I have not been the keeper of the deep thought lately. There could be many reasons: trouble sleeping, tree pollen allergies, the fact that work has been getting busier. Spring fever. In my brain, I’ve been flitting from topic to topic like a butterfly. It’s all surface, lately.
And then I went to see “Kick-Ass” on Sunday afternoon. It was good, violent fun, but it had its poignant moments too, and its stirring moments. Like when the main character is standing over a man he has protected, bloody and tired, and the bad guy says (I’m paraphrasing here) “You don’t know this guy! You would die to protect him?” And the main character says something to the effect of, “I would rather die protecting him than stand back and watch.”
So, on my walk home, I was thinking about different things I’ve studied in different college classes – mostly in a really interesting class I took called “The Philosophy of Evil.” We studied the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese, in which she was attacked and stabbed to death over an excruciatingly long amount of time, and neighbors who heard everything just turned their backs on her, closed their curtains. No one helped her, and no one called the police while the attack was happening. When neighbors were asked why they hadn’t helped, the overwhelming response was, “I don’t know.”
And then there was this story from last week.
All of this was swirling around in my head while I walked home from the movie theater, and I admit that I had a few vigilante fantasies as well. But it was warm out, and the air smelled good, and I was hungry, so all of this “deep thinking” about crime and injustice and bystanders looking on and doing nothing lasted maybe five minutes.
AND THEN, while I was eating a delicious chicken finger sub, I started watching “An American Crime.” This is based on a court case in the 1960s that really brought child abuse into the public eye – instead of “It’s none of our business, it’s a private family matter and we shouldn’t interfere.” I’m not going to recount what happened here, but it was horrifying, and neighborhood children not only knew what was going on, they helped with the abuse. They told no one.
AND THEN (I know, right?) last night I’m reading a story in a magazine about a woman who filed a restraining order against her husband, only to have him violate it time and again, until he finally killed her daughter and tried to kill her. She sued the police department for failing to protect her. Here’s the story I read.
(Yes, I read O Magazine). And here’s the outcome.
The O story mentioned this case in some depth. In this matter, she called the police multiple times because her three daughters had been abducted by her estranged husband. against whom she had a restraining order, and she was told multiple times to call back later. She finally went to the police station, and while she was there, her estranged husband opened fire on the station and was killed by police officers. Her three daughters were found in the back of their father’s truck – he had murdered them.
And, well, you can see what the Supreme Court decided about the matter in that article above. Turns your stomach, doesn’t it?
The O Article brought up that police officers often aren’t trained to deal with domestic violence, the psychology of it, and that needs to change. The general public seems to have the same problem - I know that when I go to websites and read stories like this, a lot of commenters will say things like, “Why did she go back to him?” or “Why didn’t she leave sooner?” Even in a situation in which someone did everything that they’re supposed to do – get out of the abusive relationship, get a restraining order, let the police know when the restraining order is violated.
So I went from fairly shallow thoughts to all of this. And I’m wondering what I can do (short of going full-on vigilante) to change some of this.
P.S. Hit Girl was fucking awesome – she’s my computer background at work now.