By Steve Hunley

These days we hear an awful lot about “social justice.” The recent shootings of three teenagers inside the City of Knoxville illustrate the difference between action and real commitment and mere symbolism and virtue signaling. Stanley Freeman Jr., Janaria Muhammed, and Justin Taylor were all murdered. All of the victims of these terrible and senseless killings had two things in common: they were teenagers with their entire lives ahead of them and they were Black. If Black lives really matter, Mayor Indya Kincannon and the Knoxville City Council’s collective response is nothing less than embarrassing at best and offensive at worst.

Social justice means children and youngsters should be able to walk to school without fear of being shot down in the street. Social justice means families shouldn’t worry their children will be killed when they leave the house to go to a playground or while sitting on the porch. Social justice isn’t folks being afraid inside their own homes. Social justice isn’t ever going to be crafted by a handful of elitists living safely in gated communities or occupying the security of tenured positions while living in the “better” neighborhoods. There is never social justice behind elitist paternalism.

Both Mayor Indya Kincannon and the Knoxville City Council have completely missed the boat with the shootings of Janaria Muhammed, Justin Taylor and Stanley Freeman, Jr. in our community. JUSTICE requires active participation by law enforcement and the murderers (and that’s what happened to those precious young lives, they were brutally murdered by remorseless murderers) be caught, tried, and convicted if found guilty. They should be eligible for the death penalty or, at the very least, a lifetime spent in prison. That is justice.

Indya Kincannon and the Knoxville City Council’s idea of justice is to spend more taxpayer dollars in the name of “woke” social justice on ill-defined and vague programs, while pretending these aren’t crimes. Murder is still a crime and the worst crime any human being can commit against another.

Kincannon’s initial reaction was to call a hastily put-together press conference with superintendent of schools Bob Thomas and the members of the Knox County Board of Education to virtue signal. Why wasn’t the district attorney general invited? Kincannon could barely be heard above the screams of professional agitators and socialists hollering about defunding the police. Those same “activists” claim Black lives matter, but apparently the lives of those Black teenagers matter less than the notion of defunding the police. Is there any rational person inside the City of Knoxville who truly believes a social worker can bring justice to the families of Justin Taylor, Janaria Muhammed and Stanley Freeman Jr.? Is there any rational person who believes social workers can apprehend lawless thugs who deliberately gun down children in the streets? Is there anyone who believes those same murderers wouldn’t just as brutally kill the social justice warriors in the blink of an eye?

Every city run by Democrats and socialists in the country who have been attempting to implement their own peculiar brand of social justice has seen a big rise in crime and violent crimes. The City of Knoxville had a record of 37 murders last year yet neither Indya Kincannon nor the city council seem to react as if these murders are actual CRIMES. There have been no less than 13 shootings in the last month and three of those were Austin-East High School students who are dead. They were murdered.

And yet most of us tip toe around the topic. The local politically correct media continues to describe them as “shootings” and laments about gun violence, which seems more demur than “murder.” The family of Stanley Freeman, Jr. had to endure the terrible sight of their precious son, brother, nephew, family member lowered into his grave and buried because he was murdered on the streets of Knoxville. The family of Janaria Muhammed are about to endure the same gut-wrenching process of saying good-bye to their baby.

While it is nice KUB trucks circled Austin – East High School with their lights flashing in solidarity, I doubt very much that gave the Freeman, Taylor and Muhammed families any real comfort. We have witnessed socialists and sometime candidates for the city council actually speak before the council and say the prison inmates should be literally released out into the general population. How is THAT social justice for the Freeman family or those of Janaria Muhammad or Justin Taylor?

As the daily newspaper primly says the shootings (i.e. murders in cold blood) of the three Austin-East High School students has “sparked a community wide conversation” I can only shake my head in astonishment. The topic of the conversation needs to be holding the murders accountable to the law and giving the families of the actual victims justice.

The loss of the lives of Janaria, Stanley and Justin is a stench in the nostrils of God and a mortal sin against both God and reason. Unfortunately, another mortal wrong is the lack of any meaningful response by the Kincannon administration and the Knoxville City Council. One of the very definitions of “justice” is “the administration of the law or authority in maintaining” justice. Another is “just behavior or treatment.” The murderers of those three youngsters did NOT behave in a way that should be socially acceptable to any sane member of society, therefore it has to be against the very notion and concept of social justice. There can be no social justice for the members of the families of the murdered youngsters until the families have been treated fairly. By that, it means those young Black lives really did matter to all of us and the evil thugs who killed them need to be brought to justice as quickly as possible. Without that kind of justice, there can never be societal justice for anyone.