Protecting the Innocent vs. Punishing the Guilty

tulsa-drags-april-2011-076_cropSometimes, I get passionate about a stance, and it can give an impression about my beliefs that isn’t true. So, in an effort to clear up some confusion, I’d like to give you a clear understanding of my thoughts on law enforcement, motorcycle clubs, and understanding the power of power.

First, cops. I believe this country would be shit without them. Of course we need law enforcement!! If someone is breaking into my apartment, I want to pick up my cell phone, dial 9-1-1 and have them rush to my rescue. We really do have one of the best systems of justice in the world.I can reasonably drive safely because fear of traffic tickets has begotten the wisdom for us all to drive a certain speed, in certain lanes, and obey traffic signals. If everyone does their part the way we were supposed to, then the chances an innocent person would get railroaded going through our justice process are really slim. Justice is meted out to the guilty in proper measure. Ahh..but there’s the catch, right? With a multi-faceted system, there is an increased chance that someone along the line is going to do something wrong. It could be anyone from the arresting officer all the way up to the judge. But because we do have such a cool system, we citizens can kick and scream whenever short-cuts are taken, or authority is misused.

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Like the bikers, there are actually law enforcement members of my family that I have no beef with. My sister Alexa is married to cop, and he loves her. He has supported her through the loss of their baby daughter, her cancer, and taking care of our sick mother. I know Alexa, and she isn’t too different from me when it comes to those in authority over us. Lol… No one was more surprised she married a cop than I was, except maybe Alexa herself! But this guy, who has been in our family for a long time now, has something other cops don’t have in my world – a face, name, history, triumphs and wounds. I don’t see a cop when I see him. I see a brother. On the other end of that specter, I’ve been targeted more than once by law enforcement agents who felt that it just didn’t make any sense that I wasn’t a drug mule for the mob, and because they had such a scary, narrow view of who the people were in this large organization, they felt the ends justified the means. They followed me around for months, walked into my home without knocking, and I suspect, listened to my phone calls for at least a couple of years. All for what? I wasn’t the kind of person they ASSUMED I would be, and they set out to prove my guilt, never questioning whether or not I truly was innocent.

corruption in the TPD

It is always a fine line between deciding the importance between two things — protecting the innocent or punishing the guilty. Which should a person err on the side of? Should innocent people be locked up just so that the one or two criminals in their midst are taken off the streets? Is that the kind of justice any of us want? To me, that is the turn we are taking as a society. Obviously, I’m not the only one who thinks this. Americans all across this nation are questioning tactics, motivations, and by doing so, they are holding at bay the ability to collect too much power by these authoritative agencies and their agents.

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It is okay to ask the people put in charge of our security questions about their tactics, their motives, and their general opinion of the people they are supposed to protect and serve. Only those with something to hide would take offense to that. If we as a society want to hold on to our freedoms, we’d better get comfortable questioning the standard line, and make sure those in charge over us are comfortable answering to us.

~ Bird

November 2nd, You’ve Been Demoted

Get it? Bird and Chef!!!
Get it? Bird and Chef!!!

Yesterday was Chef and my anniversary. As usual, it was a mixture of sadness, trauma, and relief. But this time, it was also sprinkled with a new hope for my future. Recently, a friend told me that I carry around an invisible wall around me, almost like a neon sign shouting out my unavailability. Unlike Chef, I’ve been stuck in all of this, unable to move forward, and refusing to go back. That’s the kind of power love has, and I still marvel at how stubbornly it has held on all these years.

A few weeks ago, I stood at a crossroads when it came to Chef, and the struggle felt almost physical, it was so raw. Somehow, I knew there really was no wrong answer. What was important was to choose the path, and start walking. I took a step into the future, choosing the road away from that chapter of my life, and sadly, I chose to leave Chef back there in the past. That chapter was simply too painful and wrecked beyond salvation. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, nor was I flippant about it. This move to Austin was supposed to be a new start for me. Dragging all the trash from the past here with me would ruin it, and unfortunately, Chef comes with a lot of mental and emotional baggage. I’m finally making the decision to let go of those last few strands of hope, and walk away. This time, I won’t be looking back.

Last night, I was sitting in my living room, watching Mike & Molly with Oliver’s head in my lap, and Sparrow curled up resting her head on a pillow we were sharing, and I felt happy. Yes, oliver and memy dogs ate my couch. Yes, Sparrow’s separation anxiety is literally making my crazy. Yes, I barely make enough money to live here, and my car needs some work on it soon or I’ll be in a world of debt. Yes. Each day seems to start with a different problem designed to stress me out. But a month ago, those problems were different from these, and they somehow still managed to get resolved, despite my doubt and worry.

I thought briefly of keeping a small calendar so I could write which set of problems were weighing so heavily on me, just so I could see how easily and quickly the Lord had handled each set. A month ago, Sparrow and Oliver were disappearing for hours at a time, exploring Red Rock and scaring me to death. A month ago, I was worried about how I would be able to save up enough money so I could move out on my own. A month ago, I had no home. A month. Four weeks. And here I sit, all those problems resolved, and grappling with these new ones. The difference this time is, I can easily see that the Lord has me in His hand, and knowing He has not forgotten about me goes a long way to soothing any doubt and fear that might be lurking in my heart.

Maybe the biggest difference I see in myself these days is I suddenly have become more social. I actually got lonely last week — LONELY! I so don’t do that. And yet, I found myself longing to hang out with someone, talk, laugh, and share. Go figure.

I occasionally go back to the beginning of this blog, especially on anniversary dates. In a way, it is a way to measure the healing, remember the truth, and it offers me hope in the knowledge, nothing, even the worst kinds of pain, lasts forever. It reminds me, yes. I will be happy again. Yes. I will laugh again. Yes. I will be able to forgive. Yes. Life goes on, and it took me with it.

Bird's Phone 2013 261Today, I’m thankful for time, for hope, and for the peace I have gained in the knowledge that the Lord never left my side the whole time. I’m excited as I look towards the future! November 2 used to be a very special day for me, but today, I release it back into the pile of un-celebrated dates, each  one of them carrying only the potential of being promoted to a personal favorite.

~ Bird

PS: I’m going speed dating Friday. Yep. I’m that girl.