Tag: victims

Even the Monsters Are Worth Saving…

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So, like many of you, I am an addict of the show “Scandal”. Not that I want to be Olivia Pope (although I do love her clothes, but hate her romantic decisions), it does give an interesting look of the behind the scenes of the dirty world of politics and national security. Whether it’s art imitating life accurately remains to be seen. But in last week’s episode, Olivia’s dad gave an impassioned speech about “even the monsters need saving”. This was in response to Olivia’s frustration about the fact that everyone around her seemed to be amoral at best, and used murder as a tool. “No one wears the white hat anymore” was her complaint. Olivia’s dad basically said, “YOU are the savior, and the one that drags every last one of us into the light.”

The monologue really hit home for me. Many times, people ask me, “why do you bother?” In my line of work as a prosecutor, I have challenges left, right and center. At times, I have victims who have no interest in participating in the prosecution. Even though they were the ones that were hurt, they are reluctant due to fear, apathy, or a deep distrust of the system. The community, especially the African American community, distrust the motives of a prosecutor. They assume your role is to lock up young men of color at any cost. On the other side, the hard core conservatives (some of whom are in my profession), look at the work I do in the community and say “why bother? You can’t save them”.

So why do I bother? Why do I take time away from myself, from my husband, skip lunch hours, to give lectures to young students in rough areas? Why do I get hands on in the nastiest housing projects? Why do I get frustrated when the media takes a narrow, sensationalized view of the legal system instead of the truth? Why do I sit down next to defendants, shackled, and who are facing a life sentence based on my recommendation but are about to take less as a plea and say to them “get it right this time…F$&! it up and I personally will lock the door and throw away the key?” Why do I persist in a job where no one thanks you by word or by paycheck?

Not out of weakness. Not out of my liberal leanings. Not out of perceived government employee laziness.

But because I want to touch one. Just one person a day. I know I can’t save them all. That would be ludicrous to believe.

But if one kid can say “you know, I remember when this chick who was a lawyer came to speak. She said xyz, and it stuck with me”. If one defendant says “someone offered me a chance, and I took it and turned my life around”. If one person in the community says “I was wrong about what prosecutors do, they are not all bad.” Then, I have succeeded.

Not everyone is born a monster. Some are, and yes, they need to be put down. HARD. I have no problem doing so. Others are monsters by lifestyle, and nothing in this world will change them. And again, I am there, ready with the proverbial smack down.

But it is those minds who are still open. Those minds, that need a nudge in the right direction, to get right. To get it right. Those in the crowd are who I want.

And now, I can quote Olivia Pope’s dad and say “even the monsters need saving”.

More Shootings…More Debates

gun control

So I awoke this morning to hear of two more shooting tragedies. One in a school in Roswell, New Mexico, and the other north of me in Florida.

Let me be abundantly clear. My husband and I own firearms.

Am I a sharpshooter? Furthest thing from it.

Can I handle a weapon in an emergency and hit a target? Better believe it.

Do I have an understanding and healthy respect for the power of a gun? Absolutely. 

Should everyone own (and carry) a gun? Not if you will not be responsible as well as ready to take a life…because if you point a gun, you better be ready to fire.  And accept the consequences of firing. 

Of late, I have been involved in some heated debates over gun possession. There seems to be a viewpoint that every man, woman and possibly teen should be able to possess a gun with little to no restrictions. 

roswell

In the first case of Roswell, New Mexico, a 12 year old boy brought a sawed off shotgun to school, and shot two students. No one seems to know why. A courageous teacher got right in front of the boy, and convinced him to put down the gun.

So how does a 12 year old in New Mexico get a sawed off?

Not thinking that he got it at the local gun shop…it probably came from the parents’ gun cabinet.

After the Sandy Hook shooting, there was some discussion about letting personnel carry guns into schools, or having armed security in the hallways. So if the teachers had guns (which some folks are proponents of), would the situation have ended as it did?

I submit to you that there would have been a lot more death and bloodshed.

movie theatre shooting

In contrast, let’s look at the shooting in Wesley Chapel, Florida. The shooter, Curtis Reeves, is a retired police officer. He flipped out because the victim was texting in a movie theater.

Have we all been annoyed by that? Sure.

Do we feel the need to start a fight, then shoot someone? No.

I can script where this will go. His defense attorney has already claimed self defense at the bond hearing. The judge wasn’t having it and is holding him no bond until trial. Then what? Stand your ground. Again. Even though witnesses claim that the victim threw popcorn at the defendant, the defendant will claim he was in fear for his life (even though he started it), and that’s why he shot the victim Chad Oulson in the chest. I doubt this motion will be granted, especially in light of what the witnesses saw, and the woman that has come forward to say this defendant also harassed her during a movie because she was texting.

In all honesty, I will concede that gun control laws would not have changed the outcome of this situation, unless the defendant was found to be mentally ill at some point. He’s a former police officer, so he would fall into the category of someone who should be able to carry.

But looking at the extreme version of this. If the victim had a gun, then what? Shoutout at the movie theater? And what about people caught in the crossfire?

Too bad so sad?

All I’m saying is let’s be reasonable. If you need a permit to fish, a license to drive, and have to register to vote, why shouldn’t there be greater accountability for the ownership of something that, by its very design, is meant to kill? Why do we need to live in a society in which everyone needs to be strapped? 

There HAS to be a middle ground, between gun ownership, upholding the Constitution, and keeping citizens safe.  Let’s constructively talk about ideas, and respect that not everyone feels the same way about firearms.  

Please keep the victims in your thoughts and prayers….especially the 3 year old who does not have a dad anymore because he died for texting her.

oulson and daughter

Food for thought.

As always, I am up for a good debate.  

M.