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SCOT BELLAVIA: Chauvin’s Verdict Does Little for Justice

I’m hesitant to write this because there’s such a thin line between commenting out of a feeling of obligation and out of personal need.

If I were to stay silent, not that I’m any sort of public figure or a corporation whose silence would be noticed, it could be assumed that my “silence is violence.” Silence could also infer to some that I have nothing to say, though I feel I do. Delaying a comment allows me time to process thoughts more completely, but risks no one reading because their urgency has passed.

On the other hand, sharing my thoughts on the verdict of Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd welcomes criticism. Though that’s not something I fear, people could say that I have an overwhelming bias or no standing in the discussion, because I’m white. I also risk being misread or writing something that amounts to an incoherent diary entry.

But, I’ve been given the space to contribute to an online newspaper. Next, I feel and am told, I have an adroitness for writing. Lastly, the importance of this trial on a national level, one receiving the same attention as O.J. Simpson’s, as was compared on today’s episode of “The Briefing” with Al Mohler, are compounding reasons for me to write on this today.

At this point, I think I’m simply procrastinating in getting to the meat of why you clicked on the article, so I’ll serve it up now and you can start chewing.

Whether you consider George Floyd an unwitting martyr of police brutality or an unrehabilitated criminal whose time had duly come, the death of anyone brings sorrow. This we have all agreed upon for it is why we followed the story.

Whether you believe the world operates on a hierarchy of the oppressors and oppressed based on skin color or you believe humanity trumps race, Floyd’s death became much larger than the individual circumstances of the case.

Whether you peacefully marched against injustice or had your business destroyed in the riots, we see the impotence of government and non-profit organizations to effect concrete and lasting change.

Whether you think 400 years of monetary reparations will counterbalance 400 years of subjection or you deny any form of racial privilege, we must recognize that Chauvin’s verdict has not drawn a line in the sand marking the end of a chapter of history.

“There’s more to be done,” it’s said.

“Yes, but…” the opposition counters. No one will be completely satisfied and we certainly won’t all be even partially contented simultaneously.

In this life, we will never realize full justice. No court case can bring back the dead. No life can be quantified into fines or prison time. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so no history will be both forgiven and forgotten.

Whether you believe in an afterlife or that we rot in the ground, we must appeal to absolutes greater than the authority of the nations’ judicial systems. Life and time march on without us. It’s at the individual level that change happens which, with time, manifests societal improvement.

So, rejoice for whatever justice you saw done yesterday and mourn for the injustice remaining. Justice and injustice will persist, always being too little and too much, until they don’t. At that point, final and full justice will be meted unequivocally to everyone.

Whether you agree with your sentence or not, you will know that it is full and just.

– Scot Bellavia

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