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					                                                              West Coast Publishing
                                                       2009 NFL March-April LD—Vigilantism



                                                               Table of Contents


Table of Contents .......................................................................................................................... 1
Topic Essay – Vigilantism ............................................................................................................ 2
Definitions ...................................................................................................................................... 8
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................ 10
Affirmative Case ......................................................................................................................... 12
   Vigilantism Prevents Tyranny ................................................................................................................................. 15
   Vigilantism is Just ................................................................................................................................................... 16
   Vigilantism Upholds Democracy/Rule of Law ........................................................................................................ 17
   Vigilantism is Justified for Transitional States ........................................................................................................ 18
   Vigilantism Prevents Terrorism ............................................................................................................................... 19
   Vigilantism upholds Due Process ............................................................................................................................ 20
   Vigilantism Upholds Democracy............................................................................................................................. 21
   Vigilantism is Key to CMR ..................................................................................................................................... 22
   CMR Is Important to US National Security ............................................................................................................. 23
Negative Case .............................................................................................................................. 24
   The 2nd Amendment Doesn‘t Justify/Vigilantism Is Racist ..................................................................................... 27
   Vigilantism Is Reactionary and Unruly Violence .................................................................................................... 28
   Border Vigilantism is Racist and Violent ................................................................................................................ 29
   Vigilante groups are motivated by racist attitudes and beliefs ................................................................................ 30
   Vigilantism is a tool of oppression .......................................................................................................................... 31
   Vigilantism results in human rights abuses ............................................................................................................. 32
   Vigilantism violates Due Process ............................................................................................................................ 33




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                                      Topic Essay – Vigilantism
Resolved: Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.

Jonathan Dentler
I. Introduction

This topic revolves around whether or not private citizens or groups of private citizens are justified in attempting to
enforce laws where the government has failed to do so. However, the term ‗vigilante‘ is somewhat nebulous, and
definitions about over what exactly it is vigilantes do that makes them vigilantes. "Vigilante justice" is sometimes
spurred on by the perception that criminal punishment is insufficient or nonexistent to the crime. Some people see
their governments as ineffective in enforcing the law; thus, such individuals fulfill the like-minded wishes of the
community. In other instances, a person may choose a role of vigilante as a result of personal experience as opposed
to a social demand. Most significantly, some vigilantes specifically target authoritarian entities such as government.
Persons seen as escaping from the law, or "above the law" are sometimes the targets of vigilantism. It may target
persons or organizations involved in illegal activities in general or it may be aimed against a specific group or type
of activity, e.g. police corruption. Other times, governmental corruption is the prime target of vigilante freedom
fighters. Vigilante behavior may differ in degree of violence. In some cases vigilantes may assault targets verbally,
terrorize victims, perform inhumane acts, or may exhibit no violence at all, choosing other means of pressuring the
target. In general, for the purposes of this topic paper, we may consider anyone who defies government and
institution to further justice to be a vigilante. Thus, violence is not a necessary criterion. However, this is debatable
and will be discussed in the affirmative and negative strategy sections, as well as the definitions section.


II. Vigilantism and the Border

A. Conceptual overview

Vigilantism on the border between the United States and Mexico has been a significant issue ever since the
creation of the current border after the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-
American war in 1848. That treaty ceded Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California to the United States.
However, the end of the war did not end violence between Anglo-American settlers, who were indoctrinated
with the beliefs of manifest destiny, and the new Mexican-Americans. Vigilantism arose at first as an attempt to
provide law where traditional institutions had yet to crystallize. Modern border vigilantism, however, has arisen
as an attempt to deter and prevent illegal immigration where vigilantes feel the government is not doing enough.
Border vigilantism has continued well into the late twentieth century. In 1972, Kenneth Adami willfully killed
five undocumented Mexican immigrants who had sought shelter from freezing temperatures in his abandoned
hunting shack. In El Paso, Texas during the early 1990s, the United States Border Patrol took action to curb
undocumented immigration by initiating "Operation Hold the Line" and forming a twenty-four hour blockade
along the Rio Grande. Meanwhile, in California, concerned citizens participated in the "Light Up the Border"
campaign, in which citizens would form a line with their cars and shine their lights towards the border. Citizen
activists in California also formed the "Airport Posse" in which citizens patrolled the airports for "suspicious"
people. President Clinton responded to the growing concerns in California by instituting a new border policy
called "Operation Gatekeeper," resulting in an increase in the resources and number of United States Border
Patrol agents in San Diego, as well as the construction of a ten foot wall covered in lights along fourteen miles of
the border. Subsequent border-control initiatives soon followed in the form of "Operation Safeguard" in
Nogales, Arizona and "Operation Rio Grande" in McAllen and Laredo, Texas. After the passage of NAFTA
(North American Free Trade Act), Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant
Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), which focused on " restoring credibility to the U.S. system of enforcement
against illegal migration, and setting priorities for legal immigration that are in accord with the national interest."
With regards to immigration, the national interest involved maintaining Mexico's status as an attractive trading
partner. Hence, the immigration policy had to assure that Mexico would not lose its comparative advantage in
cheap labor by means of undocumented Mexicans immigrating to the United States. Thus, the intensified border
control policies of IIRIRA and the recent commitment by President Bush to maintain strong border control were
essential to protect this national interest. As a result of the more intensified border controls in urban areas,

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undocumented immigrants diverted their routes through the vast desert land and ranches of southern Arizona,
causing hundreds of deaths each year from exposure, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. Reported deaths of
undocumented immigrants in the Arizona border region rose from approximately twenty in 1998 to almost sixty
by June 2000. Overall, it is estimated that 500 Mexicans died trying to cross the border in 2005. However,
many deaths go unreported as the bodies decompose rapidly in the heat of the desert. This shift of illegal
immigration from more patrolled urban areas to rural areas has also led to an increase in vigilantism, as ranchers
take the law into their own hands. This portion of the topic will almost certainly be key negative ground,
because the vigilante groups are often (covertly if not overtly) racist and have often taken violent actions against
illegal immigrants. In 2000, the largest vigilante group was ―Ranch Rescue‖. The organization has diminished
recently, however, since its leaders Casey Nethercott and Jack Foote were successfully sued by Salvadorian
migrants who they had illegally detained and assaulted. The largest vigilante group currently is the Minutemen
Citizen Defense Corps. As a result of bad press coverage for the group and the vigilante movement in general,
the Minutemen have recently adopted no-physical contact, as well as background check policies. Nevertheless,
violence continues on the border as a result of vigilantism. Additionally, MCDC leaders retain ties to more
militant and racist groups, it has been infiltrated by members of the Aryan brotherhood, it‘s website includes
links to more overtly hate-oriented websites, and recorded statements by MCDC members are overtly racist in
nature.

B. Implications for Strategy and the Resolution

This portion of the topic probably benefits the negative the most, although there are several arguments that
affirmatives can make. The negative will claim this portion of the topic as a perfect example as to why the law is
too important to be left to private citizens. Vigilantism along the border has been violent and has strong ties to
racism, xenophobia and Nativism. This opens affirmatives up to all sorts of critiques. Negatives should impact
these racism arguments with the Berube evidence. Racism justifies the worst atrocities in history, including the
holocaust and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In response, affirmatives should attempt to hold up
some border vigilante groups that put forth a veneer of due process and attempt to shed the reputation of racism.
The MDMC has put a lot of effort into a public relations campaign and claims to renounce violence and race-based
policies. Additionally, there is some evidence that terrorists could sneak nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons,
including ―dirty‖ radiological bombs over the border, with which they could attack the United States. Since the
border is indeed extremely porous, it is a somewhat logical argument that supplementary vigilantes are necessary to
secure the border against this terrorist threat. The other main argument of the border vigilantes (other than race-
based ones that you should stay away from) is that they are upholding the rule of law, which is key to democracy
and a healthy state. Of course, in reality, there are many laws that are broken regularly, such as speeding laws, and
we don‘t see the nation collapsing. However, there it is, that is the argument for border vigilantism. The debate
over whether or not illegal immigration is good or bad is actually somewhat irrelevant to the debate. Vigilantes
claim to capture thousands of illegal immigrants every year, although that number is disputed by law enforcement
agencies. Aside from that number, however, it is certain that vigilantism does not deter illegal immigration-
millions of illegal immigrants pass into the United States every year. Even those that are caught by patrols most
often simply cross again once they are back on the southern side. Therefore, vigilantism has now appreciable
impact on illegal immigration, other than making it a more violent process.


III. Transitional States

A. Conceptual Overview

Another topic area that is sure to be discussed in many debates is so-called ―Transitional States‖. These are nations-
states where the government has limited to no control over all or part of the national territory. For obvious reasons,
such geographical areas are perfect breeding grounds for vigilante organizations. Some examples of such
transitional areas are Iraq, Afghanistan, Southern Nigeria, parts of Sudan, the Palestinian territories, parts of Central
Asia, Brazil, Columbia and many others. In all these cases, a transition towards democracy or civilian rule
inaugurated a rapid increase in crime. For example, Argentina began its transitional period in 1983 and crime
started rising sharply within the next decade. According to the Argentinean National Ministry of Justice, Security
and Human Rights, in the Province of Buenos Aires registered crimes rose from 123,537 in 1990 to 170,726 in 1996
and then 300,470 in 2001. Murders in Buenos Aires rose from 1114 in 1990 to 1160 in 1996 and to 1632 in 2001.
In Brazil, transition to democratic rule began with the 1985 indirect election of a civilian president. In both Rio de
Janeiro and Sao Paulo, there was a threefold increase in homicides from 1980 to 1994. According to anthropologist
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and researcher on urban violence, Alba Zaluar, from 1983 to 1990, the homicide rate in Rio de Janeiro soared from
23 deaths per 100,000 residents to 63.03 deaths per 100,000 residents. Nigeria's experience in its first three years of
transitional democracy followed a comparable trend. In spite of the government's promises to tackle crime, the rate
of armed robbery, political assassinations, ethno-religious killings, and other violent crimes remained extremely
high. In Russia, the total number of registered crimes has increased steadily. Figures for reported crimes hovered
around 1.2 million per year in 1987 and 1988 and reached 3 million by 1999. Homicides over the same period
soared from approximately 10,000 to over 30,000 by the late 1990s. Unsurprisingly, this spike in crime rates
incentivizes vigilantism. In fact, responses to the ―justice vacuum‖ are varied. Often, the wealthy will hire
privatized police to maintain order. To poorer sections of transitional societies, vigilantism is often a more attractive
and affordable option. However, vigilante groups that rise up in response to rampant crime often take on the
dimensions of death squads more than observers of due process. In Columbia, Brazil, Nigeria and elsewhere, major
vigilante groups commit summary executions and other human rights violations. Two Nigerian vigilante groups,
both made up of poorer sections of society, round up suspected criminals and are said to summarily execute them,
though they deny these allegations. At the same time, the populations in these areas often have no recourse if they
want to be protected from crime and other violent activities. Additionally, even in areas where there is a significant
government presence, corruption is often rampant. Again, this incentivizes vigilantism, directed toward the
government itself. In these situations, vigilantism may in fact be the best (and perhaps only) means for assuring the
rule of law.

B. Implications for Strategy and the Resolution

For affirmatives researching rule of law type arguments, this may be the best place in the literature to start. In
transitional states, civilians, especially socially disadvantaged civilians, often have no recourse but vigilantism if
they are to protect their lives and property. In certain cases, vigilantes have even been somewhat effective in
suppressing crime rates. Moreover, due to the nature of transitional states, affirmatives can make arguments tying
vigilantism to democratization and civilian rule, along with all the attendant advantages. States that are transitioning
from totalitarianism to democracy, or from military rule to civilian rule often have a domestic security vacuum in
which crime can flourish. As the affirmative, you can make the argument that vigilantism is a necessary part of this
transition. The impacts are numerous and large. Authors have written that global democratic consolidation is key to
preventing war, because democracies do not go to war with one another. Their governments are more accountable
for aggressive actions taken, and they are less likely to ethnically cleanse their populations because they practice
pluralism. Pluralism is a practice of government whereby all groups and interests in society have a voice in the
government. Civil-military relations are essential to preventing war and coups. The affirmative should make the
argument that if vigilantism did not stabilize crime rates, there could be a popular demand in transitioning countries
for a return to military rule. Coups lead to war and militarization, along with destabilization. Pakistan is a country
in which the consequences of a coup could be particularly devastating, considering the presence of nuclear weapons,
Islamic extremists, and tensions with India, which also has nuclear weapons. On the negative, you have several
responses to these affirmative arguments. First, I have included fairly good evidence which disputes whether or not
vigilantism, even in so-called transitional states, actually upholds the rule of law. Often, for example in Nigeria,
vigilante groups completely ignore due process, summarily rounding up and executing anyone suspected of criminal
activity. Thus, vigilante groups in transitioning countries may look more like death squads than deliverers of justice.
This charge has obvious ramifications for affirmative arguments about democracy, civil-military relations, and the
rule of law. Massive human rights violations, other than being an impact in itself, tend to destabilize countries,
which mean that if you win that vigilante groups are basically death squads, then you also link turn many affirmative
cases. You could also potentially impact turn democracy, using arguments that global democratic consolidation
cements a neo-liberal system of oppression. However, I don‘t recommend this strategy, since the affirmative isn‘t
necessarily saying democracy good so much as they are saying that failed transitions to democracy are bad.




