Monday, November 06, 2006

Swallow Storm

Coming in to work this morning across Lake Pontchartrain, I was treated to a storm of swallows off to the west over the lake. They were swooping and swirling wildly, but never approaching closer than fifteen to twenty feet of the bridge. I didn't see any insects but I hope they were feasting on the mosquitoes that feasted on me last night. Or at least their relatives. But who knows, maybe it was preparation for a giant swallow orgy.

In other news, I was watching a "caught on tape" show last night when I saw one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. A young punk had killed a 65 year old family man and had pled guilty to the crime. He got a mere thirty years, which was bad enough, but the aftermath was worse. While the families of the victim and the killer were outside the courtroom, a female member of the killer's family yelled out, "He was 65 years old. How much longer do you think he was going to live anyway?" Bad as that was, the spontaneous burst of laughter from most of the rest of the killer's family was even more disconcerting.

It's so hard to imagine how people could be so absolutely callous. Had it been my sister or brother or cousin who shouted such a horrible thing at the victim's family, I would have been the first to tell them to shut up and would have dragged them from the room. I certainly wouldn't have laughed when people who have lost a loved one are crying. I sincerely hope each and every one of those who laughed are ashamed of themselves as human beings, and they should try to apologize, difficult as that would be for such behavior.


Stewart Sternberg (half of L.P. Styles) said...

I once interviewed two criminals both nearing age twenty one. One of them had shot a kid in an alley. Apparently the victim had been bugging his friend. The friend had the gun, but chickened out. The killer took the gun from his friend and shot.

I spoke to him and he seemed remorseful. Remorseful or not, I had the sense that I could work with him in an independent living situation.

The second interview was with someone who had raped his own mother. This occured after the rape of an eleven year old girl.

After talking with him, I spoke with the representative from the locked facility. "I'll take the killer," I said. "I can't work with the other one."

This story surprises people. My rationale at the time was that the killer appeared remorseful and his thought process helped me come to a plan for him to come back into society. The other person was too disturbed. He had to be released, having committed his crimes as a juvenile he was hitting twenty one.

I believe that they are probably both back in jail somewhere. I'll bet the killer lasted longer than the rapist.

I worked for eleven years with kids like these. Always had to detach myself. You can't show emotion when you are working with kids who have been sexually or physically abused. I remember though, I would go see a Disney movie and cry my eyes out from start to end. Apparently, it was the one place I felt it okay to let go of the pent up horror and emotion. Maybe I was just crying at the lost childhood.

Charles Gramlich said...

I do believe some people can be helped, and others are a lost cause, a waste of energy. I sometimes wonder how often I'm wrong in my decisions, and yet I must make them because, even as a teacher, I don't have the lifespan to help everyone.