The Collision of “Law & Order” and Criminal Justice Reform

There was another terrorist attack last night- just hours before midnight- this time in Istanbul, Turkey.  Some 39 people have been killed.  

The Rose Parade is coming up here in Southern California this morning and barricades have been put up along the parade path to protect people from truck stampede attacks, such as we’ve seen now in Germany and France.  These barricade safety measures are in addition to an ever greater police presence, and other new and additional precautionary steps aimed at making parade goers safer.

We live in a world of increasing terrorist threat, especially on a micro level, single man attacks (attacks against tens or scores of people vs thousands).  In answer to that threat our police departments and federal law enforcement agencies have been ramping up- militarizing you might say- getting tougher (and smarter(?)) to protect American citizens.  

I am confident that one of the most consequential cross-roads we face in 2017 will be the push for increased safety measures, “law and order” policies and procedures, armament and training of and for agents of the state, colliding with the growing awareness of the problems plaguing our criminal justice system with its myriad related challenges including wrongful convictions, mass incarceration, and draconian sentencing.

On the one hand we’ll have an ever-increasing growth in State/police power to combat terrorism, on the other hand we’ll have a growing passionate advocacy for the rights of citizens, especially marginalized citizens (against the State) as to their protection from wrongful convictions, trampled rights, and other wrongs at the hands of our judicial system.

It seems to me that America 2017 may very well prove to be the laboratory for the collision of these two interests, seemingly opposed- and sadly at odds with one another in the minds of too many- yet not truly, not actually adversarial.  

I believe that there can be common ground for a common cause: a safer America amidst a more fair, accurate, and human justice system.

This is what I will work for.

Keep doing justice, keep loving mercy, keep walking humbly with your God.

Happy New Year.

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