Vigilantes are often portrayed as heroes in the movies. Clint Eastwood has made a career out of acting the part. But Eastwood’s not the best example of a modern day vigilante. I always picked him as more of a 4WD kinda’ guy, instead of someone who zooms around the inner suburbs of your nearest city perched on a bike and decked out in lycra.

Now imagine a mob of angry cyclists!

As our open thread reported yesterday, an online community of Sydney cyclists are hunting down the occupants of a dark red Mitsubishi, who are alleged to have attacked a cyclist with fists and, oddly enough, batteries. The drivers are no fans of Le Tour de France, that’s for sure. “Energise THIS, Lance Armstrong!”

The cyclist in question, Chris Moore, doesn’t want vengeance. He says he isn’t going to press charges. “I think a better outcome would be if these people were able to gain a bit of insight, and empathise with other road users,” he wrote on Reddit.

Not every vigilante would be so compassionate though. I’m sure Clint wouldn’t. And technology’s made taking justice into your own hands that much easier - which isn’t always a good thing.

Think back to the 2005 Cronulla riots. Young men took to the streets to bash up people with a darker skin tone than themselves not only because of Alan Jones was ranting about it, but because their mates texted them saying to go down to the beach and bash some people.

The mob was angry because of a perceived injustice. And when nothing seemed to be happening, their flip-phones beeped and a bunch of young men realised, hey, we can all get together right now and teach these people a lesson. Who needs the cops or the courts? Not these guys.

It’s easy to project a similar fiasco unfolding if people who weren’t as sensible as these cyclists identified someone as a threat online.

What would happen if someone posted up a picture of the house that a convicted paedophile was living in? One who has served his time and has been judged to no longer be a threat to the community. Surely we’d see people take “justice” into their own hands.

No matter how righteous the vigilantes would think they were, it’d be a recipe for anarchy.

Technology isn’t just enabling law and order vigilantes. It’s enabling political ones as well.

Just take a look at Wikileaks and hacker group Anonymous. You could say these organisations have done some good things. Wikileaks brought attention to huge amount of material the US government needlessly keeps classified by leaking thousands of State Department cables. Anonymous hacked the Syrian defence ministry’s website and splayed the home page with a symbol of the pro-democracy movement.

Both groups have carried out some pretty questionable acts, though.

Often vigilantes act out because they feel nothing is being done to help them or because they feel their principles are being stamped on. And sometimes they need to. Vigilantes organised themselves through Facebook and Twitter to topple dictators throughout the Arab World last year. The online cyclist community might bring Chris Moore’s assailants to some kind of justice.

But when an angry mob can be conjured up at the click of a finger, you’ve got to hope the people who know how to dole out justice the right way are plugged in to what people are feeling.

Most commented

111 comments

Show oldest | newest first

    • Nathan says:

      05:21am | 28/03/12

      How often do the Cronulla riots going to mentioned? It was disgrace but continually bringing it up does not help anyone actually further firms peoples opinions.

      And if you Are we ever going to continually bring it up how about writing about the roll of certain ethnic groups played in stabbings, bashings and other vicious behaviour, not exactly the behaviour of victims. This by no means excuses what happened but be fair about it and not just label put it down to the white man.

      “Get the Aussie dogs ... get the Aussie sluts” i know didn’t say that…..it pulled out the worst in a number of ethnic groups.

      What about the vigilant actions of the middle eastern people involved?

    • subotic says:

      08:14am | 28/03/12

      “What about the vigilant actions of the middle eastern people involved?”

      It’s ok Nathan, they’re Muslims, move along, nothing to see here.

      It’s only wrong if you’re a white Australian male, born here, and your pay taxes on time. Those are the buggers we need to… Crush, Kill, Destroy.

      Bring on more migrant vigilantes to kill whitey, I say.

      Charles Bronson, where are you….....

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      08:39am | 28/03/12

      It was just the bogan set of each race showing the worst of society.

    • Zopo says:

      10:23am | 28/03/12

      Although the riots were a while ago, the sentiment is defiantly still there not just in Cronulla.

    • Phill says:

      10:37am | 28/03/12

      There should be a law in the media that if you bring up the Cronulla Riots you tells the full story, even the parts that aren’t nice and PC not just the parts that make it sounds like all the fault of bogan white males.

    • Little Joe says:

      12:30pm | 28/03/12

      @ Subotic

      We must re-write history to placate other nationalities!!!

      We must ignore their racist/sexist remarks to placate other nationalities!!!

      We must take their violence to placate other nationalities!!!

      We must not bring the Australian Flag to sporting events in Australia to support Australian teams/individuals to placate other nationalities!!!

      Because all the Arts Students know what is good for us!!!

    • James1 says:

      12:39pm | 28/03/12

      Crime is never a reasonable or appropriate response to crime.  No matter the ethnicity of the perpetrators.

