Thanksgiving has virtually nothing to do with justice. There are always those on either side of any case who are thankful for a particular decision; that is, thankful for having it go “their” way as opposed to going the other way. Justice, however, knows only one way, and it has nothing to do with emotion, those who make the loudest outcry, or even those who have ostensibly been hurt the most. Justice has to do with truth above all, softened, perhaps, as the situation may require, by mercy. But justice does not, should not, and cannot support the untrue. That would never be just, and is something for which no one should ever be thankful.
Today, as we contemplate sitting down to a meal at which we will possibly at least think thoughts of “thanksgiving,” we may possibly give a thought to the many people in Ferguson, MO, and whether or not they too will give thanks for their many blessings.
It is so easy to understand the indignation of those who totally and absolutely believe in something, and then — when it comes to that “something” being judged — to find that the judgment goes against everything they believe in. But the very fact that there are at least two sides to the “something” means that there are people on the other side who also believe in something totally and absolutely. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between, but it must still be the main ingredient of justice.
Be that as it may, Justice still stands alone. Justice is not, nor should it ever be, subject to those who can cry the loudest, or who can get the most people to rally ‘round their “cause.” We all probably know that we cannot judge the deceased by those who cry the loudest at the funeral, or by how many attend or don’t attend the service. In the old days, mourners were often hired to show up to cry. Even the funeral service of someone who was not very well liked in life can be packed to the rafters if the person was either well known or famous, or known by virtue of some kind of media exposure. That is not to judge the circumstances of any particular person’s death, or the person himself.
Justice HAS to stand alone. If Justice started “giving in” to loud outcries WITHOUT taking truth into consideration, Justice will have lost its meaning and its value. I understand how those who feel that whatever the latest outcry is against what seems to be the latest and even the last straw in a long string of events that are simply unacceptable on every level might insist Justice go a certain way, but if all those who feel that way truly want Justice, they must want true Justice, in EVERY incident of life, for everyone, everywhere, not just here and now.
Justice by “command” of the masses is not justice at all. Justice supported by the masses is a good and logical thing. True justice would stir up such comments as, “Let the truth be known!” rather than “We want justice for [name the person of your choice].” To lobby for justice in the name of the person you want to be victorious as opposed to learning the truth and having justice prevail, is virtually hoping that Justice can be influenced: to go over to your side; to be manipulated by the side that has the best coverage, the best press releases, the loudest voices, the most violence waiting in the wings if the decision goes against you; anything to get your way.
It would be so refreshing if, instead of focusing on the color of those involved FIRST, people would look for the facts that constitute the truth of the matter. It is a sad thing indeed that in 2014 race still seems to get more attention and more emotional outcry than the facts in many a situation.
Awaiting the presently-pending decision from the Grand Jury, here is a question I propose to one and all: Which would you prefer? (a) To have the verdict go the way you want it to go, or (b) to know the truth?
Now that you’ve answered that, bear in mind that if you chose (a), you might never know where justice lies. If you were brave enough to choose (b), you WOULD know, and true justice might well be found on the side that you have already aligned yourself with. Lesson: Never be afraid to know the truth — unless of course you’re afraid of the truth.
I am always on the side of justice; but even if I might ever want some mercy, I would never want that mercy at the cost of someone else suffering injustice for me to have it.
Ah, the decision just came in. Even with the detailed description of the facts on which the decision was made, questioners asked, ‘What’s wrong with the law?” implying that the verdict was all wrong, while others asked, “How is this justice?” Did they not hear everything that prosecutor Robert McCulloch just said? They may not like the verdict; they may wish it would have gone the other way, but based on the facts — including the unchanging and unchangeable physical evidence — would they really have wanted the Grand Jury to come to a verdict that contradicted their own conclusions? Is THAT what they would want changed — to have conclusions swayed by public pressure rather than based on solid evidence?