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IV. Strategy on the Affirmative

―What gives you the right? What‘s the difference between you and me?‖
―I‘m not wearing hockey pants.‖
-Batman, Dark Knight

A. Laying out the Affirmative Burden

The affirmative is definitely the harder side of this debate. Unless you are extremely confident about your
affirmative case, if you find yourself in an elimination round I would suggest that you flip negative. That said, there
are several strategies you can engage in and arguments you can deploy that will make being on the affirmative much
easier. First, you should define vigilante as ―anyone who defies government and institution to further justice can be
considered a vigilante, and thus violence is not a necessary criterion‖. This steals away some key negative ground.
Negatives will try to pin you to a definition of vigilantism that includes violence. If you dispute this, then you can
argue that vigilantism can be used in cases where the government has failed to enforce the laws in order to uphold
the rule of law without using violence. Because vigilantism CAN be used to uphold justice without being violent,
you uphold the affirmative burden of showing that vigilantism is just. You should essentially spike out of any
negative contentions that use examples of vigilantism that employs violence. If you are debating on a cirquit where
this is acceptable, you could even construct your case to prove that a certain instance (a plan) of vigilantism is just.
Accordingly, you would prove the resolution true. For example, after stating your advocacy and criterion, you could
state that your advocacy for the round is that ―In transitional states where the government will not or cannot enforce
the laws, non-violent civilian vigilante watch patrols are justified. If I win that this is the case, then I prove the
resolution true and uphold the affirmative burden.‖ This is just one example, but the utility of doing something like
this is that you can shift the grounds of the debate in a direction that is favorable to yourself. (It is easier to defend
that non-violent vigilantism in transitional states is justified than it is to defend that racist and violent vigilantism on
the U.S.-Mexico border is.) You can theoretically defend affirming through a plan in several ways. First, you
should argue that there is a resolution and structural bias toward the negative. On this resolution, it is much easier to
be negative than it is to be affirmative. If you were forced to defend that all forms of vigilantism were just, then you
would have to defend blatant racism, which would not only be despicable, but very difficult as well. Additionally,
in Lincoln-Douglass debate, the negative has a strategic side bias. The negative has a six minute last rebuttal which
the affirmative gets only three minutes to answer. Moreover, you can defend having a plan by invoking in-depth
education. We come to debate in order to educate ourselves and it is better to be educated in-depth about a specific
form of vigilantism than to have broad but shallow education about vigilantism in general. You don‘t have to have a
plan and my understanding is that on many circuits it would simply not be strategic. However, if you can, or even if
you can just pare down the definition of vigilantism so that you don‘t have to defend racist or violent vigilantism,
then that is a great start towards winning on the affirmative.

B. Utilitarianism Strategy

From my reading of the literature, this is most promising value-criterion-contention combination for the affirmative
on this topic. From the sections on border vigilantism and transitional states, you already know that there are several
scenarios for large-scale instability without vigilantism. Without vigilantism on the large and porous U.S.-Mexico
border for instance, it is possible that terrorists could cross with radiological dirty bombs. The response by the
United States could be potentially devastating as well, if September 11 th is any indicator. This scenario is somewhat
hype driven, but the impacts are good, which is kind of what utilitarianism in debate is all about. You should argue
that life is a prerequisite to whatever value the negative is upholding. The Bauman evidence is good for this. If you
are focusing more on using the vigilante literature about transitional states, then you should use the democracy and
civil-military relations evidence. Transitional states have security vacuums which must be filled by vigilantism. In
the absence of vigilantism, whatever sense of justice there is in these countries would collapse, prompting a popular
return to military or totalitarian rule. Military coups are massively destabilizing, and in the case of Pakistan, could
lead to nuclear war. Again, the potential for a utilitarian strategy here is enormous. Moreover, the democracy
scenario is good offense for hedging against soft-left strategies that criticize a utilitarian calculus. With a return to
totalitarianism, many or all rights would be forfeit, and human dignity would be sacrificed to the omnipresence of
the state.




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C. Traditional Rule of Law Strategy

This is a more difficult strategy for the affirmative to undertake, but yields its own benefits. If you are in a more
traditional local circuit that frowns on plans and impact calculus focused debate, then this strategy may be right for
you, as it is centered around what would traditionally be considered the heart of the topic. The strategy basically
says that vigilantism is necessary for upholding the rule of law, because it is the only substitute in cases where the
government cannot or will not act. Even though it may not be codified by the greater legislative body (or whatever
form of governance exists outside) vigilantism performs the same function as government, which is to keep law and
order, and prevent anarchy. There are plenty of good historical examples you can use for this type of a strategy. For
example, in 18th century France, King Louis the sixteenth convened a congress of the three classes of French society
to create new laws and raise new taxes to finance the French government. However, when the convention started to
make new laws that went against the interests of the King and portions of the privileged echelons of French society,
the King promptly disbanded the convention. This played a large role in spurring the French Revolution, which
eventually dethroned and executed the King. One could argue that the revolutionaries were in fact also vigilantes, in
that they attempted to uphold the laws of the land (those formed by the convention) when the acting government
(that of the King) failed to enforce them. Admittedly, the French Revolution evolved down a road that was
somewhat bloody and totalitarian. Nevertheless, the revolution is perceived by many to be a key episode in the
Western transition away from monarchy towards enlightenment values of merit, freedom, equality, and democracy.
One could also argue that the colonial revolutionaries during the American Revolution were vigilantes, since they
were going above and around the British government in order to uphold rights they perceived that they had under
British common law (no taxation without representation). If you decide to use these examples with this kind of a
strategy, you should define vigilante as ―a person who ignores due process of law and enacts their own form of
justice in response to a perception of insufficient response by the authorities‖. Thus, the injustice or lack of
enforcement need only be perceived. This skirts the issue of whether or not the revolutionaries were indeed on the
right side of the legal debate over British common law. The impacts to these examples are tyranny. Sometimes the
government/state abuses rights and fails to uphold the laws or the spirit of the laws that it was at first formed to
ensure and protect. The impacts to this are pretty large- over the last century, totalitarian governments have killed
many more people that all wars of the last century combined. Using this strategy is also an easy way to connect
back to Justice, if you want that to be your value. Totalitarian governments are anything but just. You can also use
this straegy to say that laws have got to be upheld one way or another, and if they government is not going to do it,
then private citizens have to. This is one of the main arguments put forward by the MCDC. The negative will come
back and argue that lack of enforcement is better than a justice system without due process. To counter this
argument, I have included evidence in the file which points to examples where vigilantism and due process have
existed side by side. The Minutemen Civil Defense Corps holds that they practice due process and don‘t abuse their
victims, and they have instituted the no physical contact and background check policies. I also cut a legal review
about the history of vigilantism in North American mining communities. Although it was by no means perfect (our
current justice system isn‘t either) these mining communities for the most part practiced vigilante justice, not mob
justice. They knew the difference between due process and summary punishment, and consciously strove for the
former. You should use this evidence as defense against negative arguments about due process.


V. Strategy on the Negative

A. Resetting the Ground for the Debate

Suffice to say, if you find yourself in an elimination round- flip negative. From my standpoint having read a fair
amount of the literature, this is a very negative-biased topic. Additionally, you will have the negative time skew
advantage on your side. That said, you may want to reset the grounds of the debate by using a different set of
definitions for terms in the resolution than those used by the affirmative. Firstly, you should force the affirmative to
defend that vigilantism must involve the use or threat of force. To do this, you should use the Kopitsky evidence in
the definitions section. The evidence says that historically, vigilantism has involved the use of force by one group of
people against another group or an individual who is perceived to be violating the norms of the first group. This
means that this should be the accepted definition of vigilantism for the round because it is historically based. This
also means that it is the definition that will appear most frequently in the literature. Therefore, it is the most
predictable definition. More predictable definitions should be preferred over less predictable definitions because
then there is a greater chance that both sides will have researched areas of the topic that allow them to have
arguments that clash during the debate. Clash makes means that the debate is fairer because both sides are prepared.
Additionally, clash creates better education, because inevitably a synthesis between the two sides will occur in the
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rebuttals, and we will have a deeper look into the issues than if the two sides are just talking at one another but not
getting anywhere. Winning that this should be the accepted definition of vigilantism is strategic for the negative
because it means that the affirmative will have to win that violent vigilantism is justified. If they don‘t, then you
prove the resolution untrue, and you win. Violence is something that is generally considered bad, therefore the
negative is already on strategic footing at the beginning of the debate. I have founded the following strategies
around showing why vigilantism is inherently violent, and therefore unjust. You may also want to use one of the
definitions of justice in the definitions section that meshes with whatever your criterion is. For the due process case,
I used a definition of justice that is something like ―fitting within standards and criteria‖, which sounds very much
like due process. If you want to focus more on a deontological strategy, you should choose a definition of justice
which is something like ―unconditional support for human dignity‖.

B. Due Process Strategy

One strategy on the negative that can mesh together most of the offensive arguments into one coherent
value/criterion is due process. Vigilantism violates due process because individuals and groups take the law into
their own hands without following the set of procedures that characterize due process. We have a system of due
process because it maximizes the rights of defendants as well as the application of justice. All of the examples
where vigilantism has been racist (lynch mobs, border vigilantism) are evidence of what happens when we allow
people to apply justice without worrying about due process. Additionally, the massive human rights abuses
perpetrated by vigilante groups in transitional states are examples where due process has failed. You should take a
deontological-type impact calculus, leveraging the impacts to racism and genocide as a result of human rights
abuses. We must protect dignity at all costs, otherwise any atrocity, including the impact scenarios of the
affirmative become possible. This means that you subsume the other side‘s impacts. You should also remember to
leverage your evidence about vigilantism‘s lack of due process against their rule of law arguments. Fundamentally,
all the big impacts on the affirmative side of the debate rest upon vigilantism actually upholding stability. Your due
process arguments hold that vigilantism does not bring stability. Human rights abuses are incredibly destabilizing,
which means that any transition away from totalitarianism is threatened, and the military will feel justified in using a
coup to regain power, in order to contain the rampant violence that vigilantism can represent in some transitional
states. Therefore, not only can you spin your impacts to subsume their utilitarianism type impacts, you can also link
turn their contentions by showing that vigilantism destabilizes countries and does not uphold the rule of law.




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                                                  Definitions
A vigilante is a person who ignores due process of law and enacts their own form of justice in response to a
perception of insufficient response by the authorities
Wikipedia

Anyone who defies government and institution to further justice can be considered a vigilante, and thus violence is
not a necessary criterion.
wikipedia

Vigilantism must use force or the threat of force. It must be directed against real or perceived transgressions of the
law.
Karen S. Kopitsky, J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, May. M.A., Pittsburgh State University,
Teaching, 2003. B.A., Rhodes College, Spanish and Latin American Studies, ―How the Scope of States' Citizen's
Arrest Statutes Affects the Activity Level of Vigilante Groups on the U.S.-Mexico Border‖ The Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, 2008
   Before considering the role vigilante movements have historically played in the United States, it is important
   to understand what the term vigilante means. Ironically, the term vigilante has its roots in the Spanish
   language. Vigilantism is defined as a social movement giving rise to premeditated acts of force - or
   threatened force - by autonomous citizens. It arises as a reaction to the transgression of institutionalized
   norms by individuals or groups - or to their potential or imputed transgression. Such acts are focussed [sic]
   upon crime control and/or social control and aim to offer assurances (or "guarantees") of security both to
   participants and to other members of a given established order. Throughout the history of vigilantism in the
   United States, the focus of the vigilantes' aggression has ebbed and flowed between different social groups,
   depending on the relevant social and political issues of the time. While the current focus of the vigilante
   movement is on undocumented immigrants, the movement has its roots in the history of the original thirteen
   colonies.

Dictionary.com
vig·i·lan·te
–noun
1. a member of a vigilance committee.
2. any person who takes the law into his or her own hands, as by avenging a crime.
–adjective
3. done violently and summarily, without recourse to lawful procedures: vigilante justice.

