by Troy M. Olson (with deep regrets)
The other main characters, Jem and Scout, are the names of his cats, because he cannot afford to start a family. When Tom Robinson is unfairly and unjustly arrested for jaywalking, being shot once in the shoulder during the arrest, chaos breaks out in the sleepy area of Maycomb County, Alabama.
Infuriated by this injustice, activists around the country organize from Maycomb to Mist County in Minnesota, exercising their First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble with the stated goal of getting the attention of policy-makers.
In response to this lawful assembly, local white people have been complaining that they were slightly inconvenienced while shopping and buying things they did not need, because protesters were getting in the way of things and stuff…. In response, a counter-protest movement of those claiming to be dedicated to constitutional principles and the values for which this country was founded upon springs up.
While slowly making his way home late at night to feed his starving, but beloved cats, Jem and Scout, Atticus watches the television and inter-web reports of his local Congressman standing alongside the leader of the counter-protest movement.
Once Tom Robinson is unfairly charged for jaywalking, public defender Atticus Finch, under pressure from the DA’s office, his superiors at the PD’s office, and the local political machine, considers whether to take the plea bargain rather than pursue a full trial and vindication for Tom, who he knows is innocent of the trumped up charges of a minor crime.
Fearful of the political and professional fall out and the crowded caseload and court docket in front of him, Atticus rules against his better judgment, seeing few realistic alternatives, and a plea deal is reached.
Rest in peace, Harper Lee (1926-2016)
May your timeless masterpiece, and its central character, Atticus Finch, continue to inspire us all to work together for a better world.