Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Parking Lot Incident, Case Closed

Back in April, I wrote here about an incident at Dylan's school. To recap, Rhonda arrived at Dylan's school, and saw a man in a new BMW come to a halt behind a parked pickup. He then jumped out of his car and ran to the pickup. He jumped into the cab, knocking his son prone, then got atop him. He began pummeling the helpless kid. Rhonda ran down the stairs to the parking lot to confront the man, screaming "STOP IT! STOP IT!" The father backed out of the cab and glared at Rhonda. "He's my son. I'll do what I want." "You're committing a crime!" Rhonda yelled. After another brief exchange in which Rhonda refused to back down (don't mess with an Italian woman protecting a kid) the man jumped into his BMW and sped away.

A couple of weeks ago, Rhonda got a subpoena in the mail. It was for the man's misdemeanor trial for assault and battery. Rhonda was to testify in court as to what she saw that day.

The trial never happened. The D.A.'s office offered the father "D.A.'s Probation." What that means is that if Dear Daddy keeps his nose clean for six months, the case will be dismissed. He'll have no record. It will be as if the beating never happened.

I would have assumed that the father would have at least been required to attend anger management and/or parenting classes. Nope. Dear Daddy won't be burdened by any such requirements.

I know that he owns a yogurt shop in town, and I've heard that he owns two or three other businesses as well. I suppose that he's rather, er, connected.

Our D.A.'s office is quick to stick anyone busted for drugs with a felony, even if the only person hurt is the drug user. In the case of methamphetamine, the D.A. himself has decided that any amount of methamphetamine found on person or property will result in felony charges being filed.

Now, methamphetamine is nasty crap. But, it bothers me that certain chemical residues scattered about the bottom of someone's dresser drawer will saddle that someone with a felony, while a father can beat the stuffing out of a fourteen year-old kid and hardly get so much as a slap on the wrist.

Here, as in so many places, it seems that how a person is treated once accused of a crime has much to do with socioeconomic standing. I often wonder if, more and more, justice in these United States is more a commodity than a right.

Meanwhile, we continue to sock people away in prison who are guilty of nothing but possessing certain chemical substances. It doesn't seem to matter than the majority of them are only hurting themselves. No, that doesn't matter. The powers-that-be are mad at drug abusers because they keep using drugs after being told not to do so. Thus, the priority seems to put people in prison because "we're" mad at them, not because we're afraid of them.

I think we should save prison for people who scare us.

But then, in Shasta County, the powers-that-be seem not so afraid--or mad--at fathers who beat the crap out of their own sons in public. Especially, perhaps, if those fathers drive new BMW's.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Just a Little Rant About Donnie and Marie

So, the patriarch of the Osmond family died, I hear. Some news outlets--many those oriented toward entertainment--are treating his death as quite the tragedy. Sheesh, what bullshit. The guy was the better part of a century old. He had eighty grandchildren and great grandchildren. Where's the tragedy?

An old girlfriend lost her dad when she was six. That's a tragedy. My wife lost her dad a week before she graduated from college. That's a tragedy. My dad died several years before his only grandchild was born. That's a tragedy.

I suppose it's a bit like tilting at windmills to rant about how those who manage to stay visible in our popular culture seem to expect the rest of us to accept that their losses are more profound than those of we "everyday" people. They can kiss my ass. When Dale Earnhardt died in a racing accident, it made me sick to hear people whine and go on about it. Sure, it was a shame, and a real loss to his family, friends, and fans. I get it. But hey, Earnhardt accepted the risk he took, and he was compensated handsomely for it. He died a rich man. Days before he died, six National Guard troops died in a helicopter crash in Hawaii. Most folks who got all weepy about Earnhardt, it seems, didn't give a flying fornication about those young men and women, and a couple of them were taking on the risks inherent with serving their country while qualified for food stamps.

If you want to pour your heart out to someone facing a personal tragedy, I'd suggest just looking about your own community. Donnie and Marie have plenty of hangers-on to commiserate with.

As for Donnie and Marie, I'm sure they feel real pain over the passing of their father. Still, it makes me a little ill to see them do their crying act on TV, all the while with dry eyes. I wish they'd just go away for a while, and treat their father's passing with dignity. I think that would be the decent thing to do. Using their father's death as a lame springboard to revive long-flagging careers is just plain low-class.