Bullets Can’t Discriminate: A Poem

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Bullets are not color-blind
But a bullet cannot hate
A bullet on a mission
Will never discriminate
A bullet cannot envision
What is wrong and what is right
A bullet cannot see nuance
Nor can it see in black and white

A bullet doesn’t care
What tone a skin is
Taut or not
Wrinkled or smooth
Oily or dry
A bullet will go through
A bullet just does not care

A bullet doesn’t discriminate
Against the rich or the poor
Though statistics seem to prove
The latter are preferred
Bullets don’t distinguish
Based on race, religion, or class
Bullets can’t discriminate, that’s an established fact

As it barrels into the skin
A bullet doesn’t contemplate
Segregation
Stratification
The justifications
For how it got where it is
Or the legacy it will leave behind

A bullet doesn’t mind
If it enters into a brain
Or surprises from behind
If the intended recipient has their
Hands up or is handcuffed
A bullet won’t stop
Even if begged to

Tearing through the air
Or through flesh or teeth or hair
A bullet isn’t concerned
If the first few did the trick
And its mission is futile
Because the prior bullets were fatal
And there is no more damage that it can do

Gunning for its target at
Roughly 900 miles per hour
About 1320 feet per second
Approximately 15 and five-eighths
Inches every millisecond
A bullet never pauses
To determine if what it is doing is right

A bullet is wrong
If it thinks it can stop itself
From carrying out its assigned task
Merely because of what is in front of it
If it thinks it can change course
The bullet is wrong
Because a bullet cannot think of anything at all

A bullet cannot understand
The differences between
Humans of different origins
Or what distinguishes
One with African heritage
With someone whose lineage
Is more European

A bullet does not give a single shit
And could not care less
If it triggers more violence
Or if it triggers unrest
If it causes a riot
Raucous or not
A bullet cannot give a shit

A bullet never wonders
What a person’s name is
If the person is a man or woman
Or identifies as something different
From what your orientation is
A bullet firmly stays straight
Unless it travels great distances

But bullets rarely get to travel far enough
To fall harmlessly to Earth
Their paths are so often short-lived
Before they meet their final resting place
Too often inside a former human
Until they travel again
From corpse to coroner to courtroom

The bullets are merely evidence
Of something much bigger
Bullets have no concept
Of a rigid rigged system
Of a history of division
And the role their brethren played in it
A bullet can never be a criminal defendant

The bullets are innocent
Only doing what they were told
They were commanded to go and go they did
Straight towards that kid
It wasn’t the bullets’ fault
The blame should be on him
He got in the way of them doing what they did

The bullets can’t be guilty of murder
They never harnessed an intent
The bullets certainly never envisioned
Such an unfortunate incident
The case against the bullets
Must be immediately dismissed
The bullets were designed to do what they did

Mens rea, mea culpa
The bullets’ lawyer will shout
The bullets think not
The case against them must be thrown out!
To the judge and the press
The story is the same
The bullets knew not and thus cannot be blamed

Who is at fault
For removing a life from this Earth?
It wasn’t the bullets
They are innocent from birth
A bullet cannot decide
Who should live and who should die
A bullet cannot be tried for homicide

A bullet lacks malice
If anything, blame the gun
Or better yet blame no one
And let’s all just move on
Assume that justice has been done
The bullets meant no harm
The bullets never imagined they would kill anyone

Not a young person or old person
A good person or bad
Not a son or a daughter
Nor a mom or a dad
Not someone enlightened
Or still searching for truth
A bullet is guided by a hand and a groove

A bullet never questions
Whether it has been pointed
In the wrong direction
If its trajectory
Will result in tragedy
If its path is true
If its arc bends toward justice

A bullet can’t be prosecuted
Charges will never be filed
Information never makes it to court
No matter how many bullets are fired
Bullets are guiltless
No matter what the charge is
To date, zero bullets have faced an indictment

How preposterous it is
That bullets can commit such an offense
Rule 12(b)(3)
Demands the court must dismiss
The judge must acquit
In State v. Bullets
Bullets are 100 percent innocent

A triumph of justice
The bullets’ defenders proclaim
The rule of law is followed
In clearly the right way
Lady Justice is in balance
The bullets’ good names are clear
The bullets cannot celebrate because bullets cannot hear

Bullets cannot listen
To the voices that cry out
To the distressing wails of parents
Whose children they snuffed out
Pleas for change are lost on a bullet
All bullets are the same
No sense of morality, decency, or the American way

A bullet is uninterested
In whether justice has been served
Or whether the victim
Got what was deserved
A bullet is directed by greater forces at hand
No matter how often things go wrong
Bullets never seem to understand

When the dust settles
The precedent is set
Dismissal is certain
For the bullet that kills next
A bullet is completely unbothered
By who the victim will be
A bullet sees no difference
Between you and me

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Brian M. Stewart is the owner of Legal Mechanics, LLC, a writing and editing company specializing in works of legal scholarship. He has previously been published in the UC Davis Business Law Journal, the Florida Historical Quarterly, The Green Bag, and the University of Miami Law Review (twice).

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