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Social Media “Justice”

October 30th, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Do you guys remember the movies about the Roman Empire where the mob would occupy the stands of the Coliseum and scream for more and more bloody entertainment? Whether it was the lions or the gladiators, the blood-crazed spectators ate it up. Doesn’t it seem that our whole culture is becoming more and more like that? To be honest, it probably always was, but technology has propelled vigilanteism to monstrous proportions.  To be able to join in a media created outrage and give it our “thumbs up” on social media seems to offer some kind of catharsis; a sense that we are part of a greater whole, that our ideas about justice are valid, and that we can count on the world to be “fair.”

But mob justice is not fair. That’s why we have laws and courts. Our system of jurisprudence is not perfect. I remember once seeing a Richard Pryor skit where he talked about going to the courts to find justice. “And that’s what we find,” he quipped, “just us.” But as imperfect as our system may be, it is a far sight better than rule by the mob. It proves to be quite easy to whip the crowd into a frenzy. It happens continuously, and you have to wonder why anyone would be so interested in doing it. Who benefits? It’s not us. We have to choose to trust the courts or the mob.

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