Should you be able to take the law into your own hands?

Just in time for Fathers Day, a question about a father taking the law into his own hands. A young black girl is raped and killed by two racists in Mississippi and when the defendants are killed by the father at the court, a white lawyer defends him against the prejudice in the community. The KKK become involved, shots are exchanged and there are victims but the father is declared not guilty when the jury are asked that if the accused had been white, would they make a different decision.

You may recognize this as the plot of the stunning John Grisham book and subsequent movie, A Time To Kill. While the story may be fictional the overall question remains. What should happen if a father kills someone abusing his daughter? It is a relevant question as this is being played out in real life in Texas.

A father discovered a man sexually abusing his 5 yr old daughter and proceeded to beat the man to death. The death was not intentional and charges have not been laid as yet although the sheriff’s department is investigating the incident. The news has grabbed headlines in America and beyond with questions being asked about the amount of blame the father should be getting for his reaction.

In both the fictional and factual story, the reaction from the parent has been instinctive and understandable. A father’s love for his daughter is a very powerful thing but does that give the father the right to exact their version of justice on the attacker?

In the small community in Texas, the 2,000 residents believe that what happened was justified and that the father didn’t do anything that anyone else wouldn’t do. Just because most people would have reacted the same way, does that mean that no charges should be laid?

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  1. It’s easy to figure it out; how would you feel if you were on the receiving end of this approach? How would you feel if you or a loved one were beaten to death and the law just said “meh”?

    As someone once said, our legal system is the worst there is…except for all the other ones. It’s not perfect and it makes mistakes but it’s the best one, in fact the only one, that we have.

    Just think about all the stupid selfish decisions we all witness – and do – every day. If we all get to make our own personal decisions about how and when to enforce it

  2. I think that since there was a death, there needs to be an investigation and likely charges brought against the individual…however I don’t believe the act should be punishable by any means.

    But if events like these go uninvestagated with no concern for prosecution my fear is that it will become a defense in itself and used by criminals as a means to manipulate the law.

    If I was a parent who killed someone harming my child, I would fully anticipate that I could very well be spending time in jail for my actions but believe me, it would be well worth it and I wouldn’t blame “the system”. In fact I would probably feel quite bad for killing someone else and the guilt I might feel would be worsened if there were no repercussions.

    Breaking the law, even if justified is still breaking the law and needs to go through the process. You can’t have it both ways.