Discussion: The affirmative should try to pare down the definition of vigilantism as much as possible so that you
don‘t have to defend morally indefensible forms of vigilantism, such as lynching or border vigilantism. That means
that you should use the definitions of vigilantism which hold that it is simply acting outside of the law in order to
preserve justice. The negative should try to hold the affirmative to defending all forms of vigilantism including
those that use violence. This will make it much easier to prove that vigilantism is not just.

Dictionary.com
jus·ti·fy -fied, -fy·ing.
–verb (used with object)
1.       to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right: The end does not always justify the means.
2.       to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded: Don't try to justify his rudeness.
3.       Theology. to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit.
–verb (used without object)
4.       Law.
a.       to show a satisfactory reason or excuse for something done.
b.       to qualify as bail or surety.




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American Heritage Dictionary
jus·ti·fy v. jus·ti·fied, jus·ti·fy·ing, jus·ti·fies

  1. To demonstrate or prove to be just, right, or valid: justified each budgetary expense as necessary; anger that is
justified by the circumstances.
  2. To declare free of blame; absolve.
  3. To free (a human) of the guilt and penalty attached to grievous sin. Used of God.
  4. Law
       1. To demonstrate sufficient legal reason for (an action taken).
       2. To prove to be qualified as a bondsman.

You may want to define justice differently depending on your criterion. For example, in the negative case I used the
definition of justify from dictionary.com that says that it is ―in accordance with standards‖. This is because the
criterion in the negative case in this file is due process (executing justice in accordance with standards/laws).


Dictionary.com
en·force Audio Help /ɛnˈfɔrs, -ˈfoʊrs/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[en-fawrs, -fohrs]
Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–verb (used with object), -forced, -forc·ing.
1.       to put or keep in force; compel obedience to: to enforce a rule; Traffic laws will be strictly enforced.
2.       to obtain (payment, obedience, etc.) by force or compulsion.
3.       to impose (a course of action) upon a person: The doctor enforced a strict dietary regimen.
4.       to support (a demand, claim, etc.) by force: to enforce one's rights as a citizen.
5.       to impress or urge (an argument, contention, etc.) forcibly; lay stress upon: He enforced his argument by
adding details.




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                                                Bibliography
Karen S. Kopitsky, J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, May. M.A., Pittsburgh State University,
Teaching, 2003. B.A., Rhodes College, Spanish and Latin American Studies, ―How the Scope of States' Citizen's
Arrest Statutes Affects the Activity Level of Vigilante Groups on the U.S.-Mexico Border‖ The Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, 2008

        Kopitsky is a J.D. candidate at the University of Iowa College of Law. She has written extensively on
        border vigilantism. This particular piece is about the correlation between state citizen rights statues and
        border vigilantism. In short, she finds that the broader the scope of citizen arrest statutes, the more border
        vigilantism occurs. She performs a comparative study of the extent of border vigilantism in California,
        New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, as well as the scope of those states citizen arrest statues. Arizona, with
        the broadest citizen arrest statutes, also has the most border vigilantism. Vigilante group‘s main legal
        justification is citizen‘s arrest statutes. She concludes that border vigilantism is motivated by racism and
        violates human rights and recommends that states contract the scope of legal citizen arrests in order to
        contain the vigilante movement.

Barndt, Joseph, Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America, p. 155-56, 1991

        Barndt doesn‘t have the best credentials- he is a former debate coach. Nevertheless, he makes a good
        argument. Basically, Barndt says that we must reject every instance of racism, because it is the root cause
        of much of the violence in the world, and inherently morally indefensible.

Andrea McDowell, Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School. B.A. 1980 Yale College; Ph.D. 1987 University of
Pennsylvania; J.D. 1998 Yale Law School. ―Criminal Law Beyond the State: Popular Trials on the Frontier‖
Brigham Young University Law Review. 2007

        McDowell has performed a historical inquiry into vigilantism and extra-legal justice in the United States.
        The most relevant portion for our proposes and the resolution is the section on vigilantism in 19 th century
        mining communities. For these communities, there was often no recourse but vigilantism if justice was to
        be served, as they were too far away to feasibly extradite criminals to the nearest traditional justice system.
        McDowell concludes that many of these vigilante trials did in fact aspire to due process. However, due
        process was not always achieved, sometimes to disastrous effects. There is ample evidence in her work for
        both the affirmative and the negative.

PHILIP C. AKA, Associate Professor of Political Science, Chicago State University; Vice Chair, ABA Committee
on International Human Rights. ―Nigeria Since May 1999: Understanding the Paradox of Civil Rule and Human
Rights Violations Under President Olusegun Obasanjo‖ San Diego International Law Journal. 2003

        This is one of the main authors that I cut for evidence about vigilantism in transitional states. However,
        there is a lot more out there and this should just be a starting point for you, especially when constructing
        your affirmative cases. Aka‘s actual article talks about vigilantism in the context of how human rights
        organizations should deal with human rights abuses performed by vigilante groups in transitional states. It
        is not a fully straw-person argument, however. While giving recommendations to human rights
        organizations on how to minimize the effects of vigilante groups, he also understands and acknowledges the
        necessity of vigilante groups in communities affected by rampant crime where the government will not or
        cannot act. Once again, this is not a clear cut issue- there is evidence out there for both affirmatives and
        negatives.

Veronica J. Joice. ―A Restraining Order and a Handgun: North Carolina's Attempt to "Empower" Victims of
Domestic Violence‖ Howard University Law Journal. 2006

        This article is about whether or not battered women have a right to vigilantism in protecting themselves
        from their abusers. North Carolina issues victims of domestic violence firearms for self-protection.
        However, the line between perfect self-protection and homicide vigilantism is a fine one, and it is this line
        that the article explores. Courts around the country have again and again affirmed the right to self-defense
        but condemned vigilantism.
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Michael J. Frank is a judge advocate in the U.S. Army assigned to the special prosecutions section of Multi-National
Force-Iraq in Baghdad. JUSTICE FOR IRAQ, JUSTICE FOR ALL, Oklahoma Law Review, 2004

        Frank writes about vigilantism in Iraq, which is a perfect example of a transitional state. He advocates for a
        greater U.S. presence in order to disincentivize vigilantism. He concludes that vigilantism, although
        understandable in the absence of government protection, is inimical to democracy and stability. This is a
        great place for negatives to cut answers to affirmative rule of law/ transitional state contentions.

James Cavallaro is Clinical Director, Human Rights Program, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, Mohammad-
Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Associate Director, Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict
Research, ―Public Enemy Number Two?: Rising Crime and Human Rights Advocacy in Transitional Societies‖ The
Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2005

        Cavalaro and Mohamedou work for Harbard and have written extensively from political legal perspectives
        respectively on transitional states in relation to crime and punishment. They believe that crime is one of the
        main issues facing transitional societies around the globe. They show how in a transition from military or
        totalitarian rule to democratic civilian rule, there is a skyrocketing in crime. This is a good place for
        affirmatives to cut evidence for stability strategy cases.

Christopher J. Walker is a Law Clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; J.D.,
Stanford Law School (2006); M.P.P., Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (2006). ―Vigilantism and
Comprehensive Immigration Reform‖ Harvard Latino Law Review, 2007.

        Walker works for the Ninth Circuit federal court and has worked for Harvard‘s Kennedy school of
        government. He has written extensively about border vigilantism. He is a strong advocate of
        comprehensive immigration reform, and is highly critical of border vigilantism, although he acknowledges
        the arguments for vigilantism on the border. Thus, his articles include affirmative arguments, although they
        mostly go negative.

R.J Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science @ U of Hawaii, 1994 Death by Government

        Rummel has written about the comparative benefits of a democratic system of government to authoritarian
        or totalitarian governments. His historical inquiry into the matter reveals that totalitarian governments may
        be the worst thing to ever happen to humanity. They have killed more people than all wars combined.

Mohan Malik, Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Fall 2003, Asian Affairs, an American
Review

        Malik writes about the necessity for a good balance of power between the civilian and military branches of
        government. When the civilian branch of government becomes too powerful, it disrupts military operations
        and can lead to adventurism. When the military grows to powerful, it can lead to coups and militarism.

Todd Sechser, researches South Asian nuclear issues for the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace, November 15, 1999, Defense News

        Sechser also writes about the appropriate balance of civil-military affairs, but more specifically, about civil-
        military relations in Pakistan. He believes that one possible outcome of a military coup in Pakistan could
        be massive terrorism and nuclear war.




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                                              Affirmative Case
I affirm the resolution- Vigilantism is justified when the government has failed to enforce the law.

First, I will define terms in order to delineate the affirmative and negative burdens.

According Wikipedia, anyone who defies government and institution to further justice can be considered a vigilante,
and thus violence is not a necessary criterion.

Additionally, according to the American Heritage dictionary, to Justify means ―to demonstrate sufficient legal
reason for (an action taken).‖

My value for the round is stability- without stability lives will be lost, and dehumanization will occur as a result of
human rights abuses.

My criterion for the round is utilitarianism. This is the best criterion for assuring stability, because it means the
greatest good for the greatest number. In a stable system, some transgressions of the law (vigilantism) are
acceptable, so long as they uphold the system as a whole.

Therefore, part of the affirmative burden is to prove that vigilantism upholds the justice system. Accordingly, my
first contention is upholding democracy. In transitional states, or states that are transitioning to civilian democratic
rule from totalitarianism or military dictatorship, a security vacuum is produced by the scaling back of government
control. Crime grows exponentially in this security vacuum. Under such conditions, vigilantism is the only
recourse of the population. Without it, these nations would certainly slip back into authoritarianism.

Vigilantism is the only possible way to fill the security vacuum in transitional states and preserve the rule of law
James Cavallaro is Clinical Director, Human Rights Program, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, Mohammad-
Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Associate Director, Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict
Research, ―Public Enemy Number Two?: Rising Crime and Human Rights Advocacy in Transitional Societies‖ The
Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2005
In many societies, public dissatisfaction with state efforts to deal with rising crime has gone hand-in-hand with
increased tolerance for repressive approaches to crime control, and, in extreme cases, resort to self-help measures
that frequently violate basic human rights. In the absence of a capable state, citizens seek alternative forms of
protection such as vigilantism and, for the wealthy (including the business sector), privatized policing. In such a
context, the fundamental challenge for human rights activists is the nature (and logic) of public attitudes toward such
groups. The combination of fear, despair, and helplessness, years of violent crime, abuses by the security forces, and
government inaction often leads people to tolerate vigilantism. In such situations, rights groups face the dilemma of
how plausibly to call on the state to do its job, rather than allowing vigilante groups to do the dirty work. At the
same time, rights activists face the risk of widescale public rejection if they fail to recognize the benefits that private
security and vigilante groups provide in responding to crime. What, then, can constitute an effective human rights
strategy in such a context?




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Moreover, global democratic consolidation is essential to prevent many scenarios for war and extinction. Therefore,
according to utilitarianism, vigilantism is essential for stability. Death is final which means that extinction precedes
all other impacts
Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, October 1995, ―Promoting Democracy in the 1990‘s,‖
http://www.carnegie.org//sub/pubs/deadly/dia95_01.html, accessed on 12/11/99
OTHER THREATS This hardly exhausts the lists of threats to our security and well-being in the coming years and
decades. In the former Yugoslavia nationalist aggression tears at the stability of Europe and could easily spread. The
flow of illegal drugs intensifies through increasingly powerful international crime syndicates that have made
common cause with authoritarian regimes and have utterly corrupted the institutions of tenuous, democratic ones.
Nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons continue to proliferate. The very source of life on Earth, the global
ecosystem, appears increasingly endangered. Most of these new and unconventional threats to security are
associated with or aggravated by the weakness or absence of democracy, with its provisions for legality,
accountability, popular sovereignty, and openness. LESSONS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY The experience
of this century offers important lessons. Countries that govern themselves in a truly democratic fashion do not go to
war with one another. They do not aggress against their neighbors to aggrandize themselves or glorify their leaders.
Democratic governments do not ethnically "cleanse" their own populations, and they are much less likely to face
ethnic insurgency. Democracies do not sponsor terrorism against one another. They do not build weapons of mass
destruction to use on or to threaten one another. Democratic countries form more reliable, open, and enduring
trading partnerships. In the long run they offer better and more stable climates for investment. They are more
environmentally responsible because they must answer to their own citizens, who organize to protest the destruction
of their environments. They are better bets to honor international treaties since they value legal obligations and
because their openness makes it much more difficult to breach agreements in secret. Precisely because, within their
own borders, they respect competition, civil liberties, property rights, and the rule of law, democracies are the only
reliable foundation on which a new world order of international security and prosperity can be built.

