On October 1 a Maryland man was arrested for killing his brother and sister-in-law.
He believed his brother, a pharmacist, killed people by administering the COVID-19 vaccine to them.
The delusion and denial of scientific reality aside, this twist is also disturbing to what it indicates about the ever-increasing rejection of the rule of law. It was not only that this man fell prey to a conspiracy theory, and believed that the right-wing madness was that the vaccine not only protects people but can also fatally harm them, but that he also feels he has the right has to take the law. his own hands and acts as judge, jury and executioner.
What happened to picking up the phone and calling the police if you believed someone had committed murder? Call 911 if it’s an emergency.
Clearly, this man knew that his pharmacist’s brother was not violating a socially sanctioned law and that the police would probably not act.
He acted according to the law and a sense of distorted justice that he and other conspiracy theorists invented.
And why would he not believe that he has the right to take the law into his own hands?
Texas lawmakers recently approved the infamous abortion ban, the enforcement of which is not in the hands of state authorities but in the hands of private citizens. Private citizens are empowered to sue anyone they believe violates the law and, if they win, receive a defendant award of at least $ 10,000 plus their legal costs. If plaintiffs lose, they do not have to pay the defendant’s legal costs, which give private citizens a great deal of power to exercise a kind of vigilance without impunity.
On a broader scale, we have seen the Republican Party encourage private citizens to reject legitimate democratic processes and state authority.
Just taking their reaction to the events of January 6, against the Republican Congress, with the exception of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, they opposed any serious investigation into the uprising and its planning. Based on their reaction, it is good with them that the rioters assaulted and killed police officers.
And that’s what we saw for four years when Democrats tried to uphold the rule of law and investigate Trump and his administration. Trump and his people have refused to honor subpoenas; When Trump’s circle, including Michael Flynn, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort, were convicted of crimes, they held out for pardon from Trump.
The lesson? Americans have the right to respect the law and play by their own rules.
Again, we see this not only from private citizens, but from government leaders. Republicans indeed refuse to raise the debt limit to pay the country’s debt they have incurred and approved is only an example where we see them set the example where it is acceptable not to play by the rules and major damage to the country and its people.
We’re in a dangerous moment in America. Republicans have approved violent justice, and we can expect to see more of it inside and outside the government.
Tim Libretti is Professor of American Literature and Culture at Chicago State University. He has been a progressive voice for many years and has published numerous academic and journalistic articles on culture, class, race, gender and politics, for which he has received awards from the Working Class Studies Association, the International Labor Communications Association, the National Federation of Press Women and the Illinois Woman’s Press Association.