Posts Tagged ‘justice’

Time for Reparations

June 24, 2020

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

His successor did not have the vision, nor the moral authority, nor the will to oversee a proper recovery from Civil war and slavery. 

After that war, both sides were fought-out, worn-out, and without a clue about what ought to be done to reconstruct the smoldering  train-wreck of a nation that was still named the  United States of America. 

As decades dragged by, the main real-politic effect of the Union victory degenerated into a woefully inadequate provision for the peace, safety and opportunity of those newly-emancipated, displaced black citizens.  

But what the hell could anybody do in the wake of such a god-awful war as that one was?

I wasn’t there of course, but this southern boy baby boomer can tell you from hear-tell traces of rebel memory, that recovery in Dixie was no walk in the park.

Especially, as it turns out, for black folk.

We were surely dazed, war-weary, and PTS-ed to the point of shell-shocked idiocy after that very first, mid-19th-century technologized exercise in hostility futility. 

A constructive-minded group of Americans worked, post-Civil War, through Congress, toward legislating laws to provide reconstruction and resettlement for the defeated Dixiecrats. But their first efforts toward any compensation whatsoever for formerly enslaved people were—as the decades rolled by— shot down, time after time, by a white-privileged Southerine  courthouse gang of inglorious bastards.

Congress had managed to somehow pass the Southern Homestead Act in 1866. It barely squeaked by Andrew Johnson’s first and second veto. 46.4 million acres in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas were supposed to be made available for the newly-emancipated black folk to drive their homesteading stakes in the ground and call it home, with the 4-footed help of a federal mule.

But the shadow of johnny-reb’s frankenstein reconstructed monster cast a long, late afternoon shadow on the best-laid plans of mice and men. 

By ’n by, our post-Civil War Reconstruction Plan degenerated into a long, drawn-out mess; it never did include any adequate compensation for black Americans. In the wake of a dreadfully destructive apocalypse, the postwar well-being of those souls on the bottom of the totem pole was not the first thing on white-privileged principal players’ minds.

Nowadays in the postmodern, post-assassinations, post-LittleRock, post-Montgomery, post-Memphis, post Jackson State, post-20th-century, twittered-up, facebooked-down South, we find ourselves suddenly deja-vu shell-shocked as the videoed murder of George Floyd has ripped wide open an old wound that should have been stitched up for healing 165 years ago.

So now we discover the cold, hard, read-em-andweep truth:

A Reparations Plan for black folk that is 165 years late would be better than no plan at all.

We need to fix this thing once and for all. 

Our federal .gov needs to be supplied to do now what we should have been done long ago:

Dispense federal assets—land, money, loans, whatever is needed—to black folk so they can get a hand-up toward equality, justice and the American way, the American dream!

We need to repair, at last, what should have been fixed long ago.

If this were a Monopoly game, it’s as if the classic player— Mr. White Privilege, with his top hat and cane— just  rolled snake-eyes and landed on “Go To Jail”.

Do not pass Go. Do not collect 200 of anything, until you repay this long-overdue—as Dr. King called it—“promissory note” on which the nation has defaulted.

MLKing

Congress, fix this now or forever hold your peace. 

To put it another way: Pay up on this Promissory Note. Or forever, our domestic peace and tranquility will be held-up!

Glass half-Full

Death to Derek

June 3, 2020

I have been a Christian since 1978; that was the year that I fully realized the moral limits of my own judgements about this life and what is important, or not.

Since that time, I have read the Bible and learned some truth about our human condition, and how we can justifiably deal with our own failures, and the failures of others.

I say failures because I think it is a more appropriate term than the old over-utilized “sin” words that we Christians generally employ in referring to such acts as hurting other people, or stealing from them, or killing them.

Throughout the world, a truth is generally accepted that killing a person is wrong, and should not be done. In fact, murder cannot generally be tolerated if a just society is to be maintained by any people group.  

