It is very odd....but after living in southern California for just barely 6 years, I have been summoned for jury duty two times now. The first time I was excused due to my work but this time, I have yet to be excused. This time I am going into my second day of jury selection for a murder trial. I have no work to excuse me this time around and man oh man, I sure wish I did.
The case involves murders that are gang related. The accused are charged with a drive by shooting that to my understanding resulted in the death of 4 people. The accused are young kids, I guess around the age of my son, 20 or so. Unlike others who are in my shoes, I have really no bias, I have never been involved in any kind of violent crimes nor do I know of anyone who has. I do not resent LA Law enforcement or have any negative feelings towards them. I do believe in the legal system, knowing it is not perfect but it's the law we have to work within. I do believe that all accused are innocent until proven guilty. And I do believe I can hold to these expectations and do my civic duty. Do I want to be on that jury.....NO WAY, but that is not enough for the judge to dismiss me. I can't imagine any of us wanting to serve on this jury. I know it will be a brutal experience.
I guess the most painful part of all this, has been looking into the eyes of a mother who's son is charged with these crimes. It was sadness that I cannot possible describe, a pain that was enough to make me try to catch my breath, like after being hit in the stomach really hard. It was like looking into the eyes of death. A living death, some would say. My heart broke for this mother. I guess it is a 'mother' thing, seeing another mother who loves her child so very much, who had great hopes and expectations but who found out the world has other plans for her child and I am sure she is wishing she could have lived somewhere else where the word 'gang' is just something that happens elsewhere, in another part of the world. I am sure many things have gone through her mind, what went wrong, how could this have happened to my son, is it my fault?
I have no preconceived notions, no foregone conclusions regarding the crimes but I do feel a responsibility of prayer for the fathers and mothers of these children. It's more of a conviction that they need prayers of comfort and God only knows how to do that, I haven't a clue as how to possible comfort someone in their shoes carrying this heavy load. But, one thing I do know is that our heavenly Father can do what we cannot. If you agree, please pray for the parents of these children who are in such serious trouble. God help us, and may God help them. Amen.