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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Before and After

So... In this story reported at the Seattle PI, some guy reportedly gets into a fight at a "folk-life festival" at the Seattle Center yesterday and, for whatever stupid reason, supposedly pulls out his loaded gun, for which he had a permit, and reportedly starts pistol-whipping the person he was fighting with. His gun accidentally discharges in the course of events and hits one man in the hand and woman in the leg with the single shot. A person identified as the suspect is subsequently caught by the crowd and is "held down" until the police arrive. The police then escort the bloody suspect through the crowd as they taunt him and throw stuff at him.

I have to admit that, in the past, I would have read this story and said, "good, they caught that schmuck." and left it at that... not a single thought about anything else except to wonder if the victims were ok and how hilarious that goofy looking guy in the costume looked in the picture that ran with the story.

Now, unfortunately, I can't do that... and to some degree it bothers me. It's not that there are so many parallels here to what happened to me, but also that my faith in the police and justice system here are so rattled that I can't help but automatically question everything released by the police to the media.

See, now I empathize with the suspect as well as the victims, I wonder if his injuries were treated of if the cops did to him what they did to me, which is let me languish without any treatment. I also wonder if the crowd got the right guy and if the police let the crowd get a few more shots in before they tool him away. I wonder what spurred the fight, and what would have prompted him to try and use his weapon like that, if maybe something else had happened and it was self defense?

So, now I'm left conflicted. Is the way I think about these things now more or less right than the way I thought about things before? Is it right to wonder if this guys rights were protected and if we're jumping the gun by assuming his guilt before all the facts have been brought to the table?

Or was I right before by assuming one side of a story was more plausible, and thus is close enough to being the likely story so as to assume this guy was guilty and deserving of any punishment he got, both before and after his trial by way of the injuries he received and any lack of treatment that might have occurred in custody?

See, it's hard once you've been wrongfully accused and punished by the system for something you didn't do, because it really just throws your entire perspective of the world on it's ear... and I still don't know which way is up half the time.

Thus I ask, which me was the better one? Which me was right? The one who existed before I was abused, or the one that exists now? Sometimes... I don't know for certain anymore. (of course, I think the latter... but it's unfortunate that it took something as horrible as this to convince me that police misconduct is a severe problem... hopefully you don't have to experience something as painful as what happened to me to convince you that it is too.)

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