Our faith in humanity is not shattered, just a tad broken.
We began our court coverage Monday knowing there would be jury selection in a controversial and widely discussed case. We also knew a plea was in the offing in at least one other major case.
We watched Monday morning as Daquon Martin and Jimmy Williams Jr. were called to the defense table with their lawyers, Sammy Webb and Sam Barnes, respectively.
They are good looking kids, listening to them speak to Superior Court Judge J.C. Cole, they are bright and were fully aware of the consequences they faced.
Their strikes against them, besides succumbing to and wallowing in their basically parentless existence in their formative years, was the fact they both had to grow up in such an environment.
Sad to say, but Martin, 16, thrived in the structured surroundings of juvenile detention, was catching up in school and testing well.
What bothered us most was the attitude of his mother, who was called to the defense table behind her son. She had nothing to say, thought the judge only wanted her to come up to answer a question. She had nothing to say, not even to at least ask for leniency for her son, that she would somehow dedicate herself to providing him some structure.
That she didn’t at least say something to the judge is indicative of the blase attitude we find on the streets these days, even the streets and dirt paths of the rural area we live in, people who heard nothing and saw the same.
The private thoughts of those working from inside the bar of justice are they will not take Cole’s advice to make something of themselves when they walk from prison at relatively young ages to heart unless they have some structure.
We’re not begging for a nanny state where the government is forced to throw dollars at trying to build model citizens, we’re just asking for some parental involvement because you made a decision that could possibly lead to a child being born into this world.
If we had a chance to write an open letter to Martin and Williams it would be to not succumb to the whims of the streets no matter what the circumstances of your home life are. Others have made it under the most trying of circumstances, so can you.
Three days in court and it was mainly about children, the 16-year-old Martin, the 18-year-old Williams and a now 17-year-old girl who was victimized when she was 15.
Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner spoke of the primrose path set by a minister who the jury decided Wednesday afternoon did, in fact, victimize the girl.
People have asked our thoughts on the matter. Our thought is why would any grown man, the child’s pastor or not, have the need to text a 15-year-old girl, or do what the jury decided William Meinsen did.
Kissing a girl that age on the neck whether in horseplay or to gain some sexual thrill is unacceptable and a grown man has no need to horseplay with an underage teen.
The Meinsen case and the division it has caused makes us believe we should all take a second look at who we put our faith in, that maybe we should set our own spiritual course.
We know from firsthand experience ministers are capable of deception,forcing us into a baptism at 13 or 14 we weren’t ready for and didn’t want, telling us if we took that first step our friends would follow.
Then in our 20s, a minister told our mother that because we chose to look in other directions for spiritual guidance we were a lost cause.
This is what can happen when you stockpile your faith in a man and not seek answers for yourself.
It can lead you down that primrose path Werner spoke of, divide people and lead to a long road to recovery.
Three days in court and, yes, our outlook is a little jaundiced, but we aren’t down for the count.
We hold out for hope Martin and Williams can find inspiration to succeed once they serve their time and not return to robbery and guns.
We hold out hope a minister loved by many and reviled by just as many will take the time to apologize and realize the position he held came with a responsibility he failed to uphold.
And finally, we hold out hope a 17-year-old girl, victimized when she was 15, will have the power to move forward in her life, embracing her family and live to show others there is the ability to move forward — Lance Martin