Land Without Justice

Every month, some corner of the United States becomes the scene of a brutal and bizarre murder: in Jasper, Texas, where rednecks dragged a man to death behind their truck; in Las Vegas, where a high-school student assaulted and killed a little girl as his friend and fellow student looked on without lifting a finger to help; in Littleton, Colorado, where two highschool students shot and killed a teacher and 12 classmates.

For all the hysteria over Kosovo, where 2,000 Serbs and Albanians had killed each other in the two years before the NATO assault, the real land without justice would seem to be the United States of America, where ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and a cynical contempt for human life are an everyday reality in cities like Miami and Los Angeles; and unlike Serbs and Albanians, who retain a rudimentary sense of right and wrong (if only at the level of the blood feud), Americans do not even share a common conception of justice.

In the wake of every publicized murder or massacre, the inevitable futile controversy breaks out: Is violence caused by poverty or a lack of counselors, as liberals believe, or by Marilyn Manson and video games, as conservatives like to pretend? Whatever the cause of the disease, each side has the cure—more social programs, according to the Democrats; more prisons, according to the Republicans—and in the end each side gets what it wants: more taxes spent both on Democratic...

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