Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Color of Justice

Easter conjures up pastel images of approaching Spring, rabbits, chocolates and egg hunts.  Easter generally doesn't include hordes of young people marauding in the street, harassing pedestrians, disturbing shoppers and causing mayhem.

That's what this Sunday brought to Times Square.  Dozens of young people were accused of "wilding" and engaging in assaultive, disruptive and criminal behavior.  Several people were shot and many were injured.  About fifty teens, mostly African American young men, were arrested for a variety of charges, the predominant charge being disorderly conduct.

Now Manhattan DA Cy Vance has decided in order to send a message, that he will not offer "plea bargains" in all of these cases.

Which is strange, if you think about it, because he seems to have a knack for offering pleas.  To the cabbie who admitted lying about not taking his meds before he slammed his car into a woman, killing her.  To the Saudi man accused of killing an elderly man on the Upper West side in a robbery gone wrong.  To David Letterman's blackmailer, because, well, he really didn't mean to extort the celebrity for $2million bucks.

The evidence in these three cases seems pretty substantial and the crimes that much more serious and offensive.  Granted, I'm not defending any young person who decides to behave poorly and disruptively.  But you have to wonder how many of the young men rounded up and arrested were not guilty of any more heinous behavior than to be standing in Times Square while young and black on the wrong day and time.  Time Square being such the mecca of entertainment, it's not absurd to think that young people would have chosen Easter Sunday to spend some time there eating, drinking, shopping or just enjoying the great weather on some of those snazzy lawn chairs on the Broadway pedestrian mall.  The news accounts lists dozens of stories of young black men with their moms, girlfriends or family members who got rounded up and collared for, well, being in the path of a cop and his handcuffs.

Any law enforcement official who goes to court to make a blanket statement that there will be no pleas in a particular category of cases without first evaluating the evidence in each and every case is either a media whore or just not that bright.  A few years ago, about 200 people were arrested for disorderly behavior during the Puerto Rican parade.  After careful evaluation of the charges and the evidence, less than half a dozen of those cases ended in pleas and convictions.  Just because there's a large scale arrest by police does not mean that all of those arrests are backed up with evidence to support the charge.  Some are, some are not.  There's always the possibility that there might be a few folks who may actually be not guilty.

Being young, black and in New York isn't a crime.  Apparently, to District Attorney Vance, the color of justice available to those individuals is substantially different from those of a paler pigmentation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beautiful is Just a Word

If beauty is skin deep, then what does it mean when someone calls you beautiful? What does it mean when that comment is made verbally? In print? In an email? Or more generically via Facebook? Does the term lose its potency and significance if it's thrown about like excess grains of salt from an errant shaker? Does it mean even less when it's paid to those we have only virtual relationships with? Or does it just cheapen our "real time" relations that much more?

I've often wondered what it really means when someone says "you are beautiful.". In our highly saccarine and superficial society, compliments are bantied about like confetti in the wind. Do we tell ugly people they're a rare beauty as a sign of support or a form of bitter sarcasm? Do we tell average plain Jane folks they're beautiful because it's expected? How do you measure the true depth and sincerity of a statement that is always relative in nature and suspect to begin with?

I for one chose to believe that the compliment is just an afterthought with no meaning or intent. Just like the term "I'm sorry" has been diluted to the point of insignificance, so has the term "you're beautiful.". Think of the parallels- u bump into a person on the bus, u say "I'm sorry.". U murder countless victims and what do u often hear in court? "I'm sorry.". Hence, how could "you're beautiful" ever mean anything more than a generic form of ego boosting wrapping in brown paper with no bow and no value?

Maybe I'm a cynic and maybe I've been blindsighted. But one thing's for certain- only I have the real power to decide if I really am beautiful or not.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


am worthless.

No friends, only enemies and those who wish to utilize me as a tool.

I don't have a single blood relation who can stand me.

I sit alone most of the time, most of the day, often at night, wondering how I offended God to be punished like this.

I am condemned to be alone. Nothing lasts. Nothing is real. Only despair and loneliness and frustration.

I hate myself and I hate living this unbearable life. Unbearable because there is no solace. Only fear and hurt.

I wish I were stronger and not a prisoner to feelings. Of ineptitude, loss, envy, sadness and longing. I think I could bear the burdens of existence better if I didn't feel so wounded all the time.

Because I'm so damn unremarkable that I fade like the Cheshire cat. If I disappeared nobody would even notice I was gone. Nobody hears my voice, or sees my presence. I'm so faint I'm like the watermark on stationary- barely noticed, a taint, a trace.

I don't make a dent even in relationships. I could slit my wrists while standing naked in Times Square and nobody would see a thing. Nobody sees like the wounded cat I am that I slink off to a hidden corner to cry. Nobody would care. Why would anyone? Who could care about the old, discarded stray?

Who indeed?

Down the Rabbit Hole

I am a loser.

Blood relations can't stand me.

Relationships all are built on me being a useful tool.

I have no money, no hope for a paying job, no hope of losing the weight I need to. No friends, no voice, nothing.

Why isn't there a way for people like me to painlessly end our lives? Why does society get all bent out of shape about the sanctity of life when we should think about the value of our existence? Not talking about quality- that's a judgment call. But value. Value is relative in the sense that u believe someone or something has value when others might disagree. Call it the sentiment factor. People cherish old photos, knick knacs, bric-a-brac, memories. Trade most on the open market, u might not get any takers.

Why isn't it the same for people? Why do we compel people to continue to live when they have lost all sentimental value for themselves and others? I can rationally tell myself I have to keep on living because I have obligations to fulfill. Things to do. Bills to pay. Yet none of these things speak a wit about why I have to keep on existing. Am I a drone whose only purpose is to serve and do and work? When I stop doing such is it time to end my existence?

I don't have the temerity to take the necessary action. I live in constant dread of tomorrow. I hate the fact that I can't escape, can't get off the hamster wheel, can't find solace. I have no value at all. I am a drone forced to function. Loveless, purposeless, empty and always alone.

Would it be so terrible if someone shows me mercy and releases me from this despair? I won't be missed and there are plenty of drones to pick up the slack. Why won't someone help me? This dark horrible place I'm at where all I feel is hurt. I'm so very tired of being rational. I need the Alice pill so I can disappear.