MOVEing from Appearance to Truth

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The days when punishment would mainly consist of ceremonial public executions and torture are long gone. Now, justice is dealt with more “elegantly” with a complex, bureaucratic system in which attorneys, detectives, the state, the institutions (prison) and more cooperate to create a system of punishment and correction. In our society, the criminal justice system and state are to be perceived as a firm guideline of what is right versus wrong. This division creates a tension per se of who actually holds the power. Now, one might say that the power, if anything, should be concentrated into the hands of the righteous, the wise, the moral and it is assumed that the state and system inevitably must be right in serving as our guideline and major factor that determines who is normal and good for society and who is abnormal and needs to be punished. The issue is that the system is far from flawless and just. In fact, it seems that the system contributes towards creating criminals and punishing people rather then serving as a resort for correction and fair punishment. In the movie “Let the Fire Burn,” we have clearly seen that the system can be grossly negligent and unfair in its approach. Indeed, the criminal justice system and the people in charge of “furthering justice” seemed to have criminalized an organization in such a manner that it led to the death of most, the destruction of the group, the incarceration of others, and nobody with authority ever got charged with anything for their proven crimes. Through labeling theory and Foucault’s analysis of the criminal justice system, we are able to see how, what began as a group who wanted to live in truth without truly harming anyone, became a destructive tragedy for the whole city of Phi... ... middle of paper ... ...s as well to accomplish their goal. In fact, the attack killed six adults, five children, and destroyed the entire neighborhood. Notice the fact that the MOVE members were sentenced to dozens of years in prison for possibly committing one crime against an officer, but the police is entitled to shoot 10,000 rounds within 90 minutes. How is that reasonable? Again, I must ask, how is that not ironic considering that the entire system in America is based, among other things, on the reasonable person standard? So, the system is telling society that they all need to be reasonable in their actions, but when it comes to the system itself, it can do whatever it deems reasonable solely because it holds the power? The system can be wrong and has been proven wrong here. As Ramona herself stated, “they came out there with the weaponry of war. War. Their intent was to kill.”

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