Café Wrap: Justice vs. Vengeance

Question: Does justice equate with vengeance and does mercy equate with forgiveness?

At the latest Socrates Café meetup we addressed this timely question. Though it’s two questions merged into one, the feeling (according to the one who submitted it) is that this question reflects two sides of the same coin.

Initially, one participant suggested that when feeling that one has been wronged, vengeance is individualized. If you are wronged, vengeance says, “You cannot treat me this way!” The reward for enacted vengeance may be that the actor is then feared or even respected. On the other hand, justice must be enforced by the state as it says, “You may not treat anyone this way.”

Justice is supposed to give power to the powerless, though one expressed the concern that sometimes justice is twisted to the point that it becomes vengeance. Laws are designed to maintain civil society, though the laws themselves depend on the culture in which you live; a democracy, an aristocracy, dictatorship or another form of government. Democracies, it was pointed out, have been instituted to usurp powers of kings and emperors.

We looked at mercy and forgiveness as being different from justice or vengeance. If you are a reasonable person responsible for a child, you might mete out justice by punishing a child to discourage the child from repeating the offense. But you should be merciful in that endeavor, ensuring that the punishment fits the infraction.

Juries serve justice by declaring guilty one who has been proven criminally responsible and we rely on them to do so. Likewise, we then expect the court to sentence the person accordingly. Ideally, an imprisoned criminal would be shown mercy out of respect for both the person’s humanity and feelings. We acknowledge that cases of crimes against persons rather than crimes involving property present the heaviest burdens when it comes to mercy or forgiveness.

One patron mentioned the idea that justice and mercy are often institutionalized as in hospitals and in prisons.

An individual can show mercy but feel unable to forgive, or they may show both forgiveness and mercy. Justice is meant to be proportionate to the crime and bring repentance or repair so that a person can become a productive member of society. On the other hand, if the criminal is deemed too dangerous to society as a whole, some believe the ideal punishment would keep the person humanely incarcerated until such time as that is no longer the case, while others believe capital punishment would suffice. We acknowledge the many inequities that can occur when laws are ambiguously written or applied unequally.

There are always diverse and interesting points of view offered at the Socrates Café about the question of the day. We welcome anyone who enjoys listening to others’ point of view and sharing their own from time to time.

What We’re Watching-April 2021

What We’re Watching-April 2021

For a little change of pace, we asked our librarians what they are currently rewatching or binging. Check out what they said.

Mystery Science Theater 3000
Hoopla or DVD

In the not-too-distant future Joel Robinson is held captive by Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank, forced to watch B-Grade movies on the Satellite of Love with the help of his robot friends: Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine
DVD

Comedy series following the exploits of Det. Jake Peralta and his diverse, lovable colleagues as they police the NYPD’s 99th Precinct.

  Scrubs
DVD

In the unreal world of Sacred Heart Hospital, intern John “J.D.” Dorian learns the ways of medicine, friendship and life.

 Avatar: The Last Airbender
DVD, Comic, and eComic

In a war-torn world of elemental magic, a young boy reawakens to undertake a dangerous mystic quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar, and bring peace to the world.

The Princess Bride
DVD and Book

While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.

 Lilo & Stich
DVD

A young and parentless girl adopts a ‘dog’ from the local pound, completely unaware that it’s supposedly a dangerous scientific experiment that’s taken refuge on Earth and is now hiding from its creator and those who see it as a menace.

Monster-in-Law
DVD

The love life of Charlotte is reduced to an endless string of disastrous blind dates, until she meets the perfect man, Kevin. Unfortunately, his merciless mother will do anything to destroy their relationship.

Troy
DVD

An adaptation of Homer’s great epic, the film follows the assault on Troy by the united Greek forces and chronicles the fates of the men involved.

  The Office
DVD

A mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behavior, and tedium.

Bridgerton
Books and eBooks

Wealth, lust, and betrayal set against the backdrop of Regency-era England, seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.

YNGR: HomeMade

HomeMade: 101 Easy-to-Make Things for Your Garden, Home, or Farm by Ken Braren & Roger Griffith

Planning to Garden this Season?

Now is the perfect time to get started with do-it-yourself projects to improve your planting and backyard experience for summer and fall. Get inspired to choose one or more projects from HomeMade: 101 Easy-To-Make Things for Your Garden, Home or Farm.

The first is a simple sawhorse to build in case you do not happen to own one already.  

