A verdict came down Friday that I do not understand.
I am reading. I have read the entire verdict. I’ve read a great deal of background.
I don’t understand why a new prosecutor decided to bring action based on undisclosed new evidence, but then did not reveal that new evidence in court.
I do not understand why the State went for first-degree murder only, instead of that plus a raft of lesser charges.
I do not understand why police officers kill people with multiple gunshots at close range.
I do not understand why racial prejudice and hatred is carefully taught anyway. This is not something with which people are born.
I do not understand why my friend Ken Haller has to have a talk with a 15-year-old African-American male patient about how to react to what will almost inevitably be a traffic stop for ‘driving while black’ or some other perceived infraction.
I do not understand why my students of color have to live in a society that continues to marginalise them, trivialize their concerns, and have them feeling left out of the mainstream, fighting for a chance.
Yes, I am a privileged white male, with a middle-class upbringing, and never really needing for anything. Yes, I’m an over-the-top liberal with socialist leanings.
And yes, my lack of understanding of this tense world leads me to weep in frustration and anger.
Tonight, just two blocks from my house, I saw what Saint Louis is becoming. And I do not like it. At all.
As I write this Friday evening, I hear sirens all around, and the sound of multiple helicopters overhead. And I weep. I weep for my friends, acquaintances, and students of color who cannot get a fair deal in this despicable system. I weep societal fabric so fragile that it frays this easily. And I weep for my students and young members of my family who will inherit this ugly, racially charged, divided world that my generation, and those before me, have created.
And if you’ve read this far, link over to my Facebook page, where I have shared a brilliant post by my friend Matt Pentecost, and Ken Haller’s poignant, heartbreaking story from today at the clinic. And weep with me.