Vigilantees Make The Difference

Bounty by T.L. Sherred is a microstory about vigilantism, and the right to bear arms as granted under the United States Constitution. In a full page advertisement printed in a mid-west newspaper an anonymous donor offered a $10,000 reward for the corpse of every person who tried to rob another while armed, and a $100,000 annuity to the family of any person killed while trying to foil an armed robbery. The reaction was slow, but in the city where the advertisement was placed average citizens started staking out banks and stores to foil robbers; and they were successful! Once the money started to flow – because the donor followed up on his promises – citizens began seeking out anyone who carried a gun. Police, secret service agents, and ordinary civilians who owned weapons were sought, and when they were found, they were killed by people hoping to collect on the reward. A mad rush for the money began that could not be stopped, and only became more pervasive after the donor started advertising in newspapers in other cities. Eventually the police stopped carrying guns because they would be killed by cash hungry mobs. Of course, crime rates went way down all save for murder, though when everyone gave up guns that dropped too. The author obviously tried to shine a light on the hypocracy of a system that tries to punish violence, yet rewards those who carry weapons of murder. I think Sherrod also tried to support the idea that armed police only worsens the carnage, as law breakers arm themselves to deal with the police. Here the legal system failed to protect the innocent, but the story asks if the result is worth that price. The SF elements here all point to a possible utopia, but the manner in which it will be realized seems unteneable to me. The American mindset is just not wired for practicality. If this were to happen everyone would be too concerned about how a bunch of wrongs could lead to a right, and the whole system would collapse in scandal. Although,

In New York City proper, children began to be seen playing in Central Park at dusk and even after

sounds kind of nice.

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