Monday, January 16, 2006

Remembering Martin

34 Remembering Martin

(The following is adapted from the Annual Martin Luther King Essay first heard on Bloomberg Radio 1/7/05)


Ever see a gambling raid... a real one? they parade the people they've arrested
into the front door of the police precinct.

They carry in evidence... in the form of telephones and betting slips..
computers and such.

High ranking officials get up and tell us that through the cooperation of the
district attorney and the police undercover investigators ... this ring which
took betting on sporting events... or the election or the ponies or whatever...
has been broken.

What you DONT get to see is the guys who came in the front eventually go out the
back ... some without so much as a token appearance before a judge.

Somebody does a little time... and the massive ring is back in business in days
if not hours.

There are those who believe (or until recently believed) that this was pretty
much how the civil rights era murders were being handled.

Especially in rural Mississippi. especially in 1964.

Maybe it took the movie Mississippi burning... which came out 24 years after the
voting rights worker murders in Mississippi.

Or brilliant investigative work.

Persistence, diligence... all that good stuff.

Or maybe it was just some sad, decrepit Klansman running his mouth, bragging to
a cellmate that finally led the law from making an arrest.

Guilt in this case depends not on some creep in the tank pointing a finger... but
on the justice system.

So who knows what'll happen. but at least they went looking, all these years
later.
--

That's not going to bring back James Chaney or Michael Schwerner or Andrew
Goodman.

That's not going to change that the state did not bring murder charges against
Suspects back then.

But it's at least *something.

The first arrest, as it turns out and probably with little coincidence came
just in advance of this holiday commemorating the birth of martin Luther king
junior... who was murdered in Tennessee... but not far from the border with
Mississippi.

We are given on this day to speculation about what Dr. king would have thought
about the events that took place since his death... where he'd stand on this or
that issue today...

We have been fond of reminding the speculators that
there's no way to tell.

But on this one, it's not much of a leap to guess what doctor king would say.

Chances are, it would include a prayer of thanks that justice might at last be
done.

But the chances are it would also contain a caution, for in most matters, Dr.
King was a cautious, contemplative and thoughtful man.

He might tell us then that the arrest is cause for recognition... but not of
celebration.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2006 WJR

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