The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Klansman convicted of Manslaughter

Well, after 41 years, Edgar Ray Killen has been convicted in the murder of three civil rights workers.  You know?  there's a glass half-empty and glass half-full sense about the whole thing.  In my upbeat mind, I think "Thank God!  Justice at last" that things have changed enough in Mississippi, one of the most intractable states, racism-wise, to get a conviction.  The other part of me says that, in essence, the man has been fined.  I mean, if I could kill someone with a guarantee that I wouldn't be punished until my active life had passed, knowing I'd spend the last part of my life in, in effect, a hospital of some kind (he's obviously a sick old coot) I'd be FAR more likely to consider that a good deal.  So he dies in prison in a couple of years.  Wow.  Meanwhile, he spent forty years eating at Burger King and getting laid and playing with his grandkids, and chuckling about the Northerners he put in their graves.  Hardly seems fair.
On the other hand, sometimes you don't get fair.  Sometimes, you have to settle for justice.  So I guess I should grit my teeth and smile.

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