Dirty Harry problem

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The Dirty Harry Problem

“When and to what extent does the morally good end warrant or justify an ethically, politically, or legally dangerous means for its achievement?” This is the question posed by Carl Klockars about the ever growing Dirty Harry problem in society. This has become a focus of mass media and even a source of profit. The name itself comes from a Hollywood movie staring Clint Eastwood. Well if you believe the movies then the answer is never, for along as the bad guy gets what he deserves than the means didn’t matter. But at some point doesn’t a line have to be drawn?
Yes, in some manner in some situations I believe that you must step off the position of power and leadership, and get your hands dirty. Klockars argues that all persons encountered by police officers in situation of enforcement, such as a traffic stop, must be considered guilty. The officer must take that stand in order to protect themselves. If nothing is found the person is merely innocent this time. This assumption doesn’t justify using dirty means however. Only when an officer knows guilt exists should dirty means come into effect.
There must be limits to these means; officers can not just go around using acts that are not considered legal, just because they are in a position of power. The dirty means are a last resource in a situation where something greater than the law hangs in the balance. Revenge or punishment does not fit these criteria; Klockars says that some officers may use these ideals of dirty means in order to punish the guilty. This is not what the dirty harry problem is about, however it may be how some people view the subject.
Klockars is correct when discussing, when only a dirty means will work. Departments must take some responsibility for the actions of the officers. Had the department trained the officers well? In many cases perfectly legal acts may produce the same results that, dirty ones do. This situation implies that the officers had no ideas as to how to conduct proper investigations, or they don’t understand the consequences for their actions, not only to them but the investigation, as the suspect will surely go free. But of course it is easy to preach from a classroom, those officers dealing with situations rely on instinct an...

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...ns who condone the dirty means, force officers to go a catch people to keep their jobs. If they are a ticket short might they not ticket someone who doesn’t deserve it? Arrest an innocent person just to keep track with what is required. The last moral dilemma is that, the police as they should be, are held to a higher standard than those they chase. Doesn’t that give the edge back to those the police are trying to stop? If so, then officers must from time to time remove that edge, remind the criminals that the police are higher then them and will stop criminals no matter what.
The Dirty Harry problem is much more than the violation of a few rights. It has at its core the equalization of police and criminals. While this equalization is better achieved thought legal and just means, from time to time that may need to be broken. I do not condone the use of violence to gain something; I merely understand that sometimes there is no other choice but to do what must be done. To answer the question from the start, only when a life may be saved can the morally good end warrant or justify an ethically, politically, or legally dangerous means for its achievement.
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