    • adam says:

      05:45am | 28/03/12

      Bah, you bleeding hearts will be sorry when Frankenstiens monster next runs amuck and us vigilanties are all down the pub. And don’t come looking for help if that weirdo from Notre Dame arcs up again


      where’d I leave my pitchfork

    • S.L says:

      06:00am | 28/03/12

      There’s a bunch of kids in my area that are getting quite prolific at break and enters (my office got targeted last week). The local shop keepers who’ve been robbed a few times over the last couple of months have had enough. We know the names and addresses of the thieves and the local police told us they can’t do a thing about it! The L.A.C was told in no uncertain terms after my office was robbed (the last we know of) that if they can’t drag themselves away from their coffee and donuts we’ll take the law into our own hands! Only time will tell if we have to take action ourselves. The frustrating part is they brag about their activities on facebook. I bet if one of the local law had their place robbed there’d be 100 police on the case….............

    • MarkS says:

      07:41am | 28/03/12

      Vigilantes occur when the authorities cannot be trusted to do something about the issue that is angering people. It is always an indictment on the authorities, which is one of the reasons they get so hot under the collar about it.

      Not sure I would call the private investigations being undertaken by the cyclists as vigilantes in action. They appear to wish to discover the people at fault & then advise the authorities. Until they act to judge & punish as well I would not call them vigilantes.

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      08:41am | 28/03/12

      Meh, Police.

    • Brizben says:

      10:02am | 28/03/12

      Have you tried going around and speaking to their parents?

    • Fiddler says:

      10:24am | 28/03/12

      problem being that when they are arrested, they plead not guilty, as a result fifteen witnesses are dragged along to court for a day and when they finally are convicted the magistrate dismisses the matter with a caution under the Young Offenders Act, saying that despite the fact they never admitted their guilt that they must be sorry and then apologises for wasting the kids time by dragging them through court (I am not exaggerating, I have seen this).

      @Simon - meh, lefties

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      10:51am | 28/03/12

      @Fiddler

      What do ‘lefties’ have to do with Police actually doing what we pay them for?

      Or you prefer them to be revenue collectors as they are now?

    • RyaN says:

      11:31am | 28/03/12

      @S.L: The police are far too busy “accidentally” killing Brazilian tourists for…. well nothing other than mistaken identity apparently.

    • Fiddler says:

      12:46pm | 28/03/12

      @Simon, I was referring to you actually. However, now that you ask it is the lefties that make the magistrates act in such a way as described, just take a look at the NSW Law Reform Commission and it’s left wing ideology, which has a strong influence over the Judiciary.

      As for the S.L. We have a legal system where the prosecution have to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, and link a specific offender to a specific offence. A bunch of kids being responsible for a bunch of break and enters isn’t enough to convict. A kid can brag they have done hundreds of break and enters, even in open court, but unless they are linked to a specific offence, it all amounts to jack.
      If the evidence isn’t there it simply isn’t there.

    • Kika says:

      01:02pm | 28/03/12

      Don’t you have something in your NSW common law about citizen arrests?

    • S.L says:

      01:07pm | 28/03/12

      @Fiddler.
      I agree with what you said entirely. These kids only take cash. No personal items to link them to any offence. They are “apprenticed” to a bunch of older crims in the area and these robberies are part of their training. They have been spotted “on the job” several times and even at their ages they are all regulars in court. On the rare occasions they are convicted it’s the young offenders act that gives them a slap with a wet lettuce…....

    • Elizabeth1 says:

      04:19pm | 28/03/12

      S.L -  Have you thought of restorative justice.  I haven’t personally seen it in action, but I have heard that it works.  The offenders and their parents have to attend a facilitated meeting and face their victims. The group decides the restitution.  The offenders are confronted with the consequences of their actions on the victims and have consequences for their actions imposed on themselves and sometimes on their parents.  The research claims that this method has resulted in less reoffending and I know of a few startling successes overseas.  Here are some links on the effectiveness so you can judge for yourself.  There is one for Australian clearinghouse that lists who provides this service in each state. If you decide its worth a try the police should organize the offenders and their budget should also cover the costs.
      http://www.d.umn.edu/~jmaahs/Correctional Assessment/rj_meta analysis.pdf
      http://www.criminologyresearchcouncil.gov.au/reports/strang/index.html

    • Lucy says:

      06:34am | 28/03/12

      The comments posted on the Sydney Cyclist website were, in the main, quite measured and reasonable.  Contrast this with the angry rants of motorists on the Tele website yesterday, baying for the blood of every lycra clad cyclist in the state.  It was the Tele which first used the word ‘vigilante’ in relation to the incident and the journalist responsible for the article would be well pleased with the response that it generated.

    • RANK FRANK says:

      07:07am | 28/03/12

      CYCLISTS - think they are above the Law.
      How many stop at a RED Light?
      Never seen adherence to a STOP Sign. Have you.  .  .
      Still no excuse for ‘Car Attacks’

    • Neil says:

      08:20am | 28/03/12

      Love those “i’m not a racist but..” statements.  Think you proved Lucy’s point Frank.

    • Sarah says:

      09:11am | 28/03/12

      Really confused how what Rank Frank has said, Neil that is in any way, shape or form racist??

      Either you don’t have a clue what racism actually means - or you’re trying to link a context with utterly zero relevance to a statement meaning something entirely different?

