In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Mr. Heck Tate's mob wanted to take matters into their own hands and administer vigilante justice to Tom Robinson, who was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. They believed that Robinson was guilty based on Ewell's testimony and were not willing to wait for the legal system to take its course. When Atticus Finch stood in their way and refused to let them harm Robinson, Tate was reluctant to intervene but eventually persuaded the group to disperse.
The scene in the book is described as follows: "They want to get him and lynching him's just the start. Jem, you see if you can stand in Mr. Finch's shoes a minute. I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with. The man had to have some kind of comeback, his kind always does. So if spitting in my face and threatening me saved Mayella Ewell one extra beating, that's something I'll gladly take. He had to take it out on somebody and I'd rather it be me than that household of children out there. You understand?" (Chapter 15)
This passage shows that the mob was fueled by anger and a desire for revenge, rather than a genuine concern for justice. They were willing to use violence to achieve their goals, regardless of the consequences or the morality of their actions. Mr. Tate's reluctance to get involved highlights the danger of mob mentality and the importance of upholding the rule of law, even in the face of intense emotions and public pressure.
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