MURPHY: Taking the law into your own hands

I am a huge fan of the show “Dexter.” For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it’s about a psychopath who has honed his thirst for killing only those who deserve it most: serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, etc.

The idea of man taking the law into his own hands is certainly a concept that’s been rationalized and celebrated by Hollywood, but rarely do we see these instances of citizen justice in reality.

That brings me to Aaron Vargas. For more than 20 years, Aaron was sexually abused by a known pedophile, Darrell McNeill.

Despite accusations to the police from other victims and McNeill’s ex-wife, no further inquiries were made and no investigation was conducted.

Fort Bragg, Texas, resident Todd Rowan was one of the victims who came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against McNeil.

Rowan told the University of Arizona’s newspaper, the Daily Wildcat, that he was abused from ages 15 to 19.

“He’d give me pot and beer and he’d get me stoned and a little drunk, and he took advantage of me that way,” Rowan told the Daily Wildcat.

Rowan claimed he brought his allegations to the Fort Bragg Police Department, but like others, nothing was done.

Over the last 20 years, McNeill continued to haunt Vargas and others. Four years ago, one of his victims committed suicide. McNeill stalked Vargas to meet and babysit Vargas’ daughter.

Now let’s all ask ourselves a question: If a man molests you a number of times and then proceeds to stalk you and your family for years, what would you do?

“When I got news that he’d been shot, the first thing I thought was, ‘Who got him? Somebody got him. Who else did he do it to?’” Rowan said.

Vargas answered that question on Feb. 8, 2009. Authorities said Vargas drove to McNeill’s home outside Fort Bragg and shot him in the chest with a Civil War-style pistol. McNeill died shortly thereafter and Vargas was arrested.

Now ask yourself another question: Who do you feel worse for, the man who was murdered or the man who was arrested?

The majority of you would probably say the man who was arrested. For the minority who answered they feel worse for the murdered man, they’re hopefully citing the fact that it’s never alright to take the law into your own hands.

If every person decided to make a right when they felt the judicial system failed them, cities would be burned to the ground and the clear line of justice and injustice would be irrevocably blurred.

If someone jaywalks in front of your car, it’s not morally right to hit the person so they don’t do it again. But in the case of Vargas, there’s no line. McNeill lost his right to live the moment he took away those children’s innocence.

That makes Vargas a hero. A hero for every man or woman who has ever been victimized by a rapist or pedophile. A real life caped crusader for those who have seen sexual abusers walk free.

Apparently, our subjective court system feels the same sentiment. Despite a tremendous amount of evidence stacked against him that points to first-degree murder, Vargas was recently found guilty of the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, and will serve a maximum of 10 years.

Since the revelation of the crime has been made public, a number of people have come forward claiming that McNeill abused them as well.

“The Today Show” has covered it, rallies have been held, petitions have been passed on the Internet and moral debates have transpired across the country.

Even though Vargas received a generous sentence, requests for leniency are still being filed.

Clearly many people, and the government to some degree, have decided that taking the law into your hands is somewhat acceptable. I agree.

Despite what some people say, there are those in this world who do not deserve to live. Darrell McNeill was one of those people. Aaron Vargas simply did us all a favor.