I did some shopping last night. Forgot one damn thing, so I have to go out again today after work. Stayed up late reading, which is a rarity these days. If you read one of the other blogs I do (The Written Word is a Lie) you know the book I'm reading is a bit of unpleasantness. It got me thinking (between coughing fits that have torn my back to shreds) about the nature of victims, justice and revenge.
There are people in this world (and I know some of them) who wear victim status like a crown. It absolves them of all responsibility. They think the world is out to get them, to drive them into the ground, and they make it so easy. They think their "victim" status should give them some kind of special foothold in the world. But there are victims and there are survivors, and its the survivors who deserve our respect. The sad thing about victims is that we are all victims of one thing or another, and we can all claim that title, but when you make a lifestyle out of it you don't even deserve pity. Survive and destroy. It's a better ending to your story.
Justice is a concept that fascinates me. As a society we have given up the notion of doling out justice ourselves and have left it in the hands of the government. Why we did this I have no idea. Laziness, perhaps. Lack of self-confidence. Fear of history being repeated (lynch mobs come to mind). We can be just people on our own without the help of the government. I see nothing wrong with taking the law into our own hands when the situation is warranted, and that leads to revenge.
Revenge is not a bad thing. In theory, it's something restricted to humans as far as I know. It puts things right. I sends a message, and let's be honest -- it feels good. If someone has done you wrong, you get them back. You can't rely on the courts and a jury of someone's "peers" (a joke if you've ever been to jury duty) to do the job for you. You need to sometimes step up and say, "So it goes." Victims of crime (different than lifestyle victims) need to sometimes take the law in their own hands to make sure they don't find themselves a victim again.
There are always problems with revenge and justice, and maybe that is why we have marketed them out to third parties, which, it needs to be noted, also make mistakes. I'd much rather be responsible for my mistakes, though. I don't want to wash my hands of what needs to be done (and can't ever see myself wearing the mantle of victim like I'm an Oscar winner). I want to wash the blood away, both literally and symbolically. I believe when someone does you wrong, you visit Hell onto them. Anything less just isn't civil.
People do bad things to others because they are either compelled (and no sense of right or wrong will stop that) or they think they can get away with it. Under our current justice system, they are more right than wrong. They do often get away with it. And they do it again. They put someone else in the role of victim. They act out again and again until they are caught, do their time and many decide to do it all over again.
How the hell is that justice?
And justice just doesn't go for street crime. All those Wall Street goons who have put our economy in the shitter need some real justice brought to their doorstep. All those people affected by the lost jobs and homes need to seek out revenge. That sends a message ... a chilling effect. Hell, our country has carpet bombed to do the exact same thing. Take a cue from the folks you help keep in place and wipe them out ... wipe them all out. It's fair. It's just. Those who have harmed you deserve likewise, unless it is against your beliefs. If that's the case, I respect that. If you'd rather leave it up to others to keep your hands clean, that's your choice, too, but there's no respect there. You're just setting yourself up for a fall.
People who do bad deserve the same. Far too often that doesn't happen. They go on to repeat their patterns and the world turns a blind eye. We need to stop that. We need to send the monsters back to Hell, and we shouldn't feel bad about it. Bad things happen when good people do nothing, and sometimes the bad comes from the very people we think are there to protect us. Family members, cops, investment bankers, politicians. The criminals don't always wear a ski mask and carry a gun. Sometimes they have a badge and uniform. Sometimes they are elected. But bad is bad, and garbage must be thrown out. Otherwise it just rots everything around it.
Gotta love books.