What does justice look like?

I was appalled by the events in Boston this week.

First, a senseless act of barbarism – cowardly and pointless.  Bombs for the sake of spreading chaos and fear – and they did just that – but that sort of stupidity happens often enough.  We know that there are people who, for any number of reasons, wish to cause others harm.  My disgust deepens when I notice that the bombings provoke a different sort of barbaric behaviour in otherwise sensible citizens.  We have always wanted to cheer for the good guys and harass the villains, but this behaviour, as revealed in various media responses and social media memes, has been taken to an extreme that troubles me.

The justice systems in much of the (so-called) civilized world operate on a presumption of innocence.  The proof of guilt must stand the test of law, an examination by judge or jury of peers, and more and more often, society has decided that those niceties are not necessary in certain cases – cases like the “Boston bombings”, where our fear takes over, and the violence spreads like wildfire, stirring up the innocent against those who seem suspicious.

There was a terrible injustice committed on those innocent folks who were killed and damaged by two explosive devices.  We cannot be satisfied with justice that becomes simply another kind of terror.  Let us pursue fact, not innuendo.  Let justice prevail over terror and chaos.  Let the facts come to light, and let us resist the darkness of vigilante thinking.

Our response should put the “civil” back in “civilization”.


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