A white man in Milwaukee was found guilty Wednesday of first degree intentional homicide in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager. You may not have heard much about it. Court TV and HLN didn't provide any live coverage of all the testimony. "Experts" on MSNBC didn't tell us constantly that anything but a guilty verdict would be the greatest affront to justice in the history of our country. Fox News didn't mention the troubled past of the victim on a daily basis. None of the key witnesses didn't post how sexy they were going to look on the witness stand.
When the jury began deliberations, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett didn't urge "certain people" to remain calm. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department didn't run PSA's featuring "Urban sounding" actors encouraging residents not to riot.
None of the networks broke into their regular programming to deliver live coverage of the verdict on Wednesday. Hundreds of "analysts" didn't get in front of cameras across the country to "guess" as to what the jury members were thinking about in deliberations. Twitter didn't explode with news of the guilty verdict.
Reverend Al Sharpton didn't tell MSNBC that the verdict "restored his faith in the justice system." Reverend Jesse Jackson didn't call a press conference to praise the jury--even though there was "only" one African-American on the panel. Beyonce didn't ask her concert audience to raise a cheer in honor of the verdict. Hip Hop artists didn't tweet "The open season on killing black men is now CLOSED!"
And it was a verdict that up until Wednesday, we had been told was impossible to get anymore in the US. So how then did it happen? Could it be because the suspect was arrested and charged immediately--rather than allowing the case to fester ill will in the victim's community? Could it be because the Department of Justice didn't browbeat the prosecutors into overcharging the case? Could it be that the State had solid evidence it could present at trial--including a confession from the defendant, video of the shooting and credible witnesses it could put on the stand? Could it be because Wisconsin has stricter guidelines for the use of deadly force to protect private property? Or could it be that the jury was presented with sufficient evidence to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt the white man intended to kill the unarmed black teenager on that May afternoon?