The Blog of Brian Ballard Quass

Brian's response to two articles in the Los Angeles Times of Saturday, May 2, 2015

No Justice, No Stupid Slogans

Your Saturday newspaper offered at least two clues concerning the reasons for the recent violence in Baltimore.

First, in the page one article entitled "Baltimore officers are charged in man's death", Maryland state attorney Marilyn Mosby is quoted as telling protestors: "I heard your call for 'no justice, no peace'," but there's no sign that Ms. Mosby (nor the average American, for that matter) realizes that it is that very slogan that justified the Baltimore violence in the first place. After all, if one truly believes in that anarchist mantra, then one has no option but to behave disruptively after a perceived injustice occurs. For the mantra "no justice, no peace" is basically a threat: it says that, "If I don't get my way, I'm going to raise hell." But this is a democracy: the answer to a perceived injustice should be political activism, not raising hell. Besides, if inner-city young people can follow that belligerent and off-putting mantra, "no justice, no peace," then so can their opponents, who might have a different definition of justice in any particular case and believe in it just as sincerely as they.

Another example of the way that society tolerates violence is found in the photograph on page B1. It's a picture of two young Latinos raising fists in the air, and it is incorrectly captioned "Making Their Voices Heard." May I remind the caption writer that those are fists that the kids are raising, not megaphones? The kids are sending a threat, not a call to parley. Such protests (protest-lite: attempting to enrage a foe that you know full well is not interested in hurting you in the first place) are just another manifestation of the "no justice, no peace" mindset. It is a mindset which threatens the opposition rather than agreeing to work with it. It is a mindset that all but guarantees that society will be constantly at war, since people of goodwill often disagree on their definition of the word "justice." And it is therefore a mindset that has no place in a democracy and should not be encouraged, either by ingratiating state's attorneys or by politically correct newspaper caption writers.

no justice, no peace, los angeles times, baltimore, marilyn mosby, may day, latinos, fists in the air

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