Have you all seen the movie A Tine to Kill? It stars Matthew McChonahey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Ashley Judd. It's a hard hitting, emotionally wrecking movie about the trial of Samuel L. Jackson who is facing murder for killing the two men who brutally beat and raped his eight year old daughter.
The first time I saw this movie I was young. It made me angry. It made me cry. It made me want to become a lawyer so that I could help to change the world for the better like Matthew's character did.
Listening to the movie now as an adult it just makes me sad. Why is it that now in the year 2013, this stuff is still happening? Children being beaten and raped, parents put on trial for defending their children.... Black men put on trial for something that a man of another race would have gotten away with?
I don't want to make this blog a "race card" one or one where I bemoan being a gay, black man in America, but the reality won't go away even if I stop talking about it. I have had people who have turned their backs on me for whatever reason only for me to find out from someone that it was really the whole "black thing" (and I'm quoting one person here). And I could put those people on blast here, but I won't. The main reason is that I hate gossip with a passion and that's not really my personality. But I think that when you don't really want to be in someone's life it's easy to walk away from them. Especially if you were looking for a reason to do that anyway. When you're uncomfortable with someone or an aspect of someone's life then the smallest thing will give you that "out" you've been looking for.
In the movie A Time to Kill the city in Mississippi where this took place was looking for a reason to explode. Racial tensions were high for a long time and while blacks were persecuted and attacked for the most part it was looked over, one of the police officers was in the KKK, for fuck's sake. That isn't uncommon it happens a lot, especially here in the South. While many of us would be appalled if something like that happened today, we've become desensitized to other atrocities and horrors being inflicted upon others. We've stopped gasping and crying when we hear about a rape, about a woman or a man being in an abusive relationship, about a child being molested or kicked out of their home for being gay, or someone being murdered.
Is it all the violence in our movies, our books and on our television or are we like Samuel L. Jackson in the movie and are so jaded by the justice system that we no longer have any faith in it?
Or maybe it's because it's not personal to us anymore. There used to be a time when we imagined ourselves or our loved ones in every situation, it made us compassionate, it made us loving people full of understanding and willing to forgive and help others. Have we stopped doing this? Why? And how do we get back to being a people who are affected by the world around us and compelled to make it a better place?
Maybe we should do as Matthew McChonahey said and close our eyes and imagine the person hurt, killed, raped, assaulted, on trial, abused, or kicked out is white or in my case, black. Maybe then we will go back to being affected by the news stories of real life events taking place around us and not just the movies based on them.
Some of my favorite parts from the movie: