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FILE – In this Nov. 25, 2014, file photo, people watch as stores burn in Ferguson, Mo., after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old who was unarmed. A federal judge has chosen a monitor team to oversee reforms of Ferguson’s policing and court system. U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry announced Monday, July 25, 2016, that Squire Patton Boggs, a law firm based in Cleveland, was picked to make sure reforms are adequate in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

What is justice?

In the proper sense, justice is causing a perpetrator who has broken the law to repay society for his crimes. In the case of the death of George Floyd, justice would be bringing the police officers responsible for his unjustified death into a courtroom and recognizing that kneeling on someone’s neck for nine minutes was abusing the authority given to them. Justice would be what the court decides, and while I personally believe it should go beyond firing someone, that’s not my call to make. My only hope is that the punishment fits the crime and injustice is met with real justice.

What isn’t justice?

Justice isn’t burning down businesses and depriving people of their livelihoods, especially if they had absolutely nothing to do with the injustice that happened, like the kind that happened to Floyd. This seems to have become a time-honored tradition in America, where injustice occurs (whether actual or perceived) and the reaction is to lash out at innocent people. No one stops to think about it, but because some poor person’s shop got destroyed (or let’s even say a corporate building was destroyed) the employees there will go without work for a little while and putting food on the table for their families will become far more difficult.

I can remember during the Ferguson riots, Juanita Morris had her business gutted by fire and was only able to come back thanks to a generous donation from a local fraternity. Morris was a black woman who had done nothing wrong, and yet rioters burned down her boutique despite even being in agreement with many of the protesters.

Where was the justice there?

It’s hard to understand how a looter can look at a family that has lost a source of income and tell them that it’s justified because someone completely unconnected to them did wrong to someone else. I don’t know how they could look a child in the face and tell them that they might have to go hungry for a bit because their single mother’s business had to burn down despite having nothing to do with the wrongdoing at hand.

If you’re answering injustice with injustice, then you’re no better than the people you stand against regardless of what they did. If your solution is to target innocent people in your anger against someone else, then you’re in the wrong. Period.

Yet they scream chants and post hashtags about justice for “insert name here” like they’re righting a wrong by carrying off a television from a burning business. That person didn’t die so you can have a new 52″ flat screen. Stealing something valuable from someone else doesn’t fix the problem. In fact, it only makes it worse.

Again, don’t confuse justice with injustice.

Brandon Morse
Senior Editor. Culture critic, and video creator. Good at bad photoshops.
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