    • year of the dragon says:

      10:08am | 28/03/12

      RANK FRANK says:08:07am | 28/03/12

      “How many stop at a RED Light?”

      Most. In any case, both cars and cyclists should

      “Never seen adherence to a STOP Sign.”

      If they do, it’s a practical way of fitting in with the traffic. Cyclists are able to get a good look at the road at stop signs and go very slowly. If they were to adhere to the absolute letter of the law in every situation and stop and put their foot down they would cause a lot more disruption to the traffic than if they slowed right down and rolled through if it was safe.

      In any case, what’s your problem with it if they do go through red lights (which most don’t) or don’t stop at Stop signs? They do so to get out of the way and clear the traffic. If they do so recklessly they are putting themselves in much more danger if they don’t.

    • Al says:

      10:37am | 28/03/12

      year of the dragon re: “what’s your problem with it if they do go through red lights (which most don’t) or don’t stop at Stop signs?”
      Gee, it wouldn’t be because it is illegal and they are almost never punished for it would it.

    • ibast says:

      11:54am | 28/03/12

      I don’t ride a bike (well maybe once a year), but I can understand exactly why bikes “run” reds and I think they should be allowed to do it.

      Most of the road rules are written for cars.  You won’t appreciate this until you drive another vehicle type. Push bikes can approach an intersection, get a good view and be through without causing any danger to those around them.  It helps with traffic flow and helps with rider safety, because cars aren’t coming up behind them (as much) when the lights change.

      Forcing bikes to obey these laws effectively makes your queue longer.  You make the decision to drive a car, the consequence is you have to live with the queue you created.  Don’t make others suffer the consequences of your decision and at least have presence of mind to recoginse that push bikes and motorbikes are doing you a favour by reducing the length of your queue.  If you want change things, do something about it yourself.  Get a train.  Ride a pushbike.  Ride a motorbike.  Change jobs.  Don’t put someone else in the queue that doesn’t need to be there.

      If you go to any Asian city you will see that push bikes allow more people to commute than in Australia and the US and that is because the authorities, quite rightly, see it as ridiculous that push bikes should obey rules designed for cars.

      And before you quote, “but it’s law” bollocks, get real.  We all disobey laws we see as stupid.  Cigarette butts, speeding, parking, etc, etc.  This list goes on.

      Sorry for the rant, but the “they’re pushing in” mentality really is stuffing it up for all road users our major cities.

    • reid wright says:

      12:03pm | 28/03/12

      Al - When did you last J-walk ? Not cross at the crossing ? cross when the man was flashing red ? These are all illegal and punishable by law.  If you are going to stand on the moral high ground and want to punish purely because the law states i sure hope you’re living up to these high standards yourself.
      P.S. Driving 15kmh in an 8kmh zone in a parking lot is also punishable by law.

    • year of the dragon says:

      01:34pm | 28/03/12

      Al says:11:37am | 28/03/12

      “Gee, it wouldn’t be because it is illegal and they are almost never punished for it would it. “

      So what? How does this effect you?

    • Steve Putnam says:

      05:10pm | 28/03/12

      Agree with you entirely RF. This morning a cyclist nearly killed himself when he did a left hand turn across the front of me coming from the right hand side of my truck! I just caught sight of something in the corner of my eye and broke instantly. The fool was lucky beyond belief - he missed me by centimetres.
      When cyclists actually stop at red lights it is the exception not the rule. They also ride on footpaths and without lights and helmets and never make hand signals and there’s nothing can be done about it. The rangers in the City of Sydney aren’t allowed to book them and the coppers won’t.
      The present council likes to pretend that cycleways alleviate traffic problems when they have little to do with people commuting. How many people wear lycra to work? Its all a sop to “dinks” who like shaving their legs and posing on $10,000 bikes.

    • Stephan says:

      07:09am | 28/03/12

      Every time I read a story about a homeowner who got one back on a break and enter, I cheer.

      Is it O.K. to go vigilante?  In a good and true world where wrong is addressed - no.  In today’s world where people literally get away with murder on a regular basis I see red.  If they’re guilty they should fry.  They will never, never do it again is what I’m thinking.  If the authorities can’t address crime then there is but one alternative.

    • AFR says:

      09:24am | 28/03/12

      I’m not one for vigilante justice per se, and I am firmly against capital punishment, but in the case of someone breaking into my house or car - all bets are off. Play with matches you might get burned.

    • malohi says:

      11:48am | 28/03/12

      Getting your own back on a burglar is not necessarily vigilanteism. The black letter law is quite accommodating to use of force in the circumstances, and the court also has historically given much leeway in its interpretation of what is reasonable in those circumstances.

      AFR- I could make the same argument about anything, insult my mrs… all bets are off. Cut me off in traffic… all bets are off etc.
      In essence that is true, you could physically do whatever you wanted and you would no doubt feel justified inside, but if you think that your self righteousness would absolve you from punishment, it is a weak argument.

