The guilty verdict in the Abery case brings “a silver lining”

Relief, yes. Ecstatic-that’s more complicated.

this Three white men convicted of murder The man who shot Ahmad Arbery on a suburban street in Georgia last year was widely recognized in the United States on Wednesday, and even many conservatives agreed that justice requires these three to chase and kill one unarmed. Of 25-year-old black people who run past their neighbors in shorts and T-shirts.

From a court in the deep south, where 11 of the 12 jurors are whiteAfter nearly two years of national racial liquidation, it seems that they have found common ground. However, although Brunswick’s sentence has been widely praised, many people have seen that the United States is still severely plagued by injustice. Even if the criminals are handcuffed and taken away, Abery’s family celebrates the victory, but it leads to the real The path to reconciliation is still uncertain.

The guilty investigation of Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and neighbor William “Rody” Bryan came at a particularly worrying moment-it was a ruthless one. The background of political hatred, due to the Deadly epidemic This is like an endless trauma that has been honed and reshaped the United States.

Anger, despair and almost no time to rest. Once again, on the eve of Thanksgiving Day, when a mother’s pain was relieved in prayer with her head down, and joy echoed on the steps of the court, many people saw a satisfying day.

Outside the Green County Courthouse, not far from the salt marshes and rivers that surround this old Victorian house, Delores Pollet, a retired city government clerk, smiles.

“I’m skeptical of ancient history,” said the 65-year-old community activist, whose ancestors were auctioned as slaves in Charleston, South Carolina, 130 miles along the Atlantic coast. “But this is new history.”

The scope of a case in which the details unfold in such a painful and intimate manner is still regarded as far-reaching. Just like George Freud was murdered by the police, his death inspired a black fate movement. David Anderson, the pastor of a large black church in Columbia, Maryland, said that for him, the result was “far more than just Abery.”

“Our country is deeply divided on race issues,” said Anderson, a 55-year-old writer and radio host who leads the Bridgeway Community Church, a multiracial church with a large number of black members. He said the guilty verdict “let us see a glimmer of hope that justice can roll in like water.”

Kyle Rittenhouse was recently acquitted. The teenager killed two people with the AR-15 rifle he took to the tense protest scene in Wisconsin. This is a more polarizing case than this one. Case. Rittenhouse is adored by right-wingers and welcomed by former President Trump, but even among those who call themselves conservatives, there is much less support for those who attacked Abery.

Howard Vestal, 78-year-old in Dallas, is a U.S. Air Force veteran and retired architect. He is a volunteer for the Texas Gun Owners Safety Branch. He called the verdict appropriate.

“Responsible gun ownership is the only gun ownership we can tolerate in a democratic country,” he said. “The people who shot Abery-there is an element of intimidation to those who carry guns, even if it may be legal. This is a threat to all of us, to our democracy. Gun violence is getting closer and closer to all of us. .”

For others, however, Arbery’s killing is a devastating revelation on how racial inequality can make ordinary activities a fatal risk. In Orangeburg, South Carolina, Justin Bamberg (Justin Bamberg) heard the word “guilty” repeatedly chanted on TV broadcast in the courtroom, tears streaming down his face.

Bamberg is a 34-year-old Democratic Party state representative who has represented his family in police shootings in several high-profile cases, including Alton, Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016 · Sterling case.

“Today is a solid day for our country to make progress,” he said. “This is the long-awaited verdict.”

But Bamberg said that as a black man, he felt that normal activities such as running in the street were not safe, just like Abery did when he was tracked and attacked.

Among many people watching in horror across the country and around the world, Abery’s death is reminiscent of the brutal and violent brand that has long been associated with the southern United States in past generations, and is full of lynchings and repressive Jim Crow laws.

However, in Brunswick, a small In a port city about 80 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, residents are more likely to say that their home is not traditionally known for extreme racial violence.

The 37-year-old Theawanza Brooks, Arbery’s aunt, sat in the courtroom and took notes throughout the trial. She said that the death of her nephew was different from anything she had experienced before. . She said that growing up here and attending Brunswick High School, she had never experienced racism and never had reason to think that race was a factor in her treatment.

“I was taught to love everyone,” said Brooks, an assistant manager of a retail store. “This time it was outstanding because it was like modern lynching 400 years ago. Thinking of us getting rid of those times and then this happened, it made me mentally regress.”

Republican leaders in Georgia condemned Abery’s killing and stated that there was no self-defense violence in their state. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp responded to the Abery shooting in February 2020 and signed the state’s first hate crime bill in June of that year. Additional penalties were imposed.

In May of this year, Georgia repealed the state’s citizen arrest law and greatly restricted the ability of any uncertified law enforcement officer to arrest someone. Kemp called the old law “outdated” and “reached the point of abuse.”

“I just think this is the right approach,” Camp told the Savannah TV news media at the time. “What we saw in the Ahmad Arbery case…this is not Georgia as I know it. We are better than that.”

In many ways, the relics of the past seem to disappear in a country that has long failed to face up to the sins and injustices on which its foundations are based. Arbery’s decision is the latest symbol in the slowly changing ledger.

However, some people in Brunswick believe that their community has been tainted by this case, and they feel that it is incompatible with the town they know.

“Everyone thinks the South is racist, but I find that African-Americans and whites get along very well here,” said Bill Hestor, who works as a dock at a pier not far from the courthouse. administrator.

A 59-year-old white man who considers himself conservative said he hopes the results will bring a cure-although he questioned whether the third defendant, Brian, should face the same severe punishment as the father and son he initially pursued.

But for many people, simply avoiding what is regarded as the worst-complete acquittal-is no cause for celebration. The three convicted have hardly been held accountable at all. They were not arrested until 74 days later, after a video circulated on the Internet triggered an outcry.

The trial itself was also interrupted by discordant moments: in the 911 call as evidence, one of the defendants described the nature of the emergency as “a black man running on the street.” The chief defense attorney disparaged Abery’s “long and dirty toenails.” The defense requested that black faith leaders not be allowed to enter the courtroom, but it was unsuccessful.

Emory Berry, pastor of the Greenwood Community Baptist Church in the suburbs of Atlanta, said: “As a pastor of a Christian, black and most African-American church, this case is very close to home.”

He called these judgments “commemorative,” but at the same time “instantaneous.”

“In the 21st century, it is frustrating, frustrating and disappointing to see the devaluation of black lives and the politicization of our judicial system,” he said.

However, as with all such cases, Wednesday’s verdict pointed to a bleak fact: Justice is sometimes far from comfort.

“The guilty verdict will not bring Ahmed Abery back,” Berry said. “But it will prove that his life and death were not in vain.”

Jarvie reported from Brunswick, Kaleem from Los Angeles, Hennessy-Fiske from Houston, and King from Washington.

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