President Obama has an eloquence and slow burning passion that is apparent in this video staged at a prison to talk about institutional injustice.
It provides the clearest statement I’ve heard of how small injustices at the margin—at each level of the justice system—compound to create systematic institutional bias.
This is moving for me to hear, when my state of Virginia executed someone this week for heinous crimes. The anger and vitriol directed against this evil perpetrator is surely justifiable. But the penalty of death is an irreversible punishment, and shown to be meted out disproportionately to some groups compared to others.
Since 1973, there have been 153 cases of death row inmates being exonerated by new information. Even if you believe that the justice system were squeaky clean in terms of doling out similar punishments to all people, the death penalty allows for no errors of fact or theory. And humans are not immune to both blunders.
Absolute punishments seem better fit for Medieval Ages when God’s certainty seemed closer at hand.