    • AFR says:

      12:16pm | 28/03/12

      malohi - I don’t think it will absolve me (unfortunately), but I don’t apply my argument to “anything” either, and I don’t see how the right to defend my property is self-righteousness either.
      I guess in my ideal world, if someone makes a conscious decision to enter my property (and of course i’m not talking about the neighbours kids getting their cricket ball or the jehovahs witnesses knocking on the front door) with the clear intent on causing harm, damage or loss, then if something bad were to happen to them, well, tough. Of course I don’t extend that to torture etc - i’m not advocating we can all pretend we’re Mr Blonde and cut a man’s ear off to the sounds of Gerry Rafferty smile

    • malohi says:

      12:46pm | 28/03/12

      But I guess that is the point, when you say you are not advocating torture in the circumstances, some would.
      I know that is I found someone creeping in the dark of night in my sons room my mind would go to some pretty dark places.

      To live in society however we give up some rights to deliver subjective justice on the hope that should the day come where we need to be judged it will be objectively after the red mist has settled.

      As was pointed out above, when the system fails in detecting, apprehending, or delivering crooks to justice, this trade off seems all too one sided and vigilanteism ensues. But it speaks more to the inadequacy of the executive in doing their duty than the moral righteousness of vigilanteism.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      12:58pm | 28/03/12

      AFR, why not? And by the way, it was Steeler’s Wheel (Stuck in the Middle) I know because it’s the only picture which comes to mind when I hear the song. I agree, I wouldn’t torture. But I would kill. Then the onus would be on the relatives of the criminal to admit they came to my home to rob me.

    • AFR says:

      02:18pm | 28/03/12

      @ maholi - definately see your point.

      @ Troy - if you remember the scene from Reservoir Dogs, you should also remember the words of Steven Wright on the radio “Joe Egan and Gerry Refferty were a duo known as Stealers Wheel” - sorry… getting off-topic. smile (i’ve seen the movie way too many times).

    • Troy Flynn says:

      02:46pm | 28/03/12

      Thanks for the education AFR, didn’t realise Gerry was a part of them.

    • Hossak says:

      04:32pm | 28/03/12

      I will spend the last few years of my retirement taking out the trash.

    • Bob Stewart, the Elder says:

      07:16am | 28/03/12

      “......got to hope the people who know how to dole out justice the right way are plugged in to what people are feeling” Now that is indeed an interesting proposition.

      Over $200,000,000 in uncollected fines in South Australia has led the Labor Government to not only increase fees and charges to cover the revenue shortfall but actually farm out $40 million of it to vigilantes.

      Here they are bragging about Crime Drop. “A greying population will make us safer”(Front Page The Advertiser March 8).instead of dealing with the problem.

      Olderbelly, not Underbelly

    • SimonFromLakemba says:

      08:42am | 28/03/12

      In NSW at the moment the State Government are going hard out on outstanding fines, no doubt a few outstanding warrants will be found to

    • ibast says:

      07:53am | 28/03/12

      I don’t agree they should take the law into their own hand, but I can understand it when most time we see a cop it is to receive a speeding ticket.  Nothing else gets enforced.  Well unless it’s to grab media attention, like the recent helmet law enforcement on push bike riders in the city.  They don’t fine people for j-walking in front of vehicles (bikes included).  They don’t arrest people for driving their cars at push bikes or motorcycles, they just issue speeding fines and whatever wins points for the Government.

    • stephen says:

      07:55am | 28/03/12

      This is where the internet comes in : its handy for finding out who else is in the market for vigilantism.
      You’d think that those predisposed to violence or really stupid thoughts wouldn’t want to tell anyone else, and that a public phone is as private as one could expect - but, nup - at 2am when I’m done, and sleep isn’t possible, I can twitter any twit and get a sniff of vengeance.

      Of course, the more serious stuff is a bit harder to access, (and cryptic messages aren’t hard to decipher) but really, a vigilante is only looking for glory ... a way out of their inherent insipidness.

      The pen is best.

    • Anna C says:

      08:28am | 28/03/12

      Of course it’s okay to go vigilante.  The world is crying out for more Steven Segals to take justice into their own hands.

    • adam says:

      09:15am | 28/03/12

      I see your Segal and raise you a..

      Chuck Norris!

    • Ted says:

      09:51am | 28/03/12

      I see your Chuck Norris and raise you a Paul Gallen.

    • ibast says:

      09:51am | 28/03/12

      Segull’s a limp wristed pussy.  Charles Bronson.

    • The Simpsons always have the answers! says:

      10:21am | 28/03/12

      This isn’t Branson Missouri, it’s Bronson Missouri.

      “Hey Ma, how about some cookies”

      “No dice”.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      10:29am | 28/03/12

      Have you seen the main character in the movie ‘Drive’? Now that’s a guy who knows how to Take Out The Trash.

      Plus you kiddies are probably all too young to remember Travis Bickle…?

    • adam says:

      11:40am | 28/03/12

      no Scotch finger I remember Travis and the Clash song he’s quoted in

      I had a bit of a thing for Jodie for a while after that movie

    • Scotchfinger says:

      12:37pm | 28/03/12

      ha yes adam, I agree, although she was even hotter after she passed the legal age of consent ha ha!

