Mob Justice Defined: In short, it’s when a group of people take the law into their own hands becoming the law enforcer, the prosecutor and the judge.
So… Mob Justice Mentality!?!?!? I’m against the notion of Mob Justice Mentality, in fact I don’t believe that phrase means anything. How can we accept this misconception of “mob justice” as justice? By definition, mob justice defies all the acceptable principles of justice! So really we need to call it what it is ‘Mob Social Injustice‘ – (MSI)!
Imagine the same police officer that gives you a speeding ticket… is the same officer that prosecutes you and the same officer that passes judgement as to whether or not you are guilty! It doesn’t work that is why we have the police that are given the responsibility of enforcing the law while prosecutors handle their biz in court and the judge listens to the arguments and eventually passes judgement in the most fair way. The segregation of these responsibilities affords every citizen the right to a fair trial otherwise our communities would be plagued by chaos.
My guess is that 95% or maybe 100% of us are against mob justice, BUT… yes there is a but… but we somehow find ourselves in situations where we are part of the mob delivering mob justice either as active participants or bystanders subliminally cheering the mobsters on. Yup! If you are there just watching then you might as well be partaking in the unlawful act itself – I’m not a lawyer, yet I’m confident most if not all prosecutors will agree with this thought…
So if indeed most of us are against this barbaric uncivilized act of social injustice, the issue is how can we educate each other out of it. My assumption is 1) we need to understand why it’s happening then 2) address the factors that cause it to happen then finally 3) we need to continuously engage in activities that will eradicate this skewed mentality once and for all. Believe it or not there are communities where mob justice mentality does not exist or affects less than 5% of the population. Let’s aim, as Zimbabweans, to get rid of this social injustice from our beautiful communities – it’s very “unAfrican“!!!
Why Do People Partake in Mob Justice?
While the reasons are many I will simply highlight some of the assumptions I have and hopefully we can learn more from your comments. I assume the biggest factor is ignorance! Yup! Not knowing the illegal nature of this behavior makes folks believe it’s acceptable to punish the victims because they need to be taught a lesson. The other reasons could be just people that have their own pre-existing frustrations with life, the economy or family matters that find an opportunity to vent their frustrations. Another reason is simply criminals that enjoy this barbaric behavior that take an opportunity to openly commit crime and in the process convince law abiding citizens to take part in their criminal activities. The other reason that perhaps is so easy to overlook could be that those that take part in mob justice are themselves previous victims of a similar crime that find the opportunity to revenge their injustice.
It’s fairly obvious that the above factors will all or in part apply to most people we have witnessed taking part in cases of mob justice. The next quest is whether an anything can be done to completely stop our communities from this barbaric act of injustice or at least reduce the likelihood of this crime occurring?
Mob Justice Mentality Vaccines are Available
Well, the title of this section immediately tells you we can get rid or reduce mob justice occurrences. I will give examples of solutions in relation to the example reasons I gave in the previous section. It’s important for Community Leaders in partnership with law enforcers, prosecutors and judges to engage in initiatives or campaigns to educate the public on the elements of mob justice and consequences for those that take part in them. It’s time our community developed community structures that are an extension of family structures and are there to help people cope with the various challenges that life throws at them. If our communities have a way to handle stress and other life’s challenges then we will have a less frustrated community or at the very least one that is better equipped to handle stress and other life related challenges.
Perpetrators of these crimes should be brought to book and face the consequences in line with our laws. This potentially will deter would be mobsters and force people to consider the consequences of their actions before taking the law into their own hands. Last but not least, we could setup structures that are visible and actively help victims of crime to better cope with their experiences for speedy healing and removing the revenge entitlement that a lot of victims walk around with until that moment they find an opportunity to vent or as it may be let out the dormant devil. Again in this case there is great need for communities to come together and develop accessible therapeutic programs to help victims (and close family members) deal with and recover from their traumatic experiences.
Continuous Improvement Activities
If we can achieve the above two sections in our communities we may at some point reduce re-occurrence of mob justice crimes and perhaps even completely remove them – it can be done if we believe and work together with the different structures in our communities. Last week I wrote an article on community policing – programs like these are crucial in creating a sustainable path for communication to easily flow from law enforcers to the community and the buy-in from the community will ensure the success of educational campaigns and the end result is a better, safer, more comfortable community to live in. Approach your local police station to see how you can help your community through initiatives like neighborhood watch. Communities like Borrowdale and Avondale are already enjoying the fruits of a growing network of neighborhood watch members because the community is increasingly approaching the ZRP police stations and security committees (BCCC & ACCC) to volunteer their time to activities that reduce crime and continuously educate the community on lawful options to handling criminal or suspected criminal activities.
Imagine if you suffered a bloody beating at the hands of an angry mob because they mistook you for a child abductor or child trafficker when in-fact the child is yours? This happened at the village in Borrowdale and I am sure it happens more often that we realize. It’s time that we educate ourselves out of these regressive and seemingly subtle crimes – All crimes have victims… let’s not create more victims and add to the spread of mob justice. Play your role today to ensure that you are that person that will look to the right way to handle suspected criminal activity and that is always seeking the assistance of law enforcement agencies such as the ZRP or in the case of the village the Sam Levy security that should be well trained to handle criminal cases the right way.
I felt obliged to write this article after I watched the events that took place at the village. I decided not to use the images taken at the village except for the damage caused to the parent’s Mercedes by the mob, some of who unfortunately took the law into their own hands and assaulted the rightful parent of the child. We praise the Almighty that no harm came to the child and he was reunited with his family. Hopefully both the child and the family will get some sort of assistance to walk away from this experience without emotional or psychological harm
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Ottawa University Graduate in (Honors) Accounting. After attaining a few accounting designations and proving to myself that I can pass exams at the highest levels, I now chase after my biggest dream – HAPPINESS! My passion is progressing my community through online technologies and giving an opportunity to AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe…