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Vigilantism is much in the news these days.
Depending on the definition you choose, vigilantism may or may not be inherently illegal. Concerned citizens standing in front of a jailhouse to prevent a lynching, as depicted in To Kill a Mockingbird for example, would be performing a completely legal kind of vigilantism by some definitions. Usually, however, the implication of vigilantism, and particularly of “vigilante justice,” is that citizens are taking it upon themselves to act as judge, jury, and, occasionally, executioner in order to impose their idea of justice — and doing so illegally.