    • subotic says:

      12:55pm | 28/03/12

      Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

    • adam says:

      01:09pm | 28/03/12

      ease up there Scotch old mate, I aint that old meself! mind you I sure feel it some days

      I would love a slide mounted forearm pistol holster

    • Borderer says:

      08:45am | 28/03/12

      Being a vigilante is taking the law into your own hands, so is defending yourself, the lines blur and depending on which side you’re stood on determines if you go to jail.
      Is it ok for cyclists to hunt this ‘traffic’ down, sure, what they do when they find them is another issue. You can call the police and are allowed to perform a citizens arrest but are you allowed to drag them from the vehicle and beat them? No. Does this mean that you are hamstrung, no, you could provoke a confrontation and zealously defend yourself but you could end up like that Zimmerman guy in the USA (he claims self defense).
      I take the view that it is up to me to enforce the law, be that ringing the police or protecting my property or person with force, I know enough to stay on the right side of the law and use reasonable force in doing so. Do I cruise the streets looking for evil doers, no way, do I look out for my neighbours, you bet. The police can’t be everywhere and expecting them to be is unrealistic, help them by reporting crime, taking pictures of offenders, write down license plates (for what its worth) and if you’re capable, help those in danger. Enforcing the law is all of our responsibility, pretending it’s none of our business is being complicit.

    • MarkS says:

      10:38am | 28/03/12

      As you are friends with many cops you should have no issues beside the crims maybe being better at hurting you then you are at hurting them. Other people who cannot say this will find themselves in a world of legal hurt.

    • Borderer says:

      11:17am | 28/03/12

      MarkS
      When has taking photo’s of criminals, making statements to police landed people in legal hurt in Australia? Did you take the red pills by mistake?

    • Scotchfinger says:

      04:21pm | 28/03/12

      I once took a photo of a suspiciously beautiful young woman, who appeared to be in the act of breaking into a bedroom while dressed indecently (actually wearing nothing). When she noticed the glare off my zoom lens and raised the alarm, I was treated by the coppers as the bad guy. Can you believe it!!! How was I to know it was her own bedroom? Granny state gone mad, mad…

    • Bill says:

      08:51am | 28/03/12

      Doesn’t anyone else get the feeling that this whole episode is fake? I bet the cyclist will eventually admit that he made the whole story up just to raise awareness of the issues that cyclists face. That photo of the mitsubishi just looks a little too ‘perfect’ and staged.

    • AJ of Here says:

      09:15am | 28/03/12

      I don’t know if it is faked or not, Bill, but I do know that I have been riding a bicycle for almost 30 years, ever since I was a wee tyke on my first BMX. I have NEVER had a problem with motorists, but then again, I was taught really early to not act as if I owned the roads nor that anyone owed me something for using a bicycle.

      It seems that the problems here and in NZ stems from the fact that bike riders here think they owe the roads and the motorists be damned. I have never seen incidences of bike riders chasing down and assaulting bus drivers until I went to NZ. Nor bricks being thrown at motorists. Nor gaggles of arrogant bike riders taking up entire lanes and deliberately going slow to annoy motorists.

      Despite being a bike rider, I would put forward the suggestion that perhaps the reputation of bike riders here are the cause of these incidences with motorists. Perhaps if the bike riders would lay off their arrogant entitlement attitude, we might SLOWLY see a change in attitudes from motorists.

      But I doubt it. Arrogance is just that. It will never see that they themselves are wrong. Just everyone else.

      Perhaps all motorists put a sign in their rear window stating “One less idiot” in imitation of the bike rider vest with the smarmy words “One less car” on the back. That might jolt a few mugs out of their incredible smugness of being,

    • Kika says:

      01:13pm | 28/03/12

      It is strange that he managed to get into an altercation with a car with an obscured rego and the photo conveniently obscures the faces of those in the car. Anyone who deals with these sorts of investigations everyday would be most interested in who was in the car, as you could easily identify the people involved without cyclists having to go out looking for a random, perhaps never identified red Mitsubishi. If the faces were there, you could identify them regardless of whether they were in the suspcious red car or not.

      I agree. Cyclists staging an incident to bring highlight to their cause.

      Fake, fake fake.

    • JC says:

      06:07pm | 28/03/12

      @AJ, please, please, please, learn how to spell (and say) incidents!!!!  As for the rest iof your comment, it’s about as worthwhile as mine is so far.  Utter tripe.  I’ve been abused by drivers simply for being within earshot or throwing distance.  I ride a lot and obey the road rules and stay out of people’s way, but this doesn’t stop the many dimwitted bogans from hurling abuse and risking my life.  If only we could all go armed: I’m a better shot than most.

    • AJ of Here says:

      12:28am | 29/03/12

      Actually, JC, it is you who needs to expand his vocabulary. “Incidences” is a word. It means “occurences”

      As for the rest of your post, as far as I am concerned, completely expected. The bike riders like to portray themselves as the victims, when it is usually they who provoke incidents (this is the right place to use this word, please note). Note that I used the word “usually”. Therefore, I do not mean all the time, just the majority of it.

