Fortunately, the woman escaped unharmed, even though the rapist shot at her. Her safety, however, wasn’t enough for the girl’s boyfriend. In his May 30 post, called “I killed a man,” he recounts how the criminal kidnapped his fiancée at gunpoint while she was driving. The kidnapper then took her to a dark alley in an unspecified Venezuelan city and tried to rape her, but she managed to get away.
The post’s author claims he went to the police, but the officers demanded an outrageous amount of money to find the suspect. Furthermore, they said, since the assailant didn’t actually rape her, he would get out in a matter of days if they managed to arrest him.
Thanks to a tracking feature in the Windows phone the kidnapper stole from her, the boyfriend was able to pinpoint the perpetrator’s location. Along with some friends, he decided to seek the justice that the Venezuelan state had denied him.
After tracking the kidnapper and taking him hostage, the boyfriend killed him by repeatedly striking his tied-up body with a crowbar. He never told his fiancée, and says he doesn’t condone what he did: “I wouldn’t be proud if my son did it.”
Instead of the brutal way he murdered the man, “I should have shot him,” he regrets. The anonymous Reddit user decided to beat up the kidnapper even though his captive had readily confessed to attacking the girlfriend and apologized for making her take her clothes off.
In the post, with over 480 comments and an 80 percent approval rate from redditors, the boyfriend acknowledges his own astonishment over his killer instinct. He says that after the episode, he realized he had subconsciously taken out years of recent hardships experienced in Venezuela on his girlfriend’s kidnapper:
Getting robbed 2 times a week, not finding toilet paper, flour, sugar, having water outages, power outages, getting robbed by policemen who don’t earn enough money to live, everything is happening here in Venezuela. This stresses me out and makes me feel bad, because I unleashed all that on him. That makes me feel even worse. Some people here say, “Good for you, I would have done the same.” But I bet you wouldn’t. You have to live here, under these circumstances to truly be at the point where you do that kind of stuff. I am sorry if I sicken some of you. I feel that same way about me.
Reddit comments poured in, expressing solidarity and surprise. People became alarmed about the living conditions in Venezuela, but most supported him and his vigilante killing, given the country’s high impunity rate.
— Patriota #VotaRechazo (@PLastropo) February 26, 2014
The confession reveals Venezuela’s lawlessness as a result of the judicial system’s failure. The story, of course, cannot be proven, and has therefore no journalistic credibility. However, the fact that so many Venezuelans have left encouraging comments, despite the brutality of the murder, confirms that something is deeply wrong with the country.
Another example of vigilante justice occurred on Monday in Las Mercedas, a commercial area near Caracas, when a man shot and killed a biker who tried to steal a Rolex watch from him.
Justice, Nowhere to Be Found In Venezuela
As this self-confessed killer on Reddit expressed, taking the law into one’s own hands is not right. Venezuela’s judiciary, however, is far from reliable, according to a survey led by Yorelis Acosta, social psychologist and professor at the Andres Bello Catholic University and Central University of Venezuela. The study shows that 89.3 percent of Venezuelans don’t believe that trials are fair in their country; 88.7 percent believe that justice can be bought, and 86.3 percent know they can get away with breaking laws.
Acosta insists that when the public perceives that the state and its authorities do not operate within the bounds of the law, and instead observe frequent injustices, the people will tend to disobey and no longer believe in the legal system.
— Noticias de Aqui (@NoticiasdeAqui) October 27, 2013
In “The Weight of the Law,” an article published in the April issue of SIC, Acosta notes that the most frequent feelings associated with the legal system are helplessness, distrust, anxiety, and vulnerability.
For the social researcher, the violation of legal norms is related to the institutions and their authorities’ lack of legitimacy. He also notes that the backlash is not restricted to a small segment of the population, but rather the complete opposite.
[…] We have forgotten what the law and its effectiveness mean. The former is a good everyday example, but it could certainly explain much of what happens: the presence of armed groups and thuggish outlaws, high crime rates, and arbitrary decision-making by citizens who feel their rights have been violated, only met with indifference by the justice system.
This phenomenon, which has been brewing for decades, calls into question the stability of the current government and its effectiveness for Venezuela. We can only wonder when the turning point will come for authorities to recognize the havoc that their policies have wrought in Venezuela.