My second contention is terrorism. Although there are laws meant to secure borders, the job is simply too big for
many governments, including our own. Vigilantism is necessary to prevent porous borders, which facilitate
terrorism.
Christopher J. Walker is a Law Clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; J.D.,
Stanford Law School (2006); M.P.P., Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (2006). ―Vigilantism and
Comprehensive Immigration Reform‖ Harvard Latino Law Review, 2007.
While many actors and conditions contribute to the problems at the border, one set of actors has been left largely
unaddressed by the literature and policy analysis: border vigilantes. These vigilantes have painted the border as a
dangerous locus of criminal and terrorist activity, necessitating concerned citizen sentinels. They have blitzed the
public with press releases, blog posts, and mass e-mails about the number of migrants crossing the border illegally
and the need for law enforcement to increase border protection. Their message is powerful because they back their
rhetoric with action: these individuals camp out near popular desert border-crossing points, document the rate of
undocumented migration, and even turn away migrants and/or turn them in to the U.S. Border Patrol and local law
enforcement. These groups have reportedly even begun to build fences along the border, without permission or
sanction from the U.S. Border Patrol, in areas where undocumented migrants are known to cross. Border vigilantes
claim to do the work that the government is unwilling, or at least unable, to do effectively: protect America from the
security threat of a permeable border and preserve the rule of law.




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Finally, terrorists could sneak in nuclear weapons or radiological dirty bombs that could wipe out whole cities.
Deontological impacts would only be worse in a world of suffering due to terrorist attacks and the inevitable
backlash by the U.S. government
Los Angeles Times, June 18, 2002
Even the experts among us, Foggy Bottom wonks and think-tank philosophers, had dared to dream of a world free of
the damoclean sword of mutual assured destruction. "The simple truth is that people simply forgot about nuclear
danger for about a decade, and there were some pretty good reasons for doing so. I had a feeling like that myself,"
says Jonathan Schell, whose hair-raising tome, "The Fate of the Earth" (Knopf, 1982 ), helped fuel the nuclear
freeze movement of the early 1980s. But in the bleak months since Sept. 11, the phantom menace of nuclear
catastrophe has come back with a vengeance--stalking our imaginations, confounding our leaders, confronting us
with a host of atomic terrors hitherto barely imagined: hijacked airliners rammed down the throats of nuclear power
plants; "dirty bombs" spraying lethal radiation and rendering huge swaths of cities uninhabitable for years to come.
Looming over these lesser catastrophes is the threat of an actual nuclear weapons attack. After the lull of the '90s,
we're learning to start worrying and fear The Bomb all over again. Only now America must face the possibility of
dealing with more than just one or two mega-adversaries capable of sending our entire country up in a mushroom
cloud. Now we're conjuring up visions of a suitcase bomb detonated at Times Square, a 10-kiloton dose of
megadeath delivered in a truck to downtown Los Angeles or Chicago. Or a regional conflict, like the present one
pitting India against nuclear rival Pakistan over the disputed Kashmir territory, escalating into global Armageddon.
On the one hand, we're being confronted anew with the sublime terror of extinction; on the other, with the banality
and ridiculousness of a threat to our lives and our civilization from something that may be lurking in a briefcase, a
pair of Hush Puppies or, as in the new Hollywood blockbuster "The Sum of All Fears," a cigarette-vending machine.




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Vigilantism Prevents Tyranny

1. Vigilantism protects rights and keeps tyranny in check
Karen S. Kopitsky, J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, May. M.A., Pittsburgh State University,
Teaching, 2003. B.A., Rhodes College, Spanish and Latin American Studies, ―How the Scope of States' Citizen's
Arrest Statutes Affects the Activity Level of Vigilante Groups on the U.S.-Mexico Border‖ The Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, 2008
Even before the United States became a sovereign country, each colony had its own militia. Prior to the American
Revolution, militias were not sanctioned by the government, but were "... a well regulated militia composed of the
freeholders, citizens, and husbandmen, who take up arms [*311] to preserve their property as individuals, and their
rights as freemen." Militias were also organized as part of the effort to free the United States from British control
during the Revolutionary War. The Founding Fathers included the Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution as a
means of providing for these militias. However, there exists a long-standing debate concerning what the drafters of
the Second Amendment intended. The Second Amendment states, "[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the
security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The Founding Fathers
envisioned militias as a means of protecting the citizenry against its own government. Much of what motivated the
framers of the Constitution in defining and protecting militias grew out of their colonial experience. As Justice
Joseph Story later explained, the right of a citizen to keep and bear arms has justly been considered the palladium
of the liberties of the republic, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of
rulers, and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph
over them. Thus, when the federal government has failed to protect the United States, vigilantes are permitted to
fight against the government's own actions and uphold the values the government has allowed to be swept aside.
Congress, coming to a similar conclusion in its congressional [*312] findings for House Resolution 3622, stated:
The history of the United States from the first days of the American Revolution is filled with innumerable examples
of honorable and invaluable service by citizen volunteers, organized into well-regulated local militias, who have
ably defended the frontiers and borders of the United States whenever and wherever Federal military or law
enforcement authorities were unable or unwilling to do so. This conception of the Second Amendment remains the
motivation behind modern vigilantes' actions, the fruits of which can be seen on the border and in the media through
the rhetoric of the vigilante movement. The vigilantes see themselves as doing something honorable for their
country, an invaluable service for which they desire to be recognized. Not only do they view their actions as
honorable, but they believe they are taking actions which the U.S. government cannot or will not.

2. Tyranny outweighs full scale nuclear war
R.J Rummel, Professor Emeritus of Political Science @ U of Hawaii, 1994 Death by Government
http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM
Power kills, absolute Power kills absolutely. This new Power Principle is the message emerging from my previous
work on the causes of war1 and this book on genocide and government mass murder--what I call democide--in this
century. The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the
elite, the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the
power of governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit
democide. At the extremes of Power2, totalitarian communist governments slaughter their people by the tens of
millions, while many democracies can barely bring themselves to execute even serial murderers. Consider also that
library stacks have been written on the possible nature and consequences of nuclear war and how it might be
avoided. Yet, in the life of some still living we have experienced in the toll from democide (and related destruction
and misery among the survivors) the equivalent of a nuclear war, especially at the high near 360,000,000 end of the
estimates. It is as though one had already occurred! Yet to my knowledge, there is only one book dealing with the
overall human cost of this "nuclear war"--Gil Elliot's Twentieth Century Book of the Dead.




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Vigilantism is Just

1. The Minutemen Civilian Defense Corps proves vigilantism can exist without injustice
The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, University of Miami, 2006
The MCDC is a citizen activist group founded by Chris Simcox, a former kindergarten teacher in California, and
Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant and Vietnam veteran from California. n97 The MCDC promises to provide the
world's largest neighborhood watch group. n98 The MCDC began its first "neighborhood watch" operation on the
Arizona-Mexico border from April, 1 [*533] 2005 through April 30, 2005. n99 Organizers reported that nearly 900
volunteers worked at least one eight-hour shift in the field. n100 During the operation, all volunteers were rigidly
instructed to have no interactions with suspected undocumented immigrants or to detain any suspect in any way.
n101 Further, they were told the use of firearms was only permitted if the volunteer faced an imminent, deadly threat
and could not retreat. n102 However, the presence of guns was widespread and in no way discouraged by the
MCDC leaders. n103 During the operation approximately two-thirds of personnel were armed with handguns and
more than half of the participants were ex-military. n104 Consequently, with the proliferation of guns among the
MCDC and the threat of Mexican gangs such as MS-13 ordering their members to teach the MCDC a "lesson," there
is now a danger that citizen activism by the MCDC could ultimately turn into gang-warfare. n105 Nevertheless, the
first MCDC operation passed without any major incidents. n106 The MCDC leaders claim that the first operation
successfully resulted in the arrests of 335 undocumented immigrants, n107 with their website proudly showing
pictures, reportedly of individuals captured because of the operations of the MCDC. n108 Subsequently, the
organizers went on to patrol four states, Arizona, Texas, California, and New Mexico, for the entire month of
October, n109 and they also planned to expand the mission to parts of the Canadian border. n110 While some
critics, such as the Washington Times, [*534] claim that the MCDC's first operation closed down the twenty-three
mile stretch of the United States-Mexico border for a thirty day period, n111 others described the event as a
"failure," "fiasco," and "an unmitigated flop," reporting that "only eighteen days into the month-long project, the
effort collapsed." n112 In fact, a Congressional Report stated that United States Border Patrol officials reported that
the MCDC got in the way of their operations by setting off sensors. n113 In addition, another Congressional Report
mentioned that the United States Border Patrol officially attributes any and all decreases in undocumented
immigration to their own efforts to increase enforcement, primarily by bringing in additional seasoned officers the
week before the MCDC kicked off. n114 However, officers that spoke off-the-record said that undocumented
immigration had virtually stopped in the sector patrolled by the MCDC and that the MCDC had actually made a
valuable contribution. n115 In fact, the MCDC claims that the number of United States Border Patrol apprehensions
of suspected undocumented immigrants in the MCDC enforcement zone dropped by almost 90% during the month
of April 2005, compared to previous years. n116 On first impression, the MCDC represents a passive form of citizen
activism different from the violent vigilante groups that have historically pervaded the border. Nevertheless, much
of the driving force, justifications, and reasoning behind the formation of the MCDC remains deeply rooted in the
inherent ideologies of past vigilante border groups.




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Vigilantism Upholds Democracy/Rule of Law
1. Vigilantism upholds the rule of law
Christopher J. Walker is a Law Clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; J.D.,
Stanford Law School (2006); M.P.P., Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (2006). ―Vigilantism and
Comprehensive Immigration Reform‖ Harvard Latino Law Review, 2007.
Borrowing its moniker from American revolutionaries, the Minuteman Project--also known as the Minuteman Civil
Defense Corps--is arguably the largest, most active, and most influential border vigilante group. Their mission
statement echoes the common rule-of-law theme: "[A] call to voices seeking a peaceful and respectable resolve to
the chaotic neglect by members of our local, state and federal governments charged with applying U.S. immigration
law." Furthermore, their website seeks to remind "Americans that our nation was founded as a nation governed by
the 'rule of law,' not by the whims of mobs of ILLEGAL aliens who endlessly stream across U.S. borders." More
than anything else, the Minutemen seek media attention; their efforts are meant as "a call to bring national
awareness to the decades-long careless disregard of effective U.S. immigration law enforcement." And their
strategy has been relatively successful.

2. Vigilantism maintains the rule of law which is key to maintaining democracy
Christopher J. Walker is a Law Clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; J.D.,
Stanford Law School (2006); M.P.P., Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (2006). ―Vigilantism and
Comprehensive Immigration Reform‖ Harvard Latino Law Review, 2007.
The second common theme concerns the rule of law. As President Bush proclaimed in his May 2006 address to the
nation concerning immigration reform, "We're a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws." While himself not
an advocate of border vigilantism, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) aptly captures this theme. Senator Sessions argues
for a strong rule of law, in that democracy requires that laws on the books must be enforced: America's strength has
always been founded on her commitment to the rule of law, and enforcement is critical to the integrity of law. Many
nations have the appearance of the rule of law, but that is not enough; a legal system worthy of respect must
consistently and fairly impose consequences on individuals who violate its commands. Unfortunately, the near total
failure of this nation to enforce its immigration laws is eroding its legal system and inviting more illegality. It is time
for an honest evaluation of our predicament; it is time to take action to correct our shortcomings. In other words,
immigration laws are not being adequately enforced at the border, and the press and public have noted this lack of
enforcement, especially with heightened terrorism and security concerns. And the federal government has not been
successful in reinforcing the border and combating illegal immigration. For instance, 77% of Americans believe the
government is not doing all that it can "to control the border and to screen people allowed into the country"; think
that "enforcement of immigration laws and the border has been too lax and this made it easier for the terrorists to
enter the country"; and over 79% want the state to militarize the border. Border vigilantes argue that they have
intervened to assist the state in protecting the border and upholding the rule of law.

3. Vigilantism is justified when there isn‘t a stable legal structure to uphold justice
Andrea McDowell, Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School. B.A. 1980 Yale College; Ph.D. 1987 University of
Pennsylvania; J.D. 1998 Yale Law School. ―Criminal Law Beyond the State: Popular Trials on the Frontier‖
Brigham Young University Law Review. 2007
Vigilantes, also known as Regulators, Rangers, or Volunteers, were groups organized by prominent citizens - "the
respectable people." "The characteristic vigilante movement," according to Brown, was organized in "command or
military fashion and usually had a constitution, articles, or a manifesto to which the members would subscribe."
Vigilance committees were formed to deal with gangs of horse thieves and counterfeiters, crime waves, or corrupt
officials. Their goal was to rid the vicinity of these predators rather than to bring them to justice. Sometimes this
required killing one or several members of the gang, but if this sufficed to drive the others away, the vigilantes were
satisfied. They did not seek to punish all of the members of the gang. A number of frontier vigilance committees
held trials very similar to those in the mines, with a judge and jury, counsel for the accused, [*362] and a final vote
on the sentence by the crowd. Through 1849, the most common punishment was whipping and expulsion, but from
1850 onwards, the sentence was usually death. Vigilante trials have not been the subject of a separate study,
however, and it is not known how hard they tried to be fair.




