Vail Daily letter: A better form of justice? | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: A better form of justice?

In Ferguson, a white police officer shoots and kills a white teenager, and as a result of that event would there ensue looting and arson of the private property of others in the neighborhood? Would Holder’s Department of Justice and the FBI appear on the scene to investigate police excesses? Would the governor elicit the aid of the National Guard to keep the peace? Does “justice” warrant arson and theft as retribution for an alleged murder in this instance? Do you think that the media would even give a passing thought about this episode and the resultant grand jury proceeding?

By changing the predicate from a “white teenager” to a “black teenager” in the above scenario, is it more plausible that looting and arson would be justified by the mob in return for its predetermined “murder” by the officer? Would there be a different forum or venue other than a grand jury to determine and mete out “justice” (whatever you define the term to be)? Now that the rioting and pillaging mob of Ferguson has gained our attention in the matter, and have determined that the grand jury process is not the correct venue (because of its verdict), the question becomes what exactly is the judicial process that the mob prefers? Should we have simply turned over the officer to the mob to administer its better form of justice?

Surely, there must be a better process than a grand jury to find justice and preclude the resultant arson, looting and mayhem. Civilized society has identified and chosen its forum (grand jury) to remedy the alleged injustice of it all, but we have yet to hear from the mob regarding its method of administering justice. If the mob would burn and pillage with no factual basis or consensus about guilt or innocence, would it treat the officer to anything more than a “hanging tree”? Where the grand jury, with all of the facts considered and human fallibility, has determined that there is no good and probable cause to retaliate against the officer for his actions, would the prejudgment of the mob render a more just outcome?

The mob or the grand jury — “to each his own”; in fact, Edmund Burke went on to say, “Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself; and he has a right to all which society … can do in his favor.” If the mob can administer “justice” without trespassing on the property and lives of others, then let’s hear from it. Let’s hear from the Department of Justice or politicos in Washington regarding a better procedure than a grand jury. Failing any word from that quarter, society’s grand jury declaration is so much better than a “hanging tree” in the hands of a mob.

Fredric Butler