Justice and Injustice

In order to bring about a more just America we need to recognize what justice is and how it behaves. It doesn’t hurt to have an idea of how it contrasts with injustice.

Justice is time consuming. It takes time for investigation. In our soundbite society, whatever you see on the news is likely to be more for the sake of ratings than truth telling. Injustice makes snap decisions based on assumptions rather than clearly understood facts.

Justice is blind to details such as race, gender, income, and political position. Injustice cannot see beyond these points. Justice will see all of human life equally despite any of these issues, while injustice will separate people into groups trying to define the value of each category.

Justice is calm and seeks to spread calm in order to allow true issues to be addressed. Injustice is emotional and seeks to spread anger and other negative emotions in order to manipulate both the offended and the public. 

Justice is quiet and honors boundaries around the privacy of individuals. Injustice screams loudly, and has no boundaries. Justice will prevent the further victimization of those affected, but injustice will force the victim into the spotlight in order to retry their case in public, not allowing them to move on from the trauma.

Injustice can gather a lot of attention. It will likely claim it is going to bring about positive change, but in the process will only be perpetuating itself. Justice will get less attention, but in the long run will see truth served.

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Culture of Distrusting Government

New York City, like too many places in our country, has seen division created by racial tension. This division has erupted in violence that has destroyed trust, common sense and in the worst cases entire neighborhoods. All this destruction has a real cost on society, but especially on the people and neighborhoods affected.

The destruction stems from people making decisions about events they have no first-hand knowledge of. They assume a suspect was treated a certain way because of racism. Second-hand or third-hand reports of the situation are mixed with basic assumptions about the shape of society to make an explosive mix.

Many of the protestors, bloggers and commentators have painted the police as the villains. I believe the majority of law enforcement officers are honest, fair people attempting to do an extremely difficult job well. I don’t doubt that some will make horrible mistakes. Painting an entire group by the actions of a few is exactly what we are all against. Failing to see the police as people worthy of respect and assuming them to be villains has resulted in many needless confrontations and at least two deaths.

In a sense it all comes down to which group a person chooses to make negative assumptions about. And if you look at it that way, the central point becomes why do we make the assumptions we do about any group? I believe the way news is presented is a part of it. I believe history is a part of it, too. Unfortunately, I also believe, in recent times, presidential politics is a part of it. The president has waded into a number of situations in such a way as to exasperate the situation. It is sad when the highest elected official in the land contributes to the cultural distrust of government.