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Kirk, that's hard stuff

I am sorry about how painful this episode must be for you, Kirk. I come from a very fine family, kind and loving, close-knit and solid. But my grandfather was a KKK member for a short time back in the 1920s; he repented of that, but it is true that it happened. He was young and ignorant at the time, a sharecropper with a fourth grade education. In later years, he went back to school at night, when he was 30, and finished high school and did a little college. By the end of his life, he was anything but a racist. And I have a great uncle who killed someone, too. He was a sweet man but had a bad temper and was drunk at the time, not that it excuses him in any way.

Your father is not the person he was forty years ago. None of us are. Back then, however, he framed ten people and sent them to prison for a long time, and there was no evidence that any of them was guilty. He bribed witnesses. He manufactured evidence. He coached the witnesses to commit perjury. He engaged in illegal racial discrimination in the jury selection process and also tried to pack the jury with Klansmen. And he made fraudulent claims of illness to the court in order the gain the mistrial so he could get--in his words--"a different judge" and "a different jury." It is a really serious crime for an officer of the court who is sworn to uphold the law to mislead the judge. But he made a pros and cons list about whether to pursue the mistrial by claiming that he was sick. As you point out, this was all wrong.

That does not mean that he was purely an evil person, just that he misread the situation and made some mistakes. The court will decide what happens now. I hope you will find some people and be able to forgive everyone, both your father for making a mess of thing and all the other people who made mistakes, too.


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