Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Last night, around quarter to five, Ryan gently rocked me awake, saying, "Aren't you going to the train?" I asked what train, knowing he was asleep, curious as to what he might be dreaming about. "The train with the jury. You're going to be late." No, I told him, that trial was over, and the verdict was guilty, remember? "Oh."

It will be a long while before this trial isn't haunting me too. I've learned that reading the comments on the articles about the trial are upsetting.

I thought I would be relieved to talk about it, happy to be able to share details and opinions of mine, but I've found it dissatisfying--I cannot seem to convey the complexity of what it is to have taken in those six days and then be in charge of reacting. The true emotions aren't present, just a litany of facts.

But even more, it hurts to see people write that he is a "monster" who deserves "the death penalty" and should "become someone's bitch" in prison. To me, these hurtful people both don't understand the situation (coming to a guilty verdict was not easy, and we wanted to qualify it, write little post-its in places where we wish the investigation had gone deeper, the defense had asked different questions, the defendant had gone on the stand and told his version of the night, the victim's regular doctor could be talked to in regards to over-medication, and on) but there were murmurs in the jury room of how some didn't think the defendant believed what he did was wrong. To me, the reaction is probably not immediately Punish him! Punish him! Indeed, one needs to atone for these sorts of offenses, but what about rehabilitation? What about learning from experiences? What about finding a way to become better people?

And most of all: what about creating a better education system, a better after school program that can put things in place? What about preventative measures? That we are so heavily focused on the after, on cleaning things up in this society frightens me. I think of other issues, of environmental measures that are taken long after the disaster point is reached. I think of reading Having Faith and how the solution to pregnant women is to abstain from dangerous foods--local water, fish, and on. Instead of putting the finances and efforts into cleaning up, it's into sending a message that something else will be removed from the diet of a pregnant woman in order to protect the unborn child. It seems so often we're ready to jump into the aftermath.

And don't get me wrong: I think crisis centers and the justice system and all of it have a place. I'm just sad for two reasons: one, that people can be so cruel in their reactions without knowing enough (ah, so easy to judge knowing so very little), and two, that it came to this in the first place.


KeLL said...

From what I read in the newspapers, it was an awful trial. And you had to listen to the details! I agree that it would be emotionally draining. I'm glad it's over for you.

Kim said...

That was such a heartfelt and thoughtful response to what you experienced and how it relates to the world at large.

This reactionary world we live in is something that I have often thought about as well, and your thoughts echo mine. I recently listened to an interview with Jenny Phillips who wrote Letters from the Dhamma Brothers (there's also a film). She created a program for inmates based on meditation and it's really amazing how some of these men have been transformed. Haven't read her book yet, but I think I will try soon.

I'm also glad for you that the trial is over. It must have been very emotional to experience.