Ideas include:

  • Mailbox holder
  • Garden Bench
  • Planter Box
  • Compost Bin
  • Handy Tool Keeper
  • Smokehouse
  • Hotbeds
  • Firewood Box
  • Firewood Brace
  • Plant Supports
  • Strawberry Barrels
  • Berry Boxes
  • Movable Shed
  • Birdhouse

With sketches to aid your understanding, many of the projects can be constructed using upcycled or leftover materials from other projects. If you are handy with a measuring tape, you should be able to change suggested material dimensions to suit your space without too much effort.

Glancing through the various projects, we would say that some of the projects, like the potting table, require basic carpentry knowledge while others are more complicated. You would be well advised to have experience yourself or to work with a partner who does to successfully complete larger projects like the poultry house or horse stable without frustration.

You can find 58 titles in the do-it-yourself category at Allentown Public Library and 1276 titles on the subject of gardening in our catalog. Plus, with your library card, you have access to Garden Guides on Hoopla. Click on the links in this article to find out more.

YNGR: Do-It-Yourself Framed Quilts by Gail Perry

Time to get your DIY on!

Unique, framed artwork can add interest to your home’s décor. If you enjoy making gifts for your friends and family or creating do-it-yourself projects as a way to earn extra cash, you might want to check out Do-It-Yourself Framed Quilts by Gail Perry.

While quilt making dates far back to ancient Egypt, more recent patterns, from Pennsylvania and Ohio’s Amish and Mennonite communities, might be more familiar to you. These include patchwork, log cabin, crown of thorns, double wedding ring, bear claw, and many others popularized in the 19th century.

The nine small quilts detailed in this book, however, are not your grandmother’s quilts! There are florals, impressionist, landscapes, concentric diamonds and more. You’ll be inspired to create designs of your own.

35″ x 40″ Impressionist Quilt

Sized appropriately for wall hanging in typical frame dimensions:

15” x 15”

16” x 20”

20” x 24”

…as well as a handful of others, they’re not so big as to be overwhelming to a beginner. It is fair to say that some prior sewing ability would be helpful.

The best part of this book is its combination of photos, patterns, clear instructions and detailed information about standard matte sizes and the tools you’ll need when you want to begin framing.

There are 67 titles for do-it-yourself projects at Allentown Public Library. What’s your next project?

Got Your Shot?

If you are home bound for medical or mobility reasons that make it difficult for you to get a COVID-19 shot and you live in Allentown, help is on the way!

City of Allentown Paramedics will be making house calls to those residents who need the service. Stocked with the Moderna COVID-19 shots, they’ll provide your first shot and follow up to bring a second shot. They’ll keep working to provide shots for people who need this help until this service is no longer needed in our city.

You just need to take the first step. Make the call to the hotline at 610-260-0360 to schedule an appointment.

YNGR: Shiatsu

Shiatsu: Japanese Finger Pressure Therapy, Do-it-Yourself Acupressure by William Schultz

Sometimes older books like this one, published in 1976, are as relevant today as they were when they were brand new.

Illustration from Shiatsu: Japanese Finger Pressure Therapy

In 1954 while living in Tokyo, Japan, author William Schultz enrolled in the Shiatsu Institute. While he continued his education, he moved to California where he was also able to continue his exporting business and his practice. He achieved a Master of Shiatsu, and by the time the book was published ten years later, Schultz was one of only two shiatsu practitioners in the United States.

Shiatsu, the author tells us, is “the oldest written form of physical therapy.”

Compelling are the many ways in which shiatsu, once learned, can benefit one’s health. Nearly anyone can learn the basic techniques covered here to alleviate headaches, relieve neck and shoulder pain, address tendonitis, muscle fatigue and more.

A short read unencumbered by heavy medical jargon and accompanied by photos and drawings that best illustrate the details, this book proves its worth.

We like the do-it-yourself aspect of this particular book, but there are several other books in our collection about Shiatsu which are located in the non-fiction section at 615.822. Would you like to learn more? Click below to link to our catalog.

Your Story: Allentown in Quarantine

YOU CAN BECOME PART OF HISTORY

What is this?

The Allentown Public Library is collecting stories from individuals on how the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine and mandates have affected their lives.

Why?

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine is historically significant and continues to affect our society in monumental ways. However, it may be difficult for future generations to fully understand how our lives and daily experiences have been changed. This is why the library is collecting those individual stories and storing them in our archives to be accessed by those future generations.

How Can You Share Your Story?

Fill out the form on this page. A librarian will then contact you about how to record your own story or schedule an interview.