      Your comment on shooting people who verbally abuses you illustrates perfectly the attitude of bike riders towards motorists. Whether overtly or subconsciously, your kind just cannot help but provoke motorists, and then cry victim. You lot give all bike riders a bad name, and because of people like you, I cannot fault the motorists for retaliating.

      In fact, after about 30 years of riding bicycles, I will most probably give up riding bicycles simply because the mere thought of being of the same kind as the likes of you makes me feel physically ill.

    • Pedants R Us says:

      07:52am | 29/03/12

      Actually, AJ - JC is correct and you are wrong.  “Incidents” refers to “occurrences” while “incidences” refers to the frequency of those occurrences - as in “the incidence of traffic incidents has increased.”

    • JC says:

      10:00am | 29/03/12

      Thanks Pedants R Us.  AJ, The words you need to take a close look at are: incidents, instances, and incidence.  They are all different.  Isn’t the English language a wonderful thing?  And I’m torn about responding to the remainder or your post, but okay, I’ll bite.  You don’t know me from a bar of soap.  I can only assume that you ride everywhere on the footpath so I’m glad that after 30 years you’re finally going to stop terrorising pedestrian.  Those of us who choose to do the right thing and abide by all relevant rules take our lives in our hands simply because of the ignorance and aggression of some stupid motorists.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with my behaviour.  Or with that of those I ride with.  A few idiots on bikes break the rules and people like you think we all do and that it’s okay to aim for us with 2 tonnes of steel.  Here’s an example: riding home from work late one evening on a quiet back street, fully lit, bright clothing, complying with all road rules, and the only car within cooee happens to be full of pissed idiots.  A shower of beer bottles at me and in front of my tyres simply because I was available as a target.  My fault?  The fault of Amy Gillet or others? No.  There are too many idiots out there and here you are, a purported cylcist, acting as apologist.  Way to go!  The shooting thing?  Well, that was tongue in cheek.  You’re a bright one aren’t you?  And if it wasn’t do you really think a repsonse like that would be provoked by name-calling?

    • AJ of Here says:

      03:30pm | 29/03/12

      JC and Pedent, I suggest you look up the meaning of the word. The very first meaning I got was “The act or an instance of happening; occurrence”. If you don’t like it, take it up with the dictionary’s authors. Until then, please just shut the hell up about someone else’s vocabulary, which you are using to avoid the issue.

    • JC says:

      08:03pm | 29/03/12

      AJ, they’re two pretty lengthy posts for someone who’s trying to avoid an issue. Oh and it’s two against one. We win! I always forget that one about not getting into an argument with… Oh heck I can’t remember. Anyway, back to my oil, wipe, oil.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      09:12am | 28/03/12

      No., it’s not but try telling that to the trigger-happy NSW Police who, despite their alleged High Quality Training, their alleged Physical Fitness, their alleged knowledge of the Law seem to think it is acceptab;le for 6 of these magnificent specimens of human beings to kill a young man armed with a small packet of biscuits & another one to chase a suspect into a nice, quiet, hidden corner & kill him too.
      To be fair it is not just the NSW Police who think they are above the law they also think they are in SA, Qld & WA. Not long ago a young, disturbed female was tasered by a group of cops. Fortunately this time they did not kill her but are 6 or 7 Great big, strong, physically healthy men really not able to over-come & control one small statured, slim bodied female without having to taser her numerous times?

    • dxmt says:

      09:27am | 28/03/12

      The guy who was shot was on top of the officer and about to stab him.  Aside from filling your shorts, what would you have done Bobbo?

    • Bill says:

      09:38am | 28/03/12

      @Rob - so easy to be an armchair critic, isn’t it? What would you do if a man was on top of you attempting to stab you? Ask him politely to cease and desist? You are an idiot.

    • Borderer says:

      09:53am | 28/03/12

      Stop or I’ll yell stop again!!!
      You’ve never had to deal with these situations so your opinion is less than worthless. You denegrate the police with ill informed opinion while fearing to tread in their footsteps.

    • wingnut says:

      09:55am | 28/03/12

      And this is relevent to which story?

    • bruce says:

      09:24am | 28/03/12

      In the last few years, I have come to think of cyclists in the city as sanctimonious ideologues. Sorry.

    • Kheiron says:

      09:24am | 28/03/12

      Utter reliance on authorities to protect your civil rights is the surest path to tyranny.
      Besides, can any of you honestly claim complete confidence in the police force?

    • marley says:

      09:37am | 28/03/12

      No, can’t say I have total confidence in the cops.  But I’ve got even less in the guy down the street deciding to take his version of justice into his own hands.

      And I don’t rely on “the authorities” to protect my civil rights. I rely on the law.

    • Ted says:

      10:12am | 28/03/12

      Actual Marley, you rely on an expectation that others will follow the law and that if your civil rights are infringed that those who infringe them will be punished by the law.

      At one time, I had the same expectations, but those were shattered and ultimately proven false. I know understand the one person who can protect my civil rights is myself.

