Yesterday, Linda and I spent the day at Williamsburg. It was quite interesting, especially the reenactment of select events between 1774 and 1776. One of scenes was the arrest and trial of a loyalist merchant in Williamsburg. The militia arrested him and put on a mockery of a trial.
The whole thing got me thinking about the judicial system in the US. While there is plenty to critique about our judicial system, in general we do benefit from a well-ordered legal system (my thoughts on this are certainly those of a layman and, I'm sure, are very simplistic). Our rights to competent representation in court, the requirement that findings of an investigation must be shared with the defense, our right to trial by a jury of peers approved by both defense and prosecution, etc.
The system doesn't always work; there are numerous examples of abuses; a higher judiciary that legislates rather than interprets law is not what's intended. One could also certainly point to many examples of mob justice (the KKK would be an accurate, though awful, example) that are outside the system -- essentially, that's what the reenactment portrayed yesterday. And, it was very clear why an individual who disagreed with the process would be very afraid to stand up to the crowd.
I left Williamsburg disturbed that quick justice can seem so appealing when the alternative is a seeming labourious journey through the proper system. But I am thankful for the protections that our prescribed system of justice provides.
Happy Fourth of July. Thank God for your freedoms.