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Vigilantism is Justified for Transitional States

1. In transitional states where the government will not act, vigilantism is the only option for populations ravaged by
crime and terrorism
James Cavallaro is Clinical Director, Human Rights Program, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, Mohammad-
Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Associate Director, Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict
Research, ―Public Enemy Number Two?: Rising Crime and Human Rights Advocacy in Transitional Societies‖ The
Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2005
In many societies, public dissatisfaction with state efforts to deal with rising crime has gone hand-in-hand with
increased tolerance for repressive approaches to crime control, and, in extreme cases, resort to self-help measures
[*156] that frequently violate basic human rights. n60 In the absence of a capable state, citizens seek alternative
forms of protection such as vigilantism and, for the wealthy (including the business sector), privatized policing. n61
In many transitional states, the private security industry has grown rapidly, often surpassing in number and capacity
the public law enforcement contingent. These private forces range from uniformed guards regulated by law to
loosely joined bands of thugs. In countries in transition, even where they are formally legal, private security firms
often operate at the margin of the law, engaging in practices that differ only minimally from those of vigilante
groups. Teresa Caldeira, for example, has documented the relationship between the Brazilian illegal market in
security service and uniformed security guards in private condominiums, where policemen or ex-policemen (who
have their own guns) are paid to "clean up any major problem." This market interacts with many of the same
personnel who act as justiceiros (literally "justice makers"), but who are more accurately described as death squads
engaged in summary executions. n62 In Nigeria, rising crime has led to an explosion in the private security
industry. Such is the demand for private guards there that businesses requiring private security forces have hired
men directly from the streets and posted them as uniformed security personnel the next day. n63 There, too,
vigilante groups have surfaced. These include groups such as the O'dua People's Congress ("OPC") in the Southwest
and the Bakassi Boys in the Southeast, as well as smaller, less conspicuous groups. The Bakassi Boys are known
globally for their brutal methods (e.g., hacking suspected criminals to death) due to vast international media
coverage. The record of these groups has become well known to human rights activists well beyond Nigeria's
borders, even as, in a number of places in Nigeria, vigilante groups have been legalized and are supported by the
government. In such a context, the fundamental challenge for human rights activists is the nature (and logic) of
public attitudes toward such groups. The combination of fear, despair, and helplessness, years of violent crime,
abuses by the security forces, and government inaction often leads people to tolerate vigilantism. In such situations,
rights groups face the dilemma of how plausibly to call on the state to do its job, rather than allowing vigilante
groups to do the dirty work. At the same time, rights activists face the risk of widescale public rejection if they fail
to recognize the benefits that private security and vigilante groups provide in responding to crime. What, then, can
constitute an effective human rights strategy in such a context?




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Vigilantism Prevents Terrorism

1. Vigilantism stops terrorism
Christopher J. Walker is a Law Clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; J.D.,
Stanford Law School (2006); M.P.P., Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (2006). ―Vigilantism and
Comprehensive Immigration Reform‖ Harvard Latino Law Review, 2007.
By 2000, Gingrich's Contract with America had expired, America had sent another Bush to the White House, and
public consciousness had shifted away from the border--that is, until the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The al-Qaeda attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers caused the greatest-ever loss of American life by
foreign actors on American soil. Once again, security threats forced the public and policymakers to address
immigration and America's permeable borders. In response, President Bush appointed the 9/11 Commission to
investigate the attacks, and the Commission released its findings in July 2004. With respect to immigration policy at
the border, three recommendations stand out as particularly noteworthy. First, the Commission stressed the
importance of traveling across American borders: "Targeting travel is at least as powerful a weapon against terrorists
as targeting their money. The United States should combine intelligence, operations, and law enforcement in a
strategy to intercept terrorists, find terrorist travel facilitators, and constrain terrorist mobility." Second, the 9/11
Commission underscored the need to integrate border control with other infrastructure: The U.S. border security
system should be integrated into a larger network of screening points that includes the nation's transportation system
and access to vital facilities, such as nuclear reactors. The President should direct the Department of Homeland
Security to lead the effort to design a comprehensive screening system, addressing common problems and setting
common standards with systemwide goals in mind. Extending those standards among other governments could
dramatically strengthen America and the world's collective ability to intercept individuals who pose catastrophic
threats. Each of these recommendations called on Congress to increase border security. Perhaps more importantly,
the 9/11 Commission Report also engaged the public, and arguably the vigilantes, in the problems at America's
borders. Lofgren explains: These are certainly worthy and essential recommendations, especially considering the
findings of fact that the 9/11 Commission uncovered about the events leading up to the September 11th tragedy.
Similar to the events preceding the 1996 reforms, the public became very engaged with the release of the 9/11
Commission Report. In fact, the 9/11 Commission Report remained on the New York Times best-seller list for
twenty-five straight weeks. Once again, Congress had to respond to public calls for reform. And when it appeared
that Congress did not adequately "respond to [these] public calls for reform," n67 border vigilantism arguably
emerged as the self-appointed private alternative for border enforcement.

2. Border vigilantism stops terrorism
Christopher J. Walker is a Law Clerk to Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; J.D.,
Stanford Law School (2006); M.P.P., Harvard University Kennedy School of Government (2006). ―Vigilantism and
Comprehensive Immigration Reform‖ Harvard Latino Law Review, 2007.
While many actors and conditions contribute to the problems at the border, one set of actors has been left largely
unaddressed by the literature and policy analysis: border vigilantes. These vigilantes have painted the border as a
dangerous locus of criminal and terrorist activity, necessitating concerned citizen sentinels. They have blitzed the
public with press releases, blog posts, and mass e-mails about the number of migrants crossing the border illegally
and the need for law enforcement to increase border protection. Their message is powerful because they back their
rhetoric with action: these individuals camp out near popular desert border-crossing points, document the rate of
undocumented migration, and even turn away migrants and/or turn them in to the U.S. Border Patrol and local law
enforcement. These groups have reportedly even begun to build fences along the border, without permission or
sanction from the U.S. Border Patrol, in areas where undocumented migrants are known to cross. Border vigilantes
claim to do the work that the government is unwilling, or at least unable, to do effectively: protect America from the
security threat of a permeable border and preserve the rule of law.




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Vigilantism upholds Due Process

1. Vigilantism is not mutually exclusive with due process
Andrea McDowell, Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School. B.A. 1980 Yale College; Ph.D. 1987 University of
Pennsylvania; J.D. 1998 Yale Law School. ―Criminal Law Beyond the State: Popular Trials on the Frontier‖
Brigham Young University Law Review. 2007
One might expect that if vigilante values triumphed over due process values anywhere, it would have been on the
frontier. And, indeed, the American West is famous for its vigilance committees and posses. True, vigilance
committees were not anarchic; they often administered trials of some sort. But vigilantism's goal was not justice but
self-defense. Vigilantes organized to rout out gangs and desperados. Their standard approach was to punish an
outlaw or two, sending a message to the rest that the neighborhood was too hot to hold them. The vigilante warning
was not aimed at individual farmers and ranchers who might have contemplated crime. Indeed, vigilance committees
were hardly suitable for dealing with crime within the community because they were hierarchical and semi-secret. It
is hard to imagine Americans delegating authority to a committee to seize and punish one of their own, or allowing a
Farmer Brown or Rancher Smith suspected of theft to be hanged or whipped without trial. This Article argues that in
such circumstances American communities developed a compromise between pure lawlessness and formal law:
individual local suspects were given popular trials with substantial due process. While this thesis cannot be validated
generally, there is strong evidence of this phenomenon on the overland trail (which has been documented) and in the
California gold mines (which has not). When a single member of the community was accused of crime, this Article
suggests, the whole settlement held a trial along common law lines, with a judge and jury, witness testimony, and, if
there was a conviction, a general vote on the sentence. These "trials" were considered "lynchings" in that the
participants took the law into their own hands. Observers also called them both "trials" and "lynchings." They
reflected a mix of "vigilante values" and "due process values," showing that frontiersmen were generally committed
to both principles - when they dealt with members of their own community. The advocates of due process were also
the advocates of vigilantism.




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Vigilantism Upholds Democracy

1. States transitioning to democracy leave a security vacuum
James Cavallaro is Clinical Director, Human Rights Program, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, Mohammad-
Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Associate Director, Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict
Research, ―Public Enemy Number Two?: Rising Crime and Human Rights Advocacy in Transitional Societies‖ The
Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2005
Police forces in authoritarian states tend to suppress not only dissent but also criminality, or at a minimum, they are
widely perceived as being effective at crime control. To the extent that it is not merely a misperception, such
"control" is achieved at a high cost to individual rights and the rule of law. Prior to transition, crime control in all the
states considered here focused on repressive and frequently brutal methods, including systematic torture and
summary execution of suspects. It is difficult to ascertain whether a more democratic environment increases the
visibility of certain crimes, or creates conditions in which new forms of crime appear. Has armed robbery or
assassination always been frequent but only now reported? Or have such crimes actually become more frequent?
Added to the above is the issue of displacement of criminal activity. Has that activity migrated from poor to rich
neighborhoods, or from one part of the country to another? What role do the media play in the reporting of these
issues? In Nigeria, a series of high-profile killings and robbings of the homes of influential people followed the
inauguration of the Obasanjo government in 1999. The local media provided extensive coverage of these incidents,
fueling the belief that crime rates were rising dramatically. Rights activists in Brazil report that similar phenomena
occur when high-profile incidents of crime victimize upper-middle-class or upper-class residents in Sao Paulo or Rio
de Janeiro. These crimes are followed by a barrage of reports about "crimewaves" often built up from single, high-
profile incidents. For these reasons and others, it is difficult to reach definitive conclusions on the phenomenon of
rising crime subsequent to political transition. The transition from military rule to civilian rule in Nigeria provides a
case in point. According to Major General David Jemibewon, former Nigerian Minister of Police Affairs, the
transition from the long years of military rule to democracy was monumentally difficult. The Nigerian Police Force
suffered from a lack of regulatory institutions and focus, and was inadequately prepared for the expressions of
violence and disorder that accompanied the country's democratic rebirth. A difficult aspect of crime associated with
periods of transition is the demobilization or reform of security apparati (used by the previous repressive
government to control political dissent and crime) and their replacement by formal agencies. These bodies often lack
the capacity to cope with security issues due to neglect of the ousted government. The space that is created between
the legitimate effort to reform and the capacity to cope in the new situation is often occupied by criminal elements.
Other factors come into play as well. For example, armed quasi-governmental groups, or elements thereof, may
themselves be transformed into criminal gangs.

2. Vigilantism is the only possible way to fill the security vacuum and preserve the rule of law
James Cavallaro is Clinical Director, Human Rights Program, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, Mohammad-
Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Associate Director, Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict
Research, ―Public Enemy Number Two?: Rising Crime and Human Rights Advocacy in Transitional Societies‖ The
Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2005
In many societies, public dissatisfaction with state efforts to deal with rising crime has gone hand-in-hand with
increased tolerance for repressive approaches to crime control, and, in extreme cases, resort to self-help measures
that frequently violate basic human rights. In the absence of a capable state, citizens seek alternative forms of
protection such as vigilantism and, for the wealthy (including the business sector), privatized policing. In such a
context, the fundamental challenge for human rights activists is the nature (and logic) of public attitudes toward such
groups. The combination of fear, despair, and helplessness, years of violent crime, abuses by the security forces, and
government inaction often leads people to tolerate vigilantism. In such situations, rights groups face the dilemma of
how plausibly to call on the state to do its job, rather than allowing vigilante groups to do the dirty work. At the
same time, rights activists face the risk of widescale public rejection if they fail to recognize the benefits that private
security and vigilante groups provide in responding to crime. What, then, can constitute an effective human rights
strategy in such a context?




