Justice - A Dying Ideal
Justice in our country is becoming a dying ideal. Let us consider for a moment the current issues in regards to crime facing our nation. Our prisons are over crowded. The largest segment of prison populations are nonviolent drug offenders. In contrast, our streets are full of extremely violent gangs of youths. Many of these young criminals commit heinous acts upon strangers just because it is required by the gang they want into. While I do believe in trying to save the youth of America, and I am all for second chances for them, I seriously question a system that allows such acts to continue. Often a younger violent criminal will be convicted of numerous crimes and be released into society again and again because of his/her age. Sadder still is the fact that for large numbers of this group sentences landing them in juvenile halls are displayed proudly as some form of a sick badge.
Next let us briefly examine the idea of equity in justice. How many of us know of some rich person who has gotten out of jail time for a crime the rest of us would have been incarcerated for? I can think of several instances but allow me to detail just one…
A teenager, driving a brand new spanking corvette, at speeds of over 110 miles an hour, down a busy highway in broad daylight struck and killed a teenage pedestrian. Obviously this guy’s parents were loaded otherwise how would he be driving a vet right? Get this… The kid walked from all charges by the time it was over. Oh and by the way the kid had been drinking and was 17. His victim was also 17 but was stone cold sober. His parents unfortunately were not well off.
Now lets consider the case of an 18 year old boy in the deep south, Arkansas I think it was. He was caught in possession of drugs, i.e. marijuana and ended up with a sentence of over 25 years in prison. It was not a large amount of the drug and he was not selling it, only smoking it. Do you think he came from a wealthy family? I think not, not because he broke the law, that knows no seriocomic boundaries, but because his sentence was of such a great length.
If we look at both cases together something becomes glaringly obvious. Money and social status carry too much weight in our court system. The kid that gets off killed someone. The kid that goes to prison hurt only himself and his family, if anyone.
Now let us take a critical look at another more high power case. For example, how about the Enron mess? This guy gets convicted sure. But where does he land and for how long? A cushy Federal penitentiary complete with amenities better than some dive hotels. He, in effect, robbed the life savings of millions of Americans hurting countless families for decades to come but a kid in Arkansas gets a harsher penalty for smoking a joint. And people ask “what’s wrong with America?”
Justice is a hard working lass
but seldom does she really pass.
Oh sure, torts and contracts,
matters of money she extracts.
She fails miserably however, to deliver
when it comes to what makes us truly bitter,
acts that rob the very soul,
acts that leave one no longer whole.
No matter how hard she tries,
she can't bring back lives.
She can't return innocence lost.
No one can repay that cost.
Will she ever be able
to really balance the tables?
In the worst crimes committed,
criminals always seem acquitted.
So she tries anew every day
hoping somehow to repay
the hope and faith now placed
in her where an ideal is encased.
Each day when the court is adjourned
inside her heart is freshly burned
for she knows she is loosing ground.
The system spins crime round.
As each morn dawns she wakes on the brink
but at night is when she slowly shrinks.
At this rate soon she will cease to be…
ending up just an idyllic memory.
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