I heard the news report on the verdict, I saw the reactions both inside and outside the courtroom, both and jubilation by many and even the despair of some. And all I could honestly feel was at best, a sense of relief. Look… trust me, I’ve seen too many patterns that makes this whole proceeding something other than to be celebrated. First… too often in these kind of cases, the wrong side just gets away with doing wrong right off the bat. So I get it that many see this as some measure of “finally… justice”. But I also know that the legal system has a way of turning even a verdict like this into less than full justice. And an appeal and reduction in whatever time the original sentencing prescribes is just a gavel-tap away somewhere down the line. As is some form of a shortened sentence after the public eye has turned away from this tragedy a couple, three, five years removed from the front page. And in either case… even with what I think was the proper verdict, and due to no fault of his own, young Mr. Botham Jean is still dead.
And he ain’t coming back regardless of whatever the final outcome. And the significance of that fact alone should never be lost on us. And the fact that it was so easy for Amber Guyger to feel empowered to act as she did is still something for us to grapple with. Yeah, they found her guilty… this time. But in a society that has shown itself to be more like its Commander-in-Sleaze than maybe we thought was possible after an era of Obama, you and I have to realize that as Black people, we are still sadly, dangerously, subject to being suffocated— snuffed out for life by some similar interaction with the likes of this particular Amber wave of grain. So, celebrate if you will, but my suggestion is to instead, remain vigilant. Watch what happens here and be on your guard for the next time. That instance when you are Botham Jean… in your own place, and still in peril. Because by all the current meter readings, for most of us, it’s still not safe.