In the wake of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict of innocence, the talking heads in the news media are screaming about the dangers of vigilante justice and how this portends the end of democracy. I note that these are usually the same suspects who, in 2020, were screaming to defund the police.
Here are some of my thoughts on the issue:
The first duty of the government is to protect and provide law and order for its citizens. When the government fails in this basic duty either because it is incapable (the police are not available, as in defunding) or because protection is being denied (police are standing down, as occurred in Kenosha), citizens have a perfect, inalienable right to protect themselves.
Moreover, citizens have a right to hire, by themselves or with their neighbors, their own armed protection. No one is required to subject themselves to the dangers of an angry mob, thugs, arsonists, or other threats, or to be prevented from their own pursuit by such threats. And it does not matter what alleged grievances “motivate” the mob! Grievances are for peaceful protests, legal political action and the courts, not for lawbreaking angry mob action on the streets.
In short, in the absence of law enforcement, there is no such thing as “vigilante justice.” In such cases armed self-defense may be the only justice available to restore a civil society — at least until politicians who encourage defunding the police or standing down during riots are tossed out of office.