If you click no other link today, please click on this one: on “Paintball Justice.” You can download a pdf of the paper, if you feel especially geeky. (Hint: feel geeky.)
Dr. Tom Cavanagh’s new blog merits a few moments of your time! You may be familiar with “The Paintball Case,” but if you aren’t, you’re in store for an amazing example of how Restorative Justice can give an entirely new, 21st Century, application to the ancient Hebrew law of proportionality in retribution, “An eye for an eye.”
To many of us “post-moderns,” the retributive practice of lex talionis may seem simultaneously common sensical, fair, yet still barbaric. When you consider the preceding historical practice went something like this — an entire tribe must give it’ s life for an offense of any kind against one’s own tribe — lex talionis sounds awfully reasonable.
Dr. Tom’s blog case of Paintball Justice shows the amazing outcomes that can emerge from an offender who, in a community of accountability and restorative justice, offers an amend that is far greater than any court might impose. It’s a worthwhile lesson for the criminal justice system.
Please share your responses here by commenting on this posting. If you find it helpful, tell Dr. Cavanagh. (Self-promotional note: tell him you saw it on www. fairnessworks.p1r8.net.) He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spoiler alert. Read the pdf before reading the following:
District Court Judge Fred McElrea, of Auckland, New Zealand, a pioneer in the application of restorative justice processes in the courts, made these comments about “The Paintball Case”: “I think this a great case study – informative, educative and insightful. What was most impressive was the boy’s offer to donate part of his eye if that would bring back her sight. The second reaction I have is to marvel at the way in which restorative justice helps build community bonds that were not there before – for example, the common interest and empathy of the two families. Lastly, it brings home how simple it really is to get these things going! That is because this sort of process is second nature to most people, whereas the court process is an artificial, ritualized procedure that obscures people’s real feelings and desire for reconciliation.”