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Justice in my Front Yard

March 3, 2011


Posted on February 23, 2010

Yesterday the kids and I had an opportunity to discuss ‘rule of law’ and experience first hand how the police in our country serve us.

1) Sophie and I met some friends at the beach for our last sunny day and when we all returned to our cars, my friend’s passenger window had been shattered and her purse stolen! I think we all felt a sense of violation, even Ella as I recounted the story hours later. She and Aidan wanted to know all the details and if the police came, caught the thief, and reclaimed my friend’s possessions. Their sense of justice is innate.

2) Of course, that retelling was intensified by the drama unfolding in front of our house as Ella and Aidan walked home from school. A police car had pulled up across the street and a detective’s car next door. The two officers had walked a few houses down to our suspicious neighbor’s duplex and then returned with a handcuffed man! I have had my opinions about what is going on in that house, and discussed the consequences with the kids. They were fascinated (and comforted) by the arrest!

3) Ironically, Aidan had already met the uniformed officer at school that morning. A classmate broke his leg during recess and the fire department, ambulance, and police all descended. Aidan had shook the officer’s hand and been left with a benevolent and trusting impression of the law.

As I’ve continued to think about yesterday’s events I am struck by how we take for granted the ‘rule of law.’ Our society functions because we can trust the justice system. Corruption is rare, and if exposed, punished. The police are trustworthy and the first people we advise our children to seek if they are in trouble.

These basic realities are just not true in so many places in the developing world! Corruption is rampant. The police are not to be trusted. And wrong doing is often rewarded.

I’m looking forward to continuing our discussion today when the kids come home. Another blessing I don’t want them to miss!

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