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Vigilantism is Key to CMR

1. Vigilantism is an essential part of a transition from military rule to balanced civil-military relations
James Cavallaro is Clinical Director, Human Rights Program, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, Mohammad-
Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Associate Director, Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict
Research, ―Public Enemy Number Two?: Rising Crime and Human Rights Advocacy in Transitional Societies‖ The
Harvard Human Rights Journal, 2005
The transition from military rule to civilian rule in Nigeria provides a case in point. According to Major General
David Jemibewon, former Nigerian Minister of Police Affairs, the transition from the long years of military rule to
democracy was monumentally difficult. The Nigerian Police Force suffered from a lack of regulatory institutions
and focus, and was inadequately prepared for the expressions of violence and disorder that accompanied the
country's democratic rebirth. n25 A difficult aspect of crime associated with periods of transition is the
demobilization or reform of security apparati (used by the previous repressive government to control political
dissent and crime) and their replacement by formal agencies. These bodies often lack the capacity to cope with
security issues due to neglect of the ousted government. The space that is created between the legitimate effort to
reform and the capacity to cope in the new situation is often occupied by criminal elements. Other factors come into
play as well. For example, armed quasi-governmental groups, or elements thereof, may themselves be transformed
into criminal gangs. In many societies, public dissatisfaction with state efforts to deal with rising crime has gone
hand-in-hand with increased tolerance for repressive approaches to crime control, and, in extreme cases, resort to
self-help measures [*156] that frequently violate basic human rights. n60 In the absence of a capable state, citizens
seek alternative forms of protection such as vigilantism and, for the wealthy (including the business sector),
privatized policing. In such a context, the fundamental challenge for human rights activists is the nature (and logic)
of public attitudes toward such groups. The combination of fear, despair, and helplessness, years of violent crime,
abuses by the security forces, and government inaction often leads people to tolerate vigilantism. In such situations,
rights groups face the dilemma of how plausibly to call on the state to do its job, rather than allowing vigilante
groups to do the dirty work. At the same time, rights activists face the risk of widescale public rejection if they fail
to recognize the benefits that private security and vigilante groups provide in responding to crime. What, then, can
constitute an effective human rights strategy in such a context?




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CMR Is Important to US National Security

1. Strong civil military relations are key to prevent coups resulting in nuclear war and terrorism
Todd Sechser, researches South Asian nuclear issues for the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace, November 15, 1999, Defense News http://www.ceip.org/programs/npp/dn111599.htm
Pakistan‘s recent coup highlights the unique dangers of nuclear proliferation in politically unstable states. Eighteen
months after India and Pakistan declared their nuclear capabilities in a series of test explosions, U.S. government
sources now report that they have taken the step of weaponizing their nuclear devices by placing them atop ballistic
missiles. Pakistan‘s coup was bloodless, but its decision to build an arsenal raises the prospect that future revolts
could involve nuclear arms. In a country where civilian control of the military is weak, political chaos could result
in a catastrophic nuclear accident. During the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union took a number of
steps to ensure stringent control over their nuclear arsenals. The "two-man rule" was developed to prevent
unauthorized launches, requiring simultaneous action by two military officers to launch a nuclear-armed missile.
Electronic locks were installed, with only the president and a few select military officers holding the codes.
Technical safeguards were developed to prevent warheads from detonating accidentally. Unfortunately, the U.S.
has failed to apply this prudence to emerging nuclear powers. Fearing that nuclear safety assistance would
undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's (NPT) credibility, Washington has shared its safety technology
secrets with only its closest European allies. U.S. policy has achieved near-perfect success in constraining
proliferation, but it may aggravate dangers in the few cases where nuclear weapons have spread. New proliferants,
including India and Pakistan, have proved unwilling or unable to develop nuclear safety devices. In a book
published by India‘s quasi-governmental Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, Nuclear India, author Kapil
Kak argued that "there is no necessity to replicate the elaborate command and control structures of the West, which
we can ill afford." This precarious situation requires new thinking. The NPT prohibits assistance in weapon
production, but legal scholars point out that it does not expressly forbid aid to safeguard existing weapons. A
nuclear war triggered by an inadvertent missile launch would arguably harm non-proliferation efforts more than a
program of minimal safety assistance. The United States should evaluate whether its strong commitment to the
NPT can be balanced with weapon safety programs. In particular, the U.S. should consider declassifying early
versions of nuclear safety mechanisms for employment by India and Pakistan. The uniform military support
witnessed in Pakistan‘s coup rarely characterizes military upheavals. In a domestic power struggle, nuclear weapons
would be important symbols of domestic authority. Rival factions likely would clash over control of the arsenal,
and the rush to seize warheads could result in a devastating nuclear accident. Fragile command and control also
raises the prospect of theft by terrorists. Safety mechanisms similar to those employed on U.S. nuclear weapons
could help mitigate these risks.

2. Military coups risk nuclear terrorism and conflict
Mohan Malik, Professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Fall 2003, Asian Affairs, an American
Review, p. 177
At the antistate actor level, individuals or groups may violate security rules for reasons of profit, settling a grudge, or
religious and ideological motives. They may try to transfer sensitive items to some antistate actors. Two retired
Pakistani nuclear scientists with alleged al-Qaeda connections are currently in custody.59 The possibility of a civil
war fought with nuclear weapons in the Indian subcontinent cannot be completely ruled out. Another concern is the
possibility of yet another coup in Pakistan. In conditions of civil war and internal chaos in a nuclear weapons state,
nuclear materials could conceivably be used as bargaining chips in a struggle for internal power or as negotiating
leverage with external powers. If there were two rival claimants to the government in Islamabad, for example, we
would be inclined to support the side that claims to control Pakistan's nuclear forces. The scenario of Pakistan in
splinters with one piece becoming a radical Muslim state in possession of a nuclear weapon is a concern should al-
Qaeda or the Taliban declare jihad against Pakistan-the weakest ally in the U.S.-led antiterrorism coalition. The
breakup of states creates the danger of WMD falling into the hands of separatists and religious fanatics. Power
struggle and instability in Pakistan also could lead to attacks on the Pakistani military's nuclear arsenal by antistate
actors and nuclear weapons theft.




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                                                Negative Case
I negate the resolution- vigilantism is not justified, even in the absence of government enforcement of the law.

First I will define some terms in order to help determine the affirmative and negative burdens.

Just means ―in accordance with standards or requirements; proper or right: just proportions.‖ This is from
dictionary.com

Additionally, Vigilantism must use force or the threat of force. It must be directed against real or perceived
transgressions of the law where the government has failed to act
Karen S. Kopitsky, J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, May. M.A., Pittsburgh State University,
Teaching, 2003. B.A., Rhodes College, Spanish and Latin American Studies, ―How the Scope of States' Citizen's
Arrest Statutes Affects the Activity Level of Vigilante Groups on the U.S.-Mexico Border‖ The Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, 2008
Before considering the role vigilante movements have historically played in the United States, it is important to
understand what the term vigilante means. Ironically, the term vigilante has its roots in the Spanish language.
Vigilantism is defined as a social movement giving rise to premeditated acts of force - or threatened force - by
autonomous citizens. It arises as a reaction to the transgression of institutionalized norms by individuals or groups -
or to their potential or imputed transgression. Such acts are focussed [sic] upon crime control and/or social control
and aim to offer assurances (or "guarantees") of security both to participants and to other members of a given
established order. Throughout the history of vigilantism in the United States, the focus of the vigilantes' aggression
has ebbed and flowed between different social groups, depending on the relevant social and political issues of the
time. While the current focus of the vigilante movement is on undocumented immigrants, the movement has its
roots in the history of the original thirteen colonies.

My value for the round is human dignity. Without human dignity, there is no value to life.

My criterion is the maximization of human dignity through due process of the law. The justice system uses
standards and requirements, or due process, to ensure the maximization of dignity. Vigilantism violates due process,
and so cannot maximize human dignity. In fact, vigilantism is often directly destructive of human dignity.

Therefore, my first contention is vigilante racism. Vigilantism is inevitably used by racists to justify their hate
motivated actions.

To prove this, I will use the example of vigilantism on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Border vigilantism is the legacy of
a history of racist vigilantism
The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, University of Miami, 2006
One of the most potent reasons and primary forces behind the frontier vigilantism was racial prejudice. The bitter
racial hostility that paved the history of the formation of the United States-Mexico border maintained an enduring
legacy long after the border had been created. Vigilante violence against Mexicans was used to assert continued
sovereignty and racial hierarchy. Although the law classified Mexicans as white, Mexicans were considered an
inferior race by many on the United States side of the border. In particular, lower classes of Mexicans were
portrayed as a hybrid of Anglo, Indian, Spanish and African blood. Consequently, Mexican lynching victims
consisted overwhelmingly of members from the impoverished laboring class. The racist nature of the vigilante
groups is emphasized by the acts of ritualized torture and sadism that were involved in many Mexican lynchings and
by the high number of multiple lynchings that were intended to punish because of race rather than culpability.
Seemingly, racial prejudice was the core reason and justification for the formative trend of vigilante violence on the
United States-Mexico border.




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Moreover, racism in every instance must be eradicated or it will inevitably destroy us
Barndt, Joseph, Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America, p. 155-56, 1991.
To study racism is to study walls. We have looked at barriers and fences and limitations, ghettos and prisons. The
prison of racism confines us all, people of color and white people alike. It shackles the victimizer as well as the
victim. The walls forcibly keep people of color and white people separate from each other; in our separate prisons
we are all prevented from achieving the human potential that God intends for us. The limitations imposed on people
of color by poverty, subservience, and powerlessness are cruel, inhuman, and unjust; the effects of uncontrolled
power, privilege, and greed, which are the marks of our white prison will inevitably destroy us as well. But we have
also seen that the walls of racism can be dismantled. We are not condemned to an inexorable fate, but are offered the
vision and the possibility of freedom. Brick by brick, stone by stone, the prison of individual, institutional, and
cultural racism can be destroyed. You and I are urgently called to join the efforts of those who know it is time to tear
down, once and for all, the walls of racism. The danger of self-destruction seems to be drawing ever more near. The
results of centuries of national and worldwide conquest and colonization, of military buildups and violent
aggression, of overconsumption and environmental destruction may be reaching the point of no return. A small and
predominantly white minority of global population derives its power and privilege from sufferings of the vast
majority of peoples of color. For the sake of the world and ourselves, we dare not allow it to continue.

My second contention is The Rule of Law. Vigilantism violates the rules of due process, which inevitably leads to
abuses of power that assault human dignity, as well as the destruction of a system of laws whose function is the
maximization of human dignity.

Vigilantism is inimical to due process and rule of law- it draws fanatics and vengeance seekers and process always
breaks down
Andrea McDowell, Professor of Law, Seton Hall Law School. B.A. 1980 Yale College; Ph.D. 1987 University of
Pennsylvania; J.D. 1998 Yale Law School. ―Criminal Law Beyond the State: Popular Trials on the Frontier‖
Brigham Young University Law Review. 2007
The discussion to this point describes relatively orderly proceedings, but there were also other lynchings that
degenerated into summary punishment. Although many chroniclers claimed that Judge Lynch never executed an
innocent person, others say what one must have supposed in any case, that once a lynch crowd became thoroughly
excited, "however innocent you may be, you stand no chance." In Buffum's description of the lynchings at
Hangtown in January of 1849, the accused, two Frenchmen and a Chileno, were not present at their trial, and their
request for an interpreter was never granted. Moreover, the charges against them were attempted murder and
robbery, not any completed act, but as "they were known to be bad men," the miners agreed that they "ought to be
got rid of." Buffum was convinced that they were executed unjustly. Another example of near injustice was
mentioned above, namely, that of the three Indians and a Mexican who were discovered burning the bodies of two
Americans and were sentenced to be hanged. One was already dangling in the air when the county judge and some
others persuaded the crowd to hand them over. Since they were found innocent, the lynchers had definitely made a
mistake. Similarly, two other individuals who had been given one hundred lashes each for theft were later thought to
have been innocent. Just as disturbing as wrong verdicts were breakdowns of procedure, as when an excited crowd
whipped or hanged the accused on paltry evidence or without allowing the defendant to speak. This might happen
because the crowd was drinking and grew wilder as the day went on. Trials were often held near a store on the
miners' free day (often a Sunday), and men who had worked hard all week took advantage of the opportunity to
drink. At the lynching described by Buffum, the first trial was relatively orderly, but by the time of the second the
crowd was intoxicated and beyond reason. In a very similar case, some miners caught a thief who confessed to the
crime and promised to hand over the money in return for his liberty. He kept his end of the bargain, but the crowd
split over the question of whether to hang him. In the end, those in favor of hanging won the day. They then
proceeded to hang the other prisoners in the local jail, also without a trial.




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Therefore, EVEN IN THE ABSENSE OF GOVERNMENT ENFORCEMENT- vigilantism is not justified. It
degenerates into massive human rights abuses
PHILIP C. AKA, Associate Professor of Political Science, Chicago State University; Vice Chair, ABA Committee
on International Human Rights. ―Nigeria Since May 1999: Understanding the Paradox of Civil Rule and Human
Rights Violations Under President Olusegun Obasanjo‖ San Diego International Law Journal. 2003
The Bakassi Boys (May 2002). Bakassi Boys consist of a core group of former shoe salesmen and car-parts dealers
who closed their shops to wage war on the armed bandits plaguing the southeast of the country. The group is named
after the shoe market where these individuals used to work. International and domestic human rights groups
castigate this and other vigilante groups for human rights atrocities such as torturing people and summarily
executing them. But their formation and operation follow the failure or powerlessness of the incompetent, corrupt,
and underfunded Nigerian police to stem the high wave of crimes in the country. Bakassi denies that it kills people
and maintains that politicians who complain about its operation have "skeletons in their cupboards."

