Tuesday, April 3, 2012

We Love/Hate Vigilantes

The Trevor Martin case and several reports of out of control cops have dominated both the mainstream and social media in the last few weeks. There is nothing that The Blog can add to those specific subjects that hasn't already been said.

But, it all has gotten me thinking about something that first got me thinking when I was a wee lad, not even out of junior high school. We, as a society, hate vigilantes and renegade cops in the real world. They fly in the face of every Constitutional right and every rule of law that we, as Americans, hold dear.

But, when it comes to entertainment.... WOW!!!!.... We love our ass kicking, "judge, jury and executioner," heroes and anti-heroes.

We cheer when "Dirty Harry" Callahan, Billy Jack, Murtaugh and Riggs, Jack Bauer, or "Walker: Texas Ranger," asks some punk if he "...feel{s} lucky," puts a bullet in a terrorist symp's thigh or generally kicks the living shit out of a perp, with total disregard for due process.

(One of The Blog's all time favorite "fuck the rules" movie moments was in the movie "Wanted: Dead or Alive" when Rutger Hauer shoves a grenade into the mouth of the terrorist mastermind played by KISS's Gene Simmons. As he delivers bad guy Gene to the authorities, Hauer says, "Fuck the reward!" and pulls the pin on the grenade. The outcome wasn't pretty, but it was satisfying!)

We love seeing the vein in the forehead of every police chief throb, when a TV or movie cop goes rogue. We boo and hiss when the chief demands the cop's badge and weapon. And, we cheer again, when the disarmed renegade goes after the bad guy, anyway, on his own time.

Our historical pop culture is filled with them. The Scarlet Pimpernel, El Zorro, The Lone Ranger and his grand-nephew, The Green Hornet, and that girl with the dragon tattoo, Lizbeth Salander.

And, let's not forget The Blog's all time favorite semi-psycho, one man police force. The vengeance driven billionaire playboy who dresses in black armor and a cape, armed with weapons that the military only dreams of...

The Batman!!!!!!

Why, oh why, do we all, even the bleedingest of hearts liberals, love these legally loose cannons? Why?

The answer is simple. The Blog understood it, even when he was a child.

In fiction, we, the reader / viewer, are first hand eyewitnesses to the crime. We don't need no stinking jury. We have seen, with our own eyes, the perpetrator's guilt. And, we relish swift justice, unencumbered by Miranda rights, Geneva Conventions or due process of the law.

But, here is the problem. In the real world, things aren't so cut and dry. In America, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That is one of the many things that makes our country great.

But the right-wing in America seem to have a difficult time distinguishing fact from fiction (i.e. Fox News or... I don't know... The Bible?) They hold as their heroes, Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. To me, one of the most disturbing moments in America's quest for justice and defense, post 9/11, was the week, during the Bush administration, when the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security met with the producers and writers of "24" an entertaining but, let's face it, a goddamned TV show, to discuss torture interrogation and detainment techniques. "24's" "ticking time bomb" scenario became the right-wing's default argument for dispensing with due process.

I have no real conclusion to this. I am just making observations and calling it as I see it. It's time to get back to the basics of the American justice system. The Batman can have his Joker. Beyond that, it's time for America to grow up and get back to the real world.

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