“If you had been on that jury son, and eleven other boys like you, Tom would be a free man. So far nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process. Those are twelve reasonable men in everyday life, Tom’s Jury, but you saw something come between them and reason.”
– To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
I by accident came upon this piece about the lynching of one Mr. Jesse Washington, a 17 year old boy way back in 1916 in a then little known town called Waco in Texas during the height of racism there. A 1600 strong, so called civilized mob cheered and celebrated the vindication of a boy. Who is to say whether he was guilty or not? They never cared. Their ears must have been where filled with the wax of racial hatred and their minds biased. That was the society then, there, apparently civilized and highly placed. Are we any different today?
We may have come far from burning people alive and conducting witch hunts, at least in principle we have. But deep down our society is the same, flawed and diseased. We may not be impaling people anymore and we definitely are not pushing widows to be burned along with their dead husbands, but that is where the buck stops. We do still engage in some very sinister things, don’t we? We murder our daughters before they are even born and we do that with more ease that the slaughter of a cow. We beat up our wives and abuse them. But these are normal things in our society today not as audacious as the lynching of Jesse Washington.
What we do in our day to day life is in no measure what we are capable of and it does not provide a true picture of the malice that lurks within the conceited society. In order to know what the society is truly capable of we must look what they do at times of great anarchy, when they are no longer a society but a mob, when they are nothing more than a bunch of rapid dogs on the hunt. They rape and they slaughter, they rip apart human life and bodies in the most disgusting manner possible. The discontent and instability that so lie in the depths of men manifest into its worst at such times. It is at such times, when the bonds and bondages enforced by the chains of society breakdown that the society becomes vengeful and disoriented. It is not even imaginable what a society that consists of murderers and rapist at the best times would disintegrate into when they come face to face with the darkness that lurks inside.
What we may now do in the name of justice be only the sinister things of tomorrow, may be generations next will speak of our barbaric ways with as much disgust as we speak of our generations past. Let it be the holocausts in Germany or the Lynching in Waco, the agitated ‘civilized societies’ has in there moment of folly written onto the face of sons and daughters a scar. A scar that for all the time to come will forever remain. May be nothing can be done about, may be that is the way of life, but I believe different. Many a great men have in the past opened our eyes and held it open just long enough to see our folly and prevent it in the time to come. May be at times of great peril will rise great heroes and they will save as times of great despair.