What is Justice? What is a Just punishment for Bin Laden and Gaddafi?

Lady Justice depicts justice as equipped with three symbols: a sword symbolizing the court’s coercive power; a human scale weighing competing claims in each hand; and a blindfold indicating impartiality.

A few different discussions this past week have caused me to wonder about how people define Justice, and how those definitions may differ.

Wikipedia entry: Justice is the concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, fairness, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics.

Dictionary.com: noun

1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
3. the moral principle determining just conduct.

My major concern this week has been the discussion around Bin Laden’s death as justice for his actions.  I have a few conflicts with this concept.

  • His death cannot be considered fair or equal with the quantity of deaths he is responsible for.
  • I question if killing a person without a fair trial can be considered just.  There are many factors that prevent a fair trial in this situation, but this does not absolve the question of a just resolution.
  • Personally, I do not believe that capitol punishment to be a justified punishment.

There are many factors involved with Bin Laden’s death, the most important being his ability to plan further attacks around the world.  The sad part of this story, his death will not improve the current attempt to reduce terrorism.  I appreciate the discussion in this post 7 questions after Bin Laden’s death.

The scary part of the story, as I grow older I learn more stories of actions performed at the request and or approval of US government, I question how we can distinguish ourselves from terrorists and other enemies.

These examples are just what I have heard about recently, I have not performed any research to identify the scope and breadth of such actions.  How can we accuse Muammar Gaddafi of war crimes or speak out against him and other “terrorists”?  Should we first correct our own actions that do not meet our standard of Just and Right?

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6 comments on “What is Justice? What is a Just punishment for Bin Laden and Gaddafi?

  1. So I am from Berlin, Germany, and several individuals here are really embarrassed that Germany is not really fighting in addition to NATO in Libya. We didn’t comprehend the mind-set of our govt. When talking about the armed forces, Germany is simply preposterous.

  2. Hello! I am interested in using the image on this post of Lady Justice in a tshirt design, which is for a school fundraiser of selling tshirts. Are you the original owner of this graphic/image? If so, I would like to ask for your permission to use the graphic. If not, do you know any contact information for the owner of the graphic? Thank you!

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