Vigilantism exists: we call it vandalism

Greg Neiman writes about the “actual participation in vigilante-style justice” in the west being pretty rare. “There’s so little support for citizen action here, that Red Deer can’t even keep afloat a chapter of the Guardian Angels.

Greg Neiman writes about the “actual participation in vigilante-style justice” in the west being pretty rare. “There’s so little support for citizen action here, that Red Deer can’t even keep afloat a chapter of the Guardian Angels.

“In Alberta, getting into a vehicle to chase down someone you believe has stolen your property, much less perhaps firing a shotgun in his general direction, is a rare occurrence.”

Plus much more that was said with regard to crime, and the development in dealing with crime from our early days of common law justice, as derived from our British heritage.

Nobody wants to see vigilante-style justice, or be the victim of such. Many people have been the targets of that kind of activity and prejudices arise because a particular person does not fit in the community according to some people’s thinking.

The problem with vigilantism is, that it does exist. It exists everywhere — in every city, community, and country — in the form of vandalism. When someone doesn’t like somebody for whatever reason, they get at them through vandalism.

And, if it gets too dicey for the person to exact punishment, they will send their kid in. For instance; taking a picture of your vehicle and license number, and then have the child find the vehicle, and knife the tires.

The Guardian Angels are a volunteer group is much like Citizens on Patrol. The difference is Guardian Angels do actual on-foot street patrols, where Citizens on Patrol drive around in vehicles, watching for illegal or questionable activity. Both, upon finding anything, contact the police.

The difference is with The Guardian Angels do martial arts training, first aid, and criminal code training. If they come across a crime in progress, Guardian Angels will hold the suspect for the police and become witnesses to the crime, for the police.

So, the question is, why do Guardian Angels do so much training just to be as citizens on patrol?

I can only answer for myself and that is: I have been both. I was a member of Citizens on Patrol in Blackfalds, and we did make a difference in crime there.

For example, if some young bucks came ripping into town in their high-powered machines and decided they were going to tear up our streets, we would get onto them and just follow them around and watch.

It would not take long until they got tired of being watched and leave town. The other was to build a good rapport with the young people of the town. Be their friends, their mentors, help them in their situations, and whatever problems they have. But, always encourage them to make the right decision, based on the right way to live, and doing to others that which you would like done to you.

It pays dividends in ways you cannot know. We had a curfew bylaw in Blackfalds, and we would help the kids keep their curfew and make sure they got home safe. There were very few times that we actually had to get the police involved, but when we did they were always a wealth of help.

As a Guardian Angel for Red Deer, I am involved because I want to see this same level of patrolling done here, and we take the level of training we do for self preservation, and to help those in need.

C.W. Wallace

Red Deer

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