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Join the conversation! There are now 8 comments on this chapter's page 86. Institutions of Justice. What are your thoughts?
  1. Yeah, ha ha ha, I get it, but the visual of a young woman stabbing her eye out with a sword is more gruesome and disturbing than I’m used to in this comic.

    • Perhaps Mr. Burney is merely trying to say equal justice has a cost, even on Justice itself.

      Though it is sad that Lady Justice lost an eye in order to provide justice equally. To quote the comic, “An offender from a strong lineage would have to pay the same price as one from a weaker family.”

      And yet, as I see the world today, I think it can be argued that justice isn’t being distributed equally. Not everyone can afford it. And those that can can buy their way out of it. Meanwhile, Lady Justice is still blind.

      • “An offender from a strong lineage would have to pay the same price as one from a weaker family.”

        These days, that’s considered anathema in many circles. The idea that a rich man and a poor man should pay the same fine for the same crime is no longer equality under the law, it seems.

        • The idea of what counts as equality under the law has changed in some people’s minds. Most people’s, actually.

          The original idea was restorative justice, where the victim was who mattered. How much harm was done to the victim? That’s how much the offender had to make up. To restore the victim as much as possible to where he was before the offense.

          The way most people think about it these days is retributive justice, where the offender is who matters. How much harm must be done to the offender? What will make him suffer for what he did, and make him and others not want to do it again? Restoring the victim might not even enter into it.

          Retributive justice is at least as old as the “eye for an eye” laws of ancient civilizations. And it’s what criminal law in America practices. If a victim wants restoration, he’ll generally need to cross the street to the civil courthouse and file a tort lawsuit for “damages,” because in the criminal courthouse he is not a party to the case but only a witness. The parties to the criminal case are the State and the (accused) offender. Both the civil court and the criminal court will inquire into whether he did what he’s accused of, but the civil court will be deciding whether and how much he owes the victim in compensation, while the criminal court will be deciding whether and how much he deserves to be punished.

          So under restorative justice, being able to compel the rich man to pay the poor man just the same as the poor man could be compelled to pay the rich man? That’s equality under the law.

          But under retaliatory justice, figuring out the fine (paid to the State, not the victim) that will hurt the rich man just as much as another fine would hurt the poor man for the same crime strikes most as equality under the law.

          Ironically, that is the thinking behind many sentencing disparities when it comes to incarceration. For many better-off and otherwise “good” citizens, even a little jail time can be seen as devastating to their lives and families and futures. Whereas, for an underclass or “bad” person who hasn’t played by society’s rules and doesn’t appear to have a future? Why not lock him up? Abhorrent as this may be to our rational brains, I guarantee you this is going on emotionally in courtrooms every day. A little jail might viscerally feel like it would make one offender suffer way too much for the offense, while feeling like not enough to get the point across to another who doesn’t have as much at stake. And since the focus of the criminal court is on the offender, at sentencing it is precisely the offender’s own personal circumstances that make up most of the arguments for and against a given penalty.

      • Oh, I’ve read the comic from the beginning, including those sections. I love it, by the way. Nothing ever bothered me before; this did. My reaction was probably because I’ve seen Lady Justice since the beginning of this comic, so I cared that she was grievously and gruesomely injured. Everyone else in this comic that you’ve ever seriously hurt was an unimportant red shirt. Lady Justice wasn’t. That may be all there is to it.

        • It could also be because I didn’t actually show it happening.

          Some of the best horror movies do that on purpose, forcing the viewer to imagine their own picture in their head, which is almost always worse for that person than any filmmaker could have come up with.

          I knew that bit of trivia, yet didn’t realize that’s precisely what I was doing by skipping the gory bit. I apologize for the horrorshows I caused any readers to conjure up!

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