In 20 minutes a lot can happen. When Brock Turner's father, Dan Turner, released a statement in hopes of persuading the nation that his son was not the kind of criminal that deserved a punishment, he described a jail sentence as "a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life." When his statement became public, the nation shook with their anger inspired by the father's cruel insensitivity and ignorance. His words further perpetuated the disgraceful culture that protects a celebrated population of white males who commit horrible acts against marginalized groups. Furthermore, it became clear to those who read his naive words that Brock Turner's father was unaware of just how truly transformative less than half of an hour can be when your son is the perpetrator of a crime and not the one violated behind a dumpster while unconscious. Mr. Turner attempted to paint his son the portrait of a victim in a court case that would not have ever materialized without those infamous "20 minutes of action". In twenty minutes a lot can happen. Lives can be changed in less time than it took for Brock Turner to ruin someone else's. It is clear that Dan Turner had no idea just how daft his statement was when he wrote it. In an attempt to protect the son he cared for, he forgot about the millions of people whose lives will never be the same because of something that happened to them in only 20 minutes. He forgot about the girl whose life would never be the same because of the 20 minutes it took for his son to shatter her sense of security, well-being, her emotional health, her social and self confidence and likely many other things that neither Brock or his father will ever have to give up. All of that in twenty minutes. In an effort to educate those who do not understand the volume of their actions which occur in less than an hour, here are 20 times that "20 minutes of action" changed the world for someone.
1. In less than 20 minutes the Supreme Court of The United States announced the legalization of same-sex marriage to the public.
2. In less than 20 minutes, a man made the decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol in 2012 and killed a 5-year old boy.
The same man who climbed behind the wheel of a car went on to take the life of 5-year old Kevin Miller as a result of his consumption. Kevin's father, who was walking across the street holding his son's hand at the time of the incident, was inspired by the passing of his son to press for stronger laws regarding the crime. Dr. Stephen Miller and his wife, Caroline, went on to establish Kevin's law in their son's name.
3. In 20 minutes, United Airlines Flight 11 was hijacked on September 11, 2011.
At 7:59 am Flight 11 took off from Boston with 65 people on board. By 8:19 am, the flight attendants on duty alerted personnel on ground that the plane had been hijacked. The plane would eventually fly into the floors 93-99 of the World Trade Center. At the hands of only a few, every person on board was killed in addition to hundreds inside the building. This event changed the world for not only the people involved, but the loved ones of those whose lives were lost.
4. In less than 20 minutes, a 3-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure and the beloved, endangered Harambe was shot and killed.
After ten short minutes, a young boy was rescued from the pit of a gorilla habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo. However, it was at a high-cost. At the end of the 10 minutes, a family retrieved their son, but the Cincinnati Zoo lost one of the greatest and most cherished members of their family of wildlife. This death prompted meaningful debate regarding the treatment of endangered animals and whether they should be kept in enclosures like the one Harambe lived in or admired from afar.
5. In less than 20 minutes, the first shot was fired at a peaceful 'Black Lives Matter' rally in Dallas, Texas.
By the morning after the shooting five police officers were killed and seven officers and two civilians were injured. The shooting, which was carried out by a sniper as an act of opposition against police forces, lasted throughout the night. However, what lasted under 20 minutes was the time it took to take the life of each officer who were on duty that night as a means of safety for those peacefully protesting. Because of the few minutes it took to pull a trigger many family's worst nightmare became a reality. The five men who lost their lives left a void in the world that will not ever be filled again.
Of course there are thousands, if not millions of instances recorded over time that have happened in less than 20 minutes. Moments that have had power over a person, a family or even an entire nation. While these are only four of them, it is important to point out that no crime or positive progress completed in a short period of time should be taken any lighter because of the period of time in which it occurred. In fact, the world has changed over something in even less time whether it was for better or worse. Whether the statement Mr. Turner made that because something happened in less than 20 minutes it is less of a crime is a lack of respect or simply a lack of education is not up to us to decide. What should be taken away from his harmful words are the good that can be done by educating those who seem to need a lesson in our world's history. Or maybe, what we need is for people to understand one simple concept. When you turn someone else's life upside down with your own selfish actions, you should expect the same to happen to you.
*Disclaimer: This article is in no way meant to underestimate the tragedies or victories of those who are affected by any of the events stated above. The article's purpose is not to compare or rank the importance of each event's outcome, but to show how much can happen in such a short period of time.