Websters dictionary describes justice in this way:

1

a: the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments b: judge c: the administration of law; especially: the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity

2

a: the quality of being just, impartial, or fair b (1): the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2): conformity to this principle or ideal : righteousness c: the quality of conforming to law

3: conformity to truth, fact, or reason : correctness 

The best fit for my personal definition of justice is number three.  Conformity to truth, fact or reason seems like common sense to me.  Correctness a must.  But how often do we see TRUE justice?

This is a topic that is often on my mind, but more so ever since this past weekend.  On Saturday, my husband and I drove south to visit my daughter.  She was transferred a few months ago to this minimum security facility which is a little over three hours from home.  My husband and I enjoy our time together and road trips are no exception.  Sometimes we have great discussions.  Other times, we just enjoy the quiet and the nearness of each other.

On this particular drive down the mountain, I caught up on reading information related to the release of the West Memphis 3.  The more information I read, the more questions I had.  How did these boys end up in jail in the first place?  Why wasn’t there more investigation into family members?  And now years later, when they have proven that there is no DNA evidence to connect them to the crime, why do they have to take a guilty plea to be released?  I didn’t live in Arkansas when all this happened, but my husband did.  From his point of view, he said it was a “witch hunt.”  I don’t see justice here.  And what about those three little boys that were horribly murdered?  Where is their justice?  Someone, or maybe even more than one, who brutally assaulted and murdered three little boys, has walked around in society for almost twenty years.  Free as a bird.  Most likely has been around other children.  There is certainly no justice in that.

As we sit in the prison visiting area, we often talk about what people have done, how much time they have served, how much time they have left.  Everybody has a story.  Sometimes, I understand.  Most of the time, I don’t.  So many women locked up.  Most of them on some type of drug charge, many of them because they were involved with the wrong people, making the wrong choices from simply not knowing any better.   Is it really justice to lock these women up in prison right off the bat?  Many need rehab, many could serve time in local county jails closer to their families where they could see and maintain some type of contact with their children.  Yes, I believe some people truly belong in prison.  But I also believe it should be the punishment of last resort for many crimes.  Specifically, non-violent offenses.

I have watched the joy experienced as mothers are reunited with their children.  I have also watched the anguish as those children are torn from their mothers arms at the end of visitation.  I have heard the guttural sobs associated with this separation.  You cry too.  You can’t avoid hearing the heartbreak.  I don’t believe we are doing our future generations any service by not getting to the root the problem.  For them, this is not justice.  People are not disposable, yet perhaps it will seem that way to them.

Then, there are the people that walk around every day, never convicted of any crime, that have done and continue to do harm to humanity.  They are a curse to society.  Clever enough to not get caught, or lie their way out when they do.  Many times it comes down to who has the shadiest lawyer, who is the best liar.  None of that is justice.

So how do we go about getting things changed?  I don’t know all the answers, but I do know this, we can all do something.  However small, an act in the interest of truth goes a long way.  In our case, I don’t know why or how all of this hasn’t come out before now, but I know it will.  A friend commented the other day that all of this is so much a part of me.  Yes, it is.  How can it not be?  Look at all the wrongs that have happened (just that we KNOW about), all the damage that has been done to my personal property, the stress on my children and my stepchildren, the attacks on my marriage, the incredible financial hardship over the years.  You damn right it’s part of me.  And I intend to see that justice is done.

What kind of person would I be if I didn’t see this through to the end?  Isn’t it our duty as members of society to value the truth and bring it to the light?  Whether it be a hugely sensational case such as WM3 or simply a teacher having sex with students who continues to make a mockery of our family court system, none of it is right.  People need to get involved.  There needs to be justice.  You never know when it could be you who needs it.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”Martin Luther King Jr.
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