Face It: We Need Revenge
Justice is just a fancy word for vengeance, argues Thane Rosenbaum
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jul 28, 2011 1:00 PM CDT
Bomb and terror suspect Anders Behring Breivik (red top) leaves the courthouse in a police car in Oslo on July 25, 2011, after the hearing to decide his further detention.    (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Norway doesn’t have the death penalty, and that means it’s “legally and morally” unprepared to deal with the likes of Anders Breivik, the man allegedly responsible for the Oslo massacre, argues legal scholar Thane Rosenbaum in the New York Times. Americans, meanwhile, are outraged over the acquittal of Casey Anthony. “In both cases the attraction of a nonlegal alternative is a powerful one,” Rosenbaum writes. “Are these vengeful feelings morally appropriate? The answer is yes.”

Most people aren’t comfortable with the term vengeance, “but how different is revenge from justice, really?” Rosenbaum asks. Vengeance, he argues, is “as natural to the human species as love and sex.” From Hamlet to Gladiator, our art and culture have always celebrated avengers. Legal systems have “a moral duty to satisfy the needs of victims to feel avenged.”

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Showing 3 of 38 comments
Bartmaeus
Jul 29, 2011 9:06 AM CDT
"From Hamlet to Gladiator, our art and culture have always celebrated avengers." Hamlet was incapable of vengeance. He buckled under the charge of his dead father to avenge his murder. The eventual confrontation was due to both his own blundering and dithering, and the conniving of his enemies.
Colonel_Sanders
Jul 28, 2011 10:23 PM CDT
Rosenbaum writes. “Are these vengeful feelings morally appropriate? The answer is yes.”..........................And who is this Rosenbaum to tell ANYONE what is morally appropriate? Where were the cries for vengeance from the New York times when OJ Simpson cut his wife's head almost clean off her shoulders? Where were they? Where?...........Rosenbaum is a racist who only allows his hatred to vent when the objects of his scorn are white people. shame shame racist Rosenbaum & shame shame New York Times
tbooker
Jul 28, 2011 8:56 PM CDT
Casey Anthony should not even be mentioned in this article. She was found NOT GUILTY. If she is guilty than she will have to live with the demons of her actions. It is asshole reporting by those who have no business judging her and were not affected by anything she did that will continue to encourage some wacko out there to go after her. I don't know her and don't have a dog in this fight but I find it rediculous how the media won't leave her alone. She will be judged eventually but it shouldn't be by you or me.