Theatre II – Hard Racial Truth
One of the largest and wealthiest drug dealers in a certain American city was finally arrested after years of peddling. At the news of the dealer’s arrest, the good people of the city rejoiced.
“The authorities have done a great job,” said the people. “That evil man has killed many of our sons and daughters with his evil drugs, and many more are tormented by addiction but not yet dead. They are walking dead, thanks to that terrible man. Now that he’s behind bars where he belongs, he can’t kill anymore. Finally, we will have some peace.”
At the dealer’s trial there were dozens of witnesses for the prosecution, hours of damning surveillance video, even detailed records of every customer; what they bought, how much they bought and how much they paid. Due to the overwhelming evidence, observers knew that a guilty verdict was a forgone conclusion, and they eagerly awaited both the verdict and the multiple life prison sentences which would surely follow.
Being wealthy, the drug dealer had retained a Dream Team of the very best attorneys in the land. To everyone’s surprise, the defense never cross-examined a single prosecution witness, nor did it call a single witness of its own. Day after day, as the evidence piled up against its client, the Dream Team sat calmly at the criminal’s side, seldom speaking a word.
When the time for final arguments arrived, the lead defense attorney stood before an outraged jury, faced with the seemingly impossible task of changing their minds.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” he began, “why is this court wasting your valuable time and the taxpayers’-hard-earned money harassing my innocent client? Granted, my client sold millions of dollars’ worth of drugs. Granted, many have died from ingesting those drugs. And granted, many more are enslaved in addiction and agony because of my client’s deliberate acts. Yet my client, I tell you and intend to persuade you, is innocent!”
As the jury and gallery alike gasped in outrage, the brilliant attorney continued, “Ladies and gentlemen, my client is indeed a merchant of drugs. As a matter of fact, he is a very successful merchant. He owns two houses and several fine automobiles. He has a personal wealth manager—not a mere broker, mind you, but a custom wealth manager—and his investment portfolio is impressive.
“Yes, my client is a drug dealer, but you must understand that he is not like other drug dealers. He is special, and you all must understand just how special he is.”
At this, the mother of a young man who had died from a lethal cocktail of the dealer’s drugs stood up in the gallery, shook her fist at the lawyer and shrieked, “He’s a killer! He’s a killer! And you are a dirty liar.” As the judge pounded his gavel and called for order, the woman’s husband gently restrained her and lowered her, ashen-faced, back into her seat.
The lawyer continued, “Yes, my client is special. First and foremost, my client deals during regular business hours, not in the middle of the night like some common pusher. He also deals out of a nice, clean office in the professional park, not on street corners or back alleys as some rancid duplex over on Curtis Avenue. On top of that, he places a warning label on every bag of weed, every vial of crack, every bottle of pills, in fact every powder, potion and pill that he peddles!
And what do these labels say? I’ll tell you what they say because I happen to have one in my hand right now. They say, “Warning!” Do you hear that? They say, “Warning!” Then, as if that’s not sufficient, they go on to say, “Don’t use too much of this stuff at one time. Don’t mix this stuff with other stuff. Don’t go to other drug dealers and buy different stuff unless you tell me first, because their stuff and my stuff might not go well together. And finally, whatever you do, don’t get hooked. If you do get hooked, just call me and tell me and I will stop selling you drugs. Not only will I stop selling you drugs but I will give you some free advice! I will advise you to use your own willpower to get unhooked, and then I will leave you alone and let you get unhooked all by yourself.” Continue reading