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It is a common expression in popular culture that there are things which forever change a man; things from which a man can never return the same person. The expression is meant to warn people against the complicated nature of revenge and vigilantism. Two authors in a text philosophize whether the Dark Night should permanently end the reign of the Prince of Chaos through murder.
This paper will use arguments therein to determine if one should revenge the murder and torture of their kin by killing the culprit. The paper holds that one should not take full responsibility of avenging the crime, rather leave it to the authorities since they are better placed to conduct such acts.
Model citizens should be law abiding (Moncada). That said, the idea of taking the law into his arms should be alien to them since it exposes them to the same treatment legally warranted for the original transgressor. In the text Should Batman Kill the Joker? , the authors hold that according to three philosophical standings, the joker could either be killed or surrendered to the authorities by Batman. According to Utilitarianism, killing The Joker would have ideal results since the number of saved lives would be more than those condemned by that decision.
However, the other two philosophical stances oppose this creed (White and Arp). Deontology, for example does not diminish the importance of punishing The Joker but rather state that it is not in Batman’s place to carry out the punishment. The stance holds that the state is best suited to punish The Joker.
The last school of thought, value ethics, prefers to look at the effect of vigilantism on the perpetrator’s character. As previously exposed, the text provides philosophical bases for either course of action. According to the authors, while there are “good reasons to kill the Joker, in terms of innocent lives saved, there are also good reasons not to kill him, based on what killing him would mean about Batman and his motives, mission and character.”
The choice quote is relevant in determining the right course of action in the event a serial killer is apprehended after killing one’s family for kicks (White and Arp). This is since similarly, there are good reasons for executing the serial killer because such an action would cull humanity off a psychopath who might engage in future murders. However, personally killing the assailant would mean that the avenger would stoop to the same level of cruelty that the assailant dwells in. it would invariably soil one’s character rendering one incapable of ever taking the moral high-road.
Both this paper and the master text affirm the importance of punishing individuals who threaten to fling civilized people back to the Dark Ages (Rosenbaum and Sederberg). However, both works hold that it is not in the individual’s citizen place to pronounce verdict and dish out the punishment. The paper thereby takes a stand against vigilantism, even if it acknowledges that importance of involving citizens in correcting offenders.
Vigilantism and personal revenge should not be endorsed by society or state since both lead to actions that threaten the same law that protects all citizens. People who have fallen victim to hurtful offenders should let the state take the full responsibility of punishing the offenders to avoid becoming the very animal they are against. As Nietzsche put it forth, “those who fight with monsters should see to it that in the process they do not become monsters themselves.”
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