Tuesday, August 12, 2014
There is rioting and
looting going on mostly north of my neck of the woods, although the
barbarism has also engulfed an upscale shopping mall. The major
local paper refers to this ongoing travesty as being "in response to" the fatal shooting of a
young man by a police officer. I beg to differ with this wording, for it, as an
editorial in the same paper might put it, is inexcusable.
This brutality is only tenuously related to what happened Saturday. Perhaps "excused by" would have been a better turn of phrase. Stealing and vandalism -- victimizing people who had nothing to do with this sad event -- are neither called for nor justified. Indeed they are continuing despite the fact that: (1) the full circumstances of the shooting have yet to be determined; (2) the young man's family has asked for it to end (as have locals); and (3) the man who was shot was an aspiring businessman. Whatever the level of grief or sense of injustice one might feel for the loss of another, I am sure it would not motivate someone to harm someone very much like the departed.
There are numerous calls for "justice" in the wake of this shooting, but neither presuming the policeman was wrong nor stooping to brutality should be confused with a call for actual justice. There are many things wrong with our society, but perhaps the worst is the corruption of the concept of justice, whether well-meaning or deliberate, that has occurred over the last few decades. If we are to have a functioning society at all, we will quickly get up to speed on this virtue and begin practicing it at all times.
Now is not the time to mince words about the rioting. Whatever the circumstances of Michael Brown's death, the lawless actions that have followed are completely inexcusable.