Thursday, March 27, 2014
Michael Gallagher photo
Jordan Linn Graham pushed her husband to his death off a cliff in scenic Glacier Park eight days after their marriage on July 7 of last year according to this article in the Missoulian. As is often the case, the judge in this trial based the sentence at least in part on the failure of the defendant to express remorse for her actions. She's probably pretty remorseful. Given a trip back to Glacier Park in a time machine she probably wouldin't have given new hubby Cody Johnson that shove over the edge. In fact, she might well have set the dial back 9 days or so and skipped the marriage and subsequent murder altogether.
Maybe it isn't even a curiosity that a judge would require a demonstration of remorse before pronouncing sentence, it seems to happen all the time. According to the news account she did do a substantial amount of crying during the process. It must have been transparent or badly timed or just ineffective. She needed better coaching. Defense attorneys hire jury analysts and all manner of other experts to assist in trials. I'm going to hang out my shingle as defendant remorse coach. It might be a good supplement to my current gig as a touchdown celebration coach for high school wide receivers.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
A column by Miami Herald writer Leonard Pitts has been published today that recommends that everyone attend a screening of the much applauded and Oscar-winning movie 12 Years A Slave.
Pitts says this: "As a nation, we have never quite dealt with our African-American history -- the unremitting terrorism, the ongoing violations of human rights, the maiming of human spirit."
He speculates that African-Americans will be reluctant to view the movie because it will reinforce their resentment over the injustices of the past and that whites won't want to watch it because it will revive their guilt. He feels that " the pathway to (reconciliation) lies not in going around, but together, through that which brings us heartache and sorrow and makes us weep."
The "peculiar institution" that kept slaves in bondage had existed everywhere from time immemorial, as it does today in other parts of the world. These slaves were considered property, valuable property. While they were worked, abused and sold without regard for their own feelings, they were never the object of extermination. Leonard Pitts and other African-Americans exist today for that very reason.
We can't know how many native Americans would be alive today if their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, generations reaching back into the 16th century, had been able to avoid death at the hands of European invaders. Perhaps it's better to be dead than to be a slave. We can't know that, either. But Leonard Pitts is alive today because his ancestors were slaves, not native Americans.