Are we witnessing the end of justice and equality before the law in America?
On April 15, the Department of Justice announced that the still-unnamed police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during the protests at our Capitol in early January would not be charged with her death. We still have no real explanation as to why the 5’2”, 110-pound Babbitt, surrounded by police, was killed.
On April 14, Samuel Montoya, an Infowars staffer who caught Babbitt’s shooting on film, had his front door smashed in by federal agents who arrested him and threw him in jail for being inside the Capitol that day.
A month after the Jan. 6 protests at the Capitol, Felicia Konold, pregnant and the mother of a 10-year-old boy, was asleep in her bed when armed FBI agents raided her trailer, took her away from her son, and interrogated her for a week. She is now on house arrest, forbidden the use of social media, and is facing the possibility of a 30-year prison sentence.
Her crime? While on vacation, Konold visited Washington D.C. and attended the Trump rally on Jan. 6. She casually entered the Capitol building under the impression that guards were allowing people inside. She left when asked to do so.
Unlike Konold, who is at least now back home with her son, some of the protestors arrested that day continue to languish in D.C. jails. One of these prisoners, Ryan Samsel, was apparently beaten so severely by these guards that he lost partial vision in one eye. His attorney, Stephan Metcalf, reports, “Other inmates said his face looked like a tomato that had been stomped on.”
In Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, where a white police officer, Kim Potter, shot a black man resisting arrest, the city’s mayor, Mike Elliott, demanded she be immediately fired. When City Manager Curt Boganey insisted the officer be given due process, the city council fired him and put the mayor in charge of the police department.
Meanwhile, rioters protesting the shooting in Brooklyn Center pillaged stores and lit fires with what seems to be little reaction from the police or the authorities. At the same time, in Portland, Oregon, 200 rioters attacked a police station and the police themselves, lighting fires, throwing rocks, and using slingshots to shoot ball bearings at officers.
Number of arrests made that night in Portland? Zero.
In Minneapolis, Officer Derek Chauvin is being tried for the death of George Floyd. Will Chauvin receive a fair trial, or will the jury find him guilty as charged, fearful not just of more riots, but for their lives and the lives of their family members as well?
And whatever happened to all the alleged political corruption on the federal level? One wonders if Hunter Biden, for example, was guilty of crimes in the Ukraine and China, or if the FBI is indeed investigating his laptop. Furthermore, was Joe Biden complicit in his son’s alleged chicanery?
In economics, the “trickle-down theory” holds that reducing taxes on businesses and corporations will allow money to flow from these entities into society at large. Does the same hold true for our legal system? Will the corruption we see at the federal level trickle down to the lower courts?
We used to take pride in our judicial system with its courts, lawyers, and trials. Many of us believed in the system, even when that system reflected the failings of flawed human beings and prejudices. “All persons are equal before the law” was never a complete reality, but it was the ideal, as was the belief of the accused being innocent until proven guilty.
There was a time, too, when many of our courthouses featured a statue of Lady Justice, a blindfolded woman holding scales in one hand and a sword in the other. The blindfold represented justice delivered impartially, without regard to class, status, power, or money. The scales depicted the weighing of the strength of each case’s support and opposition. The sword conveyed the idea that justice can be delivered decisively and with the authority of the law.
In many cases today, some people have stripped Lady Justice of her blindfold, removing fairness and replacing it with bias. Some have a hand on those scales, tipping them without regard to fair play. The sword remains, but more and more it has become a symbol of authoritarianism.
If we continue down this road, then we will do what protestors and rioters have done to other statues in the last three years. We will topple Lady Justice and send her smashing to the pavement.
Whatever will take her place on that pedestal should terrify us all.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.