about 10 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

"It was very disturbing," Norelli-Burke said. "I could not believe what I saw. It wasn't anything I was expecting."

I think the point was to illustrate the "true meaning of Easter" and take that self-righteous bunny down a peg. Wipe that insipid smile off his face...

Like the famous scene in Mallrats where Jay and Silent Bob kick the Easter Bunny's ass due to a misunderstanding (in another case of life imitating art, this actually happened once.)


Vigilante reprisal against Easter Bunny, from Kevin Smith's Mallrats (1995)


Also, in Mallrats, one of the characters yells to the kids, "THERE IS NO EASTER BUNNY!!", just like in the real-life performance, described here.

I would love to have seen this performed live...It would sure boost my attendance if they did stuff like this at my church.

Of course, things could be tougher for the Easter Bunny- in New Zealand, for example- an overpopulation of rabbits has led to an annual Easter Bunny Hunt, where you can shoot as many bunnies as you can to win fabulous prizes!

How would you little crybaby kids like that?

Posted by Rex @ 11:49 AM

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Ohio gets something else that's really cool besides Cedar Point!

Ohio and the two regional delicacies it offers.

Effective today, Ohioans may now apply for concealed carry gun permits! They need only pay a $45 registration fee, provide a color photo, pass a criminal background check, and prove they have passed a 12-hour firearms safety course.

Those sound like very level-headed, reasonable regulations to me- that weigh the public safety concerns against people's right to defend themselves. The cops can't be everywhere at once. Why not level the playing field between the criminals ( notorious for their flagrant disregard of gun bans) and decent citizens willing to go through background checks and take a safety course. But then again, I wear a scary vigilante mask, so what do I know... ( See photo at upper left).

Kudos to Ohio for demonstrating some common sense in public policy! Here in DC we'd be lucky if we were allowed to own a gun just to keep in the house to use against intruders- which we can't legally- now we pretty much just have call 911 and hope they arrive in time.

I don't have stats to back this up right this sec, but my instinct tells me I have a better chance of being a victim of a violent street crime in DC that I do in Ohio. Yet essentially DC allows us to carry no weapons ( even non-lethal weapons such as Stun Guns or Mace).

More crime prevention strategies from the people who brought you the no-chase policy.

Luckily, there are some very noble cats out there challenging the DC handgun ban, who hope to roll it back at least to the "self defense in your home is not a jailable offense" level. It seems they figured out that DC has no state legislature, and is under Federal jurisdiction- under the authority of Congress, actually- which is supposedly bound by the Second Amendment. So the DC handgun ban is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, they just got the smack down by the court. Read about it here. I guess we need to actually be in a militia to own a gun, according to the judge, who claims that there was never an individual right to bear arms to begin with. So every gun owner in the country, throughout history, is violating the constitution ( save for those on state militia rolls? )

What's involved in organizing a militia, I wonder?

Posted by Rex @ 2:44 PM

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Guardian Criticizes Website "Vigilantes"



They gots vigilantes on the brain over there in England, I guess... And if this little item in The Guardian is any indication, they're agin' 'em!

Regardless, yet another of the ever-increasing private attempts to curb the activity of online sexual predators is being met with heavy criticism.

ChatNannies is a website that patrols online chatrooms looking for pedophiles. This is a similar (though in my opinion far inferior) model to the US-based site Perverted Justice, though while PJ seeks to publically humiliate the offenders ( which has the secondary effect of creating public pressure for law enforcement to "do something") ChatNannies, however, takes a softer approach, trying to keep the chatrooms safe by getting the pedophiles professional help and therapy. The site offers a confidential email service where paedophiles can ask for help, which states: "We do not judge you. But if you don't seek help, we will catch you ... its [sic] not your fault you feel this way ... but if you don't act you won't be the only one hurting."

On the one hand, many children's charities are understandably wary of a group that corresponds anonymously with pedophiles, and are condemning the group.

On the other hand, ChatNannies are being derided as "vigilantes" for butting their noses in where they don't belong, and of course the standard business about the possibility that their actions might lead to violence against the offenders.

On this one, I think I have to side with the children's charities. If these ChatNanny folks are what they seem ( and the whole "let us help you" thing isn't some elaborate front to disguise their real vigilante operation) they may be doing a tiny bit of good- getting a few creeps into therapy that otherwise wouldn't be can't hurt. But my spider-sense really starts tingling anytime someone uses this "disease" model of criminal behavior. Getting them into therapy anonymously? What the hell kind of vigilante is that? I guess, in the technical sense, there is some sort of "vigilance" occurring, but it seems like the ChatNannies are enabling these folks by protecting their anonymity rather than publicizing their identities ( if only by reporting them to the cops.) In fairness, the group claims that they are not vigilantes, and that they do report suspicious activity to the police. Read their full response to the Guardian article here.