As I get older, I can see more clearly the purpose of law in the societies of men. Law is generally a good thing, insofar as it enables men and women to live together in community or in society without tearing each other apart. 

When l became a Christian those many years ago, I learned from the New Testament scriptures about a divine gift which we call grace. 

In cases of human sin-guilt, or crime-guilt, grace means the offender receives a sentence of some earthly punishment such as prison, instead of the ultimate sentence of death.

We Christians have generally separated ourselves from the older root of our faith—the Judaic one that was so dependent on law for administering justice in cases of man v. man, such as . . . let’s say, murder. 

With the advent of Jesus, and his ultimately sacrificial death—in spite of his innocence—a new way of judgement was brought forth in the annals of civilization: grace.

His ultimate sacrifice ushered in a new age in which grace is often recommended instead of strict judgment; this application of grace in some legal matters may take up some of the slack of human society-building, instead of enforcing a constant insistence on the  strict application of law. 

Within that “Law,” brought forth by Moses many centuries ago, is a prescription of how to deal with murder. Recorded long ago in Exodus 21:12, it reads like this:

“He that strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.”

In my churchified associations with people since I joined the ranks of Christianity, we have generally emphasized this grace of which I speak. Insofar as we are all sinners—we all screw up in some way or another (do you know anyone who doesn’t?)—we Christians lean heavily on that grace of God to get us off the hook when we screw up.

Personally, I have greatly appreciated that divine grace when dealing with the consequences of my own sinful shortcomings.

Furthermore, I advocate the application of grace toward any person whose response to their own sinfulness includes sincere repentance. 

Recently however, a certain heinous offense against our civil law has risen to the forefront of our collective American consciousness. As a people who strive collectively and nationally toward a just society, we would do wrong to excuse Derek Chauvin’s apparent murder—should he be found guilty of same—of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Now I am realizing the practical value of the death penalty in human law. In this case, a merciful sentence would not be appropriate; nor would it prove beneficial in the restoration of our national law and order.

In this present homicidal offense against God and a man, I believe the application of the death penalty to that offending cop’s life would be a necessary element in dispelling our present disruption of law and order in this country. 

Therefore I urge the District  Attorney in Minneapolis to bring a charge of murder, in the first degree, against Derek Chauvin, in the killing of George Floyd.

Such justice is the only thing that could even come close to setting things right in this country again.

I just don’t see any other way that the shock and disgrace of this murderous act can truly be dispensed with.

If and when he is found guilty in a court of Law, Derek Chauvin ought to be executed. 

Glass half-Full

What about this Post-capitalism?

March 3, 2019

There are a many constructive ideas floating around in the world today.

Some are commendable, others not so much. If people propose plans for making the world a better place, then let’s hear them. Let’s consider those plans.

In our present big picture, the hot-button point of contention seems to revolve around the fate of free-market capitalism, in an age of diminishing planetary tolerance.  Is capitalism as we know it an appropriate framework for just and equitable economic development in our present, allegedly climate-changing world?

Are free-market institutions still appropriate for our collective life in the postmodern 21st-century?

Can free-market capitalism even be retained in our planetary future? Or will it be overpowered by some new 21st-century tamed-down socialism?

Generating from some academic and technocratic quarters, we find revisions of the old Marxian ideology, along with assurances that the world has certainly learned hard lessons through the disastrous failure of 20th-century communist experiments.

At  https://www.socialeurope.eu/postcaptalism-unbearable-unrealism , Paul Mason writes:

    Moving to postcapitalism does not entail eradicating market forces overnight or accepting the command-planning methods of Soviet economics. The aim is to design a controlled transition in which market forces cease to operate as the primary allocator of goods and services on the planet, in which the state shrinks and the debt mountains are dismantled.”

and

   “In the past 15 years we have built a highly dysfunctional system, which is unsustainable on all traditional assumptions. It is a system of permanent single monopolies, with massive rent-seeking and financial exploitation, the creation of low-wage, low-skilled jobs designed to keep people inside the system of credit and data extraction, and massive asymmetries of power and information between corporations and consumers.”