Perhaps it is time to talk about how Michael Brown contributed to — notice I am not saying caused — his own death. Just as when a young drunk driver loses his life while driving, even if there was another vehicle involved, everyone knows that the inebriated driver contributed to his or her own death. It may not be the time to talk to the parents or friends about driving while intoxicated when it first happens, but at some point, in order to save other young people from going down that same tragic road, the horrors and dangers of drunk driving must be discussed. We must address how people contribute to their own demise.
(Apparently people are now throwing things at the police and/or their vehicles and attempting to set a police car on fire. It reminds me of those who rally against abortion by setting abortion clinics on fire.
The arsonists might not even know if anyone is inside, and might not care if they “accidentally” killed a doctor known to perform abortions
— since first and foremost, they must express how they feel. Now canisters of tear gas or smoke are being thrown to disperse the crowds. Some have taken to looting and pouring lighter fluid on several police cars. There are occasional chanters who want to further the belief that Michael was in the stance of surrendering when he was shot. And the violence escalates: all this, the throwing of bricks and bottles and the setting of at least one police car on fire, as well as several of their own Mom and Pop shops, in spite of Michael’s mother’s expressed wishes to the contrary… that of holding peaceful non-violent demonstrations. They insist on expressing their anger by destroying or looting their own local stores, leaving the store-owners with empty shelves and broken business lives, perhaps never to open up again. One woman even said that she believes they will not rebuild, and Ferguson will be a ghost town now. Yet will anyone bring up those vandals on charges or hold them accountable for those deliberate acts of hurting innocent shop-keepers? Have they honored Michael or his mother’s wishes in any way at all, or are they just personally profiting from this whole tragic mess! Although Michael’s parents were disappointed in the verdict, perhaps at some point they may yet be open to see the justice in the Grand Jury’s decision. One can only wonder if any of the protesters tonight will ever come to see that justice was done, according to the facts the jury had at hand.)
Several of those who spoke tonight spoke about needing changes to the law, and about not wanting Michael to have died in vain. They see Michael as some kind of symbol for justice in Ferguson. Does that mean they prefer justice that can be influenced? Justice does not need Michael’s death to make things better in Ferguson. Michael did not sacrifice his life for that “cause,” or for any cause; but even so, perhaps some good will yet come out of it.
No life is ever lived in vain, so I would suggest that no life goes out in vain either. If other young people can learn some obvious lessons from Michael’s tragedy, and not try to sugarcoat them into looking like what they are not, good can and will come out of this, not just for Ferguson, but for Anywhere, USA.
The lessons? First, stealing something even as small as a couple of cigarillos, is still stealing and is not right. If Michael had not done that, it would not have been an issue for calling the attention of the police officer to himself and his friend. So, DO NOT STEAL.
Second, since Michael already had that “I’m more important than you” attitude, as evidenced by the way he shoved someone at the store where he stole the cigarillos, it is easy to see that he could carry that smugness to the street and refuse to get out of the middle of the road when asked to do so by the police officer, instigating a confrontation
that did not need to be. So, YOU ARE NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN THOSE IN YOUR WAY; and, OBEY THE POLICE WHEN THEY ASK YOU TO MOVE. Then, when it became obvious to the officer that he was the cigarillo thief, and needed to be apprehended, instead of stopping and surrendering to the officer, and keeping the charge to the theft, Michael created another situation that led to the scenario that brought about the beginning of the shooting episode that led to his death. So, WHEN CAUGHT, SURRENDER. DON’T TRY TO ESCAPE OR FIGHT WITH THE POLICE. Therefore, stealing, arrogance, smugness and bravado, coupled with refusal to surrender to an officer upon request, led to Michael’s death, just as not believing he was too drunk to drive, wanting to keep up with his friends by downing as many drinks as they did, and demanding that the designated driver give him back the keys, coupled with his own smug ego of believing he was “fine,” were all contributing factors to the death of some intoxicated young man who thought he was too cool to die.
While we are being thankful for all the many blessings of our life, let’s not forget to remind those we love to always do the right thing, to obey the simple requests of the police, and to fight any battles AFTER they’re safely away from a situation where no one ends up a winner. Perhaps that way everyone in Ferguson and everywhere else will have more to be thankful for come next year. THANKSGIVING BLESSING TO ALL!