In every society there is some form of justice, some more equal than others. In America we like to believe we have the most impartial justice system in the world and that justice shall prevail. There is some measure of punishment within every system, and some measure of compassion within ours.
The criminality and our perception of the criminal are not always as equal as our dream of justice. One need only remember back to the announced verdict for O. J. Simpson to see glee and disdain at the results of justice.
To be sure, there are no perfect members of society among us and transgressions of societal standards are abhorred by decent members of society. It is justified to feel that horror but it is wrong to celebrate in the failure of humanity.
Society will never be strengthened with a glow of pride or announcement, over the moral failure of a weaker neighbor. To be sure their moral failures are not to be glorified or justified, it is proper that we be mortified.
The shadow of public shame for moral failure falls from a perpetrator upon the innocent, the friends, family, and at times the victim. The humiliation of association is increased when there is an atmosphere of public scorn and wagging tongues of gleeful gossip.
There is weakness in humanity and weakness in society, however we are a stronger community when we recognize the failures and trust that justice will prevail without a tongue flogging in the public square. We no longer have the public stocks and dunking seats of old New England punishment and we need not bring them back in modern form.
Our justice system has ample time and space to handle our transgressors. The guilty will be dealt their hand of fate within our system. We can only weaken the strength of ourselves and our community with scandalmonger about neighbors.
There is some measure of weakness in all of humanity, we must recognize and deal with it. As a civilized society we have chosen a judicial system away from the court of public opinion. We must abide by and trust in our system to protect us and to provide some justice in times of transgression. It is not for us to judge our neighbors lest that we be judged.
Human failure is found in every community, how the community responds to it says more about the community than the moral failure of our neighbor. One or two criminals can be an anomaly to a community or a reflection of a community, but it is the reaction of the community to their criminality that will decide the issue.
I say we are stronger when we take individual responsibility for our own emotions and own rejections of a moral breakdown without fostering an atmosphere of a public hearing outside a courtroom. At a time when your neighbor fails step back and let the hand of equal justice prevail.