Vigilante attacks on rape suspects — overdue justice?

HIHsquareSome very interesting things have happened in Bolivia and in California. Rape victims and their supporters have taken to vigilante justice. More power to them.

In Temecula, California, police say Esteban Cruz got a teenage girl to go into the park with him. And raped her. Turns out, according to the youngster, this wasn’t his first attack on her. (The first person who asks why she let it happen again gets a swift kick in the a**.)

She had told her dad and a friend, Andre Edwin Dickerson, that Cruz had once raped her after she passed out drunk in his bed. (The first person to ask what she was doing in his bed in the first place gets swift kick in the a**, too.)

Police acted on the girl’s charges to investigate Cruz. And charge him with sodomy with a minor, setting him free on $50,000 bail.

We have a justice system in place that we are obliged to honor, isn’t that right? No one is entitled to go beyond that system when they feel it has failed them, isn’t that so? Because someone committed a vicious crime against you or your loved one is no excuse to take matters into your own hands.

The hell it isn’t.

The dad and his daughter flipped the script on Esteban Cruz. Somehow, they lured him back to the park. (He probably thought he going to get the chance to do it again.)  When he got there, along with Dickerson, they put Cruz in the hospital. Actually, Dickerson did the work, taking a baseball bat to Cruz like he was swinging against a Nolan Ryan fastball.

The father and daughter watched. News reports don’t say whether they had popcorn and soda, but it’s safe to say they enjoyed themselves. Cruz wound up with skull fractures, broken bones, a lung injury and lost teeth. You have to wonder how therapeutic it was for the kid — how much better she felt after this versus how long it would’ve taken psychological counseling to help her mind and soul heal.

Instead of being awarded medals, Andre Edwin Dickerson, the dad, and the daughter have all been brought up on charges and will go to trial for attempted murder and mayhem. You have to figure they’ll go free.

It’s not as if there’s a reasonable doubt about Cruz being guilty. Hell, asked why he preys on teenage girls, Cruz told the cops, “It’s what I do.”

The jury or judge that fails to convict this animal should start filling out change of address cards at the post office: public outcry as well as women’s organizations’ protests would raise a rallying cry across the country.

O.J. Simpson skates and these people go to prison? Hell, the prosecuting attorney will probably have to move, too.

It’s pretty sketchy what happened in Bolivia. A man accused of raping, then murdering a 17-year-old girl had no better sense than to show up at her funeral. Where he was beaten. Then buried alive.

I’d pretty much say he was judged and overwhelmingly found guilty by a jury. It just didn’t happen to take place in court. FYI: folk in indigenous regions of Bolivia have taken to this sort of thing with the blessings of President Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous head of state, who signed a law recognizing “indigenous justice.”

Laws against rape here and around the world have long been a failure at deterring the crime.  Sentencing hasn’t done any good, either. Maybe “indigenous justice” will work.


Dwight Hobbes welcomes reader responses to P.O. Box 50357, Mpls., 55403. 


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