Now, as a centrist conservative American, I read those above words and they somehow ring true. There is a sense in which I feel there is maybe some realistic MainStreet experience  missing there, but I see that Mr. Mason raises valid points, which are worthy of our consideration.

On the other side of the debate, Jordan B. Peterson has a different take on our world problems and how to solve, or at least address, them.

At  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXgZAdaMtS8&t=35s,      he says:

     “If you’re tilting toward the left, and you’re temperamentally inclined that way—and half the population is—then you have an ethical problem on your hands, which is . . . how do you segregate yourself from the radical policies of the 20th century? “

and

“. . . two things exist in a very uneasy (leftist) coalition in the West—there’s care for the poor, and hatred for the successful.  Those two things are not the same at all . . . and it looks to me that one of the things that really happened when the communist doctrines were brought into play , and also by the way we did the multi-national experiment.  It doesn’t matter where you put these policies into play . . . the same bloody outcome occurred. Didn’t matter whether it was Russia, or China, Cambodia or Vietnam—pick a random African country—or Cuba or Venezuela, for that matter. . . it was an unmitigated catastrophe. That has to be dealt with.  The intellectual left in the West has been absolutely appalling in their silence on the communist catastrophe.”           

Dr. Peterson, the speaker of these words just above, is a Canadian professor of Psychology at University of Toronto.

Down here Stateside, we have a sizable number of Americans who agree with his assessment. That supportive group includes the this blogger.

Back in 1989, freedom-cultivating citizens, such as I, thought we heard the ringing resonance of a Liberty bell when the Soviet Union fell apart and the Berlin Wall came down. We were patting ourselves on the back after those historic events, especially because Kennedy had gone to Berlin in 1963 and spoke:

    “There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. . . Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in . . .”

And then later, Reagan went over there and said:

    “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Well, the Germans did tear down that damn wall, and the subjects of Soviet domination throughout that terrible empire wasted no time in tearing down—not only a wall— but much more. . . the Soviet Union itself.

Like Humpty-Dumpty it was.

So the question remained: Would they, could they, tear down all that Marxist communist ideology that had built that wall under threat of gulag imprisonment? Could they expose and dismantle the Statist oppression that had built all the gulag walls? and the Stalin statues, and the tanks and the nukes, etcetera etcetera.

That would take a long time, and it has taken a long time. But in some ways, that early 20th-century tide of Marxist oppresso-utopian wishful thinking is seeping back as a kind of theoretical, kinder, gentler socialism.

So the question becomes: is there any part of the Dr. Jekyll Marxian collectivist ideology that is workable and fair? and, as for the Mr. Hyde alter ego: Is there any part of that disgraced Soviet that would creep back as fierce totalitarian servitude?

Cmnism

On the other side of 21st-century civilization, at the same time, and as long as we’re at relative peace in a cooperative globalist attitude, another question arises: What parts of FreeMarket Capitalism are still workable?

Tiananmen talk

Advocates of our free-market democratic republic must admit, for instance, that yes, Virginia, Freedom and free-market capitalism does have its problems. It always has, although those troubles do not necessarily disqualify the free market as a model for economic well-being.

The weak spot in our capitalist framework was exposed in 2008-9, when our financially engineered wall street perpetual profit, speculative machine flew apart, and sent all of us free-marketeers high-tailing it for the exits.

Statistics reveal that since that disruptive correction in the fall of ’08, a stubborn stagnation has taken hold of our economy. Even though the Fed cranks out statistics to reinforce the notion that we have recovered . . .we have not recovered.

You call this a recovery?

No way!. I grew up in the ’50’s; I know what a real recovery looks like, and I worked my way through the ’90’s.I know what a truly busy, productive economy feels like.  And whatever we got now—this ain’t no real recovery.

  This is stagnation.

