“There but for the Lord’s kindness am I”

Julianna is finishing up her summer reading assignment and the book is To Kill a Mockingbird and she read the part wherein Tom, a black man falsely accused of a crime, was killed. 

The similarities of his murder at the hands of prison guards is chillingly familiar and makes me wonder how far we’ve actually gone. Has any progress been made.

I am quoting from Chapter 24

“Tom is Dead.” Aunt Alexandria put her hands to her mouth.

“They shot him,” said Atticus.  “He was running.  It was during their exercise period.  They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over right in front of them–” 

“Didn’t they just try to stop him?  Didn’t they give him any warning?” Aunt Alexandra’s voice shook.


“Oh yes, the guards called to him to stop.  They fired a few shots in the air, then to kill.  They got him just as he went over the fence.  They said if he’d had two good arms he’d have made it, he was moving so fast.  Seventeen bullet holes in him.  They didn’t have to shoot him that much.  Cal, I want you to come out with me and help me tell Helen.” ……skipping to the next page….”The handful of people in this town who say that fair play is not marked white only, the handful of people who say with enough humility to think when they look at a negro there but for the Lord’s kindness am I.”

Even that comment creeps me out because of the privilege it carries with it but the parallels just stuck with me.

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john pavlovitz

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