Lately, Americans have faced a shocking rise in violent crimes— mass shootings, sexual predation and other injustices that fall beneath humanity. The frequency and scale of these crimes raises questions about the role of justice.
It is infeasible to expect that justice, no matter how well it is established, will prevent all acts of injustice. A person with homicidal intentions could gain access to weapons and murder, even if that access is illegal and greatly deterred by justice. When houses of worship, schools, and other public spaces, once believed to be untouched, are now common targets, safety is not absolute. Yet, members in American society ought not to have elevated trepidation that is currently exhibited because of the lack of safety. This indicates a lack of justice, but what does justice mean?
Justice is used loosely to signify many concepts, including the criminal justice system (law enforcement, courts, and prisons). But the meaning of justice has always varied depending on one’s interpretation. For instance, justice could be completely different concepts to a Catholic and a fascist. But in general, justice is a concept that defines fairness and sometimes equality in society.
In other words, justice can be looked at as the framework through which the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are protected. In America, today’s interpretation of justice has clearly not sustained those rights in the context of violence and safety, so there is adequate reason to elevate the importance of justice through its enforcement until people believe those three fundamental rights are sufficiently protected.
Yes, the consolidation of justice will absolutely compromise some personal liberties inherent in the fundamental rights. The expansion of justice would face resistance from communities that are battling injustices perpetrated by elements of justice— namely the criminal justice system. But when justice becomes blind to identity in favor of impartial fairness, and when justice can improve the sense of safety in society, the consolidation of justice will prove to be more meaningful and beneficial than what justice is today.
Strengthening justice begins with more discussions about justice in the community. As people give more importance to justice, the government would respond by prioritizing the view of justice that best reflects society’s needs. Hopefully, this interpretation of justice will minimize the violence that is infringing on all lives.
If you would like to follow-up with the writer with any comments about this article, you may reach him by email at Omair_Ali@ben.edu