Thursday, June 23, 2005

Justice knows no limits

Few things sicken me more than racism. The deep-seated, generational hatred that drives it has stained societies throughout history.

So it's nice to see the Mississippi Burning case closed with the conviction of 80-year-old Klansman Edgar Ray Killen.

Many people have made an issue of Killen's age. They claim that jailing a senior citizen in poor health accomplishes nothing. They call for him to simply be left alone to live out his years in peace.

I guess these people haven't spent any time with the families of the three men he murdered in cold blood in 1964. I guess these people think time somehow manages to erase the enormity of this crime. I guess these people just don't get it.

Mr. Killen: you got away with it for 41 years. That's 41 years more than you gave your victims. You're finally getting what you deserve (OK, to clarify, what you deserve is far, far worse than the Mississippi justice system is currently allowed to deliver to your sorry keister, but I'll accept a 60-year sentence if that's the best that can be done.) Your age has nothing to do with it. Nor does your failing health. You killed three people based on their support of racial mores you have never tried to understand because you were so blinded by hate. Society has no room for your kind. You will not be missed.


Dean said...

I guess the only thing I'd take issue with is that this 'closes the book' on these crimes.

Killen was convicted of organizing the killings. There were quite a few others involved, and as far as I'm concerned the book isn't closed until all of those still alive are behind bars.

Erica Kern said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading about you and your family (I even took a peek at your wife's blog). And, by the way, my BMW is named Hansel (for obvious reasons). Originally it was Dieter but I couldn't get the image of Dana Carvey shaking his butt and asking me if I wanted to touch his monkey out of my head (do you have Saturday Night Live in Canada?).

Keep writing. I look forward to reading additional entries.

Carmi said...

DEAN: Good point. What I SHOULD have said was that this BEGINS to bring some sort of closure. As your comment prompts me to churn this issue even more in my head, I can only conclude that, technically, murder victims and their families never achieve full closure. There's no such thing as justice when a life is lost in the process. Our institutions are woefully unable to remotely address the issue, but they represent the best that we can do.

ERICA: Thanks so much! You've opened up some great memories of SNL: Dieter, Hans, the Church Lady, Grumpy Old Man and other Carvey creations helped define the warped sense of humor that marks me today. Thanks for reading my crazy little blog...I hope you'll continue to share your thoughts in comments.

Maria said...

I was in college in the early 60's and a member of SNCC. The conviction of Killen is bittersweet to me.

Zee said...

They call for him to simply be left alone to live out his years in peace.

I don't understand this point of view. How can people say he should be left alone to live in peace? Who cares how old he is? Who cares if he's sick? Fact is, he is guilty and deserves SO much more than he's getting... I know torture isn't legal, but given how long he's been free while his victims' lives are over, it somehow seems appropriate. (And I'm usually a pacifist! SHEESH!)

L said...

he is a piece of garbage... the sad thing is, he was a preacher

Lora said...

I just want to know what took them so long. How could he have been above the law for 41 years?