    • marley says:

      11:31am | 28/03/12

      @Ted - yes, I rely on the law, and it has served me pretty well for most of my life.  Not perfectly, but pretty well.  And while you may feel you are the only one who can protect your civil liberties, please forgive me if I prefer not to have you protecting mine.

    • Peter says:

      09:40am | 28/03/12

      You only have to look at the trayvon martin case in Orlando, Florida to see where vigilantism gets you.
      I thought the article would have mentioned this given it’s much bigger news than an alleged bit of road rage in Newtown where we only have one side of the story.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      01:26pm | 28/03/12

      Exactly Ted, racisim was the issue. Worst still, the shooter was half anglo half hispanic so it wasn’t your typical “redneck racist” who was the shooter. Also if you believe Heraldo (I don’t cause he’s an idiot), it was the fact he was wearing a “hoodie” which got him killed. This guy will be found, and I believe it will be dead, as the Black Panther’s are offering a reward of $10,000.

    • ibast says:

      01:45pm | 28/03/12

      Saw some interesting footage yesterday (or was it this morning).  It appears the story everyone is getting worked up about might not be quite true.  It seems the young bloke can back and confronted the guy and they got into a fight first.  There is apparently a witness and the young bloke has close quarters gun shot wounds on him.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      03:01pm | 28/03/12

      Ibast, then why can’t that fact be verified on the tape of the 911 call? The despatcher was telling him not to follow him but he disregarded this and kept after him. So what if Travyon finally turned around and asked the guy what he wanted.

    • jg says:

      10:19am | 28/03/12

      My partner (female) once chased a wannabe thief down the street with a broadsword.

      Guess he picked the wrong time and place given our love of medieval weaponry.

      By the time I knew about it all he’d scarpered and all I could do was laugh.

    • Bill says:

      10:52am | 28/03/12

      Not very smart, jg.

      Remember the woman who chased some youths who threw eggs at her house in Lalor last year then was stabbed once and died.

      Leave law enforcement to the police.

    • Al says:

      11:36am | 28/03/12

      jg - you do realise that owning a broadsword is perfectly legal, however wielding one in a public area is illegal?
      Technicly your partner could have been charged, under the law.

    • AFR says:

      12:51pm | 28/03/12

      Was she wearing a yellow tracksuit chasing Lucy Liu by any chance?

    • jg says:

      01:14pm | 28/03/12

      Sorry, next time I shall instruct her to allow said thief in and steal what he wants.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      02:02pm | 28/03/12

      AFR says:01:51pm | 28/03/12
      Was she wearing a yellow tracksuit chasing Lucy Liu by any chance?

      Couldn’t have been, or she would be using a Katana not a broadsword. Maybe she was trying to emulate “Brienne” from the upcoming second series of Game of Thrones.  I can’t wait. Hurry up April 1!

    • PW says:

      11:38am | 28/03/12

      So where, apart from here and the Daily Telegraph, does it say anything about cycling vigilantes?
      This is nothing more or less than the creation of an overly imaginative News Ltd journo.

    • Bear says:

      04:08pm | 28/03/12

      It requires an imagination to imagine the Tele employs journalists too. I think they use the Korean typewirter monkeys discussed above.

    • Gus says:

      11:44am | 28/03/12

      Nobody has the right to be judge, jury and executioner. Vigilantes thing they do.

    • ibast says:

      02:45pm | 28/03/12

      You just described the NSW Police Force

    • M says:

      11:49am | 28/03/12

      I wouldn’t be surprised if vigilante justice became the norm. What with police out fining motorists and being late to call outs.

    • RyaN says:

      12:09pm | 28/03/12

      @M: Hey look at it this way, at leas the vigilantes won’t be speeding away from the scene of the crime, instead they will be driving at a sensible and safe speed where even if you have an accident travelling at 40km/h it will be reported as “speed was a factor” and it would be true because you can’t often crash into something if you aren’t moving at all.

    • adam says:

      12:46pm | 28/03/12

      RyaN, us vigilantes far prefer to let one of us drive the ute fast whilst the rest of us stand in the back, hanging on with one hand while brandishing our pitchfork/flaming torch/baseball bat with the other. We also like to play “chase music” whilst doing so.
      Sensible and safe we aint if it’s being done properly

    • Ted says:

      02:08pm | 28/03/12

      @RyaN: Speed is always a factor in car accidents, after all, if a vehicle isn’t moving it can’t hit something.

    • M says:

      02:14pm | 28/03/12

      Which is why it’s stupid for police to report that speed was a factor in any incident.

    • Max Power says:

      02:36pm | 28/03/12

      Speed does not kill, it is the sudden stop that kills.

    • marley says:

      02:39pm | 28/03/12

      @M - I happened to be a witness to an accident a while ago.  Young bloke in a car heading at speed out of the village - going close to 100 in a 50 kmh zone on a wet road. Missed the bend and drove straight into a very large tree.  Had to be airlifted to Canberra with a whole range of life-threatening injuries.  So - factors in the accident - anger (he’d had a fight with his girlfriend), possibly drugs or alcohol, and, yes, speed.  The combination was damn near lethal and if any one of those factors had been different, he wouldn’t have hit that tree or would have walked away from it with a few scratches.

