During the Weimar Republic, members of the political right murdered leaders and members of the political left and center and often faced no penalty from the courts. Prominent left leaders such as Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg as well as more center leaning leaders such as Walther Rathenau and Matthias Erzberger were assassinated in cold blood. Gumbel points out that at the time of publication, there were 354 murders perpetrated by the political right, but the judicial system left over three hundred of those unpunished. The Freikorps, right-wing militias often made up with veterans and military leaders, committed many of these murders.
Gumbel argues that the judicial system is partial to the political right as a reason for its leniency. The judicial system was left untouched in Germany after the creation of the republic, which included many members of the old imperial culture. Judges often belonged to the upper class and may not comprehend that murders come from their class. Furthermore, the judges identified more with the assassins. Gumbel explains, “Underneath the heavy mask of formalism, his soul resonates tenderly with the murderer” (104). The judges also are taught that the political left is a public enemy and that the desecration of it is a service to humanity. This all contributes to the perpetrator getting away with murder.
In America there has been a disproportionate number of African Americans shot and killed under the guise of “self defense.” Most famous were the murders of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. In Michael Brown’s case, it was a police officer who shot him. This is followed with countless other African American deaths in the hands of the police. The American juries and courts were lenient on the perpetrators. For example, George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Trayvon Martin, was found not guilty even though he shot Martin when he was not threatening Zimmerman in any way.
American propaganda has showed us time and time again that African Americans are a public enemy, are more deviant, and more likely to be criminals. These racist beliefs can fill the minds, consciously or unconsciously, of the judicial system and cause them to act in a similar fashion as the judges in Weimar Germany. Moreover, the members of the police force can also absorb these racist mindsets and use excessive force, to the point to death, against African Americans. Germany did not reform their judicial system or police system, but perhaps it is time to reform ours.