Justice & Karma

I’m a couple days behind in my blog posting, and I’d always intended to combine these two topics as they go hand in hand fairly often.  (Though not as often as they should.)

By definition (from Dictionary.com)

jus·tice

  [juhs-tis] noun

  1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
  2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
  3. the moral principle determining just conduct.
  4. conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment.
  5. the administering of deserved punishment or reward.

kar·ma

[kahr-muh] noun

  1. Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman. Compare bhakti ( def 1 ) , jnana.
  2. Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’s deeds in the previous incarnation.
  3. fate; destiny. Synonyms: predestination, predetermination, lot, kismet.
  4. the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something: Lets get out of here. This place has bad karma.

In theory, folks should be good, moral beings.  In eastern cultures, it’s because of the belief in karma – a cosmic “what goes around comes around.”  In western cultures its because of Judaeo-Christian belief structures and law, knowing there will be a punishment — justice — meted out for wrongdoing.

Lately I’ve been altering the words to the famous “wheels on the bus” song to “The Karma bus wheels go thunk thunk thunk.”  Recently in my own life, people who’ve tried to make it more difficult for me, and people I know, have made some really stupid maneuvers that are going to come back and bite them in the ass.  

And whether you believe in the concept of karma (that good things happen to good people and bad to bad) or justice (that bad will get theirs) there are times when there’s simply not enough karma, or justice.  Three recent incidents in the news before today immediately come to mind:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-child-abuse-murder-20130414,0,6299638.story

The first, is just gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and mind-blowing to anyone with a soul, particularly parents.  When I was working in news, I covered three stories like this in a six month period.  Every time Department of Children & Families had been called out about possible abuse, and despite every warning sign that the mother’s boyfriend was abusing the child, they left the child in the home.  And all three were killed by the mother’s boyfriend, ranging from six months to three years.  

You get tired of seeing the worse of humanity — the “crime & slime” as it were.  I never wanted to be that jaded old reporter, drowning my feelings in cigarettes and booze.  I’ve known too many good old news folks who died that way.

There is nothing a justice system can do to this monster that will be a strong enough punishment for his actions against his innocent, helpless daughter.  

The second – the monster in Philadelphia on trial for murder who was “providing” women’s health services and abortions, without training or a license, in a filth-ridden clinic to women who could least afford his treatments.  Regardless of your opinion on abortion, this individual — I cannot call him a man or doctor — should be treated with eye-for-eye justice.  There’s not enough karmic reincarnations as a cockroach to make up for the atrocities he committed.  In my opinion (and I re-posted an amazing blog on the topic last week) this is exactly why access to women’s care should be, as many proponents say:  “legal, safe, and rare.”  The women who went to this monster were afraid to be hassled at Planned Parenthood and other providers.  Pennsylvania is one of the first states to try to limit abortion through TRAP laws.

The third has to deal a bit with “rape culture” as it’s becoming known in the blogosphere.  If you’ve paid a little attention of late – in addition to the Steubenville case, there have been two recent incidents — one in California and one in Canada — where the victims of gang sexual assaults at parties took their own lives after photos taken by the perpetrators during the assaults were circulated amongst their peers.  In Canada, the police investigated but despite confessions and photographic evidence, they did nothing against the perpetrators. Until it became a well publicized story.  In California, the victim’s family is pleading for the police to do the right thing, and they are indeed investigating.

I know the statistics, and while I have never been sexually assaulted, I know women who have been.  I know women who were assaulted at young and teen ages.  I’ve seen the damage.  I have three girls — my step-daughter from my first marriage who’s navigated into adulthood fairly well with her mother’s guidance, the princess (4) and punk (6 months).  

Girls are taught even at a young age that it’s their fault – that they can “prevent” being raped.  They’re taught in middle school and high school that their clothing distracts and provokes their male counterparts, that it’s their fault they attract attention.  (http://feministing.com/2013/04/10/this-is-how-you-teach-rape-culture-to-12-year-olds/)

No, sadly, if a rapist has intent, it doesn’t matter where the victim is or what she wore, the rapist is going to do it.  

What needs to be taught is that it’s not about just a sex act, it’s about control. And what this is, is teaching girls and young women that every man is a potential rapist.

That’s not the case.  I know not all men would rape given opportunity and the idea they wouldn’t be caught.

What needs to be taught to all men, even young men and boys, is the same thing, to a degree, the princess learned her first day in pre-k.  Keep your damned hands (and other parts) to yourself.  A lack of answer isn’t a yes. No answer, is a NO answer.

One may hope karma may take care of these men, but their victims (and all the unknown victims afraid to or unable to speak up) deserve justice.

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