Hate Takes a Holiday
Genarlow Wilson has been released from Georgia’s incarceration system. He was freed late last week from prison after spending two years of his mandatory ten year sentence for his conviction of the charge of aggravated child molestation. At the time of the offense, Mr. Wilson was seventeen and the girl he was with was fifteen. The oral sex was consensual. Mr. Wilson could have taken a plea deal that would have allowed him to walk. But in return for his concession he would have been registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He would’ve have forsaken any chance of being able to develop a normal relationship with his sister who his nine. And in Mr. Wilson’s opinion the deal just wasn’t worth it.
Last year, the Georgia state legislature amended the outdated law under which Mr. Wilson was convicted. The law was changed so that such sexual encounters were considered misdemeanors instead of felonies. However, the legislature failed to make the law retroactive so it had no bearing on Mr. Wilson’s case. However, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled four to three that Mr. Wilson’s sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
Genarlow Wilson is on the news saying he harbors no ill will against David McDade, the District Attorney who worked so diligently in his effort to keep Genarlow Wilson behind bars and keep Georgia safe from “his kind”. Although Genarlow admits that his sentence was over the top, he believes that the prosecutors were simply doing their job and doing their best to carry out the law. Wilson admits that his behavior was foolish and idiotic, symptoms synonymous with the behavior of the average teen these days. Genarlow understands that it was his own actions that caused his incarceration and not any enthusiasm for the enforcement of law from anyone else. The television anchors who reported this story applauded Mr. Wilson’s maturity and his refusal to put the blame for his imprisonment on anyone else.
The suggestion is that we could all learn a lesson from Genarlow. We all need to learn how to turn the other cheek when we are the victim of such enthusiastic prosecution. We all could benefit the type of self analysis that asks how have I contributed to the predicament that I find myself today? The problem with this line of thinking is that it does nothing to help the correction of behavior that is antisocial.
A man is murdered by a couple of men who become serial snipers. If the family of the murdered man knew who did it but thought it better to forgive and forget and wanted to do nothing more than to put the past in the past, people would have a serious fit. People recognize the potential danger of letting someone free to commit the same wrong on others. But white people don’t suffer from racism to the degree of black people so racism is hardly a problem. In fact, in the struggle of racism between black people and white people, white mindsets are more apt to support the white people who work hard to keep black people in line. And with white people holding all the cards, black people can either sit back and tolerate their subjugation or resist and make the subjugation that much more unendurable.
I could be wrong, but Genarlow Wilson appears to have made the choice to sit back and quit resisting. Two and a half years of incarceration with a focus on Christian development to learn the principle of turn the other cheek. This is not to say that Mr. Wilson is abandoning his personal principles. If he had accepted his plea deal that would have allowed him to walk but would have him go through the remainder of his life being recognized as a sex offender, we would’ve had a totally different appreciation for what is happening to him here. But since he held out for justice he doesn’t have to deal with that stigma.
However, now that Genarlow is accepting full responsibility for what has happened, absolving anyone else of anything, the system remains intact. District Attorney David McDade is free to come down hard on others who make poor personal choices. Teenagers engage in consensual sex on a regular basis. Mr. McDade can become a seriously busy district attorney if he makes the choice to prosecute them all.
Mr. McDade is not nearly as generous in his professional opinion of Mr. Wilson. Mr. McDade employed more legal maneuvers to keep Genarlow in prison than the number of moves made in a Jet Li movie. He wasn’t just doing his job. It was a personal quest. If McDade had his way Genarlow would still be behind prison bars and serve the remaining eight years of his sentence. Maybe Genarlow is tired of the entire legal process altogether. That would be understandable. But if I had lost over two years of my life to the overly enthusiastic prosecution maneuvers I have no doubt that I would be less than a good Christian student. Black people excel with our adherence to Christian or other spiritual doctrine. Too bad more good white people like Mr. McDade cannot learn from Genarlow Wilson’s example. But then too bad more good black people don’t learn from David McDade’s example and make the protection of our society a personal priority.