Changes needed to ensure justice
(My Clovis News Journal column for September 21, 2012)
"Justice" is the attempt to take an individual who has been harmed by an act of aggression or property loss and correct the damage; to return the victim to as close to the "pre-victimized condition" as is possible.
What, then, is "injustice"? It is often simply the lack of justice. This could be injustice through omission or a case of justice being impossible to provide. Or, it could be (and often is) the opposite of justice. Anti-justice.
This might be the attempt to harm an individual who has already been harmed by an attack or a theft. Laws that criminalize the failure to report a stolen gun being one example.
Injustice could be the attempt to punish an individual for an offense they didn't actually commit. This happens more than most people want to admit- just check out The Innocence Project to see how many innocent people have been railroaded into a conviction just because "someone needs to be punished" when a law is broken, and because prosecutors and judges want to be seen as "tough on crime".
Injustice could also be the attempt to punish an individual for doing something "illegal" that does not harm any individual nor anyone's private property; a "mala prohibitum" act. There is never any justice involved in prosecuting any victimless crime; doing so always creates a victim out of thin air.
If you advocate, pass, support, or enforce any "law" which attempts to criminalize and punish anything other than a physical attack on an innocent person, or the theft or destruction of private property, the result will always be injustice. If you permit a government court to handle any case where the government is an interested party, an egregious conflict of interest, the result will frequently be injustice.
To ensure justice, some things need to change fundamentally. All laws concerned with anything other than an attack on the innocent or the violation of private property need to be abolished and everyone imprisoned for these false offenses needs to be freed immediately. The incentive to punish someone, anyone, for every crime needs to take a back seat to finding the real perpetrator and making things right with his victim through restitution. Finally, courts need to be separated from the control of the government and there needs to be competition in providing this service.
If you value justice you will insist on these changes; if you only give lip service to justice while actually thirsting for punishment and retribution you'll be content with the status quo. Where do you stand?