Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Social Justice Issue Overload

Ya know, to write about all the tragic and outrageous events that continue to occur by the minute it seems, is a full time job.

On January 21st, I meant to write about the injustice of Jon Burge’s sentencing, how it was nothing in comparison to the 50+ years (collectively) of the men he and his “brothers” tortured into confessions. I wanted to write about how his cell for the next four years would be nothing like losing years in solitary confinement on death row. However, it was a tiny victory was, and Alice Kim in Dancing the Dialectic explains that far better than I.

Less than a week later, injustice boiled over when Chicago’s “police pension board narrowly ruled that the former commander's conviction – for lying about the torture of dozens of men – was not related to his job as a police officer.” Chicago taxpayers will continue to pay Burge $3000 monthly for the rest of his life for being an unapologetic torturer. Additionally, we pay his legal fees (and he certainly didn’t have a public defender), and his medical expenses. While Chicago residents are hungry and unemployed without sufficient health care coverage, we pay for a violent criminal to live a comfortable life. I wanted to write about how many Americans complain about the cost of prisons, and the “soft” life of inmates. Obviously, they have no real knowledge of prison life; however, even the most ignorant can’t possibly believe that inmates are receiving the “Burge” treatment. Where is their outrage here?

I wanted to write about how this blindness relates to the same indignation over abuse of animals while every 9 seconds a woman is abused by her husband. A commenter on the article about Michael Vick wanting a dog stated that he should never have another dog as long as he lives. Maybe, if we held that same standard for abusers of women, the statistics would decline. If a man knew that he could never have another female companion as long as he lived, he MIGHT think twice. Maybe.

I wanted to write about all of this then, comes the story of the Tampa, FL mother who killed her two children because they were “mouthy”. This is a yet another heartbreaking situation. No one wants to hear about children being hurt. However, like the Virginia Tech shooter, the Arizona shooter, and so many others, there were warning signs, and no one wanted to get involved. Our society refuses to admit that our neighbors’ issues are our own until the neighbors’ issues slap them in the face, and then—HANG THEM.

This morning came another story of bullying. In PA, six boys chased and repeatedly beat, then hung a fellow student on an iron-spiked fence, all video-taped by one of the bully’s. Heartbreaking, especially since this happened on a public street in an urban area. No one heard this boys’ screams and cries for help? Come on!

So many tragedies, and so many injustices—it’s overwhelming to gather thoughts sensibly and convey them concisely. That’s why you have it all jumbled together—it’s how my mind and emotions are every day.