Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting Punched in the Face - Robert Caverly

In December of 2014, a crazy man punched me in the face in a fit of road rage as I was on my way to my last exam. I was driving on campus and another driver ran a stop sign in front of me, almost hitting me and causing an accident. I honked and flipped off the other driver as I drove past, and continued on to the building where my final was. I noticed that this other driver was following me but I didn’t think anything of it until he parked next to me and got out of the car when I did.
            As I looked over he began to yell and curse at me for giving him the bird. I told him that I did it because he ran the stop sign and almost hit me and he did not have right of way. I also told him that I had an exam and didn’t have any time. After this I began walking away towards my exam and he ran up and punched me in the face. This knocked me down and as I stood up I pulled my cell phone out to call the police. As soon as he saw me take out my phone he ran back to his car and drove away, so all I could give the police was his license plate number. After a short call with the police I went to take my test and then to the UMBC Police station to make a report. The next day I also went to the courthouse to press assault charges and get a court date set.
Both the UMBC Police Officer and Courthouse Prosecutor I talked to told me that they would not recommend continuing with the charges because he would most likely get nothing and I would waste a lot of time and effort. Fortunately for me, I did not listen to their advice and I did get a court date set for April 1, 2015. The guy ended up getting a Probation Before Judgment, requiring that he complete an anger management course and not have contact with me for 3 years in order to evade a trial and potentially, becoming a convicted criminal.
The injustices for me in this experience were the initial assault, the results of the justice process, and the expectations of the officer and prosecutor. The initial assault is of course an injustice because it is a crime to assault other people unless in self-defense. The consequences for the man were also an injustice because he never had to admit guilt or apologize to me. He actually could not apologize to me because it would violate his probation agreement not to contact me and because it would be an admission of guilt. However these were not the worst injustices.
In my opinion, the worst injustice was the expectations of the prosecutor and the officer for nothing to come of this. To me, the fact that the very people who work in the justice system are recommending for me not to use it because they think it will not work, says a lot about the system as a whole. It means that its problems are so big that even the people who work in the system and can see them have no idea how to solve them. They would rather contribute to the problem than admit there is a problem and work on a solution, or at least not be part of the problem. This broken system creates a perpetual cycle of and will continue to produce it  until the problems with the justice system causing injustices are solved.

People need to believe and trust in the system to get justice or there will be no incentive to report crimes over taking personal revenge. If this happens, violence and personal revenge will become the societal norm for settling scores rather than going to court. This type of society could lead to a state of complete anarchy, and the United States could become a Somalia-like territory, borderless and lawless. The fall of such a world power would spur other countries to invade and claim colonies. The wars over claiming these colonies would cause WWIII. Don’t let WWIII happen. Report all crimes, big or small, let justice be your revenge. Don’t work for a broken justice system, work to reform it to a working one; then work for that one.

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