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RESTORATIVE JUSTICE? July 25, 2011

Posted by wmmbb in Peace.
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In regard to the mass murder in Norway, it can be anticipated that the US gun laws advocates will be saying, if they have not already, that the perpetrator could not got away with to that extent had people been armed.

It seems to have taken time for the armed police to arrive. Then the perpetrator had discharged all his ammunition. But if the US is to be the exemplar in regard to the availability of firearms, things do not always work out in a way they would support the contention.

Still Norway is a civilized country and I believe they do not have the death penalty. The question then arises as to whether punitive, or retributive, justice will work as a deterrent, or whether a form of restorative justice in which the person has to confront the consequences of his actions for the people involved, might be a better alternative.

Regardless of “the nobility of the cause”, for individuals, including those who commit them, terrible actions are difficult to live with. Violence against others means not only that we have dehumanized them, but we lose our humanity in the act regardless of the justifications.

CODA:

I cannot help but observe the contradiction between claiming on one hand the rights of “the indigenous people of Europe”, and on the other supporting the Israeli occupation in Palestine. Max Blumenthal provides some of the context.

Some Christians, and especially those who promote the virtues of western civilization, are decidedly unchristian. I do not know much about theology but do not Christian principles include “do unto others, as you would have others do unto you”, and the most radical utterance of all time, “love your enemies”.

My thoughts are with the Norwegian people, especially those who have suffered directly, and I hope and trust they can come through it with their human dignity, their humanity,  and especially their democracy enhanced.

I am not sure whether it is possible to offer a dispassionate analysis of this event, except to observe the obvious glorification of violence, that lead up to it. Violence and Christianity, I suggest is a contradiction in terms.

The problem then is to understand violence in all its forms. Violence – as does nonviolence – connects feeling, thought, word and deed. Rene Girard’s theory of scapegoating may provide insights. (I do not understand this theory.)

ELSEWHERE:

I understand that the US media have decided this is not a story, since it was not the story they first thought it to be.

Glenn Greenwald observes that similar numbers of people are killed by every drone missile attack. We are all human beings – with equal human rights – regardless of our circumstances, and justice requires protecting the rights of others.

Jason Raimondo addresses the questions of the influence of the American connections, although it seems that Breivik drew widely including the statements and positions of the Australian Liberal Government led by John Howard. And other Australians were reportedly mentioned in Breivik’s writing, including Cardinal Pell.

At the Metta Center, Michael Nagler and Stephanie Van Hook note that acting alone does not mean that he acted in a vacuum.

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