Friday, November 12, 2004

Truth, Justice and the American Way

Yay! Scott Peterson got convicted!

Well..."yay," that is, if he was really guilty. From the second and third-hand information I get, he probably did it. But I don't really know. I trust that that the jury was thorough and analyzed the evidence accurately. Is it possible that they got it all wrong? Possible, but not likely.

What I think is alarming is that people stand outside the courtroom and cheer. We talk about justice as though we are innocent. It's a grim proceeding that has been undertaken in the courtroom. On the one hand, we don't want to let a vicious murderer go free. On the other hand, we don't want to send an innocent man to his death.

But the notion of justice is often applied with a double-standard. Many who cheer outside the courtroom have climbed into their vehicles this afternoon and intentionally drove recklessly home. Intentionally? They intentionally broke the laws that are supposed to keep us safe on the road. They might as well run through a crowded mall with a loaded weapon that has a round in the chamber, the hammer cocked and their finger on the trigger. Sure they may never have wrecked before, but they cry out for justice when the other idiot who wrecked and killed everyone in his car is holding up traffic.

Justice? One man gets convicted while the rest of us play with each other's lives. It doesn't matter that the law distinguishes between intent and negligence. People die. What about the people getting killed in Faluja? It's nothing compared to the people who were murdered in New York this past year. And that figure is nothing compared to the people who were killed in automobile accidents.

Smoking! Obesity! Where's the justice!?! But we won't say anything about our own bad habit of talking on a cell phone going 80MPH in a 65MPH zone.

Speaking of obesity: I heard a lady criticizing missionaries who took food to people in other countries who were starving instead of feeding the starving people right here in Statesville, NC. There's a problem with the logic. Here, people aren't DYING of starvation like they are in other countries. Also, we DO have a local ministry to feed people who don't have food. If anyone is starving to death, it's not for lack of food. Incidentally, she was just as overweight as most of the rest of us.

My whole point is, our concept of justice is a bit lop-sided. The outcry needs to be tempered with an understanding of our own culpability. Others of us haven't committed murder, but we have contributed to a society that too often looks the other way. And a society that excuses some and convicts others breeds those who think that murder might be okay as long as they don't get caught.

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