Justice is blind. That’s one of the first things that I ever learned about how the legal system was supposed to work. Law protects everyone equally, judges are impartial, and facts are the only things that matter to the case. The ideal system that I’m sure every first-year law student (not that I’ve gone to law school – yet) hears and believes. I know I have for a long time, though the belief was starting to crumble a little bit. Still, I thought that the exceptions were just that – exceptions – and that the majority of the justice system was functioning as it should. I had a lot of faith in lawyers and judges to “make it right” when people were harmed.
I don’t know that I feel that way anymore.
I know that most people have heard of groups like Black Lives Matter. I know I did. I looked into them for a while at first, and honestly, I thought they were just a group of thugs who were using “protest” as a reason to be violent. I don’t know that that opinion has changed, but I learned that there’s a core underneath all of their violence that actually exists in reality. Someone whom I respect quite a lot illustrated that point to me tonight. It started as a conversation about some dumb shit Trump said, and opinions about standing for the flag. I took my usual, “I dislike it and think it’s a slap in the face,” stance. Then he said something that hit me like a sack of bricks.
“I don’t trust the justice system to do the right thing.”
At first I wanted to either laugh or think it was a joke, but he wouldn’t joke about statements like that. And if he feels that way, there has to be more people who do. Which makes me ask the question, “Is racial inequality in the justice system a real, and not just a straw man argument made up as an excuse to be violent?” And the more I think about it, the more I can see why the answer might be “yes.” When you take away the violence, and talk to someone who states it plainly, without condescension or sugar-coating… and they feel the same way? Maybe there is something more to it. Maybe these protestors have a point – not to condone the violence, but still – and should be listened to and worked with so that nobody feels the need to be violent anymore.
Maybe justice isn’t blind. But I don’t think we should give up on it just yet.