Being a nation of laws requires due process | Letter

  • Wed Jul 8th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

A recent letter to the Journal from Mr. Clifford Jordan ends: “We are a nation of laws and they should be followed [lest] anarchy reigns.” This is his conclusion to a letter which also includes the observation: “When a Black criminal i.e. Mr. Floyd is killed, that person becomes a saint or king.”

While Mr. Jordan may not agree, I believe those two statements contradict each other, for a half dozen reasons. Two will suffice:

1) Mr. Floyd was accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Even if true, is there a law that says the punishment for counterfeiting is death? If Mr. Jordan can find it, I’d like him to show it to me.

2) Our nation of laws entitles us all – including Black criminals – to due process. That means Mr. Floyd had the right to be arrested, to stand trial, to be found guilty by a jury of his peers, and to face whatever consequence the law deems appropriate. His execution – because that what it was – by police officers denied Mr. Floyd all the protections which all of us, including Mr. Jordan, are entitled to.

I agree with Mr. Jordan, that we are a nation of laws. It’s the tragedy of our time that police all too often deny our minorities those protections which the Constitution enshrines. This is in fact the road that leads to the anarchy of the tyrant.

Fielding M. McGehee III

San Juan Island