A year ago three black men were chased and beaten in Howard Beach, a predominantly white neighborhood in the Queens section of New York City. Their crime? Their car had broken down.
As they ran, Michael Griffith, 23, was hit by a car and killed, his death creating one more warning of the tragic consequences of irrational tensions that spring from the nation's failure to heal the racial fissures that it inherited from its distant past.
Now Griffith's death has resulted in, by present court standards, speedy justice. On Monday three young white men were convicted on manslaughter charges. Convictions in such a case would have been unlikely three or four decades ago.
The guilty verdicts, disappointing to those who had hoped for murder convictions, send a warning. Racial violence cannot be tolerated. Sentencing should reinforce the message.