That is what justice requires. Is that also what you require?
What are your reactions to 'obvious' injustices in the news - not necessarily your first reaction, as that can be, maybe even should be, an emotional one, but about the first reaction that you thought to broadcast to the world on social media or by your vocal presence in the streets? I felt the same reaction as I suspect most people did, on seeing a man subdued, plaintively crying for his mother, and dying in police custody - but what would you have me do with my outrage, and why? Is expressing my outrage on social media going to benefit, George Floyd? Is it going to somehow turn the wheels of justice that had already begun turning after his death was publicized (the four police involved were fired, and one arrested before this weekend's rioting)? Would taking to Social Media and trumpeting additional anger at 'the police', or 'the system' or just injustice in general - would that be expressing a concern with Justice, or with expressing a personal 'judgement!' on the little that is known about something which we all ought to know has much more to be known than what is available on Facebook or Twitter? Does calling me a racist because I haven't vented my spleen on Facebook, serve your desire to see 'justice!' for George Floyd?
If you are concerned with justice, here are some non-negotiable starting points that are hopefully not just mine alone:
Justice is something that can only come from a methodical process of examining the facts, determining their full context, identifying whose individual rights were violated, weighing whether or not that is something the Law (govt) properly has a say in, and then determining what actions, penalties, rewards, will best confirm and carry out that judgment.
- What seems so obvious to you might be wrong.
- I don't know all of the facts.
- Justice is not possible unless you pointedly "hear the other side"
- "No one can be an impartial judge in their own cause"
If that isn't the position that you start from, then justice is not what you are aiming at, and more than likely, massaging your own shallow ego, is. You are aiming at expressing your feelings, demonstrating your outrage, flattering your own self-importance, and seeing to it that others see how visibly you flatter those positions that are popular to you both, etc., but nowhere within such an aim as that, is there or can there be an actual interest in Justice.
Do you disagree? Do you truly equate Justice with, inflammatory outbursts, unruly and even violent demands for 'fairness!', speaking out 'for the oppressed!' while muzzling any and all dissent? Does somehow your 'Getting even!' with the faceless serve anything but your own interests? Or maybe you are one of those with an Ivy League education who've 'learned' that 'speaking truth to power!' involves firebombing police cars (one of many reasons why I view the 'Ivy League' as more weed patch than flower garden) will somehow serve the noble agenda of altering the political landscape for 'Social Justice!'?
Do I really need to bother to point out that none of those actions are the least bit interested in the interests of Justice?
Whatever your feelings for the police might be, if justice has any place within your own interests, the nature of that job which all of us depend upon being done, and how charges of impropriety on the job are to be handled, must be considered. An officer of the law does a job that routinely requires the use of physical force, and even the proper use of deadly force, in the course of their work. Those people that the policemen's duties bring them into contact with, of course include persons and criminals who, having a vested interest either in escaping justice themselves, or even from sheer spite, will falsely accuse the police of a crime. Assuming of course that justice is your goal, how do you think such incidents should be handled?
Police departments have procedures for handling and investigating such incidents, and for removing their officers from active duty while the investigation proceeds; there are defined steps and criteria for determining if the charges have substance, and for discipling or even putting such a policemen under arrest, if the evidence warrants it.
Assuming that Justice is your goal, should those procedures be followed all of the time, or should they be pragmatically bypassed when passions are running high? Do you think such procedures should be tossed aside because, ya know, you just know he's guilty?
Say, would you like the police to be able to throw you in jail because, ya know, they just know you're guilty?
What should we do? I'm not asking what we want, or what we feel, but what should we do to ensure that Justice is served? Does screaming for the cops head on a platter serve justice? Does posting and publicly posturing about how outraged you are serve justice? Can I assume that you understand that the answer to that is: 'No'?
”In video after video, we see masked white protesters destroying property in black neighborhoods. And it’s blacks who are trying to stop the #Antifa protesters from defacing small businesses," says Project 21's @StacyOnTheRight.— Project 21 (@Project21News) June 1, 2020
If you're a person who believes that the police or government are routinely violating your rights and the rights of others, then if justice is your goal, you may well decide to protest. I can understand and fully support the people who do believe (rightly or wrongly) that an injustice has been committed, and that if they see it is part of a long pattern of similar injustices, will feel the need to publicly protest in order to draw attention to their grievance. I support them 100% in that. I've done the same myself in the past, and I've helped organize protests, large ones, over a period of several years. But our peaceful protests, were actually peaceful, orderly, and clean, and they were so, because Justice was our goal. When we found malcontents and bad actors in our midst, we exposed and rooted them out, and expelled them from our protests, because justice was our concern, and not theirs. Fortunately for us back then, there were very few bad seeds in our midst and so they were easy to identify, isolate, and expel. Unfortunately for those protesting the George Floyd incident today, because of the political ideals that've long been supported in our urban areas and schools, their ranks are riddled with those who don't give a damn about George Floyd's life, or of other people's lives, individual rights, property, or justice, they care about political power only, and expelling them from their midst is going to be a herculean task.
Dear non-black people, STOP DOING THIS!Dear non-black people, STOP DOING THIS! pic.twitter.com/x98ACcJfJv— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) May 31, 2020
Assuming that Justice is your concern, is it right to demand that when someone dies while a cop is making an arrest - even if you have pictures and video - does it serve justice to assume that the case is closed, no investigation necessary, throw him in jail? Is it justifiable to not just protest, but to riot and loot businesses and neighborhoods and destroy the livelihoods of those with no connection to those police actions? Is it justifiable at all - AT ALL - to lend your vocal Social Media support to those who do inflict violence and rage upon communities across the nation, in order to 'express yourself'?
Portland #BlackLivesMatter protest erupts into violence.— Brandon Farley (@FarleyMedia) May 31, 2020
Man gets ganged up on and brutally assaulted after attempting to flee;
Tooth knocked out; left lifeless in the street.
BLM: "Black Lives Matter, you F*ggot"
May 30th, 2020#Oregon #PDX911 #AntifaTerrorists #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/RYfT7wCZpJ
Are you still with me, or is that a bridge too far for you to go? If so, you may well be one of those who, despite our warnings, gushed over 'Occupy Wallstreet', and who did not understand that that trajectory would lead from there to the rioting in Ferguson, or from there to college, and to Antifa, and on down to where we are today, but there's one thing to be learned from your example: Justice has no place in your thoughts, and tomorrow is going to be a true surprise for you, and a painful repeat of history for those of us who've paid alarmed attention to what history has for teach its lessons to the slow learners.
Stop the looting and property damage! #antifasucks #BlackVoicesforTrump #GeorgeFloydWasMurdered @BlackVoices4DJT pic.twitter.com/1ZeDMRh12F— Stacy Washington (@StacyOnTheRight) May 30, 2020
In a just society, it is the Preaners and Anarchists who would be the object of condemnation and protest. One day, perhaps, we might again enjoy living in such a society as that. One day. After we've learned that such thoughts of vengeance and anger sully the minds of those who think them.
Whether we have a long, long, way to go before we again see the sun rise on a land like that, or we get to live in that world today, depends only upon our seeking real Justice for all, and giving each other the respect due to a fellow human being, because they are a human being, just like you.