VIDEOS: Americans step up because the police aren’t there

One of the things criminals don’t understand is that, in a country governed by the rule of law, law enforcement doesn’t exist only to protect the law-abiding. It also exists to protect criminals. That’s because, in the absence of law enforcement, you get vigilantism, which is usually much more brutal than anything the police can dish out. Even worse, when vigilantism gets too out of control, the response is tyranny, with the tyrant promising to renew order.

Last week, a video made the rounds showing what happened to a man who entered a restaurant, waved a gun around (later shown to be fake), and demanded people’s valuables. That’s a common enough occurrence nowadays, but this one went viral when one of the customers, recognizing that a criminal pointing a gun at others poses an imminent threat to life, shot the man…again and again and again.

Most people agree that the initial shots were righteous, but there’s debate about the last shot when it appeared that the threat the robber presented had been neutralized. However, we really don’t know whether the robber was still a threat. After all, we’ve all seen videos of bad guys absorbing round after round and still killing or wounding people. (E.g., here.) The law allows citizens to keep defending themselves as long as necessary.

Two more videos of citizens taking action have emerged. One is wonderfully amusing because it shows Guitar Center employees in Phoenix unceremoniously throwing out a would-be thief:

I’m willing to bet that the Guitar Center tells its employees that, if someone steals, they should just let it happen and then call the police. That’s what all stores have done for some time now, after all. But what employees are figuring out is that, at a certain point, a store cannot absorb losses from chronic shoplifting. And when the store goes, so do their jobs. Once again, vigilantism begins to take over.

The second video shows people corralling a would-be purse snatcher. When he makes a break for freedom, a woman who had a gun trained on him shoots him in the back as he flees. Under the classic American standard, unless she can colorably claim that he still posed an imminent threat as he fled, she’s in trouble:

Regardless of the shot’s righteousness, this is another example of what happens when citizens feel they’re on their own. In Houston and El Paso, crime in Texas has run rampant, and the authorities are doing nothing to protect law-abiding citizens. So, again, citizens will protect themselves.

There’s no way this can end well. If the government doesn’t step up soon, we’ll start having the type of self-help we periodically see coming out of Africa or Latin America, where mobs beat suspected criminals to death or set them on fire. That’s a return to a pre-modern time that was bad enough the first time around.

Likewise, if crime continues to spiral with citizens left on their own, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone with totalitarian instincts will step in to “restore order.” At that point, you find yourself in the world Tacitus described: “They ravage, they slaughter, they seize by false pretenses, and all of this they hail as the construction of empire. And when in their wake nothing remains but a desert, they call that peace.”

As for me, I sometimes suspect that a top-down tyrannical peace is the real goal behind the Democrats’ sustained attack against the rule of law across America.

Image: Twitter screen grab.

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