The Corner

Vigilantism, or Justice?

I’m interested to know what the rest of the Corner thinks about this story. Dontee Stokes, the 26-year-old Baltimore man allegedly molested in childhood by a Catholic priest, has been acquitted of attempted murder charges in connection with his shooting the priest in May. Though the priest has never been charged with abusing him, it appears that something happened between the two: the priest took the Fifth in the Stokes trial to avoid testifying, and Cardinal Keeler, who sent the priest back into ministry despite Stokes’s accusations almost a decade ago, said from the witness stand that he wished he had done more to prevent the abuse, and praised Stokes’ character. In the 1990s, young Stokes went to the Church and the state years ago seeking help, but was turned away. This factored in to his decision to shoot the priest. Bill O’Reilly is on TV now denouncing the jury verdict as an endorsement of vigilante justice. Personally, I don’t think so. Had the jury convicted Stokes, who admitted to the shooting (though claiming a form of temporary insanity), no one could say the verdict was unjust. But given the circumstances of the crime, the jury opted to show the young man mercy. For that I am grateful, and am suspect that a higher form of justice was served. But I am not entirely convinced. Any thoughts?