Saturday, August 15, 2015

priorities in order

Last Thursday Donna and I had to go to court.  Over a year prior, we had come home one day, and found that someone had crashed through a tiny window in our basement leaving shards of glass everywhere. Upstairs my ipad had been taken, and in the bedroom jewelry had been stolen. Drawers were opened everywhere, clothes thrown around as the perp looked for items.

The police came and knew this was the m.o. of a repeat offender that they had been trying to handcuff for a long time. He has been referred to as "a frequent flyer."

The police were great, but told us that it was unlikely that we would get our items back. More than the jewelry however, the sense of security and peace that we took for granted had been dented. We live near a wooded area so a burglar could hide easily undetected and come into our windows relatively effortlessly.

We had resigned ourselves that we were just going to lose the items and retain the sense of vulnerability. But the police returned and said that they thought they could prove that the repeat offender in fact had done it.  He had pawned some of the jewelry and the pawnbroker had identified him.

So fourteen months later we were in court.  That was a four hour scene in and of itself that maybe I will go into some other time.  The nutshell version here is that up from the courtroom basement comes the guy who did it.  He is in shackles because he is now in jail for another b and e.  While the lawyers do their interminable--very unlike Perry Mason/Law and Order song and dance--he smiles and chats with the court officer. The guy has a glaring tattoo on his neck and false teeth that stand out when he grins. His mother, in the courtroom for support, runs up to kiss him.

The perp's lawyer knows we are in the courtroom as is the pawnbroker, so he decides to try and plea. He and the district attorney go to a back room with the judge to make a deal.  They return from the back room and the deal is that the burglar will admit to breaking into the house and stealing the jewelry. He will get 18 months in jail which will include the time in jail that he is currently serving for another offense.

The bottom line is for the burglary to my home he will serve about a year.

Today, I wake up early as is my wont these days and look at the computer.  Not sleeping all that great recently--not because of the break-in---probably because of drinking too much caffeine during the prior day.  Anyway, I am up and looking at headlines.

And I see something that at first startles me, then amuses me, then gets me sort of annoyed.

A man in Florida has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years for a crime. His crime is that he had sexual intercourse on a beach.

I click on the link and discover that the crime was less benign than I originally thought.  The intimacy took place in the daytime, and there were people around who could and did see, some of the spectators were children. One child wanted to know what was going on. The mother was upset.

The news story included comments from observers who were aghast at the "vulgar" behavior they were forced to witness.  I think "forced to witness" is a disingenuous phrase, but that was what was said.

The alleged perpetrators contended that the woman (who was on top) was merely dancing, and that there was no penetration and therefore there was no offense. The prosecutors argued that a video taken by an observer--no doubt an outraged spectator who wanted simply to be a responsible citizen--showed that this was no harmless cha cha, it was indeed the deed.

The penalty for the outrageous behavior: 2 1/2 years.

Some repeat offender breaks into my house--we still haven't fixed the window, just have it boarded up--steals a computer and some family heirlooms, leaves literal and figurative filth in his wake, and gets 18 months to be served concurrent with other crimes.  The court clerks joke around with him while he awaits his lawyer's plea bargaining.

A couple has consensual sexual intimacy on a beach and gets 2 1/2 years.  Observers are outraged at the vulgarity of the crime.

Glad to read that that our societal outrage is appropriately placed.

I wouldn't be surprised if adult readers here, if you were to candidly fess up, have indulged once or twice in the open air, in the daytime, when it wasn't beyond the possibility that you could have been seen, but you started up and then took a chance.  But even if you have not, I would be curious to hear anyone's rationale for outrage because a couple had publicly engaged.

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