A moment of MISSION with Nancy Grace
by Fawn Germer
Famed prosecutor Nancy Grace planned to be married to the love of her life and go into teaching. At age 21, her fiancť was murdered, forever changing her mission and drive. Now a regular fixture on Court TV and CNN, Grace has become a fierce advocate of victim rights.
"As a prosecutor, I never told anyone about losing Keith. I feared some defense attorney could somehow bring his murder out to a jury and suggest there was some sort of vendetta. I didnít want to jeopardize any of my cases. Even, to this day, it is difficult to talk about it. It is always like cold water in the face, and it is still very, very upsetting.
"It felt as if my whole world had exploded. Like Iíd been on a beautiful, hand-painted merry-go-round that suddenly stopped. Itís surprising that the world kept turning. Up until then, I had no knowledge of evil or violence. It not only robbed me of my dreams for my whole life, but of the whole world.
"I really want other victims to know that they are not alone. I hate that word people use Ė closure. Itís like, if you break your arm and donít get it fixed, but you learn to flip pancakes anyway. Iíve never been the same person I was before Keithís murder. Yet, I am very blessed.
"I donít feel powerful. Itís important that I try to keep that violence from happening to other people. I feel like I am a piece of driftwood at sea, fighting against some huge world. If I were powerful, none of this would have happened. Victims have no power in our system, I feel invincible. I feel I am doing something right. I didnít live through all those years of pain for anybody Ė any defense attorney or judge Ė to stop me now.
"Itís hard to tell someone else what that feeling is like, that feeling you canít rest until you try to set something right. I probably would have had the family and home Iíd dreamed of, if I had not believed I had been called to do something about it. I felt unhappy with the system. Fine. Change it, even if it means you become a part of it. I just couldnít take it lying down.
"I was very poor, growing up in rural Georgia. If I can graduate from NYU and landed at Court TV and CNN, let me tell you, anybody can do it! If I could win 100 jury trials, you can win 100 jury trials. I am nobody from nowhere, and Iím proud of it. It means anybody can do it if you want to work, if you want to work triple time. There were many, many nights when I would leave the courtroom or the law library exhausted. I could hardly haul my cartons of research behind me. I would think of Keith and would gain strength, believing that, somehow, I was making good out of bad.
"If you are going to jump, jump. Donít second-guess. If you want anybody else to believe in you, you have got to believe in what you are saying. If you screw up, pause and explain. Youíll get a chance. "Iím told Iím 5í1", but I think Iím 6í3". Nobody ever told me I couldnít. I donít think I am anything special, but I think my message is special. Itís more important than me or anything I could ever dream of. I had a lot of labels attached to me when I started doing TV. ĎEllie May (from the Beverly Hillbillies) with a law degree.í ĎThe dumb blond with the Southern accent.í I really do believe, if you dwell on labels, you are wasting a lot of energy that you could be using to do a much better job. Think of the energy you waste when you worry about what somebody else thinks of you. Does it matter? If I really am Ellie May with a law degree, who cares? So, fine.
"If you donít want to get dirty, stay out of the mud fight. When your beliefs require you to stand up and fight, then fight rather than die watching."
"When roll is called, I want to say I tried."
Copyright Fawn Germer. All Rights Reserved.
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