Children and Justice

There is so much anger today.  People are up in arms that justice has not been done.  A two-year old is dead and there is no answer to how or why.

It alarms me how much vitriol has poured forth in the wake of this acquittal.  What saddens me is the hatred.  I do not know if she killed her daughter, and neither does anyone else – at least not without significant doubt.  She is obviously not a model mother, and maybe she is not even a good person.  But the prosecution offered no motive and, more importantly, could not establish how that poor little girl died.  So, sadly, we will never really know.  My heart goes out to those that loved that little girl, as I can only imagine the heartache that the loss of her must cause.

But there is something more important happening.  What is happening is that while many sat transfixed by the daily drama of this trial, and invested their emotions in an issue in which they had no personal stake, millions of children all around the world suffered and died, and almost nobody noticed.  Most of them died for reasons that are very clear and irrefutable – hunger, disease, neglect, and war.  Most of them died under preventable or treatable circumstances.  Many of those children died within the borders of the richest country on earth.

It is SO easy and convenient to judge others, but how do we explain the poverty and neglect that continues because of our own inaction?  We appear to lack the moral will and motivation to improve the lot of the poor and needy.  That is a job for other people.  But, we ARE other people.  We have a duty to help one another, but we do not pursue it with the same sense of purpose that we so willingly vilify others.

I point this finger directly at myself.  What have I done?  The answer is, embarrassingly, very little.  I support causes important to me through my words and my votes and the occasional donation, but what have I done to help people around me who need it?  Have I volunteered to help feed the hungry?  Have I volunteered to help clothe others, or offered anyone a little help to get on their feet?  What have I done?

These words all will ring hollow unless I do something.  Will I?

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2 thoughts on “Children and Justice

  1. You are the first person who has understood the case. What you said is what I have been saying to people who are angry about not guilty verdict – the prosecution did not build a strong enough case for the jury to render a quilty plea.

    And you are correct about all the cases regarding children who are living silently in poverty and neglect or have died unknowningly at the hands of neglect/abuse. While we financially support the construction/maintenance of wonderful bike paths and bike lanes, the children are forgotten. Where are their “paths” to a better future?

  2. I really, really appreciate this post. I am often asked for my opinion about cases like this, and my answer is almost always that there is so much that we don’t know, and can’t know, about what goes on during a case. If we believe in this system, then we have to trust that the people who were there, doing their jobs: the judge, the jurors, the attorneys on both sides, putting the evidence to the standards of proof. If we are led to action by this trial, I hope that it is to work for the protection of children, for the intervention before abuse is permitted to occur, for safe havens and hospitals and other places where children can go when removed from harmful environments–rather than spending so much energy wringing our hands and saying, “she did it! I know it!” That solves nothing, serves no one, and draws attention only to anger. Isn’t anger part of what started this, in the first place?

    Enough ranting; I really just wanted to say that your post was well-reasoned and eloquent, and that I was glad to read it.

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