Maybe I've watched too many episodes of NCIS and Law & Order: SVU in my life, but when someone does something terrible, I can't help but think justice should be served. Cause and effect, right? It's like if I eat a pound of chocolate every day; the result of that overindulgence will be weight gain -- maybe even some form of diabetes -- whether I like it or not.
But lately, it feels like people aren't getting their just dessert (or "just deserts"), especially if you've been paying attention to news media this year. How many times has Donald Trump and other GOP presidential candidates said something bigoted, homophobic or racist, with no repercussions? With bewilderment, I watch TV interviews with people who champion Trump after hearing some of the crazy, fucked up things he says. (The latest example? His proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. A recent poll says 57 percent of Americans oppose the move, but that means 43 percent actually support it.)
So when a person of authority, one who works in an industry that's notorious for letting its people get away with murder (literally), gets convicted of some serious crimes, I can't help but want to commemorate the moment.
Daniel Holtzclaw is a 29-year-old, ex-Oklahoma City cop who sexually assaulted and raped at least 13 women while tasked with the job of serving and protecting citizens. Those duties fell short when it came to black women, though. His victims ranged in age from a 17-year-old to a woman in her 50s -- all black women, the prosecution argued, that Holtzclaw thought wouldn't "be believed because of their records." Because the racial overtones there are screaming to be clarified, Holtzclaw has the same complexion as I do -- he's half white, half Japanese.
Tonight, a jury found him guilty on 18 of the 36 charges filed, and he faces up to 263 years in prison.
Maybe other people in positions of power will think twice before they take advantage of someone who's a member of a marginalized community just because they think they can get away with it.
It's a lofty dream, I know. But it's not crazy to think a person will suffer consequences if they break the law or hurt someone. It's a lesson we all should have learned in kindergarten or even earlier: If you're bad, you'll be punished.
That's why the outcome of this case matters so much. It's a rare moment of justice being served, especially when it comes to victims of color. Now the women of Oklahoma City can sleep a little better tonight, knowing one more vicious animal is off the streets.