(21) justice for just us


What I’m Letting Go

I used to watch a lot of true crime videos. The stories were fascinating to me, particularly the interrogation footage. It’s astounding watching guilty people try to weasel their way out of what they’ve done, lying to people who catch liars for a living. There’s never a lack of this kind of content, either. YouTube is flush with true crime channels, each with their own flair and style. Some are a little more laggy than others, but overall you’ll never want for content. It was a great time-waster and distraction, and even if I knew the true crime story, I never minded hearing it rehashed from another channel over and over again.

Somewhere down the line I started to feel a little sick while watching. It’s very easy to forget that the production you’re witnessing actually happened. Someone lost their life in an entirely gruesome way, and that form of that person is never coming back. It’s why I felt strange when I saw Adnan Syed released from prison. The most recent news stories became all about him. I agree that his trial was not fair and there was a lot wrong in that case. I also know that the death of Hae Min Lee felt overshadowed and underlooked. A teen girl is still dead. No one knows who killed her. She was left under a pile of leaves in a crudely-dug shallow grave in the middle of a Baltimore suburban park. It’s just sad and cruel and doesn’t make sense. So forgive me for not popping the champagne over someone who may or may not be a cold-blooded murderer.

I just think about these true crime stories and how someone can inflict such pain and torture on another living soul. It’s like I try and put myself there and it’s simply too horrible to imagine. When I was younger, my cousin and I got into some stupid argument and I shoved him out of my way, calling him a “stupid kid” while doing so. I’ll never forget the look on his face. It was just hurt and pain and utter disappointment. And if I felt that bad about how he looked during a shove, imagine the terror on someone’s face when they realize their life is in danger?

Part of me wishes there can be some kind of rehabilitation for people who take another’s life, and maybe it’s possible, but I just don’t know how probable. I hate to be ‘that person’ and bring up this book, but think about in the Harry Potter series. The bad guy took lives and ‘split his soul’ each time he did. Why wouldn’t that also exist in the Muggle world? (Okay sorry, no more references). The idea that one thinks they have governance over another’s life so much that they have the right to take it is astounding to me. I don’t care what someone has done to me. No one would ever feel that level of my wrath unless I felt like my life or my children’s lives were in danger. Period.

Is everyone a bad person? Not always. Sometimes good people do bad things. Sometimes bad people do worse. But it’s not up to me to save everyone, and I have to keep remembering that. People make their own mistakes, and unfortunately sometimes the world gets captivated by them. Murder trials become media circuses for one reason or another, siphoning our energy and depleting our basic humanity. We become jaded to these things, even as the families and loved ones of the victims will mourn for the rest of their lives. I just hope when we do see these terrible events, and hopefully there will be less of them as time goes on, we can see what not to do, how not to treat people, and the warning signs of a ticking time bomb before they erupt.

True crime content is always interesting. I don’t mind if we see less of ‘new’ stories in the future.

What I’ve Discovered

I’ve never dialed 9-1-1. Never needed to. Not for a crime, anyway. I did call it once about eight years ago when I was driving to work in the middle of the night. I was zooming in the fast lane when I realized way too late that there was a dead deer smack in the middle of the road. “Oh fuck!” I screamed, too scared to swerve and instead running it the fuck over. My car jerked to the left but I kept on going. I burst out laughing, but it was laughter of anxiety leaving my body. I didn’t realize until later just how lucky I was. I could have had a serious wreck with no one around to help. I did dial 9-1-1 because I wasn’t sure what else to do.

“I hit a deer!” I exclaimed. The lady on the other end wasn’t too happy with my report, and offered to transfer me to the non-emergency line. I told the crew on the other end where I had hit the roadkill and they said they would take care of it. And that was the end of my brush with the law. Kind of. I did get pulled over with a huge amount of pot in the car one time, but I put on a cute girl routine and told the officer I was sorry for speeding and that I’d slow down. What a relief. I won’t do that again.

The instinct when we’re in danger is to call the police. I get it. I used to really like cops. I thought they were all just people who wanted to help the community and do a good job. There were police in my family. I respect that. But a few bad apples ruin any bunch, and have done so especially over the last few years. My respect level for all these levels of government, and sad to say the health industry, had dwindled in recent time, and it’s just because I’m trying to live as free and independent of ‘the system’ as possible. I realized that not all crimes can be solved by police presence, as there’s plenty of crimes against humanity going on that a badge cannot solve.

I’m glad we have police. We need a system that can help uphold the laws. But it’s been tainted, along with many institutions I once trusted. I don’t know what could be done to help rebuild that trust. Even if people do get charged with a crime, they’re released on bail the very next day. At least in this state and city. So how can I have any sort of faith in a justice system that will transcend all injustice everywhere?

Something has to break here. Enough people who have power have to find out that not abusing it can lead to better and greater things. Unfortunately, skirting the law and mishandling influence seems to be running rampant lately. We can’t be a nation of laws if we let lawless take the reins. Maybe it will change. Maybe the only 9-1-1 call I’ll ever have to make is to clear a dead deer off the road.

What I Hope to Find

One time while walking around New York, I happened upon an animal rights protest in front of an upscale store in midtown. I love animals too, but not enough to leave my home in the middle of the day and stand in front of a business being angry about it. The protesters seemed a little unhinged in their own right, so I was keeping my distance while doing a little video journalism and recording it for posterity. In some weird way, I respect the hustle. Having gone to record several protests around this city, I know how much it takes to get into the street to fight for something you believe in. However, I don’t think all fights are created equal, and this version of justice seemed misplaced and too angry to listen to.

The road to justice isn’t always paved with good intentions. Some may try and sway you in the wrong direction, using you to sow chaos rather than actually fix the problems we’ve been facing for centuries. I like to think my fight is on the right side of history, as I envision a world of peace and respect. I know I’m a wide-eyed idealist, but I don’t think what I’m thinking is entirely unachievable. I care too deeply about the human condition and our resilience as people. Just because things are shitty right now doesn’t mean they always have to be. I once said I’ll never be blackpilled, and while I feel the doom and gloom creep in once in a while, I’ll do everything in my power not to let it win out.

I hope we all find the fight that needs to happen. The fight we need to save ourselves from ourselves. It’s the only way we can survive. But maybe what we have is no longer salvageable. Perhaps we’ll have to start over from scratch after all has been ‘defunded.’ It remains a possibility. As long as we remember what all this lawlessness led to. Justice will prevail as long as corruption falls. Throw the book at it. Forever.

1,559 words written

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