December 16, 2010

The Scales of Lady Justice

Antique brass scales

Growing up on Chicago's South East Side in the 80's was a story of resilience and of trying to climb out. The Steel Mills reign was on the way out. Prosperity was fading and we kids had to find a way to mix in with the gangs to survive. It was a time of respect, and often times we all played together. We occasionally fought, but we all made it out - some did end up in jail, but for the most part we were all alive. That was a different era. You fought the fight yet lived to see another day. Getting your behind kicked a few times in life teaches you to rise above and face the challenges. Unfortunately in today's world, folk run scared because they know these punks do not fight fair. They shoot you - for a challenge, for a statement, for sport and simply because they can. It is the worst of times, in my opinion.

I jumped into law enforcement because I truly desired to help my community, and others as well, who were off the beaten path. I was young and optimistic. Today that young lady is long gone.

We have become a society of often relentlessly vile and vicious people. History tells us that we are more humane, but when looking and talking to offenders all day, I am not so sure. Remorse only comes once a soul is caught, in many instances. Downtrodden believe they have an excuse to murder, maim or offend.

Truly we are all guilty because many of our neighborhoods and family are plagued with unlawfulness yet we turn and bend our ears, hiding our faces to shield the shame.

The prompt of this post was a conversation with a life-long felon who now, at 45 has a family and treasures the sanctity of peace. He sees the benefit of laws and maintaining a sense of order, but unfortunately kept silent while his neighbors ran wild. He and his son ending up with cases for battery and drugs. Instead of turning in the real offenders they decide to sue the city. Nice tax dollars spent while the culprits of injustice are left to perpetrate more mayhem. Often that is what we do. We let that friend drink and then drive. We turn away as a co-worker yells and verbally assaults his family, the undocumented run free to use services and offend yet we defend them and allow them to remain because we feel more sorry than their own governments do. Meanwhile our jurisdictions slip further and further into deficit, jobs and more services cut. In Chicago we pay $50 for a meter violation yet an aggravated drunk driving offender gets coddled and free assistance.

Do you have any idea how many people in your community are offenders? Do you have any sense of what services your tax dollars are providing? Do you have a voice with your elected officials? Do you realize just how many people are drinking and driving without licenses and no visas, passports, or ability to read traffic signs? How many rapists and pedophiles haunt schools?

The law-abiding are bracing to carry the weight of the world. Our pockets the holes for liars and cheats to dig in while piercing our heart-strings with sad tales about this and that.

The code of silence must stop. We must open our eyes, our hearts and address the ugly truth about our society before we can heal and make amends that will benefit the future. My intention is not to scare but to bring a reality to these arguments we are having. The real impact of crime and jurisdictional deficit is grossly neglected. We are so wrapped up in pundits and slinging crap at one another, we are missing the true value in liberty and the pursuit of justice.

It was once said "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." - 
Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Mark the challenges we meet today and embrace our ability to effectively change for tomorrow while protecting what we have all been fighting for.

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