Just what is Justice?
When a person commits a crime, many people call for him to be "brought to justice." But what does this mean? To many people, it means punishment. For instance, if a person commits murder, some would say she should be brought to justice by having to serve a long prison sentence or even face the death penalty. Others might say that it would be just if she wasn't punished very hard because she did a good deed by killing someone who was a terrible person. What is justice and how can we as a society be unselfish to our own desires in efforts to build a fair world? Is it possible to have a just and fair society?
Probably the best definition of justice is "fair treatment of people." It is primarily used in law, but it can also be applied to situations such as in the workplace or in a school. True justice means that everyone is treated fairly under the law. But what is fair? Fair is treating people without bias to non-related factors such as skin color, age, gender, sexual preference, or other factors that usually don't make a difference. If the judge's nephew receives a suspended sentence for armed robbery when another offender unrelated to the judge goes to jail for the same crime, or the brother of the Director of Public Works gets the million dollar contract to install sprinklers on the municipal golf course despite lower bids from other contractors, we say that it's unfair. It is also not just for a person to be punished unfairly because of his or her skin. Justice is the most important part of a system of government. It is what keeps the rights of the people from being ignored by people in power with motives. It can assure that people's trivial belongings are not stolen; it can assure that people can live freely, or it can assure universal human rights. It can also be used as a pretense when those in power ignore any of these rights.
In practice, however, the court system is often corrupt. Irvin Landrum, an 18 year old African American, died...