Still, if the chat providers, or even the cops can't (or won't) do anything about this pretty serious problem, someone should. However flawed their approach, you can't fault concerned citizens for trying. But anything worth doing is worth doing right. Why stop halfway? ChatNannies would do much better to adopt the Perverted Justice model- which ( in addition to causing pedophiles to swear up and down they're going to therapy) actually leads to schoolteachers getting fired, to actual police investigations and criminal prosecutions!

And all without any of the violence those media types dislike when used on criminals.

Posted by Rex @ 2:47 PM

Irish Vigilantes vs. Rapists and Pedophiles!

Not if the Irish government can help it!

Artist's Conception of Irish Vigilante

The Irish Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has just unanimously rejected public demand for notification regarding convicted sex criminals (including pedophiles and rapists) who move into the neighborhood. The government cites fear of vigilante activity as the reason.

Now I realize that there has to be a balancing of everyone's rights and risks to the community, here. But sex criminals are notoriously hard to rehabilitate, yet they are usually released and rereleased after each offense, until they kill one of their victims). Doesn't it occur to the Irish government that the way to prevent popular uprising against lousy law enforcement and public safety would be to improve it? If they absolutely feel compelled to release these dangerous folks back into society, they could at least give the public some warning, the way we do here in the US with "Megan's Law" . If you're curious why it's named "Megan's Law" follow the link to find out. It upsets me too much to go into what happened to 7-year old Megan Kanka (and Polly Klass, and Christel Helmchen, and all the thousands of others).

You'd think that in lieu of actually protecting people by keeping these people off the streets, the government could at least alert them to potential dangers.

If the US experience with Megan's Law is any indication, the threat of vigilante reprisals against sex criminals is overblown. Probation, after all, the U.S. Supreme Court found, is itself a form of punishment in that it is supposed to have a deterrence factor. Indeed, expanding the scope of the law could make it a more effective deterrent.


Ah! But that would be being responsive to the safety concerns of your citizens, and we can't have that.

When weighing public safety against privacy, the Irish government prefers, apparently, to err on the side of protecting the sex criminals!

And that's the kind of public policy that leads to vigilantism.

"If you want something done right... do it yourself!"

Posted by Rex @ 11:29 AM

Monday, April 05, 2004

More UK Vigilantes!

I wonder why it is that so many vigilantes seem to hail from the UK...

It looks like some UK farmers are turning to vigilantism now, too:



Here is a story reported in the East Anglian Daily Times involving farmers who have been unable to get adequate police protection from "hare coursers"- gangsters who are into some unusual and violent practices (hare coursing is really hard to explain- just read the story).

it's the same old story:

FARMERS: "...if the police won't protect us, then we will do it ourselves."

POLICE: "In general terms, if anybody does that then they themselves are breaking the law. Even if they are not carrying out the violence themselves they are aiding and abetting it and therefore liable for arrest.

"Hare coursing is an issue and it is an offence which we do take seriously and we are aware of the farmers' views."


In other words, we're not going to do anything about it, and we won't let you, either. Keep in mind this is a country where you can't even shoot a burglar in self defense.

It's that kind of thinking that gets you the highest crime rate in the world.

It's the same kind of thinking that makes DC the murder capital of the US for years (total gun ban and the brilliant "no chase" policy). Similar policies have done wonders for Chicago as well- that city is this year's Murder Capital.

Strangely, however- the crime rate in Detroit, the one-time murder capital, has sharply dropped- coinciding with Michigan's adopting of "concealed carry" gun permits for citizens passing a background check. in 1997, Chicago government rejected similar legislation.

Hmm...

It looks like UK citizens want their guns, too, based on this interesting news item. The BBC Radio program Today held a contest to suggest a new law that would be sponsored and brought before parliament. The overwhelming winner was "Tony Martin's Law", named after the farmer who spent four years in jail for shooting a burglar in self defense:

"the organizers were obviously aghast when the winner, with 37 percent of the vote, was a law allowing homeowners to use "any means" to defend their property from intruders."

Unfortunately, the bill, while having great popular support was deemed "unworkable" due to its political incorrectness and was not sponsored. As Fox London Bureau Chief Scott Norvell obvserves:

...while a few listeners of Today wrote in to express horror that their compatriots could "endorse vigilantism," most nailed the real problem illustrated by the whole exercise. "Is it surprising that the public is disenchanted with politicians when they patronisingly treat clearly expressed majority democratic wishes like this?" one viewer wrote.


Some of my libertarian friends say "A black market is a free market existing in defiance of the government." I can't help but think that there is something similar going on with vigilantism... in the UK, at least.


Posted by Rex @ 5:00 PM

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