[Wikipedia-l] Re: Minutemen (vigilantes) article

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 10:59:45 UTC 2005

I disagree.

If the usage of the words "terrorism" and "terrorist" is NPOV (which
has been decided through polls on en.wiki - since when is something
NPOV if more than 1/3rd of those polled say it isn't? lol), then so is
the usage of "vigilante".

Sure, "vigilante" has negative connotations. But we're operating
entirely within the definition here. They are keeping vigil (they
don't mention going further than just that, but others do), and thus
they are vigilantes.

In my experience, "vigilante" does often mean somebody who takes
justice into their own hands, often violently (ie, a man who murders
people who have been proven to be rapists but got away from jail time
due to a technicality), but it can also mean somebody who keeps watch
well, somebody who is vigilant.

How can this be compared to terrorism? Because of our double-standard.
If terrorism is an act, against civilians, intended to strike fear
into the hearts of the populace, then I would generally say the events
of 11.9 qualify. I would also say the nuclear bombings of Hirosima and
Nagasaki qualify. Was that not the intention? So why don't we mention
prominently in /those/ two articles that they were terrorist acts?
Because we choose to restrict our in-group definition to only those
acts perpetrated by people who are not part of the military of a
nation internationally recognised as sovreign? Do we realise how
sillily fine the line between those two categories is? The only reason
we keep it separate is because we want to believe that Us attacking
Them is not Evil ("terrorist" can often be used as a synonym for evil
in modern American society), while Them attacking Us is. We demonise
the British role in the war for American independence, yet we glorify
the role of the Union in the American civil war which occurred for
strikingly similar reasons. Both were cases of wars seeking to gain
independence for a region, the Colonials and the Confederates were
both the disgruntled, both wanted to break away, yet the Colonials are
good but the Confederates are bad. Some say it's because they had
slaves. Then why do we perpetuate the personality cult of George
Washington who was a slaveowner?

Double-standards obviously exist within society, but we should keep
them out of Wikipedia.

And as a general guideline, if more than 1/4th of the people involved
in a discussion say the text is POV, it probably is POV but you just
can't see that.


On Apr 3, 2005 8:49 PM, Ronald Chmara <ron at opus1.com> wrote:
> On Apr 3, 2005, at 8:02 PM, Robert Brockway wrote:
> > On Sun, 3 Apr 2005, Robert Brockway wrote:
> >> I think the term "Minutemen (vigilantes)" is POV as the term
> >> vigilantes
> >> has negative overtones in English.  I think it would be better to
> >> list the
> >> article under the title "The MinuteMan Project".
> >>
> > Excuse me following up to myself.
> > dictionary.com gives the following definitions for vigilante:
> > 1. One who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement into one's
> > own
> >    hands.
> Such as enforcing who may or may not be allowed to cross a border, with
> the use of armed patrols?
> Here's part of their slogans (from their website header):
> "Americans doing the jobs Congress won't do."
> "Operating within the law to support enforcement of the law."
> > 2. A member of a vigilance committee.
> Vigilance, keeping watch....
> > I don't see how the MinuteMan Project members could qualify as
> > vigilantes
> > since all they are doing, as directed by the group, is to observe and
> > advise legitimate authorities.
> A watchman (keeping vigil, see "vigilance") sounds the alarm, yes....
> and that's part of what makes them (MinuteMan project) vigilantes.
> >  In this regard the group is acting in a
> > manner similar to a Neighbourhood Watch.
> My Neighborhood Watch doesn't actively roam around and set up
> "observation camps" in the middle of my local street intersections,
> while carrying guns and looking for trouble.
> I don't know about yours. :)
> Advocating that they are similar to a Neighborhood Watch is *their* POV
> (lifted straight from their website, no less), the obviously clear
> differences between the two notwithstanding... them (MMP) claiming to
> not be vigilantes is not entirely unlike white power groups claiming
> that they are not inherently racist... it's totally non-sensical, an
> attempt to legitimize their actions.
> > This is not to say that individuals in the group could not act as
> > vigilantes but I don't see any evidence the group is advocating this.
> Check out their website... their whole purpose is about taking into
> *their own hands* the patrolling function of law enforcement on the
> borders. All that being said, the article itself points out that they
> are considered vigilantes, regardless of what the title is.
> All of the above is *my* POV, though... I'm in favor of changing the
> article name, so their POV and my POV can become NPOV, :)
> -Bop
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