The Feds got all their numbers trying to convince us that all is well, but the truth is: So many folks are not making enough money to prosper. They’re just gettin’ by. Meanwhile so many speak of a widening inequality gap, and although I don’t really see the world in those “class warfare” terms, I suppose that, in some sense, yes Virginia, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

But then, hey, hasn’t that always been true? We shall see. At any rate, let’s not get all commie-bent out of shape about it. Just keep busy. Find something helpful to do. As Jordan says, responsibility gives life meaning. You can start by cleaning your room, and thereby making the world a little bit better place.

Glass half-Full

Never Again

October 28, 2018

From chapter 8 of Glass half-Full, we find Hilda, a restaurant-owner, telling some friends about an experience she had in Germany.

“Hitler and his thugs tried to take advantage of the situation; they launched a coup d’etat, called a putsch in German. But it failed, and they ended up getting arrested. The event has been named the beer hall putsch of 1923. Well, I was reading about these police officers who were killed by the Nazis that night. And I was reading in my guide book some information about the incident. I kept hearing this beautiful music, really spirited music. We walked in the direction of the music. We turned a corner…and there they were, five musicians playing five instruments: clarinet, violin, accordion, cello, a drummer. I could tell they were Jewish right away. I considered their courage: to stand there at the Odeonsplatz where the Nazis had made their first move to try and take over the world, and declare, with their music, that Jewish people, along with their music, were alive and well in the 21st century. They inspired me. We must have listened to them for an hour…the Bridge Ensemble.”

This excerpt from my 2007 novel describes an event in the life of a fictional character named Hilda. While writing the book, I chose the occurrence to make a point about what happens in the history of our human race when hate-based groups take up arms against other people.

However, the event described here, although presented as a fictional event in a story, is in reality something that actually happened.

It happened to me. I was “Hilda.” My son and I were in Munich in 2002 when the music reached my ears while I was reading a plaque about the four German policemen who had been killed during the first Nazi uprising in 1923.

It was a meaningful event in my life, so I made the experience part of a long story story that I later published in 2007. Glass half-Full is a novel about some characters in the Washington DC area; they’re pretty good people, but some bad things happen to them.

Bad things happen.

When bad things happen on a large scale, nations go to war against each other and all hell breaks loose for a while. When all hell breaks loose on a major scale–a continental level of magnitude and intensity–that is called “World War.”

We of mankind have had two of them. We hope that we never have another. Don’t we?

In both world wars, our nation, the United States of America, intervened on behalf of our Allies. In both wars, our presence and strength in the fray made a big difference, and we were victorious in both holocausts.

Holocausts is a word I use in the context of that last sentence, meaning  life sacrifices, by fire: lives being snuffed out by fire, or by other destructive means. In our post-World War II experience, the Holocaust generally refers to the mass-murder of six million Jewish Europeans under the murderous regime of the Nazis, led by the demonic Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler.

Never again should there be a holocaust of such immensity. Our nation and our armed forces were a large part of extinguishing the fire of persecution that snuffed out the lives of millions of defenseless, innocent persons before and during the Second World War.

AmIsFlags

Now, when people refer to the proposition of making America “great again,” this is–or should be–the meaning of the phrase, Make America Great Again.

That we have been, in times past, the defender of innocent people who are being slaughtered on a massive scale by hate-filled groups, –this is what made America great during World War II. And this is what, generally, does make America great in any present or future time.

Great, yes, because we have–on a massive scale– the resources and the collective will to serve as defenders of defenseless or innocent people anywhere in the world.

Not because we appoint ourselves aggressors to impose our so-called American way of life on any other nation or people-group in this world. This is where we crossed the line, in my opinion, in Vietnam. What began as a war to defend the free people of South Vietnam against aggressive Viet Minh insurgents, degenerated instead, to become a war of aggression in which we raised a lot more hell and bloodletting than we could legitimately justify; in a quasi-primitive nation that had not yet progressed to a phase of development in which they could truly understand the difference between these two words: communism and capitalism.

And may that never happen again.

A year or two ago, I also wrote a sociological novel pertaining to our Vietnam ordeal, King of Soul.

