By Fred Steele (Road Scribes of America)
As we scan the headlines of the news from day to day we often see stories that we believe have no connection to our lives only to discover they were defining moments that changed all our lives. Yesterday is a day we might not recognize as a catalyst for events yet to unfold.
First here is an example from a little over a hundred years ago that seemed isolated yet led to world changing events, chaos and still lurks in the darkness of history and influences our emotions and thoughts to this day. The event was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28 1914.
Who? Where? And how did it effect me or the world?
Ferdinand was the heir to the throne of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. On that fateful day he and his wife Sophie were murdered by a Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip. As history records it Bosnia Herzegovina was annexed by the Austrian Empire in 1908. This act it could be said had no effect on us right? You would of course be wrong. The assassination was the catalyst that touched off WWI a war that cost thousands of Canadians
their lives. The hatred and suspicion in that region has boiled over more than once and saw Canadians serve as peace keepers there in 1992 when Yugoslavia unraveled into the old feuding states that have not resolved their differences. It appears hatred suspicion and perceived injustices real and or imagined never die. They fester and lead to greater tragedies inflicted on future generations.
God forbid and I say this with all sincerity, today might be one of those sad days written in the blood of the innocent. The Wisconsin Jury delivered a not guilty verdict in the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. It’ not the verdict alone that is the problem it’s the circumstances surrounding the trial. The conduct of a controversial Judge, the appearance of the makeup of the Jury and some evidence and terms of reference that were denied entry. It is said justice must not only be impartial it must be seen to be impartial. When it’s not there are precedents that are set that can complicate future trials and there are sometimes unforeseen consequences.
America is an unstable emotional state at the moment in the midst of an uncivil war of words. Polarization has gripped the nation to the point of political and social gridlock. For some time we have witnessed the slow decline of democracy’s great experiment and the debris from the circumstances may be the catalyst for worse things to come.
We, as in Canada, are America’s closest neighbor and friend. Like a great earthquake there is bound to be an aftershock of emotion from this verdict. My fervent hope is there will not be an escalation of the violence of the summer of discontent that precipitated the trial . The problem is the precedent set by the verdict could lead to worse outcomes.
Allowing armed citizens to open fire during demonstrations could lead to armed conflicts and more serious delinquent behaviors. This is a problem for the left and right as the justice system is prosecuting the deranged who have threatened both Democrat and Republican elected officials. Controlling the fringe on all sides is becoming harder to manage.
There will always be demonstrations, both peaceful and otherwise. Like a fire, a controlled burn is far better than an out of control blaze. I am troubled by the events of the day and I am concerned for the future.
Fred Steele © 2020