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Showing posts from May 24, 2020

Revisiting "A Time To Kill"

I keep thinking especially of the film version of this story though I have read the Grisham novel as well. I would say the movie is a good movie, with great parts in it. Matthew McConaughey plays the lawyer Jake Brigance, who defends a black man, Carl Lee Hailey, who took revenge on the men who raped his young daughter Tonya. It's a little bit different than some of the real-life cases we've seen lately, in that Carl Lee is definitely guilty, and it's a story about jury nullification, as well as about racism and revenge. I think of one scene before Jake's closing argument, where he's visiting Carl Lee in jail and he tells Carl Lee that he's not going to win the case. Jake starts complaining about how the jury sees Carl Lee, versus how they see him. Jake ticks off a couple of cultural and socioeconomic reasons, and then Carl Lee interrupts, saying, "Or you're white and I'm black! See, that's why I picked you, Jake. You just like them… Oh, you t

A Small Revision

I got some pushback on my last post from a good friend, to the effect that I was denigrating all cops, and perverting the notion of justice. Let me say this clearly, and as clearly as I can: I recognize that the radical suggestion I proposed would not be fair, in an individual sense. But don't we tell our children, "Life's not fair"? If we have a major structural problem, such that a recent black Atlanta police chief can express his opinion that 20% of his own department is racist, the inconvenience of losing a job ought to be worth it for the sake of overall justice. I don't think we're ready to consider the idea as white people that this problem is much bigger than we ever thought. What if the problem is not at the margins? What if our attitudes about those who raise their voices against police brutality are more formed by a desire for stability, than for justice? I do not intend to suggest that I know the hearts of every police officer in America. I do no

My Turn

I'm not going to waste your time mourning; I have no performative emotional displays left for anyone or anything. I only know that the harassment or indiscriminate murder of a black person seems to happen with disturbing regularity. What is more disturbing is the pattern I see in some of my fellow whites. There will be a superficial acknowledgment that something has gone wrong. Then there will be a plea to "let all the facts come out," which is the precursor to finding some justification for the killing. Do we honestly believe that the world would fall apart if we fired every police officer in America, and started over? Do we believe that the morally ordered universe would simply fall apart, if we decided that such a radical change was necessary? I think the comedian Chris Rock was right about us. He said that for most whites, we passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and decided that every injustice was righted at that time. No other protest or complaint would be accep

Unfiltered Thoughts

The title is a fair warning that this will not be a happy post. I looked up "ennui" in the dictionary. It doesn't mean what I thought it meant. It doesn't describe what I'm feeling. I'm not bored; I'm angry. I'm angry that I'm not necessary. I'm not needed by anyone, for anything. I'm angry that 80% of the people that are like me--with a physical disability--aren't working. In this meat grinder of a society, where we judge people by what they do, use them up, and toss them aside, I'm not even one of the disposables. I have 2 degrees, and I nearly got a third. I'd like to think I'm fairly intelligent, with something to offer. But we don't treat disabled people with respect in this society; we don't even treat them like poster children. We treat them like posters. Something to look at, while we celebrate ourselves. And another group of you, who go on about making a Catholic and Christian society, I've got somethi

Back To the Beginning

I can remember the beginning. The early days with Jesus, and even before that, when I was simply curious about God, without knowing anything about Him. There is an idea, or set of ideas, that gets a bum rap in Christian circles these days; it's called, "moral therapeutic deism". The basic idea is that God exists, but he exists to make us feel better about ourselves. Religion itself exists in this conception as the atheist says it does: to provide us comfort and sustenance through the hardship of this life. You can see how bunch of Christian leaders could get all bent out of shape about this, when they realize that their sheep know nothing about doctrine, or endurance, or obedience. On the other hand, I may be the only person who has been helped by the prevailing culture of moral therapeutic deism. I knew that God existed, and I knew that he had to be good. I knew that the multiple tragedies of my young life made God sad, if there is such a thing. [There is. Jesus wept.--e