Let us Americans never be the aggressors. We are defenders. What makes our nation great, if anything, is simply the massive scale of defense we are able to muster on behalf of free and innocent people, whether it’s in Europe, Rwanda, the Middle East, or anywhere, including at home. May our great strength never corrupt us.

We are defenders not only in the military applications. We are-and should always be–defenders of the defenseless in matters of law. We are, according to our original founding codes, advocates for justice in all of our institutions: courts of law, legislative bodies, government agencies, immigration agencies, overseas aid, and administrative law from welfare to wall street. That is what makes America great.

May we never stray from the preservation and extension of truth, justice, and yes, the American way.

And may we always be defenders of same.

Glass half-Full

The Justice/Righteousness Struggle

April 9, 2018

Maybe it’s because I studied philosophy in college many years ago. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the deep south in the 1950’s-60’s. Maybe it’s because I was raised Catholic and then, at the age of 27 turned to the “born again” approach to spiritually.

Maybe it’s because I, like Jacob of old, have had to wrestle with God before I could let him into my way of thinking and doing. Maybe it’s because of Moses, or Paul, or Jesus himself that I had this wrestling session yesterday. For whatever reason, I spent yesterday, Sunday, wrestling with God.

Not literally, of course, but mentally, spiritually.

Let me try to explain this.

On Saturday evening, my wife and I shared an evening meal, and several hours,  with a small group of friends whom we have known and loved for a long time, since the early 1980’s. We are, as they say, Christians.

These are people with whom we have, on a regular basis, gathered, prayed, worked, laughed and cried, for most of our adult life. We have all raised our now-adult children together and released them into the great wild world.

My struggle yesterday was precipitated by an ethical dilemma. The problem was working through my mind all day because our host friend had shown us a video link. The half-hour online presentation introduced to us—and to the world, generally— a work of ministry that is being carried out by our hosts’ son-in-law, whose life and struggle is being worked out in his chosen hometown, Ferguson, Missouri.

In the video, Jonathan “JT” Tremaine presents some historical information along with some gospel enlightenment, and he then goes on to explain his vision for justice that is linked to a Christian call to righteousness.

As I ruminated all yesterday (Sunday) on what Jonathan had said, and the images he displayed, I became perplexed while wondering about this thorny question:

Just what the hell is justice anyway?

Is it equality instead of inequality? Is it income redistribution? How does this monumental concept of justice really play out in history, American history?

For many blacks, that idea of “justice” is defined largely by what color of skin a cop sees on the face of some citizen that he is trying to protect, or . . . protect himself against.

And how does justice relate to this “righteousness” thing that we so-called evangelicals like to claim for ourselves?

These are the two primary points—justice and righteousness—that JT raises in his podcast, and in his ministry in Ferguson, Missouri, which he calls “Meet me in Ferguson.”

For many people, especially honkies, neither of these issues is any big deal. Yet that unawareness—that insensitivity— is part of the problem.

The bottom line I’m working toward here is this. Both of these issues—justice and righteousness—are very important issues that we Americans must address if we are going to move forward in our great, historical experiment with democracy.

As the Hebrew prophet of old, Amos, presented a challenge to his people—and to all people throughout history. . .

“Let justice roll down like the waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream!”

This is a message of many prophets of old, and many modern prophets as well, such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks . . .

And Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK1

And Dr. Billy Graham.

BillyG

Say what? Billy Graham? What’s he got to do with social justice?

You probably didn’t know that back in the 1950’s, Billy Graham insisted that the ropes be removed—the ropes separating blacks and whites at his very own gospel crusades. And when racist ushers of that day refused to do it, Billy himself did remove the damned things. So that blacks and whites could, together, participate in the work of bringing in not only righteousness, but also justice.

And we are, y’all, still working on it.

