“They’re Just People”
If I never remember anything else about the film And Justice for All I will always remember the hurt in Al Pacino’s voice as he said that line, to his fellow attorney and friend who had under the guise of helping, had inadvertently and indirectly caused Al’s client to kill himself.
I listen to people randomly rant what they believe to be logic, applying absolutes to situations that absolutes clearly cannot be applied to. So much can be said for the adage”walk a mile in his shoes”. Until it hits you in your heart you may be able to trick yourself into believing, what you think now would be the same if a loved one was involved.
I had to reach for a painful spot in order to write this and the trouble is, I did not want to revisit that pain. However, I did want to get this out and I thought it would only as powerful as my ability to convey the hurt and seriousness of the subject. Once there, I was amazed at how the feelings were revived.
I remember my heart racing, my entire being filled with anxiety as I sat in the very place that I had not long ago shook my head in cold disapproval. I have difficulty writing about it even now. Watching television programs about our justice system only scratches the surface of a real problem that exists in our society, in our community.
I bet you know him, I bet he is related to you or has some close personal tie to you. Maybe you don’t talk about him, maybe you don’t think about him, but that does not make him any less real.
A dear friend of mine excitedly told me of her loved ones impending release from prison one day. I am a cynical sarcastic being, who attempts to be cordial and kind to people I love, like, and care about. I was less than enthused, but for her sake I responded positively. I recall very clearly thinking,'”I wonder why the hell she is so happy about that, undoubtedly he did something to land his behind in there…” I never said those words to her, but the terrible thoughts were embedded in my psyche. One day I would remember those words from quite a different perspective.
The docudrama LOCKUP was on and my husband made a rather sarcastic remark, I looked at him oddly and left the room. I thought to myself, “Don’t you remember?” There are some very great people who have been imprisoned. They span the annuals of time from the Bible until now. Prison, though a generally bad place, is not always the worse thing that can happen to someone. I never thought I would feel this way, I never thought this could touch or affect me. Then it did, and my entire world was set on end. That in itself was/is a very grounding thought and experience.