Like him, I had gone to a store to buy candy. It was also in the winter. In my case, though, I had on a huge hat and a gray scarf covering my nose and mouth. I bought a small bag of goodies from my high school friend, Gregory Williams, who was the cashier.
As I exited the convenience store on West College Avenue, I walked backwards, watching to see if the bus was coming as I headed to my after-school, part time, menial job at a C&S bank in downtown Atlanta.
I was at the corner of the street looking as far as I could for the bus when I noticed a police officer kneeling with his gun aimed at me! He was shouting at me to come back!
At first it did not register what was going on. I noticed a second officer in the police car turn his lights on and speed around the other side of me as if to cut me off in case I tried to run!
I walked slowly toward the officer as the other one came from behind me. They took me back into the store. I was stunned. When Gregory saw them bringing me inside his eyes widened.
“Did he just rob you?” one officer asked. “Have you just been robbed?!”
Surprised, Gregory said, “No. He just bought that stuff. We’re classmates!”
The officers told me I was walking backwards suspiciously with my face covered, carrying a paper bag like I had robbed the place and added that I could have been shot. They warned me to be more careful in the future and left. Gregory starting swearing angrily and I just shook my head. I was so embarrassed.
I missed my bus, got to work late, lost my appetite and the more I thought about it the more steamed I became.
Could one of them have simply asked the cashier if he had just been robbed before having me stare down the barrel of a gun? That would have been my preference. To be honest, I felt violated. At the same time I tried to understand their point of view and took their advice to heart.
Not every innocent person, however, gets the chance to learn from such experiences. They become victims of injustice. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Do you agree? In this latest tragedy, it is clear that the issue of “justice for all” is not about black or white, but more importantly, about wrong or right, for we see people of all races and nationalities standing together in a national outcry for justice.
To me, the phrase “We are Trayvon Martin” means we are all victims or potential victims of injustice. So what is justice and how do you get it? Is it embodied in the execution of laws or can it be legislated by additional laws so that certain acts will not go unpunished in the future? Is it achieved by threats of violence if an injustice is not met with justice?
Winston Churchill said, “The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country. A calm, dispassionate recognition of the rights of the accused, and even of the convicted criminal, measures the stored-up strength of a nation and is sign of proof of the living virtue in it.”
Do you believe there is virtue in recognizing a due process for any criminal to be brought to justice? Still, isn’t it a shame that some people have to fight harder for justice than others?
As a former court officer I can attest to the fact that even if you get it, the wheels of justice do indeed turn slowly. Staying calm and composed while tempering passion with patience and restraint can be the hardest thing when families or communities are faced with injustice.
While it is the desire of all lovers of justice that all the facts come to light and evildoers will eventually be punished, it is also true that humans make mistakes when it comes to meting out justice. This is true because as descendants of Adam we are all victims of a greater injustice.
Romans 5:12 reads, "Sin came into the world through one man, and his sin brought death with it. As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned." — Good News Translation.
This makes all humans victims of a great injustice that started in Eden. Since then, countless acts of criminal behavior has gone unpunished throughout history, including horrible atrocities.
Will this be true under the rule of the King of Kings? According to Isaiah 11:3-4, Jesus Christ will be able to do what no human authority has yet been able to do — deliver perfect justice for one and all! It reads, “His greatest joy will be to obey the LORD. This king won’t judge by appearances or listen to rumors. The poor and the needy will be treated with fairness and with justice. His word will be law everywhere in the land, and criminals will be put to death.” — Contemporary English Version.
Even sin and death will be conquered, according to Romans 6:22-23! Do you long to live when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven, and perfect justice exist for all? Then seek justice, seek righteousness, but never take justice into your own hands. As Jehovah says at Romans 12:19, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.”
Humbly submit to God’s kingdom rule by Jesus Christ as Lord. Do all things for the glory of God and in His appointed time you will see true justice for all.
*For a copy of The Little White Book of Light featuring more than 100 Wright Way columns, visit barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com and amazon.com.