Monday, July 27, 2020

Different Types of Justice for Different Types of People

I wish we lived in a world where bad actors are punished and good people are offered help. I been plagued by an ideal where everyone tries to do the right thing and differences on how justice is enacted is minimal. Sometimes people make mistakes but that each person really sought to do what was best for themselves and their neighbors. It took me to middle age to realize that while most people try to be descent some's goodness is highly dependent on them and their context. When it comes to the Justice system I can only hope and pray people have good intentions and they are willing to act on those good intentions.

There are different types of justice for different types of people. Before the Black Lives Matter movement I had decided to try and climb Mount Everest to raise awareness about justice (I still have no idea if I will actually do it...maybe just Base Camp 1). It wasn't about Black or White people or any other race as much as it was about a concept of justice where people who did bad things were held accountable and people who needed help were given the help they needed. 

A different way to look at justice that would save our states money and be more effective in the long run. Yet it is an ideal that really isn't seen as practical  by many of our politicians.

I suspect when I first blurted out the idea no doubt there were people who laughed about it and thought it was a very dumb idea from an "over educated" idealist. Thinking back over the past year + I realize that it is even more important now than it was when I first came up with the idea. You know people did bad things and they walked for those things. That didn't look like justice to me and I doubt there will really be any attempt to create justice.

Its not all about punishment.

You can do the best you can but the system needs to change and adjust to something that seeks focus beyond punishment to what is best in the long run for society. Sure we can put people for decades in prison for minor offences but that doesn't solve any problems for anyone does it? It may be creation much more serious problems for society in the long run. So we might need to rethink things and get outside of the "box" type thinking. 

In addition there is a good point about disparity that should be raised. Some people shouldn't get a free pass to commit crimes and others hit with a sledge hammer. People who are hurt often end up hurting other people. They also are not held accountable for damaging people (in this case kids) if it isn't caught on tape or if they have the right connections through work and associations. It doesn't matter how much I care about them, it was intentional and there was a history of such behavior and thus accountability is necessary. 

I'm not a light foot on crime and people should be held accountable for the bad things they do. I'm just not a believer in taking the most simple obvious answer that sits in front of me and assuming that is the whole truth without accepting any alternative explanations. Let me give you an example, adults bully a kid and then we blame that kid for a change in his behavior. We don't go back and hold the adults accountable because that would require us to take the less obvious answer. No investigation and thus no crime (I suspect the answer isn't so simple). 

He is Black. That isn't the essential issue for me as a father but it is likely an essential issue for others. What bothers me most about this is the complete lack of remorse.  It seemed like the perpetrators took pleasure in the behavior and bragged about it to their friends. The life of a child is changed but the adults got a good laugh about it. In their minds they can do no wrong and it appears as long as they keep lying no one looks beyond the obvious pattern.

Its that subjectivity on who we investigate, where our focus is, and who we see as worthy of accountability and who we see should get a free pass that concerns me. There shouldn't be all these different types of justices out there. Locals get one type of justice, that race another, that person this one and that one something else. Each case should have its own merit based on its uniqueness but that isn't based on superficial justifications. It should be based on the unique circumstances of each individual.

Sure the kid is responsible for his/her behavior but one crime was swept under the carpet because they know the right people, because its not caught on video, or because it requires holding people in your friend network accountable. When children are not protected from certain behaviors then we have to start wondering what kind of other misjudgments are being made throughout the entire system. The system seems to lack self-reflection and self-accountability.

I'm a firm believer in holding people accountable for their behavior. Throwing the book at someone for small mistakes and ignoring serious crimes in another situation isn't fair. It becomes a one sided justice where some get harsh treatment, some walk for their bad behavior, and the system continues to grind lives without really thinking about its implications. If we want people to feel valued in our country we need to make our institutions feeling and thinking entities that do more than process people and suck tax payer money.

Saying that, I'm not impervious to the idea that there are so many people and there isn't enough resources to do it all.  ...but I do think we can sort of change around a few things to be more helpful. Getting people therapy and help is a much cheaper alternative then putting people in prison. Heck! We can even get the perpetrators to pay for it! Let us try and understand what happens to people and why certain things occur before we jump to ruin people's lives.

Do I support the protests? I support peaceful demonstrations that seek to raise issues of inequality and lack of insight in the system. On the same hand, I support the police and hope that we can find reforms that will help them be more effective in their jobs (Sometimes that means helping people and sometimes that means punishment) and remove troubled officers quickly before they can cause additional harm to people in their community. So like many other people in society...I'm a little mixed on the issue.

I'm limited in what I can do and my voice only resonates so far. This blog is just a small part of using education, science and good conscious to make America a stronger country. I may have to run for politics out of necessity. I no longer care how good or bad I look in front of people but I do care what happens to my country. We got people on the right and people on the left battling it out but it seems as though we are more worried about punching the other side than "reasonableness" and compromise. I think the middle of the road, practical based, politicians are going to be needed if we are going to reconcile.

I might not even be qualified...I do have a weird sounding name and mixed race children which will likely knock me out of most political certain circles right away. Yes...I think we are not as open as we pretend to be. If a political ideology is going to be valid in the future it will need to be inclusive of everyone. That means Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Blacks, Whites and on and on and on.

I don't pretend to know what I'm doing or have all the right answers. Likely why we may need a guy like me. I just can't seem to accept that where we are now as a nation is our final state of being. There must be something more or our experiment has failed. We need people who care to stand up and let their voices heard if we hope to keep developing and changing as a society. We need less over confident people who know all the answers and more people who are willing to question and ponder the possibilities.

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