Now and again I’m allowed to venture out among normal people and talk to them about the things they do and think about. It seems I do myself a disservice by only engaging in shop talk with like minded people. I mean, what’s the point of all of this preaching to the choir on these things?
Here, for example, is a typical conversation between two criminal defense lawyers. We shall call them Harry and David:
Harry: “Hey, the death penalty is bad.”
David: “Yeah, it’s not a deterrent. All the stats show that. And there are so many innocent people who have been exonerated.”
Harry: “Totally man. It’s just wrong.”
Harry: “That prosecutor is such a douche. I can’t believe he doesn’t know his job”
David: “Doesn’t he know he is supposed to seek justice and not just convict?”
Harry: “Man, I don’t know why the judge didn’t take into account the fact that my client was (insert horrible, tragic, can’t even believe a person could go through that and still live event here) when he sentenced him.
David: “Dude, if you couldn’t get the judge to listen on that, we need to overhaul the whole system.”
Seriously folks, isn’t that how it goes? Sure, we may talk in more technical terms and fill in the blanks better. But that is the general gist of it all. So, when I do get out and about and the conversation goes like this:
Me: “I think the death penalty is wrong.”
Friend: ” I think child molesters should get put to death.”
Me: “What if you were accused of molesting children?
Friend: “I never thought about it like that.”
Isn’t it our job, we people who write and talk and get on our soapbox, isn’t our job to make them think of it like that. And if we don’t do that then what are we doing?
Gideon wrote eloquently about Aaron Schwartz and his prosecution. If you don’t know who Aaron Schwartz is and what happened to him, I invite you to read here and here. Gideon says, basically, hey you guys who are so up in arms over Aaron Schwartz, you thought it couldn’t happen to you. But it does. It happens to smaller yous all the time. It happens every day. Everywhere. And while what happened to Aaron Schwartz is a tragedy, it is the one we are all too familiar with.
I’ve been defriended in real life and on this world wide computer for my never-ceasing preaching. I am called judgmental by those who hold views that I find appalling. It is disconcerting to me that so many people truly believe that because they don’t “do anything wrong” they will never face the terrible wrath of their very own government. I hope beyond all hope it is true for every last one of us.
For you. And for me.
There is a day when I hope my conversation with people will go like this:
Me: “Hey, how about all that amazing justice that we’ve got here?”
Friend: “Yeah, we really are lucky.”