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Lake Michigan, Scene 0

There are seven of us in front of the mayor’s house asking questions about the boy they shot twenty-two times 

There are seven of us in front of the mayor’s house screaming about how the videotape of the shooting was covered up so that the mayor could get reelected

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Hancock County Court. Sparta, GA, 2013. The building, from 1881, burned to the ground in 2014. Photograph by Jan Banning.

Law & Order

Our justice systems are answers to fundamental human questions that reach as far back as the Bible, and beyond: What should happen to a person who breaks the community’s moral code?

If the question is simple, the answer, and its execution, as Jan Banning’s photographs reflect, is dizzyingly messy. We require laws—but those laws, in their catch-all nature, lack nuance, and can’t always account for context and circumstance. We require judges—but those judges are men and women who, unlike that bronzed Lady Justice clutching her scales, are incapable of absolute impartiality. We require courts and clerks, jails and prisons and guards, and within that matrix are all sorts of mistakes, the structures clogged and overwhelmed. Altogether, it is a system that metes out an imperfect justice at best.

Photograph by Adam Watkins

Amateur Hour: Social Justice

On August 5, 2016, Tricia Griffith joined Jack Hitt onstage at the Institute Library in New Haven, Connecticut, as part of the ongoing series “Amateur Hour,” in which various tinkerers, zealots, and collectors discuss their obsessions. Griffith operates the online forum Websleuths, which is dedicated to crowdsourcing solutions to baffling crimes, including in-depth examinations of cold cases and the uncovering of key evidence in ongoing investigations. The conversation that follows has been edited for brevity and meaning.

By Juan Carlos

Prince of Peace

San Salvador’s upstart mayor, Nayib Bukele, has promised a new way forward for a city besieged by decades of violence. His biggest obstacle, however, may not be the city’s gangs, but the city’s idea of itself.

Photography by Ryan Spencer Reed


Erika Meitner's poetry and prose, combined with photography from Ryan Spencer Reed, take us inside the city of Cleveland during the Republican National Convention.