A young man was declared “Not Guilty” in a U.S. court yesterday, in spite of the fact that last year, when he was 17, he carried a rifle into a crowd, shot and injured one man and killed two others.

There are some who believe the Judge was wrong when he threw out the ‘possession of a dangerous weapon by a minor’ charge; that if the defendant had been any race other than Caucasian, he would have been found ‘Guilty’; that the defendant should not have been involved in picking names for the jury who would try his case; that the Prosecution was incompetent.

But at the end, it was up to the members of the jury. At the conclusion of the trial, they believed that the accused was “Not Guilty.” He is now free and can never be tried for this crime again.

Declared “Not Guilty.”
Does ‘Not Guilty’ mean ‘Innocent’?
Conversely, does ‘Innocent’ mean ‘Not Guilty’?

Two men are dead because a young man killed them with a rifle he never should have been given … let alone carried into the crowd that night … let alone used.

Anger escalates. And fear. And hatred
… surfacing in social media, daily conversations
darkening thoughts and words and possibly more actions.

Something has to be done so that hope can enter, fear can lighten, hatred can begin to dissipate, and the slippery slope can straighten out.

Where to begin?
Surely it begins with each of us

Register our outrage? Yes.
“Name” our fears? Yes.
Recognize and acknowledge our own prejudices and biases? Yes

And do what we can to bring about a Spirit of Gentleness into the world around us
… and not just around us
… but within us.

Time will tell … if Civil charges are brought.
Time will tell … if the slippery slope that the United States is on will result in civil war – or even the ending of democracy in that country.
Time will tell.

And in that time,
may there be moments of gentleness
may we be gentle
– gentle with ourselves
– gentle with our children … partners … other family members … neighbours … tradespeople … store clerks … gas station attendees … medical professionals …

May a Spirit of Gentleness flow through hallways, homes, offices, classrooms, social media, governments … in me … in you … in us all.

Photo taken at the roundabout en route to Maple Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
© June Maffin www.soulistry.com/blog