Tuesday, November 25, 2014
In the wake of the grand jury decision on whether to indict Darren Wilson in
the shooting death of Michael Brown comes (via Instapundit) an interesting
and timely review of what a grand jury is and why we have them:
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution gave its name to the protection against self-incrimination, and it also contains three other famous (and these days somewhat battered) guarantees--against double jeopardy; against deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and of just compensation when private property is taken for public use. But before any of these, in pride of place in the very first words of the amendment, comes perhaps the least thought-of protection in the whole Bill of Rights: the assurance that no one will be "held to answer" for a serious crime unless indicted by a grand jury. [bold added]Elsewhere, I learned that the identities and deliberations were kept secret to prevent pressuring the grand jury into making any particular decision. At the risk of sounding callous, this is something that keeps our government from behaving like a lynch mob directed by whoever is in charge. It's too bad that so many people think that no deliberation is necessary at all to render justice.
As relieved as I was to hear that the forgotten man in the Micheal Brown case was no-billed, that relief has been nearly cancelled out by my disappointment in the rioting -- the worst yet -- that has followed. Thanks to rampant arson, there is "nothing left" along a stretch of road I happened to travel earlier in the day of the initial confrontation. Smiling looters raided a toy store last night. Others carelessly fired guns, of all things. That's just a sample of what happened last night. My only question: Why did anyone bother to wait until 8:00 p.m. last night to get started?
As a St. Louisan, I now have to keep tabs on this barbarism since it is close enough to my doorstep to represent a threat to my personal safety and that of my family.
Most disappointing of all are those who chant that "Black lives matter," from one side of their mouths while condoning and abetting behavior like the above. Committing crimes is not the way to protest what one is claiming to be a crime. Refusing to consider evidence is not the way to show a concern for justice. Making one's immediate vicinity a living hell is not the way show that one's desire for respect comes from self-respect and a regard for the lives of others. This is pathetic, and I must say that pity is one of the most unpleasant emotions one can feel.
I take solace in the fact that there are still legitimate aspects of our government that function properly, such as grand juries, and that most people are not as mindless as the self-lynching mob that is incinerating Ferguson, or the other mobs like it that have been cropping up across the area lately.
P.S. I will take tomorrow and Thursday off from blogging for the holiday. I wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I will not allow the necessity for vigilance to cause myself to forget that life is precious, and worth living.
Today: Corrected wording of a sentence and the P.S.