Playground Vigilantes

In a comments thread over at Dean’s World, responding to a commenter who wrote that women should simply yell “Masher!” and hit the offender across the face if pressed against or fondled by a stranger:

That’s called vigilantism…So if you wish the people not to descend into tribalism and lawlessness, you would have to stop advocating ‘take care of it yourself’ for an official government law enforcement policy.


Oh for pity’s sake. Is it ‘vigilantism’ when a kid punches a bully in the nose?


Yes, of course.

In my school we seek to ensure that he does not have to do so.

I’m not making this up. There are people who really think this way.

(Cross-posted from GunPundit.)


  1. At my school the teachers looked the other way when bullies were doing their thing. I’ve never understood why, but I had to learn to deal with them myself.

  2. Vigilantism? You mean like when the government won’t defend your country’s borders so non-government employee citizens have to take on the job themselves? When I was growing up, I used to enjoy watching bullies do thier thing. It gave me just the excuse I needed to beat the hell out of them. Yeah, I know, that was bad. But you know, the time the three guys were harassing a weird girl at our church, I pretty much left no doubt in their minds that I was willing to be bad. I don’t care how strange she was, no one deserves to be treated like that. Funny how the definitions of good and bad seem to change over the years.

  3. (Copy and pasted from GunPundit.) Naftali said: Hi Rob, thanks for linking. Inter-blog activity is good for all involved. As I am the author of the quoted comment, I wanted to clarify my view a bit. Self Defense is a primary human necessity, and for this reason any man or woman must be willing when necessary to do it, and to do it decisively. Vigilantism is not a pejorative. However, it is perhaps the primary role of a Government to enforce Law and Order, simply so that the governed do not have to themselves. If they had to it would mean they would have that much less time and energy to devote to higher purposes such as, say, building stuff. Also, rule of law creates an environment where not only the strong survive. To the extent that the government is unable to meet this obligation, individual citizens must enforce the law themselves. No Government yet has been perfect in this regard and there is no reason to expect that to change. So vigilantism remains a human necessity; Of course you have to shoot the intruder until dead and punch bullies in the face. What I objected to in the comments is the suggestion that Government abdicate its law enforcement role, requiring its citizens to fend for themselves. Like a school that would allow bullies to run loose, in effect requiring other students to divert resources for their own self defense, when the school should have made the environment secure to the best of its abilities. In a school punching a bully should be encouraged. But allowing a bully to remain in the school is simply inefficient. Naftali