Guardian Angels Founder Curtis Sliwa Puts Us in Sicilian Handcuffs

Despite what the brainiacs from the Ivy League say, citizen's arrests are not vigilante acts, according to Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.  In fact, he insists that they have been "embedded into the fabric of law since the Magna Carta." In 1979, Sliwa created the Guardian Angels, a volunteer neighborhood patrol, at a time when New York was practically lawless. In the subsequent 31 years, the Guardian Angels haven't been sued once even though they've made thousands of interventions in over 140 cities around the globe.


The ambiguous legality of citizen's arrests notwithstanding, Sliwa spent much of his Big Think interview teaching us how to take the law into our own hands in the name of Good Samaritanism. Like a "Chinese menu," he offered three different scenarios to choose from, depending on the seriousness of the situation.  If you're up against a "real nebbish" who "probably does yoga," the amount of physical force you'll need to exert is minimal, Sliwa told us. But if the perpetrator is looking to put up a fight, things may get more interesting, and Sliwa gave us some martial arts lessons that we won't soon forget. 

Aside from putting us in "Sicilian handcuffs," Sliwa talked about the problems that still plague our society. Though things are much better than they were 30 years ago, crime is still rampant, and the biggest contributor is dysfunction in the family, says Sliwa: "Dysfunction is what paralyses society.  It means people learn less.  They can’t function properly.  They can’t speak.  They can’t communicate.  They have anger management problems.  They develop necessities and desires to have drugs and alcohol to self medicate."

To combat this disfunction, Sliwa suggested some rather "draconian" measures: "You wouldn’t be able to get married in my society until you were 30.  I would put you in a gulag.  If you dare got married before 30 I’d think the furniture was upstairs and rearranged in the wrong rooms and if you decided to have kids I’m going to test you first...I'd want to test your parenting skills." 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less