Two Wrongs Still Don’t Make A Right

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I weep for my city. I weep for my country. I weep for our ancestors who worked so hard to overcome the obvious frailty that is all humanity.

I cry for those swept aside by events. My heart bleeds for the bystanders who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I grow sullen, knowing the damage done cannot be quickly repaired.

It’s a sad commentary on the state of our citizenry that a noble cause has devolved into a self-inflicted chaos. Surely, no one believes it’s fair to punish innocents. Yet, clearly, we enable those who feel justified in doing precisely that.

None of this should have ever been allowed to happen.

It’s one thing to assemble in protest against perceived injustice – for a respectable period of time – in hopes of bring attention to a just cause.

But when that just cause defines down to deviancy, then a line is crossed that cannot be uncrossed.

One cannot employ one form of debauchery to fight another. To do so is dishonest. And all those who look the other way, or worse, applaudingly permit it, the only question one can ask is “Why?”

Unless you believe two wrongs make a right, there is no moral justification for disturbing the peace of our city. No amount of rhetoric, no matter how eloquent, rationalizes the forcible rousing of honest patrons from their tables. And absolutely nothing validates the wanton vandalism witnessed by all across the social media sphere.

Woefully, all of this could have been prevented. Not by removing the stated cause, for that involves that same human frailty that has always existed and must always be overcome.

No, I’m referring to the second action.

It’s kind of like what happens in an athletic contest when one player commits an unsportsmanlike action against another. It’s commonly a subtle act that occurs during the heat of the play. It’s easy for the ref to overlook it or to decide it’s within the bounds of the game. It’s not that it’s legal, but it’s often difficult to make a quick judgment on whether it’s a foul. So, the ref lets it go.

But if the violated player strikes back in retaliation, that will nearly always draw a penalty.

Why is this so? This is because the second player almost certainly commits the act after the play is complete, making it more obviously a premeditated action. Thus, a penalty flag is thrown.

And the crowd either cheers or boos, depending on whoever their home team is. Such is the nature of sports.

Most important, the league invariably supports the referees, even when the referees make an all too human mistake. The league recognizes, despite the existence of these mistakes, the game will be played more fairly if everyone recognizes the referees represent an indisputable authority.

Players and coaches might disagree with that authority, and the league provides a formal venue to review such complaints. It’s simply inappropriate and unacceptable for that dispute to occur on the field of play. This is how the integrity of the game is maintained.

Is it fair that a penalty is thrown on the second player but not the first? Most assuredly, no. The first player should also be penalized.

Is it fair that a penalty is thrown on the second player at all? Most assuredly, yes. If the ref permits a flagrant violation of the rules, the game – the sport – will degenerate into bedlam. Such is the nature of riots.

Apparently, in our city, as in certain other cities across the country, the refs have left the arena. Just when they’re most needed.

The blame for this falls squarely on the municipal equivalent of the league – the elected officials most directly responsible for our city (and the other cities that exhibit this problem).

City mayors and state governors have been vested with the authority to maintain order. The fact that blameless bar patrons find themselves accosted by mobs of bullies exposes the failure of these elected officials to faithfully perform their assigned duty. (Apparently, you’re required to buy food if you want to drink a glass of beer, but you’re not required to buy food if you want to break a beer glass.)

That’s the most immediate failure. Fundamental, though, is the failure to provide a credible venue for disputes to be heard. Furthermore, there is a failure to instill a civic education which respects a fair process, acknowledges that, sometimes, the letter of the law lets a guilty party go free, and that the same process encourages you to then pursue legislative solutions.

It is this last failure which is most disconcerting, for this involves the Bill of Rights deeply embedded (or so it should be) within the psyche of American culture. The 6th Amendment contains a series of stipulations (e.g., “right to a speedy and public trial,” “an impartial jury,” “to be confronted with the witnesses,” and “have the assistance of counsel for his defense”) all of which are summarized by the phrase “innocent until proven guilty.” In addition, guilt must be “beyond the shadow of doubt.”

It is the nature of our chosen justice system that we prefer to allow guilty parties to go free so that no innocent party is falsely found guilty. Beyond that, we have the voting booth.

Not only have too many forgotten this very American ideal, but they have forced others, under the guise of a just cause, to ignore it.

I weep for my city. I weep for my country.


  1. John Menches says

    How true. Great analogy. But, Our elected Mayors and Governor’s are required by law to do all that is possible to keep law and order regardless of the cause. This situation does not give them a pass.

    So, what do we do?
    1) It starts with the Mayor. Mayor is to provide law and order immediately. If local law and order is insufficient to gain control then the mayor is to appeal to the Governor. Governor to assist immediately with State and if necessary with Federal assistance.
    2) if the Mayor wont act, then the governor is to take action. The local citizens by way of the council members fire the Mayor and place the Deputy Mayor in charge to do what the Mayor should have done. etc. The chaos has no right to destroy my personal property and or businesses.
    3) This last recourse is the most fearful of mine. Arm the citizens against the chaos. The chaos must be put down. This is not the time to negotiate. Those “citizens” creating the chaos can organize and take their case to the courts.
    4) I too am begging our local officials to take control. We are now at a point where real stoppable objects will soon be necessary. Our local leaders are failing us. They will be held accountable for their no action policies.

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