A Letter to a Little Boy Who Had His Life Taken Away

by on November 7, 2019 · 0 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

I came across a letter the other day. A letter I had written to a boy who had his life taken away. A two-year old. Anthony was his name.

It was a letter which my heart insisted I write to maintain my sanity after sitting, as a juror, in a courtroom, where an attorney, a lawyer who was but a wielder of smoke screens on a clear windy day, trying to sway our opinions with what amounted to bullshit by any definition.

I mean I had sat for days being blown away, looking at pictures with arrows pointing to the bruises and contusions and tears and subdural hematomas that Anthony was subjected to and this man tried to convince us that Anthony was some clumsy little bowlegged pigeon-toed boy who could barely walk without falling down – but yet could run into a basketball pole with enough force to cause the kinds of wounds he had suffered.

The truth was, according to a number of doctors and medical examiners and the like, the kinds of injuries Anthony had inflicted upon him were like those one might receive in a car crash or from falling from a tall building.

He tried to paint a picture in our minds of how well Anthony was taken care of after we had listened to descriptions of seizures that rendered him unconscious and weren’t reported to doctors until days later.

He declared a key witness as not credible because of the way he dressed and the way he wore his hair in French braids and because he had it in for the defendant. But this teenage boy calmly and accurately painted as clear a picture as possible as to what Anthony’s last moments on the planet were like.

He talked about how lucky Anthony was to be in such a nice home with nice people but we heard about whippings he had to endure as part of his “potty training,” about art work and antiques his dirty hands were not to touch, about fine floors and rugs he was not to trod upon, about how in this house he had no way of knowing up from down or right from wrong.

No way of understanding why he was repeatedly smashed into bedposts and walls. His universe had no sun.

When his limp body was handed to the nurse at Scripps East the defendant complained of having been peed on.

We came to clearly see that Anthony was an unwanted guest in a step grandmother’s American Dream, mere prey to be devoured by her greedy aspirations.

But, even knowing that, I still was trying to be fair and impartial, and I wasn’t ready to send her off to prison quite yet because the man of the house, her husband, hadn’t been heard from and I was thinking he might be the guilty one – he definitely possessed an extraordinary ability to ignore evil doings.

It was, however, verified that he, like other possible suspects, had been nowhere near his home when the crime took place.

A determined and skilled attorney on the other side had fought ferociously and eloquently for Anthony, as though he were her own, and we jurors, with me being the foreman, rewarded her diligence with a guilty verdict in this sad case.

I’ve never been so eager for an ordeal to end and when I drove away from San Diego’s Superior Court that day I was abuzz with what had to be a touch of PTSD which I was able to relieve a bit through writing a letter to Anthony, to, cosmically, I guess, help him rest in peace with some wee glimmer of dignity, ending my letter with:

“I can only hope, Anthony, that you are comfortable and appreciated wherever you are; that it’s okay to explore and get dirty and learn and grow at your own rate where you are. And I also hope that if there is truly a heaven that that is where you are.

“I didn’t know you three weeks and two days ago but now I love you and miss you as much as anybody I have ever loved, missed or known, and that includes some very special people, dude. Thanks for coming into my life, my young brother.”

The letter was written in March of 1997 but there are Anthonys all over the world and the number of children in the United States who are abused and neglected is shocking and shameful – beginning with a president, hopefully about to be impeached, who puts them in cages and separates them from their mothers and fathers, with absolutely no hint of a “reasonable cause,” in blatant violation of international laws.

So, finding the letter reminds me that we still have a way to go when it comes to creating a safe world for our children.

But we must keep at it because the next leg of the pursuit is on them.

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