Editors Note: At 7:40pm CT on November 29, 2022, the State of Missouri murdered Kevin Johnson. It is, or should be, universally recognized, that poor children are not responsible for their hunger, that abused children are not to blame for being abused, and that we all have a collective responsibility to protect those too young to protect themselves. Yet if we fail in our duty to protect, and those we’ve failed to protect are irreparably damaged, and through that irreparable damage grow up to break the law, we as a society treat those same tormented children as unworthy of empathy . . .
The surviving family and friends of the dead are constantly accosted by aesthetically pleasing merchandised images of the people violently abducted from their lives. In the hands of social media, and opportunists, this tradition becomes another installment of a Ford-assembly line-like process of transforming a murdered Black person into a ubiquitous trademarked symbol of social justice. . . .