Finally, the impact to strengthened human rights outweighs everything—it has killed more than all 20th century
wars combined. It also leads to war, genocide, and environmental destruction
John Shattuck, former Assistant Secretary of State, 9-12-1994, Federal News Service
On the disintegration side, we are witnessing ugly and violent racial, ethnic and religious class conflict in Haiti, in
Bosnia, in Central Asia, in Africa, most horribly in Rwanda -- all places where I have traveled in recent months and
witnessed unspeakable suffering and abuses of the most fundamental rights. The new global community has yet to
develop an adequate response to these horrors. We must intensify our search for new ways of holding individuals
and governments accountable for gross human rights violations, for new ways of anticipating and preventing
conflicts before they spiral into uncontrollable violence and reprisal, for new ways of mobilizing the international
community to address an avalanche of humanitarian crises. These are daunting tasks. Why then has the Clinton
administration made protecting human rights and promoting democracy such a major theme in our foreign policy?
The answer I think lies not only in our values, which could be reason enough, but in the strategic benefits to the
United States of a policy that emphasizes our values. We know from historical experience that democracies are more
likely than other forms of government to respect human rights, to settle conflicts peacefully, to observe international
and honor agreements, to go to war with each other with great reluctance, to respect rights of ethnical, racial and
religious minorities living within their borders, and to provide the social and political basis for free market
economics. In South Africa, in the Middle East, and now remarkably perhaps even in Northern Ireland, the
resolution of conflict and the broadening of political participation is releasing great economic and social energies
that can provide better lives for all the people of these long-suffering regions. By contrast, the costs to the world of
repressive governments are painfully clear. In the 20th century, the number of people killed by their own
governments under authoritarian regimes is four times the number killed in all of this century's wars combined.
Repression pushes refugees across the borders and triggers wars. Unaccountable governments are heedless of
environmental destruction, as witnessed by Chernobyl and the ecological nightmares of Eastern Europe.




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The 2nd Amendment Doesn’t Justify/Vigilantism Is Racist

1. The founders did not look upon guns as part of American culture, guns ownership was only prevelant after the
civil war, unsurprisingly accompanied by an increase in violence
Veronica J. Joice. ―A Restraining Order and a Handgun: North Carolina's Attempt to "Empower" Victims of
Domestic Violence‖ Howard University Law Journal. 2006
Beyond these competing interpretations, however, there is an argument that, despite the inclusion of the Second
Amendment in the Constitution, gun ownership was not always integral to American society. Rather, this
phenomenon began to grow significantly surrounding the Civil War. Prior to the war, few states had laws regulating
handguns, and those who "did address concealed carrying [of a handgun] ... did so by outlawing the practice
entirely." It was not until after the war that the possession of firearms became widespread, and with that came laws
regulating them. Many states that passed concealed handgun permit statutes at that time did so not to regulate crime,
but to maintain control of Black people by preventing them from carrying weapons. "The war brought home the idea
that firearms were necessary for social control and order ... and, perhaps most important, the war's end brought guns
into the home, making them a part of the domestic environment." Not coincidentally, the years following the Civil
War were also marked by a rising murder rate and an increase in the use of guns in violent crimes.

2. Vigilantism more often does bad under the guise of doing good- it is a reactionary tool. The KKK proves.
Veronica J. Joice. ―A Restraining Order and a Handgun: North Carolina's Attempt to "Empower" Victims of
Domestic Violence‖ Howard University Law Journal. 2006
As the gun-ownership and murder rates rose following the Civil War, vigilante activity increased, especially in the
South and among organizations like the Ku Klux Klan ("Klan" or "KKK"). The definition of vigilante can vary -
some have defined vigilantes as "organized, extralegal movements, the members of which take the law into their
own hands" and who "break one law to uphold what [they] considered to be a higher one," while others contend that
a vigilante can be "an individual who is seen as a defender of justice against the law," apprehending criminals and
issuing punishment where the justice system fails. Battered women who kill their abusers are, arguably, this second
type of vigilante. Yet, although some would argue that "vigilantism is generally viewed as consistent with social
values in the United States," the term vigilante usually has negative connotations. The vigilantism of the Klan, for
example, has been viewed in both a positive and negative light. The Klan first emerged following the Civil War in
response to gains by Blacks to the perceived detriment of upper-class Whites. Its presence decreased in the 1870s,
only to resurface even more strongly in the 1920s and again during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. In a
1981 telephone survey conducted in Chattanooga, Tennessee, "older" participants who approved of the Klan were
more likely to cite its vigilante activities as their reason for supporting it. The researchers conducting the survey
hypothesized that older people viewed the Klan's vigilantism as a positive because "the KKK in the 1920s attempted
to present itself as a fraternal organization that stood up for the 'moral fiber' of the community." Nonetheless, other
researchers have argued that "people well imbued with the ideological currents underlying vigilantism have at their
disposal a great potential for doing bad under the guise of doing good," noting that because traditional vigilante
movements were often comprised of middle class professionals concerned with maintaining the "social status quo,"
such movements were prone to discriminating against minorities and the poor.




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Vigilantism Is Reactionary and Unruly Violence

1. Vigilantism is not justice- affirming it would mean legalizing homicide
Veronica J. Joice. ―A Restraining Order and a Handgun: North Carolina's Attempt to "Empower" Victims of
Domestic Violence‖ Howard University Law Journal. 2006
Self-defense in its purest form is not extra-legal, and is therefore not considered vigilantism, or "taking the law into
one's [own] hands." n39 It is well established that "using deadly force or the threat thereof to defend against a
violent felony is legal in all fifty states." n40 In many cases where battered women kill their abusers, however, their
actions are much more like vigilantism, and so-called "perfect self-defense" is inapplicable. As stated by the North
Carolina courts, "perfect self-defense" is an objective standard that requires evidence tending to show that at the
time of the killing it appeared to the defendant and she believed it to be necessary to kill the decedent to save herself
from imminent death or great bodily harm. That belief must be reasonable, however, in that the circumstances as
they appeared to the defendant would create such a belief in the mind of a person of ordinary firmness. Further, the
defendant must not have been the initial aggressor provoking the fatal confrontation. n41 In the seminal North
Carolina case on battered women's syndrome, State v. Norman, n42 the defendant wife, after years of abuse
culminating in a particularly violent two-day episode, shot her husband while [*295] he slept. n43 Facts such as
these give many cases involving battered women's syndrome that element of vigilantism that is missing from typical
self-defense cases. It is this element of vigilantism, in fact, that the Norman court cited when explaining why it
could not recognize battered women's syndrome as a defense. The court noted: relaxing requirements for perfect
self-defense ... would tend to categorically legalize the opportune killing of abusive husbands by their wives ... .
Homicidal self-help would then become a lawful solution, and perhaps the easiest and most effective solution, to this
problem. n44 Therefore, North Carolina courts do not treat battered women who kill their abusers as "defenders of
justice," n45 whose actions are excusable, unless the women can show that they acted in perfect self-defense. n46
This is one of the main problems with the Domestic Violence Victims Empowerment Act - insofar as it encourages
law enforcement officials to issue handguns to victims of domestic violence who seek restraining orders, it gives the
appearance that the government is encouraging these women to engage in "homicidal self-help," when in reality
North Carolina courts will not support such behavior.

2. Vigilantism represents a reactionary bourgeois force
Karen S. Kopitsky, J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, May. M.A., Pittsburgh State University,
Teaching, 2003. B.A., Rhodes College, Spanish and Latin American Studies, ―How the Scope of States' Citizen's
Arrest Statutes Affects the Activity Level of Vigilante Groups on the U.S.-Mexico Border‖ The Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, 2008
Vigilante movements are frequently characterized as a group of persons who defend their viewpoints, often through
the use of force, against those who oppose their views. n1 These views generally relate to "the defence [sic] of
power, property and other "bourgeois' interests." n2 The vigilante movement in the United States is not a new
phenomenon; n3 it has been a part of the landscape of the United States since before its separation from Great
Britain. n4 In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on these citizen groups. n5 Part of this escalating interest
is due to increasing numbers of undocumented workers immigrating to the United States, as well as the lack of
response from Congress on U.S. immigration policy. n6 One response has come from individual citizens taking
action on the border. n7 Historically, [*308] "such armed volunteer patrol groups were almost universally
considered dangerous, vigilante racists on the fringe of society." n8 That image does not necessarily exist today. n9
While some might question the connection between vigilantism and immigration policy, this Note will demonstrate
that they are inseparable in the United States. As the vigilantes declare, their purported goal is to do for the United
States what the government cannot or will not do with immigration, n10 a proposition supported by the failure of
comprehensive immigration reform in Congress during the summer of 2006. n11 How do the vigilantes accomplish
their goal and under what legal guise do they act?




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Border Vigilantism is Racist and Violent

Karen S. Kopitsky, J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, May. M.A., Pittsburgh State University,
Teaching, 2003. B.A., Rhodes College, Spanish and Latin American Studies, ―How the Scope of States' Citizen's
Arrest Statutes Affects the Activity Level of Vigilante Groups on the U.S.-Mexico Border‖ The Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, 2008
Ranch Rescue describes itself as a "volunteer organization composed of people who believe that when government
fails or refuses to act, individual citizens are obligated to act on their own." Ranch Rescue members see themselves
as doing the work necessary in order to ensure that the government will continue to provide the rights guaranteed to
them by the Founding Fathers through the U.S. Constitution - specifically, the right to private property, which they
believe is being taken away by Mexican immigrants. Ranch Rescue currently owns ranches in Texas, Arizona,
California, and New Mexico. According to the Ranch Rescue website, the group does not have one leader but is
made up of independent chapters; in the media, however, Jack Foote is described as both the founder of Ranch
Rescue and its national spokesperson. "Jack Foot founded Ranch Rescue in June 2000, inspired in part by ... rancher
Roger Barnett, who patrols his 22,000-acre Cross Rail Ranch ... forcibly detaining people he suspects to be
undocumented immigrants and turning them in to the Border Patrol." According to Foote, Ranch Rescue focuses on
three areas: it recruits volunteers from all over the United States, enters into agreements with the local landowners,
and assembles volunteers on the individual landowner's property in order to serve as a deterrent to those trespassing
or committing other crimes on the land. Ranch Rescue members can be seen patrolling wearing camouflaged
clothing and carrying firearms. "Many of them wear patches commemorating the "operations' in which they've
participated. This gives them a quasi-military look." While Foote claims that he and the Ranch Rescue have been
received positively by landowners, "human-rights organizations charge that these militias terrorize people they
assume to be undocumented immigrants, violate state laws limiting militia activities and civilian arrests, escalate the
potential for violence, and maintain links to racist hate groups." In June 2003, two undocumented immigrants
brought suit in Leiva v. Ranch against Ranch Rescue, Joseph Sutton (the ranch owner), and Ranch Rescue associates
John Foote, Henry Mark Conner, Jr., and Casey James Nethercott for actions that took place on Joseph Sutton's
ranch. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, counsel for the immigrants, "on March 18, 2003, a group of
... immigrants were traveling ... through Sutton Ranch when ... Ranch Rescue associates ... accosted them. They
were forcefully captured and held at gunpoint. Nethercott hit one of them on the back of his head with a handgun.
They were interrogated, threatened with death and ... terrorized." The Kansas City Star reported that "Nethercott
and Foote did not defend themselves [in court], and a Texas judge issued default judgments ... of $ 850,000 against
Nethercott and $ 500,000 against Foote." Before the judgment was entered, Nethercott and Foote had been
colleagues and Foote had previously used the ranch as Ranch Rescue's Arizona headquarters. Foote referred to the
Douglas ranch as "Camp Thunderbird." After Nethercott's extradition to face the above-mentioned charges,
Nethercott "cut ties with Ranch Rescue in early April and had Foote evicted from the ranch." Nethercott attempted
to save his property from the court's judgment by transferring ownership of his ranch to his sister. However, his
sister agreed to give the property to the Salvadorian immigrants. Even with this judgment and the hopefulness of the
immigrants' lawyer, Morris Dees Jr., that "the ruling would be a cautionary tale to anyone considering hostile
measures against border crossers," it is not certain that these vigilantes will cease their behavior because of their
strong beliefs in safeguarding private property rights. This is especially true in light of the fact that the immigrants
only won their civil suit because the jury was deadlocked on the assault charge against Nethercott. Therefore, the
vigilante groups may view potential civil suits as mere nuisances, rather than roadblocks to their actions, because the
consequences of a civil judgment are often not as dire or stigma-inducing as ones brought in criminal court.




