Aw yeah, vigilante justice, says Barr

Interesting. William Barr thinks two old movies that glorify vigilante “justice” aka revenge are emblematic of the human desire for justice.

“I believe a sense of justice is hardwired into human beings,” Barr recalled during an interview with Crime Story podcast host Kary Antholis. “Don’t ask me why, but it is there and it’s satisfying to see justice done.”

Why not ask him why? You’d expect lawyers to be interested, and it’s not a particularly arcane subject. There’s been research into a sense of fairness in chimpanzees, for instance, and I’m sure that’s just one item of many.

But hey, why read up on such things when there are crappy old movies to watch.

Barr elaborated on his theory of justice, recalling the Charles Bronson movie Death Wish and Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, icons of vigilantism in ’70s filmmaking that spawned movie franchises.

The original 1974 exploitation classic Death Wish tells the story of how a do-gooder Manhattan liberal sees the light after his wife is murdered and his daughter is raped. He becomes a one-man vigilante squad, roaming New York City and executing petty thieves.

Yes, that’s justice all right, killing petty thieves because one woman was murdered and another was raped. We amateurs must be wrong to think it’s a little closer to justice to go after the actual perpetrators as opposed to random people doing more trivial crimes.

Death Wish, yeah,” Barr said. “That gives people a sense of satisfaction when they see it.”

I haven’t seen it, but I’m not getting what’s satisfying about that. It’s unnerving that the US Attorney General is.

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