When did we justify brutality?
A desk flipped with a student still in it,
grabbed, hair pulled and thrown
against the floor because apparently
refusing to listen is enough
of a reason to bring violence into the classroom.
A shoplifter shot at in the parking lot.
A police call to a Target
a black man with a BBgun
SWATteamed like a fly.
I question our sanity.
Even more when we say
they should listen or
they shouldn’t shoplift or
they deserved it
because they don’t.
They don’t deserve
vigilantism or brutality,
retaliation before conviction;
punishment without a sentence.
Extrajudicial justice isn’t.
When we say she shouldn’t have worn that dress and
he shouldn’t have worn that big, puffy coat
we really say
murder is OK
rape is great
get your rocks off on poppin’ off
because all that matters is punishment.
I don’t care how.
Beat ’em. Beat ’em bloody. Show ’em. Teach ’em.
Justification of torture, of abuse of civil liberties
by police officers and security guards;
of vigilante justice in the streets
by hotheads like George Zimmerman.
Here comes The Justified Defense –
the victim was guilty
the perp is innocent
Punishment is deserved,
kill ’em kill ’em kill ’em kill ’em
But we can’t lock up the killer.
That dude is innocence personified.
The funhouse Jesus in distorted relief:
a guilty Christ on a cross
with two innocent men
punish the innocent and free the guilty.
We’re losing our minds.
The real punishment,
persons convicted of a crime,
do their time, it should be fine,
but come out and can’t earn a dime?
Put ’em on watchlists?
They can’t get an apartment?
And we call them crazy?
How far from Sunday School
halcyon days of stories and crafts
where we learned about rules
and what it means to love.
That rule you love says “an eye for an eye
and a tooth for a tooth”;
not bodyslam for not standing.
It’s supposed to limit punishment so we don’t go crazy,
so we don’t slaughter a city
for the rape of a sister.
We don’t roll up on a kid
open door…1 mississippi 2 mississippi – shoot to kill.
This is insane!
to punish beyond the crime.
to punish outside the law.
to trade crime for a crime
as punishment for the first crime.
to kill a dude for Skittles.
to tackle a girl at a pool party.
to drive so a man’s neck breaks.
to choke a man for selling cigarettes.
and call it all justified.
Not just, no justice.
Only pure delusion,
a criminal insanity,
from a people clearly off our meds.