Let Jonathan JT explain. This thing goes way back . . .

  https://www.facebook.com/meetmeinferguson/videos/618272528508148/UzpfSTE3ODQxMTQ5ODg1Njc2NDoxODI4MzQ4NjE3MTk2MzY5/

I’ll finish this struggle session with a song:

Mountaintop

Perfect Constitutional Ambiguity

February 17, 2016

Gettys

Eleven score and nine years ago, our forefathers brought forth upon this nation an original Constitution, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that people can govern themselves.

Now we are engaged in a great political debate, testing whether our nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.

We are met now on a great battlefield of that nation’s politics, a battle-boulevard that stretches from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other.

We have come to this crossroads to dedicate a vacant seat to that great cause for which many of us have labored, and for which many of us have given our strength, our endurance, our political partisanship, our blood sweat and fears and in some cases our very lives.

It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this–that we should dedicate this vacant chair.

It is for us, the living, to be now dedicated to the task remaining before us–that from this honored dead Justice we take increased devotion to that cause for which he gave the last full measure of his jurisprudence–that we now highly resolve that this dead Justice shall not have served in vain, and that that timeless Constitution upon which our freedom and liberty has been laid shall not now itself be sacrificed upon the battlefield of partisanship, but that, accordingly, the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate,” a Justice of the supreme Court, and that:

Our Constitution’s prescribed procedure, set forth in perfect ambiguity so that neither one Branch of our government, the Executive, shall presume to dominate the other Branch, the Legislative, nor shall  the Legislative obliterate the the Executive. . .

Therefore do we resolve that this embattled chair–our untimely and inconvenient ninth-chair vacancy–can, and should be, and will be, determined and thus fulfilled by us, the living, in this our 21st-century circumstance as it exists here and now, and still yet through the Constitutional protocol that was set before us, lo, these many scores of years ago. . . and furthermore that:

Our government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Glass half-Full

Free Kim Davis!

September 6, 2015

The legal issues surrounding Kim Davis’ job duties should be worked out in courts of law. But there is no way this public servant should be confined to a jail cell.

Free Kim Davis!

SCortMedia

Glass half-Full

I wanna know what happen to Freddie Gray

May 23, 2015

Who was Freddie anyway?

 

Now I don’t know but I been told

that we Americans got a right that we hold:

from unreasonable searches and seizures we are free,

’cause the 4th Amendment say that the way it should be.

 

Now we don’t know what happen to Freddie Gray

but we know he didn’t survive that day

when three cops from Baltimore PD

hauled him in on some charge that no one did see.

 

They said he had a switchblade that’s illegal,

but State’s attorney said he had a pocket knife, legal.

Without probable cause those cops hauled Freddie in,

but he didn’t survive it; it seems like a sin.

 

Now I know its wrong that a riot later ensued

but that don’t change the fact that Freddie was abused.

So I think it appropriate that somehow, some way:

the people of America need to know what happen to Freddie that day.

 

It was a medical examiner, you see,

who examined Freddie’s fatal injury,

and called it not self-inflicted, but homicide.

So in a court of Law, the cops should be tried.

 

We need to know–it needs to be tried–

if Freddy’s death was justified.

We need to know what happen to Freddie that day;

this can’t be like Mike Brown’s case where they never would say.

 

Glass half-Full

MLK Parade in Charlotte

January 19, 2015

Last Saturday, January 17, 2015, I attended the parade in Charlotte to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  After watching the festivity, I have been reflecting for a day or two on those celebrations, while viewing some pics that I snapped there.

This reflection ends with a song I recorded in 1978 about the visionary Dr. King: “Mountaintop”

As a white man who grew up in Mississippi and Louisiana in the 1950’s and ’60’s, I want to express to you what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. meant to me, and correlate my expression with images of some of the people I saw two days ago in that parade in downtown Charlotte. What I am seeing is this:

ParBandYoung
A prophet who saw what needed to happen, then acted effectively to make in happen.

ParGetnRedy
A man who walked, successfully, a tightrope between violent comrades on one side and non-violent believers on the other.

ParStopVio
A builder, who built a bridge of provision and good will between those who have and those who had not.

