Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | December 19, 2012

Reason for Hope?

I read a very interesting piece in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer about the history of violence in America: Violence Vanquished. Here’s just one part of it:

An even more intractable debate accompanied the rise and fall of lynching, one of the most gruesome forms of violence ever to take root in the United States. Today, we tend to remember lynching as a clandestine crime – a young black man pulled from his bed in the dark of night and brutalized or hanged in the Southern woods. For most of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, though, it was a community phenomenon of almost unthinkable cruelty, in which hundreds if not thousands of people gathered to watch a victim being disemboweled, castrated, tortured, or burned, and then killed.

To modern sensibilities, the injustice once again seems obvious, as do the solutions: Prosecute lynchers, fight for racial justice, strengthen the rule of law, and mobilize public opinion to condemn rather than excuse outbursts of brutality. And yet it took more than 100 years for lynching to begin to disappear from American life, and even longer for Americans to fully acknowledge its horror.

In the meantime, thousands of influential people, including many esteemed lawmakers, argued that lynching was a fact of life, a random act of violence about which nothing could be done. It was not until 2005 that the U.S. Senate, spearheaded by Mary Landrieu, apologized for failing to pass federal antilynching legislation, leaving hundreds of innocent people to be sacrificed to official inaction.

Maybe there is hope. Eventually.




  1. Thanks for pointing this article out. There is so much nonsense being spewed by the members of those that are in your 3 to 1 against majority, this was a refreshing breath of intelligence and common sense.

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