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In all my years, I have never read a more disturbing, yet compelling book. The injustice and inhumanity described in Just Mercy* will literally rip your heart to shreds and bring tears to your eyes. Just Mercy must be made mandatory reading all American high schools and also in all law schools worldwide.
The number of innocent lives that have been wrongly been taken and/or ruined in the name of anger, fear, bigotry, hatred, meanness, abusive power, or vengeance is simply staggering. Such actions, in the name of justice, are a stain on our nation’s identity and should not be acceptable in any form or manner whatsoever. Have we as society not progress an inch since slavery, or is mass incarceration just another form of human bondage?
America’s, oh so pious justice system is largely a joke when it comes to the poor, minorities, immigrants, and the underprivileged. Bryan Stevenson’s (founder of the Equal Justice Initiative) magnificent book is an indictment on America’s justice system, particularly if you are not white or rich. Our legal system is definitely NOT blind, as justice must and should in order to be truly fair and impartial.
- It’s inherently unfair and abusive.
- It’s often bigoted and prejudicial.
- It’s often incompetent.
- It’s certainly not impartial.
- It’s harsh and cruel.
Here are a couple of terrific quotes from Just Mercy.
“My years of struggling agains inequality, abusive power, poverty, oppression, and injustice had finally revealed something to me about myself. Being close to suffering, death, executions, and cruel punishments didn’t just illuminate the brokenness of others; in a moment of anguish and heartbreak, it also exposed my own brokenness. You cannot effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it.” Page 289
“Walter made me understand why we have to reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent. A system that denies the poor the legal help they need, that makes wealth and status more important then culpability, must be changed.” Page 313
Lastly, anyone who ever says that there is no such thing as white privilege or something to the effect of “All Lives Matter” (instead of “Black Lives Matter”) is either uneducated on the topic, brainwashed by right-wing media, lying, bigoted, an imbecile, or just plain blind to the truth. Please consider reading Just Mercy – many lives are depending upon it.