Newton’s Law tells us that every action has an equal but opposite reaction. Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson in the Broadway hit Hamilton tells us the same. Newton, Diggs, and Jefferson all seem like decent people to me, so I’m pretty sure they would be/are disgusted with current events. In American society recently, there have been a whole lot of actions that need opposite reactions of harsh consequences, but the consequences are missing. Our morality is missing. Our justice is missing.
Brock Turner, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile… These names have circulated news media for the past few days, weeks, and months. But it didn’t start with them. Bill Cosby, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown… It started here. When we denied liberty and justice for all, we set a precedent. A very bad, wrong precedent that has now seeped into society and law and has left us with bad tastes in our mouths. As well as too many dead.
Brock Turner brutally raped a woman on Stanford’s campus, yet only received 6 months of jail time because a tougher sentence would have been “too hard on him.” Please. His hard on for an unconscious woman has now caused her a lifetime of pain. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile–two black men who were brutally and unrightfully shot by two different white policemen within the past two days alone–have yet to experience justice, but whenever justice is hopefully served, they won’t be alive to see it.
The reason our legal system continues to not promote actual justice for victims and/or perpetrators like those listed above is because of the examples that have come before them to say it’s okay to act the way they act. When justice went missing for the victims of the Bill Cosby and Brock Turner rape allegations, it sent a message to future rapists that their actions won’t have an equal but opposite reaction. When the policemen who unrightfully shot Freddie Gray and Michael Brown were off the hook almost immediately, other policemen realized they could perform unlawful acts and also not experience the consequences. That’s why these crimes keep happening. The perpetrators know there won’t be an equal but opposite reaction, which is why the tolerance of these crimes must come to an end.
Some have tried to justify these shootings by saying that the black men had committed crimes right before. Others justified the rape cases from Brock Turner and even Bill Cosby by saying that the women had been drinking before.
If someone has been drinking, stealing, or driving without a headlight on, maybe that’s wrong. But that wrong is not made right when an officer pulls out a gun on someone who poses no threat to them and then takes their life. Someone’s drinking habits are not remedied when someone else tries to have sex with them when they’re unconscious.
Thus, the actions of the aforementioned perpetrators are wrong. They cannot be justified, regardless of the prior actions of the victims. When we fail to provide the proper consequences as the reaction to these crimes, we set the wrong precedent. These criminals think their actions are okay because frankly, our legal system has told them that they are.
This mentality is why we desperately need change. We desperately need action. And we desperately need to find the true meaning of every action having an equal but opposite reaction.
Only then will we truly have liberty and justice for all.