    • LostinPerth says:

      12:09pm | 28/03/12

      NO. Vigilante justice is not “justice” - it is a return to mob violence and lynch mobs. It is often just an excuse to break the law while trying to push one’s own agenda.  It is almost always impossible to control and usually results in an innocent party being hurt.

    • Talon says:

      12:22pm | 28/03/12

      Come September / October when some get there power bill, I am sure there will be people out there with torches.

    • Robinoz says:

      12:27pm | 28/03/12

      I’m all for law and good order, but unfortunately, the country is currently run by leftist loonies and I think some of the issues the government isn’t addressing will ultimately lead to anger and perhaps vigilantism. The laws of the land need to keep up with current trends and the wishes of the people as do politicians.

      At present, the government is just doing what it wants and not what the people want. It’s sure sign that pressures will occur and may result in vigilantes doing what government isn’t.

    • Kika says:

      01:04pm | 28/03/12

      I would argue quite the opposite… our country is run by conservatives swaying the opinion polls of the LNP lite to commit to policy and then backflip on it if it proves unpopular.

    • M says:

      01:04pm | 28/03/12

      I reckon we should all perform a citizens arrest of the next cop that breaks the law.

    • ibast says:

      02:52pm | 28/03/12

      Cops have been given so much power in the past decade or so, they are now above the law.  Take traffic law for example.  It used to be in NSW cops could only break speed and light laws and then only if under lights and siren.  Now they are allowed to break any road rule and it just has to be in the course of duty.

      And this is probably the softest example of how much power they have been given.

    • Al says:

      01:18pm | 28/03/12

      Wind the clock right back to before there were any clocks and think about where our laws came from. Most, I am willing to bet, were what the majority of the population (the mob) felt was socially acceptable. If you angered the mob you got rocks thrown at you or you were beaten by sticks or worse…..not a lot has changed in some places of the world has it? What was vigilante action became formalised, then civilised then law.

      Why should vigilantly action be so demonised when the standards of society are not, or unable to be, enforced by those entrusted to do just that?

      When the consequences of actions against socially acceptable norms are watered down or just plain not enforced by our courts and judiciary what do you really expect?

      As said above very well, vigilantly action happens when an individual or group are ignored. If you don’t want it to happen then allow the Police to do their job, don’t politically ham string them, don’t tie them behind their desks by ever increasing levels of bureaucracy and do not cut their resources in the name of political expediency. Maybe then they will be able to react faster than the pizza delivery boy.

      Think of the vigilantly as the school kid who is constantly bullied, who sees and has no other course of action and finally snaps.

      If the status quo remains as such I see more of it happening.

      To stop vigilante action, you don’t need any more laws, you only need the intent to enforce the ones you already have.

    • sunny says:

      03:57pm | 28/03/12

      If you’re going to go vigilante, make sure you’re not going commando. Choose one or the other.

    • sunny says:

      03:58pm | 28/03/12

      If you’re going to go vigilante, make sure you’re not going commando. Choose one or the other.

    • James O says:

      05:54pm | 28/03/12

      A word of warning to all the macho personalities who watch American action shows, they use fake blood and stunt people. Real blood is a lot more unpleasant and getting bashed hurts a lot. Taking the law into your own hands doesn’t work too well if you cant appreciate the consequences of your own actions including possible personal injury and time in jail. Only an large Ex SAS servicemen would be best able to effectively intimidate a perpetrator with grievous bodily harm, but i doubt even he would stop a vengful gang war from starting, unless you happen to be dear old Mr. Clint Eastwood of course, but remember thats just in the movies.

    • Mark/Fox says:

      08:06pm | 28/03/12

      Overcrowding is always going to cause frustration, what do expect, we are going to live in an overpopulated world in a happy manner when everyone is in your face.

    • Sam says:

      11:12am | 29/03/12

      Vigilantism is only an option when there are no other options. Yes, I firmly believe in peoples rights to defend themselves when the law will not help. Will you stand back and do nothing if your child is murdered by someone who manipulates the courts and gets off? I know I wouldnt. id do everything in my power to make sure justice is served, and believe me, it would be served with a vengence

    • Alex says:

      01:40pm | 29/03/12

      No mention of Mr Warne and his run-in with a cyclist in Melbourne—more relevant a comparison than ‘mobs’ and conflating Newtown with Cronulla.

      Don’t forget that he was the first to rush to Twitter and whip up an ‘internet mob’ of his own—and rely on his celebrity to engage the mainstream media, to back his side of the argument—which after verification from a couple of other witnesses, didn’t really resemble the truth at all.

      If everyone had sat back and let the Herald-Sun do the work on that one, he might well have gotten away with it. I for one am glad he didn’t, and I have an ‘internet mob’ to thank for that.

      (Don’t tell me to butt out because I’m from Melbourne—both my folks are from Sydney and I consider myself an ‘ex-pat’)

 

Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

28 comments

Newsletter

Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter