Friday, June 7, 2013

Mob "Justice" in Bolivia

Here's a story of mob justice in a village of Bolivia.  A mob is a group of people - actually, usually an angry group of people is referred to as a 'mob.'  When we speak of 'mob justice' we are being a bit ironic.  Mob justice is usually when a mob becomes angry and harms a person they feel is guilty of some crime. So it's not really a case of 'justice,' it's a case of a mob taking illegal action to satisfy its need for what it feels would be justice.

In this story, a mob caught a teenager they believed had murdered a woman and they buried him alive.  They threw him on top of the dead woman's coffin (the wooden box a dead person is buried in) and covered him with dirt (earth).

To bury something is to dig a hole in the ground and then place something in it and cover the hole with dirt again.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

suspected - thought to be; if someone is suspected of being a criminal, he is thought to be a criminal.

a funeral - the ceremony before a dead person's body (corpse) is disposed of (gotten rid of). A dead person can be buried in a cemetery or cremated (burned) in America.

allegedly - supposedly.  If a person allegedly did something, someone claims he did it, but it hasn't been proved in court yet.

sexual assault - to attack a person for sexual motives.

to strangle - to cut off a person's ability to breathe using one's hands or a rope or other thing. A person can strangle another person by placing his hands around the other person's neck and squeezing.

reportedly - apparently.

thrown in her grave - they threw him into the hole they had dug for her coffin (the box they placed her in).

to be buried alive - to throw someone into a hole and then to have dirt covering the person so that he suffocates (cannot breathe and dies).

to be apprehended - to be caught.

vigilante/vigilantes - a vigilante is someone or a group of people who do not trust the police and so they get 'justice' for themselves.

a casket - a coffin, the box you put a dead person in.

raping and murdering - rape is a terrible crime in which a man forces himself sexually on a woman.  Murder is the killing of another human being.

grieving - if you are grieving you are feeling the emotional pain of someone's death.

to grieve - the verb form.

grief - the noun form.

to capture - to catch.

a coffin - a box you put a dead body in.

to stone someone to death - to throw stones at a person until you kill him/her.

to be busted - to be arrested by the police. To be held by the police.

a lynching - this is when a mob takes action on its own to get justice.
Questions for discussion/writing:

According to the article, the police in this area of Bolivia are corrupt and unreliable.  Do you think the villagers were justified in doing this to the apparent rapist/murderer?

Do you think the villagers who did this should be arrested and prosecuted for murder?  After all, it was never proved that this young man killed the woman. 
If you like art, you might like my new blog about artists who show their work in New York City:
Yes, I'm the guy who created the scandal in Asia awhile ago. :P

Yes, I'm also the guy who wrote the very funny ESL bookNew York City Sucks, But You'll Wanna Live Here Anyway.

If this page is useful to you, please buy the book (it's quite inexpensive and useful!!!!). If you don't have an e-reader, drop me a line at and I'll send you a free copy via Word file. Let me know whether you have Word 2010 or an earlier version.

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