ParadeMindGo

A drum major for justice

ParHiStepn

A man who did try, in his life, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and forge new opportunity for those who had none.

ParHorses
A man who strove to make a way where there was no way

ParChrtrScool
A man whose hope for mankind has outlasted the injustice that put him in an early grave.

ParFormnUp

A man whose love for mankind has overcome the evil that men do.

ParWCband

An effective Christian antidote to a world infected by people who had perfected the practice of hate.

A reverent Christian response to a world populated by people who had rejected a loving God.

A servant of the Lord,

A man of peace,

A Christian,

ParMacedonia

a sinner saved by grace.

A visionary.

This is only a small part of Dr. King’s legacy.

This just doesn’t add up

December 6, 2014

Yeah, sure, Michael Brown broke a law.

Yeah, sure, he was resisting arrest;

yeah, sure, the officer of the law was doing his duty.

But in the end, a young man, unarmed, is dead

because he stole a pack of cigarillos and then walked impudently down the middle of the street.

 

Yeah, sure, Eric Garner broke a law.

Yeah, sure, he was resisting arrest;

yeah, sure, the officer of the law was doing his duty.

But in the end, a young man, unarmed, is dead

because he was selling cigarettes.

 

This just doesn’t add up.

There is something wrong here.

And it appears to be, as we say in newspeak, systemic.

 

That is to say, there is something wrong with the system.

 

Yeah, sure, the Missouri grand jury that did not indict the officer

was a legally appointed body the purpose of which was to decide

whether there was a possibility that the arresting officer had violated the law

while attempting to protect himself and the public.

 

Yeah, sure, the New York grand jury that did not indict the officer

was a legally appointed body the purpose of which was to decide

whether there was a possibility that the arresting officer had violated the law

while attempting to protect himself and the public.

 

But we have two dead bodies because of damned minuscule cigarette violations. The deathful end doesn’t justify the means. There’s something wrong with this picture, and the public can smell it.

 

Why is the deadly outcome of these two cases so much bigger, and final, than the sum of their legal parts?

A young man commits a misdemeanor or two; then he’s walking along and suddenly there’s a cop in his face. That’s to be expected; illegal actions have legal consequences. So the cop is doing his job. But hey, a few minutes later the petty criminal is dead.

 

Who issued the guilty verdict and death sentence? A court of law? A trial by jury? No. It doesn’t add up.

There is something going on here, something being exposed, that needs to be dealt with.

Is it racism? True dat. Like sin, it is always there in us, sometimes under the surface, sometimes in full-blown atrocity. Wherever men go upon the earth, there is, was, will be tribe-against-tribe racism.

But racism is only part of this picture; the other part is a justice system with its priorities out of whack. That’s what we the people are feeling now.

Why are so many people–black and white, conservative and liberal–disturbed about the fatal outcome of these incidents?

We have a serious disconnect between the street-imposed sentence (death) and the seriousness of the crime.

That “it doesn’t add up” disconnect is wired into our media-driven minds.  Although we do not know nearly as much as we think we do about news events, neither does a grand jury operating without cross-examination of witnesses.

In this fortnight’s perceived events, it’s almost as if the vast public outcry, as jerky and fickle and circumstantial as it is, produces a more appropriate assessment of the outcome than the traditional, evidence-based system for passing judgement.

 

Oh surely we do not know the facts of the case as well as the grand jury. But we do know this: two young, unarmed men who had not been sentenced to death  are now dead. That’s the bottom line.

It doesn’t add up. The system, with or without grand jury, needs somehow to be fixed, so that the punitive sentence accurately reflects the seriousness of crime.

As if that could happen.

I don’t know though. . . maybe it’s always been this way. Maybe there is, in truth, no justice in this world.

And so folks yearn for something better. . . the Last Judgement of a Righteous God?

I’m not excusing injustice.

Just sayin’. That Last Judgement may be the only justice some of us will ever see.

 

Glass half-Full