True Justice

" I know the temptations to dehumanize and mistreat, even kill. My sergeant in Uganda knocked my arm away from a murderer's head who I was about to shoot after he and his gang had set fire to the village chief's compound and thrown the chief, his family and every living creature into the flames. I nearly became a murderer and then remembered that the cop's job is to apprehend a suspect. NEVER to judge, NEVER to punish. Everyone is innocent until proved guilty - human rights are what democracy and our civilization stand on. The USA today faces a massive human rights issue."

These words were written on my Facebook page, publicly, as a comment to the blog "Dick Cheney, War Criminal." I pondered them because after all, the cop who was about to shoot the murderous gang leader had no doubt as to his guilt, having witnessed the crimes against humanity firsthand. One might not find fault with an on-the-spot execution under such horrific conditions.

But then, would the punishment have fit the crime? Instant death to the criminal would be an easy solution; tidy, no need for jail cells or prisoner care. On the other hand, what better retribution than to lock the murderer up for life, give him a job within prison walls making clothes or weaving baskets for the homeless, and subject him to constant instruction in meditation, compassionate action, and a process whereby true remorse might germinate.

Bestowing upon an aggressor a conscience seems to be the best punishment of all, because then that person will have to suffer with the real repercussions of his heinous act.

This, I would call, "poetic justice."



 

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