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Vigilante groups are motivated by racist attitudes and beliefs

1. Statements by vigilante groups prove they are motivated by racism
The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, University of Miami, 2006
The vigilante ranch groups also share racially motivated, xenophobic ideologies and agendas, similar to the racist
ideologies of the early vigilante groups. Racist motivations have been apparent since the formation of the CCCC.
For example, on May 13, 2000 the CCCC held a public rally which was attended by the Ku Klux Klan, the Voices
of Citizens Together, and David Duke's National Organization for European American Rights. n94 Moreover,
"Ranch Rescue" completely embodied a racial agenda. Foote in an internet forum wrote: You and the vast
majority of your fellow dog turds are ignorant, uneducated, and desperate for a life in a decent nation because the
one that you live in is nothing but a pile of dog shit, made up of millions of little dog turds like you. You stand
around your entire lives, whining about how bad things are in your dog of a nation, waiting for the dog to stick its
ass under our fence and shit each one of you into our back yards. Just be careful where the dog shits, pal, because
sooner or later we will be there. n95 Other modern citizen activist groups such as the "United States Border
Control" have festered racist motives stating that: There are real problems with you illegals today. You have all
sorts of diseases. Terrible diseases. These diseases are so bad that the Border Patrol Agent will always wear gloves
when he is near you. But your breath might be far more deadly than it smells. Not to worry! The portable prison has
a very complete HEPA air filtration system so that the air the Agent breathes (up front) is completely filtered and he
can't get whatever you are pumping from your lungs - including smallpox ... . n96 There is no doubt that racist
motives and reasoning underly much of the vigilantism inherent in the ranch citizen activist groups. Clearly,
statements like the ones above are designed to humiliate Mexicans, reinforcing racial hierarchies that seemingly
have existed since the first vigilante citizen activists that lined the border over 150 years ago. Evidently, the modern
trend of vigilante violence has followed almost a single continuum from the early border vigilante groups.
Accordingly, the modern groups have maintained the same ideologies of social constructivism, economic
competition, and racism. With the rapid emergence of the MCDC, one issue remains: whether the MCDC represents
a continuation of the impermissible vigilante groups that have existed on the border since its creation, or whether the
MCDC truly represents a new and original concept of citizen activists that employs permissible activities.

2. Vigilantism is racist and doesn‘t deter immigration- the numbers don‘t lie
The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, University of Miami, 2006
One region in which citizen activism is both historically and currently prevalent is the United States-Mexico border
where citizen activism has scaled the entire continuum from permissible activity to impermissible activity. The
United States-Mexico border is the most frequently crossed international border in the world, with some 350 million
people crossing legally every year and many more millions crossing illegally. The current volatility on the United
States-Mexico border has been brewing since its creation in 1848. Historically, the American response to this
tension has been for citizens to actively participate in border control. However, this citizen activism has more often
than not inevitably overflowed into impermissible violent vigilantism. Unfortunately, border violence and
vigilantism is not a relic of the past. There has been a growing trend and movement towards border vigilantism. In
the late twentieth century, vigilante ranchers gathered in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. These
vigilante groups often "operated in a legal and moral shade of grey." On the one hand, they acted within the legal
framework of a citizen's arrest while fulfilling a societal need that the government did not necessarily have the
resources to provide. On the other hand, these groups were motivated by racist, xenophobic agendas, and often used
violent and abusive tactics that were beyond any permissible self-help privileges.




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Vigilantism is a tool of oppression

1. Even if vigilantism was once justified by keeping government in check- it is now a tool of oppression used by
those with more power in society
Karen S. Kopitsky, J.D. Candidate, The University of Iowa College of Law, May. M.A., Pittsburgh State University,
Teaching, 2003. B.A., Rhodes College, Spanish and Latin American Studies, ―How the Scope of States' Citizen's
Arrest Statutes Affects the Activity Level of Vigilante Groups on the U.S.-Mexico Border‖ The Journal of Gender,
Race & Justice, 2008
The history of the vigilante movement in the United States began with the idea that it would be used by citizens to
protect themselves from their own government. However, it was then used by those in more powerful positions as a
means of controlling different segments of society with less power. Because of this underlying racial and hate-based
motivation, how states define when citizen's arrest statutes can be used is of utmost importance. As the vigilante
movement continues to gain membership on the U.S. border, a concerted effort should be made to limit the activities
of the vigilantes by not allowing them to use state's citizen's arrest statutes as [*336] a defense to their behavior.
The need to control vigilante action is especially great in those border states that have become recent targets for
immigration, as the Border Patrol continues to put pressure on the more traditional border crossing points. n201 A
solution to the immigration problem must be found outside of the vigilante movement because increased violence on
the border is not the answer. Hopefully, the vigilante movement will recall the consequences of Nethercott's actions
when deciding whether the answer to illegal immigration is private citizens acting independently or a unified
government policy that addresses the causes behind the movement of large numbers of people into the United States.

2. The MCDC, despite presenting itself as politically palatable, has racist motives and intentions
The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, University of Miami, 2006
The MCDC claims it is saving society from an invasion by "enemies." Moreover, the MCDC also justifies its
actions by arguing that the undocumented immigrants are economic rivals, thus the MCDC claims to protect the
United States from "people who wish to take advantage of a free society." Yet, the most controversial and imbedded
reasoning and motivation behind the formation of the MCDC may indeed be racism. The reality is that the MCDC
may be riddled with racism, violence and abuse. Although the MCDC leaders, Gilchrist and Simcox, claimed that
forty per cent "of their volunteers would be minorities, including, according to their website, 'American-Africans,'
'American-Mexicans,' 'American-Armenians,' four paraplegics and six amputees," the enlistees were nearly all
white. Simcox also claimed that he would refuse to allow extremist groups to join the campaign. Nevertheless, the
project immediately attracted the support of groups such as the Aryan Nation. When the leaders were pressed on
how they were going to ban white supremacists from the MCDC, they stated that they were working with the
Federal Bureau of Investigation to carefully check the backgrounds of all potential volunteers. The reality was that
the self-funded nature of the MCDC did not allow for any background investigations to be conducted on volunteers
except for self-paid background checks provided by the volunteers themselves. Instead, the leadership claimed that
they could simply use "gut instinct." Unfortunately, gut instinct was not enough to avoid racist groups from
infiltrating the MCDC with ease It has been reported that at least one member of the Aryan Nation and two members
of the Phoenix chapter of the National Alliance were successful in joining as MCDC volunteers. Moreover, a report
from David Holthouse, who gained access to the MCDC, suggested that some of the racists, who had infiltrated the
MCDC, would fantasize about murder, saying "it should be legal to kill illegals." The suggestion only stopped short
of decapitating Mexicans and putting their heads on pikes, with one of the racists suggesting he respected the lives
of stray cats and dogs more than undocumented immigrants. The leadership of the MCDC itself also appears to be
racist. Gilchrist, on the one hand compares himself and volunteers to "white Martin Luther Kings," yet on the other
hand he is a member of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, "a hate group whose leader routinely
describes Mexicans as 'savages.'" Meanwhile Simcox has likened immigrants to insects by referring to Mexico and
immigrants as "a swarm of uncontrolled refugees fleeing a Marxist structured government that refuses to take care
of its own citizens." Additionally, if you investigate one of the two MCDC websites you find that the site provides
links to other websites of controversial racist groups such as "Ranch Rescue" and "United States Border Control." It
appears that MCDC may simply represent the political face of a global network of vigilante groups that share the
same racial and xenophobic motives and goals that have been prevalent on the border since its creation.




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Vigilantism results in human rights abuses

1. Vigilantism tears apart societies and devolves into paramilitary groups that violate human rights
Africa News 2005. ―Gambia; Vigilantism At Home‖
Most people were close to tears when they read our last Friday's paper that vigilantism is now within our midst.
People called and thronged our office to express their fear and condemnation upon reading the article. "Why such a
cruel thing in The Gambia? We don't need it, we are a tiny and peaceful country that cannot afford to have vigilantes
in our midst," stated a concerned Gambian. In the past years, we have read and heard about how vigilantism,
especially the ones that get government blessings, has succeeded in instilling fear, hopelessness and wanton
destruction of lives and properties in certain societies in Africa. One country where the cruel practice has left its
mark is the war-ravaged Sierra Leone where the government- backed civil defense force called Kamajos took the
law into their own hands and unleash terror and other crimes against humanity on innocent people. Despite getting
the government approval, the truth is gradually surfacing, as Kamajo members are paraded before the UN war crime
tribunal. Gambians expected a swift reaction or condemnation from the government immediately the story was
published but that was not the case, thus further raising suspicions about their involvement. It is not in the interest of
government or anybody to nurture or sustain a vigilante group in a country once described as the bastion of
everything good: human rights, respect for the rule of law, democracy, peace and hope. Such a menace is not a
place for a country where people are inter-related and married. But it appears the 11-year-rule of Yahya Jammeh
has broken the pillars of our society. This is an era in which worst forms of human rights abuses have been recorded
in The Gambia, whose former president won an international award for being the champion of human rights and
democracy. This, among other reasons, had enabled our tiny country to host the African Commission on Human and
Peoples Rights, although some African heads of states at the time raised some eyebrows. As an ex-soldier, we
expect the president to demonstrate stiffness on security of the nation. His government should not have allowed any
lapse in security. But the truth is that the AFPRC/APRC regimes have failed Gambians by allowing some sponsored
thugs to make life unbearable for innocent citizens without a just cause. How many times did unknown assailants
inflict systematic torture, abduction, torture or arson attacks on people while at work or asleep. These are the same
people who shot Ousman Sillah, ex-Lt. Kombo as well as brutally killed Deyda Hydara. At a time Gambians are
living with fear, it is distressing to hear that the big boss menace, vigilantism has arrived. Vigilantism should be
chased out of our society or else we will end up in sixes and sevens. As peace brokers, it is better for us to maintain
our jealously guarded peace. Unfortunately, The Gambia of yester years and today is a world of a difference.




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Vigilantism violates Due Process

1. Vigilantism can never build sustainable democracy or due process
Michael J. Frank is a judge advocate in the U.S. Army assigned to the special prosecutions section of Multi-National
Force-Iraq in Baghdad. JUSTICE FOR IRAQ, JUSTICE FOR ALL, Oklahoma Law Review, 2004
Through judicial proceedings, Iraqis can also show that at least some of the population is ready to assume the
responsibilities that are inherent in liberty, including the obligation to ensure that the guilty receive punishment
commensurate with their crimes. This requires use of a proportionality calculus best effected through a judicial
process, which inherently lends itself to careful deliberation and the balancing of equities. That the death penalty is
the only penalty of sufficient magnitude to address Saddam's crimes - and frankly even this ultimate punishment
falls short of atonement for all of Saddam's murders - does not militate against a judicial calculation of
proportionality. Law entails providing reasons for judicial actions so that a judicial process will entail, at the least,
an examination of the reasons for whatever punishment is meted to the Baathists. Moreover, to the extent that some
of Saddam's co-conspirators are less complicit than he, they should enjoy the benefit of a judicial assessment of their
proper punishments. Thus, Iraqis will be able to articulate a reasoned standard for imposing capital punishment,
which is an important task in a country where the death sentence was previously the punishment of first resort.
Administering punishments proportionate to the particular crimes committed might also further the rule of law by
discouraging the "self-help" justice of vigilantism, one of the purposes served by the Nuremberg trials. When
citizens feel that justice will not be served by official means, they sometimes take the law - and their enemies - into
their own hands. Although some might respect the zeal of those who are willing to become unpaid instruments of
justice, vigilantism is prone to abuse, not the least of which is the possibility of mistake because of a lack of
forethought, consensus, and considered judgment. Many Baath party officials have already been subject to reprisals,
with justification, at the hands of former victims. Unless their thirst for justice is quenched through official channels,
these former victims will undoubtedly continue their extrajudicial quest for retribution. Although "mob justice" may
be better than no justice, it hardly comports with notions of fairness normally associated with advanced
democracies. Indeed, in such societies, the term "mob justice" entails an inherent contradiction. Accordingly, the
long-oppressed Iraqi people should be allowed to vent their anger in a judicial forum. If Iraqis sincerely seek to join
the league of modern nations, they must channel their desire for retribution through government agencies designed
to effect justice. When Iraqis ultimately see that such means exist, and that these agencies operate effectively, they
will be more likely to leave retribution to the courts. In a country where nearly all men, and some women, own at
least one AK-47 rifle, a willingness to allow the government to handle retribution will go a long way toward internal
peace. Organized trials are also necessary to generate popular trust in the government.




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