If you are a believer and supporter of individual liberty and freedom, we are living in perilous times because Justice has become “Political”. I believe this has been caused by two main reasons.
Firstly we are witnessing a Justice system that has become intent on seeking “fairness” and more about the rights for the criminals than for those of victims of crime. How many times do you hear a local news story with the result of a horrific crime, hear the sentence and just shake your head? Or hear a story about another repeat offender?
Secondly we are living in a culture filled with both a 24 hour news cycle and access to social media where we are bombarded with countless different sides, agendas and talking points who just want to win right now. We also have people talking online and in the media with the sole goal of being provocative and demeaning the other side.
If you look around the political landscape today all sides seek a form of Justice:
- Black Lives Matter for Trayvon and Michael Brown etc.
- Democrats seeking Justice for the “middle class”
- Donald Trump / GOP supporters seeking to lock Hillary Clinton up
- Society against actors in Hollywood including Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.
The consequence of this culture is not only have the lines of Justice become blurred but many today confuse justice for a narrative that sounds good.
I would like to ask you ten principle based questions on what real justice looks like and what are its underlying principles?
Is Justice Blind?
Is everyone created equal before the Law or should people get different treatment?
Should those in the Justice system be biased (either favourably or negatively) based on your race, your gender, your sexuality, your religion, your income, your location, your job or any other criteria society deems appropriate?
Should Justice be blind and a judgement of innocence or guilt delivered purely on the facts of the case?
Unpopular example: Politicians – There are well respected legal minds in society like Senator Mike Lee who believes politicians should not go to jail, because it would send a negative message to the world and because America does not lock up their political opponents.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty?
Where should the onus of proof be in society?
- With the prosecution to present evidence and prove guilt?
- Or with the accused to present evidence and prove their innocence?
Should we believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty?
Unpopular example: We are seeing a lot of allegations of sexual abuse in Hollywood. Those who are accused, are they innocent or guilty right now?
Legal System / Witch – Hunts
How and where do we want Justice to be performed? In legal manners either through Law Enforcement Officers and Prosecution, a Civil Case or by witch hunts in society?
Or should we just jump on a bandwagon based on our opinions of the person involved. We believe they are innocent if it’s someone we like, and guilty if it’s someone we don’t like.
Unpopular example: Hollywood Actors. Is an allegation enough to lose your job? Should you lose your job because of your name or a title of an article?
Opinion Vs What You Can Prove
Should we have to prove when someone is guilty with hard LEGAL facts such as physical, written or oral evidence? Or is it enough today to simply read reports, join the dots and just know someone is guilty.
Unpopular example: Hillary Clinton – One of the themes of Donald Trump’s campaign last year were chants of “lock her up”.
Do I believe Hillary is corrupt? ABSOLUTELY! However if you share this opinion should the chant not be, “Bring Her to Court, Or Charge Her with __” (Not as catchy).
Right to Pay Someone Off
In civil cases, does someone have the right to pay someone off? And if they do, is it always an admission of guilt?
Can someone be innocent and decide to pay people off, just because they fear allegations would harm their family and kids?
Example: Bill O’Reilly. I have no idea if he is innocent or guilty. However he claims he paid off his most recent suit to save his kids.
When an individual is accused of either a crime or inappropriate behaviour, do they have any rights? Do they have the:
- RIGHT to be charged and told of the allegations
- RIGHT to face your accuser
- RIGHT to defend yourself
- RIGHT to see the evidence against you
- RIGHT to present evidence
- RIGHT to ask your accuser questions
- RIGHT to a fair trial with a Jury of your peers
Example: Any crime locally or nationally
Ignorance / Intent Matter?
Is it possible to be guilty of breaking the Law, without knowing it?
If you are ignorant of the Laws in place, or your intent was genuine, and you do not know you are breaking the law – are you still guilty?
Example: Speeding – Driving in an unknown area, unsure of the exact speed limit and you get caught.
Do We Give Time For Justice?
In a world where we seek instant gratification, watch cop dramas solve crimes in less than 40 minutes, and with a media that covers every little detail, do we actually give the justice time to do their job? Do we truly understand the time it takes to gather evidence, interview people, make the case and come to a conclusion?
Unpopular Example: Robert Mueller Investigation. Can we wait until the report is issued and form an opinion then, or do we focus in on every detail?
I hope the above nine questions give you something to ponder as you look at Justice today. However the tenth and last question is solely for you and goes so much deeper than justice.
As you went through those questions, were you consistent?
Were the answers the same regardless of the people involved?
Or did you have different answers depending on your opinion of them?
When you answer these questions about the justice system you would like to live, ask yourself do your actions always reflect your beliefs.
Note: I don’t ask these last two questions lightly. I am not asking these to preach to you or to look down on you, but rather to try help you grow as a person. I am guilty of saying things in the past that goes against my principles as I share many of your frustrations with Hillary Clinton seemingly always getting away with shady behaviour.
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. – MLK