From NYT: "A jury pronounced Edgar Ray Killen guilty of manslaughter on Tuesday in the deaths of three young and idealistic civil rights workers who disappeared on a summer night here exactly 41 years ago."
I think this is sort of sad, in a way. Not only did the folks fail to convict the man of murder one, but the South went a little bit further in righting the wrongs of its past. I'd prefer to believe in the Neil Young "Southern Man" myth of a South of pure racism, with snow-white men gritting their teeth, one step away from a return to the lynchings.
I wish I could have been at the trial. I may have said to the man, "I hope you die in prison you f****** racist!" There's a way in which addressing the guilt, shame and degradation of an entire region can only be skin-deep. And convicting an old man while he lived freely in his community for, yes, forty-one years, is only superficial. The pure racism of the South remains, the hell that de Tocqueville described--the permanent stain on a racism that stays with the compromised American Dream--lives in the hearts and minds that even think in the deepest recesses of their mind that the Confederacy and any sort of case...
I love to hate the South.