“Just Mercy” Takeaways

  • Beat the drums of justice
  • We give more comfort, mindfulness, and help to people on the day of their execution than we do their life before
  • The legal systems formality distances us from its cruelty.
  • The letter of the law is carried out only as seriously as the district attorneys, officers, clerks, and others who touch it
  • Narratives are hard to shake for even impartial actors. And they’re cover for those who’s intentions are malicious
  • Inditements of individuals are symbolic of how institutions think about those communities
  • “...if we don’t expect more from each other, hope better for one another, and recover from the hurt we experience, we are surely doomed”
  • children are condemned to die in several US states. When we know children aren’t developmentally advanced, how can we expect rational judgement making? How can we expect them to know the weight of the law in each decision they make? The adults know better. The court room is the place a child shows up when adults in every part of society has failed them. The adults should be the ones on trial
  • If the injustice isn’t bad enough, you have the micro “miscommunications” that lead to a defendants family not being let into a court room, the police dog being at the entrance, etc. maliciousness all the way down
  • Ms. Walker - “I’m here because I got this vision of justice that compels me to be a witness. I’m here because I’m supposed to be here. I’m here because you can’t keep me away.”
  • It’s one thing to win the case. It’s important to also set the tone and messaging to allow a person to renter society and not be considered the dangerous person they were originally plastered as. But how does that media narrative push opinion and individuals in the judicial process against you? Especially if they held contempt for the press (esp. in the south where national press brought negative press on southern leaders). Positive media led to retaliatory process (ex: expedited execution date)
  • the meaning of hope in a hopeless place
  • Bachlev Havel (Chevch leader) - “Hope was the one thing people struggling needed in Eastern Europe during Soviet rule. People struggling for independence wanted money, criticism of the soviet, etc. but the only thing they needed was hope. Not pie in the sky. Not preference for optimism or pessimism. An orientation of the spirit. A kind of hope that positions oneself in a hopeless place. That allows one to believe in a better future in the face of abusive power. They hope makes people strong.”
  • our stories, pains, dreams have so much overlap but those moments to share deeply are so rare
  • “we are all broken. We have all hurt and been hurt. While not equivalent, it’s shared. Being broken is what makes us human. It’s the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning. We can either embrace our brokenness or deny our own humanity. Seeming tough makes us seem strong, and less broken. We’ve as a society decided to crush those whose brokenness is visible.”
  • each of us is more than our worst moment
  • “That’s why you have to be brave, brave, brave”
  • death penalty as a legacy of lynching and expedient killings
  • convict leasing
  • rich and culpable treated better than poor and innocent