Civil Rights justice: Overdue, vital

11/24/2009

Most rational people would agree that premeditated murder is wrong and that it’s in society’s best interests to pursue murderers as a means to both serve justice and show respect to the families of the dead.

But not everyone sees it that way, apparently.

An Associated Press report in The State that details the FBI’s attempt to solve long-dormant murder cases related to the Civil Rights movement has brought out some oddballs. Consider “Zekemire,” who had this to say in The State’s comments section:

“WHY ARE WE WASTING THE ASSETS OF THE FBI ON CASES 40 AND 50 YEARS OLD WHEN THEY NEED TO BE INVESTIGATING AND ARRESTING TERRORIST AMONG US? The groups like splc, wwi, naacp, and others HAVE TO PUSH THIS TO GIVE THEIR RADICAL RACIST ORGANIZATIONS AN EXCUSE TO EXIST!”

(As an aside, you’ve got to love people who write in caps. It serves to let others know that the writer is most likely not capable of composing anything remotely resembling a coherent, lucid response. Yes, heavy is the burden for he who dons the tinfoil hat.)

One wonders if in 40 years “Zekemire” will be saying the same thing should the US be pursuing Osama bin Laden’s few remaining minions?

There will likely be other “more pressing” issues for the government, so at what point do you say “You know, it’s been a long time so maybe we should just give up and move on to something else.” Hopefully, never. Murder, whether perpetrated by a redneck or a religious radical, is equally appalling.

Somehow, one gets the impression “Zekemire” and those like him put slightly more value on the lives of Americans killed by Islamic terrorists than those who fell in the fight for Civil Rights.

The fact is, the passage of time in no way lessens the crimes that occurred 40, 50 or even 60 years ago. We have an obligation to help prevent the repetition of such crimes and to show survivors that while justice may never fully be served, it won’t be completely swept aside, either.

Of course, the problem with many of the murders associated with the Civil Rights era is they were never investigated properly in the first place. Sadly, if it was up to folks like “Zekemire,” it would remain that way.

We didn’t get it right then; the least we can do is try to get it right now.

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