The Meaning of Justice
Watchin’ the tely this last while with all them homicides occurrin’ or havin’ occurred in the past got me to suddenly take notice of recurrin’ statements of wantin’ justice to be done. It got me to thinkin’ about what justice actually is, so I looked it up in the dictionary. It says; ‘quality of being just; fairness; judicial proceedings;’ ad infinitum. Well that leaves us pretty well at the startin’ point. If that committee o’ buck passers can’t decide on the meanin’ o’ things, I guess we then gotta figure it out for ourselves.
The way I see it, justice is viewed as an instrument of the law an’ the courts. It’s got very little to do with the crime and/or the victim/s. Basically it’s a chess game of lawyers. The crime becomes the chess board around which the players manoeuver to deliver a verdict upon the perpetrator. Any participation by the perpetrator and/or his victims in it is purely for the purpose of manoeuverin’ the game. That’s as close as I can come to it. There ain’t no humanity attached to any of it.
Well what about the victims then? In the case of murder, the dead person or people don’t really count. They’re already dead so they don’t care. But they’re not the real victims. No, the real victims in the case of murder are the families and friends of the dead people, and incidentally the families of the perpetrator/s too. They’re the ones justice must serve. But does it? I mean, how do you un-kill somebody? Or how does one un-rape somebody? I can’t see how it’s possible for justice to be served with the outcome of any trial.
Oh sure, you have your victim impact statements they’re makin’ a big deal out of these days. These are necessary, and a step in the right direction, but they fall far short of what is needed. What we have to do is to turn again to our Indigenous community and their traditional Restorative Justice system. That involves the perpetrator, the victims (all of them), and the community at large. Of course it’s a lot of work and a lot of involvement, but it does work. If ever justice is to be served, this is the way it must be done, or at least that’s how it seems to me from up here on the top shelf.