Denny jury was wrong

by Robert Di Sessa | 10/22/93 6:00am

Justice has been raped again. The court decision regarding the Reginald Denny beating case should repulse every law-abiding citizen in this country. But this doesn't seem to be the case.

News reports are depicting misguided individuals who are rejoicing that justice has been served in the release of Henry Watson and the acquittal of Damian Williams of every serious charge, including attempted murder.

When last year's initial court decision was handed down regarding the Rodney King beating, all reasonable people (both black and white) were mortified. Should those Los Angeles policeman have been set free when the entire nation watched on videotape as they unmercifully beat King as he lay on the ground? Of course not! The black community then responded in terrorist fashion with the riots to force a second trial in its search for deserved justice.

Now that the white community has watched its video proof of Williams and others beating a completely innocent bystander fail to ensure justice, will there be a second trial? Probably not, because the white community will not riot. Weren't Denny's civil rights violated as were King's? Doesn't he deserve justice as well? I realize that he is currently going around hugging the mother of his attacker, but after all, he was smashed in the head with a brick.

The principle here is that everyone deserves justice -- even white people. Regardless of race, color or creed, everyone deserves and is theoretically granted equal protection under the law. But black Americans do not deserve more justice. Any educated and reasonable person would agree that blacks in America have suffered greatly for hundreds of years at the hands of white people, but past abuse does not excuse present crimes. Today, we are all responsible for our own actions.

By ancestry, I am half-Italian and half-Irish. This makes me a "dago" or "mafioso wop" on one hand and a "drunk mick" on the other. The WASP's didn't want my ancestors either. The sign NINA (no Irish need apply) hung for many years in shop windows, and Irish people were treated like slave labor when they were forced to build the Central Pacific Railroad. This past discrimination was wrong, but it doesn't grant me the privilege of committing crimes today. I fully realize that African-Americans suffered even more, but the principle is the same.

If we are to succeed as a nation, we have to start focusing on what we have in common instead of emphasizing what separates us. Culturally, black Americans have more in common with white Americans than they do with Africans who were born and raised in Africa.

Although it is sometimes difficult to see, our races are united by our American culture, and we need to further unite under our shared, American citizenship. We are all Americans together. I am not an Italian-American or an Irish-American. I am simply an American, an American who believes in liberty and justice for all, in equal portions.