Can intentionally jeopardizing the right of law-abiding citizens to personal peace and security be justified by the American legal system?How can the American legal system, which is so devoted to...

Can intentionally jeopardizing the right of law-abiding citizens to personal peace and security be justified by the American legal system?

How can the American legal system, which is so devoted to protecting individual rights, justify itself morally if it jeopardizes, through its own rules, the right of law-abiding citizens to personal peace and security?

Expert Answers
mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is very difficult to support the premise of this question that our legal system intentionally jeopardizes the right of American citizens to personal peace and security. While there may be instances where this has occurred, it is not systematic and/or intentional. Recently, there have been some high-profile cases where police officers have been accused and/or convicted of misusing their power. However, it is not the norm throughout our country. There also are instances where laws have been established to protect us but have infringed on our rights. For example, the Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Schenck v. United States that freedom of speech may be limited if the use of words presents a danger. For example, it is illegal to shout the word “fire” in a movie theater. This could cause extreme harm and injury to people who would try to rush out of a dark movie theater. While this does restrict our right to freedom of speech, it also provides safety to our citizens. It is unreasonable to say our government intentionally tries to jeopardize our right to personal peace and security.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indeed, law- abiding citizens are entitled to personal peace and security.  There is little in the question to indicate that the American justice system deliberately does not guarantee these elements.  I believe that specific instances would be needed in order to substantiate the claim being made in the subtext of the question.  There is a direct implication that there is a deliberate intent in the American justice system to subvert the ability of law- abiding citizens to pursue personal peace and security.  While I would be the first to concede that there are some significant challenges within the system's administration of pure justice, I am stumped to find where there is a deliberate attempt to subvert the process of administering and overseeing justice and ensuring personal peace and security to law- abiding citizens.

krishna-agrawala | Student

The question assumes that the American legal system jeopardizes the rights of law abiding citizens to personal peace and security. This assumption is highly debatable.

There can be individual law enforcing officers who misuse their authority to infringe upon legal rights of citizens. But this is violation of law rather than a part of legal system. Also there can be some imperfections in the legal system due to which individuals may be put to some amount of restriction of on individual choice of what they do and how they do it. But by and large the legal restrictions are essential for orderly functioning of the society.

Take the very simple example of the traffic regulations. These are essential to make the traffic move smoothly and safely. These traffic regulations definitely restrict the the individual choices such as which side of the road to drive on, when to stop or drive on at a road crossing, and where to park the car. Someone may describe these as restriction on individual freedom, and in a way these are. But these are essential restrictions on individual choice for the common good. A legal system cannot work without some such essential restriction on individual choices. It is not right to consider these restrictions as infringement on individual rights.