Letter: “Justice for Jessie Could Have Equaled Justice for All”

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jessie roach obit pictureA letter to the editor from the family of Jessie Roach

“I’m almost there. Just a little bit longer and I will be home. Home to be with my siblings when they wake up, home to be with my Aunt. To help her and to take care of her. I’m almost home. It’s late, it’s dark. There is no one out here. I am almost home. Keep going, man. Lights. Someone else is up at this hour with me. Lights. They are driving towards me. Move over, man. Get over. What the hell? Those lights are coming right at me. Move over, man! I start to run. Running away from the lights that are coming towards me. I run. I stumble. They’re still coming. I fall. The car lights are right here. I can’t get up … I can’t get up.

October 13th, 2013. A day that will haunt my family for the rest of their days. A day that my being was lost. A day that still causes so much hurt, pain and anger. A day that Terry Mosher drove his van towards me and took my life.”

Through this entire process. This heart wrenching, painstakingly tiring process. Something got lost. Somebody got lost. Jessie got lost. The focus of this tragedy shifted on a poor old man on oxygen. Much to our efforts to keep Jessie in the forefront, this man took over. He took over our hearts, he took over our thoughts, and he took over our lives. He took Jessie from our hearts and our lives, and placed himself in the lead. He put himself in the starring role. And, let us tell you. This man, Terry Mosher, could have received an award for the role he played. The lying, the heartlessness, the selfishness and the lack of empathy could have given this man an award. Let’s talk about awards. There is a movie, which hits so close to home. To our hearts.  Prejudice. Bias. Focussing on the race. Not the individual. As much as we tried to ignore this notion. It is a fact. A raw, real and honest fact. Much to our attempt at ignorance, we know that had the roles been reversed and this was a white man, killed by a native man. The entire process would have played out differently. “We are all equal under the eyes of the law. But that is not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes. Yours and mine. And until we can see each other as equals, justice will never be even handed. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts — where we don’t know better”

We were taught to do good and to be good. To always tell the truth and to own our actions. For this man to sit so smugly, is a slap in our face. As a proud native family. We are always taught to respect our Elders. This man is the exception. He does not deserve our respect. We know, in our hearts, in our minds, and in our spirits that this man took Jessie’s life. An admission of guilt. A finding of guilt. That will not change how we feel. That will not bring Jessie back to us. He took that from us. But what he cannot take from us, is our resilience, our strength, our love and commitment to be there for one another.

In light of our tragedy, and for those families who have faced this same very feeling. We will never lose sight of those lives lost. Of those angels of Highway 17B.

-Jessie’s Family

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