The title question is the tag line for my most recent publication, You Belong To Me.
It’s got me thinking about cases in which people have tried to seek their own kind of justice for crimes committed against them, or someone they know. Trying to seek your own justice could be seen as trying to get revenge or to punish a wrong instead of using traditional forms of justice, such as the police.
There have many real life cases were people have planned and carried out their own form of justice. Consultant forensic psychologist, Dr Ruth Tully, explains…‘Many people who feel wronged in some way have thoughts of revenge, but most people don’t act these out. For those who cause serious harm, the need to “get back” at someone can be a powerful and personal motivator. The perceived need for revenge can magnify emotions so that the violence becomes gratuitous or sadistic, with the perpetrator more easily able to overlook victim distress. Revenge violence can be an act of emotional expression, or the perpetrator seeking to restore balance or justice to the world.’
Read more at https://www.lifedeathprizes.com/real-life-crime/shocking-revenge-crimes-from-around-the-world-40611#Lw6BGqI0tQrh1kag.99.
I also wondered what people’s opinion on the question was? Can two wrongs ever make a right? Yes or no? I asked members of some Facebook groups what they thought. Here are a few of their opinions:
‘I think they can. If the first wrong is perpetrated in an evil way, revenge or a serving of perhaps vigilante justice or removing a very bad person, can balance the books. If both acts are borne from pure evil, like a mafia type hit/ revenge then the answer is no.’
Patricia Dixon, author.
Another group member, author Lee Sherred, states that it’s only natural that people people take the law into their own hands with the Police struggling to provide the service that is expected of them. He then says: ‘The trouble with that is, to do so you need to know without doubt that the person is guilty. Unfortunately, most responses are something along the lines of “well, it said he was a paedo on Facebook innit” and some poor bloke ends up in intensive care fighting for his life simply because he told some kids to stop breaking into a car and, to get back at him, they spread malicious rumours (true story and sadly not an uncommon one).’
Author Barry Faulkner remembers a serious crime that occurred in London and comments: ‘When Ben Kinsella was murdered in East London the police met a wall of silence. Then the Adam’s crime family who’s turf it was on said publicly that the killers would be dealt with by the ‘family’ if they didn’t hand themselves in. They handed themselves in within 48 hours. The power of the threat of revenge depends on who is making it. Personally if anyone really hurt one of my family I would go after them.’
Here’s an extract from You Belong To Me where the 4 main characters discuss getting their revenge and if two wrongs can ever make a right:
‘I feel so sorry for her,’ Rob said. ‘Poor woman’s been through so much.’
‘Ignorance is bliss, so they say,’ Kieran said. ‘At least she doesn’t know what an evil bastard her son is.’
‘Maybe it’s about time she did,’ Josh said. ‘Maybe it’s about time the whole world knew exactly what Calum Sheppard is.’
Danny had mixed feelings about that. He wanted Calum exposed and punished for his crimes more than anything else in the world, but he didn’t want his mother subjected to anymore heartache. She’d suffered enough already. Anything else could tip her completely over the edge.
He also wanted to make Calum pay for the way he’d made him suffer from the moment he was out of nappies. Tripping him up. Pouring bleach on his foot and telling their mother he’d caught Danny about to drink it. Holding him out the bedroom window by his ankles when he was six. Stealing his puppy. No proof of that, just a series of cruel hints. Calum making whining noises. Rolling onto his back and playing dead. Saying stuff like, ‘You never know what might be buried in the woods’.
Danny, forever five years younger than Calum and a good foot smaller, had wanted to rip out Calum’s tongue and make him eat his words. Ram them back down his throat. Watch him choke on them. But Danny had just held it all inside. Didn’t say a word to his mother. She wouldn’t have believed him, anyway. As far as she was concerned, Calum could do no wrong. He did chores around the house, helped prepare the dinner, mowed the grass, got logs in for the fire and even had a part-time job in a local butcher’s shop.
Calum had loved his job, taking great delight in telling Danny all about the different cuts of meat and how to chop up a carcass.
‘Who knows, Danny? That mutt of yours might be in one of the steak and kidney pies.’
Danny had legged it to the bathroom and thrown up. Sat locked in the loo for a whole hour sobbing and swearing to God he would get Calum back for this. Just as soon as he was old enough and big enough to fight him.
‘I wish I could just kill him,’ Danny said. ‘Put the bastard six feet under and forget about him.’
Kieran raised an eyebrow. ‘Do you really think killing him would solve anything? It’s wrong, no matter what the provocation is. He needs to be caught and put in jail.’
Danny shrugged. ‘In an ideal world.’
‘That’s what God would want,’ Kieran said. ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right.’
‘How do you know what God wants?’ Josh asked. ‘You got His private number or something?’
‘Thou shalt not kill,’ Kieran said. ‘It’s simple enough for someone to understand. Even you.’
‘I don’t believe in God.’
Kieran smiled. A worn out smile that barely lifted the corners of his mouth. ‘It’s always those who need Him the most who have little or no faith.’
‘I think we have to do whatever it takes,’ Rob says. ‘Play it by ear.’
Josh agreed. ‘Makes sense.’
‘We’ve all got to stick together,’ Danny said. ‘We haven’t got time for arguments.’
What do you think? Can two wrongs ever make a right?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
If you’d like to find out more about You Belong To Me please click on the above image. It’s just 99p or 99c until the evening of Friday 22nd March.
Thank you for your continued support,