In the hypothetical example I concocted, when I indicated that I wouldn't hesitate to kill Osama bin Laden, I was not actually condoning "vigilantism."
- Of course if I saw Osama at Costco buying milk and riding one of those scooters for disabled people, I wouldn't wantonly and unnecessarily crack his skull with a chub of frozen meat.
- The imagery of beating him into unconsciousness with a tube of Costco ground beef was 1) partly for humorous effect, 2) clearly exaggerated, and 3) likewise loaded with a few unspoken but rather obvious assumptions, including the theory that he would most likely try to resist arrest (in which case the same principles would apply whether I was a military authority or a regular Costco shopper trying to make a citizen's arrest.) Only if he resisted would I hit him with bovine products. (Are we clear on that?) If I could reasonably and easily subdue him peacably, I agree that killing him would be an unjust and unjustifiable act of vigilantism.
- I would not, however, first invite Osama to a Backyard Bible Club, a week of VBS, or an evangelistic meeting. [I’m thinkin’ that a week of VBS would surely meet the necessary qualifications for civilized torture. At least it does for me. JB]
- I would indeed want him to hear the gospel at an opportune time, but that will most likely come only after he is subdued and imprisoned. (Unless he meets a more immediate form of justice, in which case I would feel no personal responsibility for the failure to evangelize him. That will be true even if by some amazing and unlikely turn of events I become the one who ultimately has to beat the life out of him with a frozen Costco chub, or whatever.)
I believe my evangelical witness to Osama would start with this: “Osama, have you ever seen bacon fry?” Then we’d go from there but I’d be holding that Costco chub just incase he needed a quick one across the old hair line.