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justice

So far, there have been virtually no repercussions for acts over the past decade that devastated the economy and created the morass we now see in the Middle East. There is little appetite for revisiting the errors of omission and commission that were perpetrated by the government to both create and then exacerbate those crises. We seem to have settled on the idea that confronting our defects and admitting our mistakes will cause the whole house of cards to come tumbling down. One cannot help noticing that all these people who refuse to deal with the truth seem to have very little faith in the American system — and the American people. How nightmare prosecutors pervert American justice

If a private person uses force or threat of force to pull a vehicle over to the side of the road in order to steal the driver’s cash or car, it’s called highway robbery or carjacking. The person will go to prison, maybe for decades. But when the police do it, it’s called “asset forfeiture.” And it’s legal even when the person is never charged with any crime! Michelle Alexander

Martin Luther King reminds us of the danger of settling for cheap peace. King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” can be interpreted as a theological manifesto attacking calls for cheap peace. In this letter, King responds to his critics, who called his leadership against segregation laws in Birmingham “unwise and untimely.” His critics denounced his leadership of the demonstrations he led in Birmingham, arguing that such activities promoted unrest and violence instead of peace and healing. King responds to his critics by expressing his regret that they did not “express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about demonstrations.” He further states that a social analysis that focuses on effects without grappling with underlying causes is a superficial analysis. For King, the underlying cause for protests against racial injustice in America is always and already tied to inequitable and uncaring systems that subjugate Blacks to second-class citizenship. A responsible theology involves critical social analysis of the dehumanizing root causes of perceived an/or real social effects (any anger or rage that manifests among oppressed groups) in order to inaugurate justice in response to degrading causes and conditions. Cheap Peace

The police are quick to argue that their use of force is justified, but the real question is not whether something can be justified, but whether it is in fact good. For decades teachers beat children in schools. This was similarly justified, arguing that it was the only way to maintain order in the classroom. Now that the majority of states have passed laws against corporal punishment of children in school, teachers have found other much more effective ways of creating an atmosphere of respect and order without the use of violence. We seem to have learned that lesson with our kids, the lesson that what we once thought was violence “for your own good” was in fact damaging and counter-productive. We seem to have yet to learn that lesson with “good” violence when it comes to the police or guns. Ferguson and America’s Love Affair with Violence

I’ve seen a homeless man told that he is a “piece of sh*t” by an officer in uniform. I’ve seen 12-year-old girls taken into custody because they had dark skin and the wrong color t-shirt. We’ve had our house raided by mistake in a sting operation gone awry with officers throwing people to the ground and ripping one woman’s shirt nearly off. We are in the middle of a case right now where officers were responsible for breaking a young child’s leg. And in one of the most tragic instances, we saw a mentally-ill homeless man shot to death as he hid behind a metal chair. Those are the bad stories. And they are real. Having somewhat double vision now, I understand why 70% of white folks trust the police and about 70% of black folks don’t. We’ve seen different things out our windows. Give Us New Eyes

Today, it is just a guy in the news that a corrupt, pathetic police chief tried to slander by leaking a tape. Tomorrow it could be you for not moving fast enough when a siren screams. Or your child, because he or she protest something they see as unfair. As an American today I simply say: Enough! My rights are precious, and I value those provided to me through the United States Constitution so much. I will never take a day off policing the people we pay and keep a public trust with. I will use my camera, my pen, my pad and my network to do my part, to make sure that American will no longer fear their government. or it’s employees. They work for us — not the other way around. Killer Mike on the Problems Underlying the Chaos in Ferguson

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Police brutality is not the Bogeyman. It’s not an urban legend witnessed by none but told by many. It’s not a myth created by a primitive tribe that is too simple to understand the true source of the brokenness in its communities. Black people believe in police brutality for the same reason they believe in rain—because they’ve felt it … For those of us who have never experienced law enforcement corrupted by power, basic human decency should require that we try to understand and consider the perspective of those who have… Hans Fiene

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