What’s Preventing America from Letting Justice Flow Like a River?


Washington DC is the hub of political activity. It’s where the different branches of government come together. So when a Florida man flies his gyrocopter and lands on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol it sets off all kinds of alarms. But how could this happen in a town that’s supposedly blanketed with security?

The incident ended with no shots being fired and no one being killed. When you contrast that with the police-involved events in South Carolina and Oklahoma, you find two individuals who were taken-out. So what’s preventing America from letting justice flow like a river? Here are two possibilities:

  1. We let ‘race replace reason’ before understanding a situation
  2. We ‘spare the injustice’ and thus spoil the system

The Florida man took guts and smarts to pull-off his flight. The authorities were alerted to his plans months earlier and even the day of. He broke the law in so many ways and with a breakdown in security protocol he was able to see another day. The same should be true for others if applied without prejudice.

Many believe that racial profiling accounts for some of the tragedies that don’t end well. This might also be true when ‘racial undertoning’ is infused in everyday interactions unnecessarily. Where race is used to replace reason in a situation, it might be as a lazy form of policing or a lazy form of social understanding.

Some communities can relate to the concept of ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ when raising kids. It’s the idea of administering a measure of discipline (verbal, lost privilege or otherwise) as a form of correction or deterrence. People from different cultures might apply this concept in different ways.

The incidents in South Carolina and Oklahoma might be a test for whether we ‘spare the injustice’ and thus spoil the system. It’s about administering a measure of discipline (verbal, lost privilege, policy changes and/or otherwise) to account for wrongs committed. Some juries might see this in different ways.

It was wrong for the victims to run. Maybe when the South Carolina cop took chase it was the wrong thing to do. Plus, a reserve cop participating in drug stings is the wrong thing to do. Nevertheless, someone in authorities’ wrong on top of a citizen’s wrong doesn’t mean taking the person’s life is the right thing to do.

Race as a social demographic can have value in society just as player stats have value in sports. Sometimes it’s said that race is like the third rail in American culture. The question is whether it’s used as a power source to propel social understanding or as a lightening rod to damage cross-cultural relations.

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