What is justice and who gets to define it?


The massacre in Las Vegas trumps all of the foolishness of the athletic and media celebrities related to professional sports. It is so very sad that a person would be motivated, for unknown reasons, to take so many lives. Perspective is so very difficult and the silliness of the professional sports players seems so much more inappropriate in light of the tragedy.

What constitutes social injustice and equity in law enforcement? Who defines each? What is the objective of the protests? How will they know if they are successful?

Equity in law enforcement and social justice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and I doubt the protestors could ever agree or be satisfied. I submit that they probably really don’t care. They just want to be a part of the spectacle. How does disrespecting the very nation that allows them the freedom to act like jerks advance their cause?

I am disgusted. I am offended. But wait! Am I allowed to be offended? I’m just a grumpy old Air Force veteran who loves his country. And, let the record show: I’ve yet to organize a riot to protest and demonstrate my disgust. I’ve not looted any neighborhood stores nor have I asked a community organizer to address this issue.

Some of the liberal media have said the action of the protestors shows great courage. Kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem is never courageous. Courage is seeking out a shooter, hidden, firing, and killing people. Courage is facing some dark figure, strangely attired, in a dimly lit environment who is behaving in a menacing way and coming toward you with something in their hand. How can anyone tell if it’s a cell phone, a Twinkie, or a weapon? How much time does an officer have to make a decision to react? Milliseconds!

Is profiling an issue? Of course it is. Were any of us ever profiled by our parents? Of course we were. They knew when we’d misbehaved.

Yes, there is profiling. We all do it. We judge. We are biased. It is a way we evaluate individuals and cultures we do not know or understand. That said, the way people present themselves says much about who they are. Opulent tattoos, unusual hair styles, a hoodie, and the waist of one’s pants below their posterior says much about individuals. We each draw our conclusions based on our experiences and observations of the actions of individuals so attired.

We are insecure because of the history of behavior of individuals who present themselves in such a manner. We see looting and burning and destruction after perceived “unfair” events. Social injustice? And, too often, the media rushes to blame the police regardless of truth.

If the protestors really want to help, they might look in the mirror. They are role models whether they like it or not. Being productive role models is up to them. They’re paid megabucks to play a game and that apparently makes some of them think they know what is best for society. Many of them are kids, both intellectually and chronologically. We can only hope actual living experience will give them perspective.

Our friends at www.globalprn.com tell us that more than 1.6 billion people, roughly 23 percent of the world’s population, have no say in how they are governed. They face severe consequences if they try to exercise basic rights such expressing their views, assembling peacefully, or organizing independently of the state. I think kneeling and fist raising protests might fit into these categories.

In these countries, state control over public life is pervasive and individuals have little, if any, recourse for crimes the state commits against them. Citizens who dare to assert their rights in these repressive countries typically suffer harassment and imprisonment and often are subjected to physical or psychological abuse. In some of the countries, they just kill you and your family for transgressions.

Again, I do not deny there are many injustices in the USA. But, if the protestors really want to create change, there are far more productive ways. Be positive role models.

I have not watched any professional sports since this disrespect started. Probably no one cares. But, if enough of us stop watching professional sports and stop buying products of companies that sponsor them, it might matter. Economics often trumps principle.

I guess in the final analysis, it isn’t really the misguided players who should be blamed, but the owners (employers) and the commissioners. This could have been stopped at the outset, but it was not. Now it has become the thing to do.

I hope everyone understands that this missive is about behavior, not about race or ethnicity.

In the final analysis, playing a game that really doesn’t matter and is only for entertainment doesn’t do anything important for humanity. Freedom matters! And, because of that, I am still willing to fight to the death for the right of the ungrateful to kneel or raise a fist.

Richard B. (Ben) Backus, Ed.D.
Peachtree City, Ga.