Justice is gone. Pulling your strings. Justice is done. Seeking no truth. Winning is all.
Justice has a price in Lee County. And the going rate right now is $181.
That’s the “punishment” meted out in the Lee County court system for a low-life who attacked — absolutely without provocation — a child and the child’s mother one recent evening when he had nothing better to do. You know, drink a few brews, go out and kick a 12-year-old boy who’s minding his own business, playing in front of his house with his 8-year-old sister. And then kick his mother when she intervenes.
Then let law enforcement protect you when someone a little closer to your size comes around.
When word got around that this was not the coward in question’s first such attack — obviously he’s someone who doesn’t have the heart to go after a victim who’s much more than half his size — the wheels of local justice started turning. The victims were assured that this time would be different.
But see, this was not some poor gang-banger from an inner-city ghetto. This was someone from “a good family” who “usually doesn’t act this way but sometimes has issues.” All his enablers rallied around and told the right people that he was really a very good guy, maybe a little misunderstood, and suddenly the cowardly and vicious attacks on two innocent people didn’t matter so much anymore.
And officials who’d promised to keep the victims “informed” about the progress in the case against this criminal kept their word by sending out a form letter that said, essentially, the physical damage this creep caused you two, and the psychological damage he inflicted on the 8-year-old who witnessed it, cost him $181. Yeah, about what it would take to pick up a few extra sixers.
Justice, it seems, comes cheap in Lee County.
Now, let’s just imagine for a moment that this thug hadn’t been from a good family and didn’t live in one of those neighborhoods that Lee County trots out when it talks about “quality of life.” Let’s suppose for a second that this person had been from the ghetto or — heaven forbid — even a black teenager. Anyone think that $181 would have been enough to settle this matter?
How much weight would the assurances that “he’s a good guy who just had a bad moment” from that kid’s mother — or his oddly involved next-door neighbor buddy — have carried?
I told someone I know well about this case shortly after it happened — this was a person who’s seen, heard and done a lot in his lifetime — and he said, “There was a time when, if some sorry man attacked a woman or a kid like that, a certain group would pay him a visit and it was pretty much a guarantee it would never happen again.”
I chuckled at the implication and said, “Yeah, but that was a different time. I think we’ve gotten beyond that now. Now we have to let justice take its course.”
When I heard what kind of justice this coward received, it made me think again about what my buddy had said. And, God help me, there are moments when I find myself looking backward instead of forward.
I know, I know. People like this low-life are subject to a justice that’s much longer lasting in the end. And I agree that karma sometimes has a way of turning inward on one so vile. But while we’re waiting for divine justice and karma to kick in, this creep’s got his eye on some other kid, just waiting for another bad moment.
I guess we can just hope and pray the next victim doesn’t end up in the hospital or the morgue. That might push the tab all the way up to $300.
Email Carlton Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.