Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Do The Time

President Obama finally announces plans to investigate and prosecute those who led our nation into a criminal war with Iraq and violated the Geneva Conventions in our handling of prisoners:

But our responsibility doesn’t end there. We have an obligation to investigate what went wrong and to determine what reforms are needed so that we never have to experience a crisis like this again. If the laws on our books are insufficient… the laws must change. If oversight was inadequate to enforce these laws, oversight has to be reformed. If our laws were broken, leading to this death and destruction, my solemn pledge is that we will bring those responsible to justice on behalf of the victims…

What? Oh. Fuck. Never mind.

Remarks by the President After Meeting with BP Oil Spill Commission Co-Chairs [White House]

Speaking of lawyers–I got some news last night I’m still trying to process. An attorney I worked with for 15 years in OKC left his office at noon yesterday, went to the roof of the parking garage, and jumped, taking his own life. No note, no indication–he’d dictated a letter relating to a closing (he specialized in aircraft title work) that morning, and had marked up the draft and left corrections for his secretary before leaving. What really saddens me is he was one of those people who had been bullied, really, his whole life. He was sweet and smart, but very dorky and physically weak. He used to get “woozy” when looking at microfiche aircraft records. Every white-shoe attorney in town, not just the ones at our firm, always gave him a “good-natured” hard time, teasing “affectionately,” and he was always a good sport about it. But obviously, he felt in the end there was no one he could turn to. He and his wife were very close, but she was the old-fashioned, completely dependent spouse, who he would have felt he had to protect from difficulties, rather than share them with her. He was having health problems and financial problems, and since the generous firm life insurance pays even for suicide if you’ve had the policy for two years, he probably reasoned that he was doing the best thing for her. It breaks my heart. How often have I been thoughtlessly cruel–while just snarking on someone, or giving them a hard time “in fun”?
Sorry to start the day on such a morbid note, but I needed to say this and this seemed like the safest place, believe it or not.

@Mistress Cynica: Sweetie, I am so sorry. That is terrible. His poor, poor wife.

@Mistress Cynica:
so sorry honey….do NOT take any blame for this.
you’re thoughtfully witty, not mean spirited. don’t let this change you, you have no responsibility for this whatsoever.
he was a sad and hopeless person. very sad.
another one of my dad’s clients killed himself last week, making it 2.
he has many other clients who lost more, yet they will carry on.
he just didn’t know:
“everything in this wicked world is temporary. even our troubles”
——–charles chaplin


@Mistress Cynica: Some people are fragile, and you cannot know which, in so many cases, some feel deeply, and are easily hurt. I’ve been bullied, badly, so I have even less excuse for the times I have been a bully, but in most cases I came to realize what I was doing and stopped, because of what happened to me. We are animals, and generally more comfortable when the pecking order is established, thats why good pet owners are those who establish that they are the pack leaders. But the “affectionate” bullying that is used to establish the pecking order is still too harsh for many. There are probably many more reasons than this for what he did, in any event. I am sorry, you are a good person for being so mindful and empathetic.

@Mistress Cynica:

How terrible. Hope his family gets through this OK.

@Mistress Cynica: That’s the inevitable result of a suicide.

@Mistress Cynica: You have my sympathy. I’ve never had to experience a suicide even among distant acquaintances, for which I count myself extremely lucky. I have had friends die (the most notable being a good friend from high school who was killed by a drunk driver on I-5 north of Salem a few years ago), and it’s a sobering event.

One good thing I got out of my friend Kjersten’s death was that it helped me put my own “troubles” in perspective. One might even call it sharp relief. Any time I find myself getting overwhelmed, and start feeling sorry for myself, memories of Kjersten and the abruptness with which she left the world help keep me from getting too morbid about my lot in life. Perhaps that’s an odd reaction, but it helps me out. I relate this with the hope that you can take some similar positive lesson from your associate’s choice.

@Mistress Cynica:

Ack, Sweetheart, of course you came here. This is our sounding board, odd as that may seem.

It is natural to ask “Did I do something?” when this kind of thing happens, but more than likely, you didn’t. And on the off-chance that something you said wounded without you meaning to give offense, is this an appropriate response to a such a thing? Definitely not.

We all are kinda fumbling our way through life, and some of us and too frail or too angry or too hopeless to make it as long as others. Things fail. Lives don’t go right. Ultimately, that isn’t anybody’s fault, it just is. Feel for this man, help his family where appropriate, forgive yourself for whatever slight you may have given him, and move on. Fairness and dignity demand no less.

@Mistress Cynica: So sorry for your loss. The thing I’ve found in situations like this is that the people who hurt the deceased the most are the ones least likely to think they did anything wrong or to think at all, really. So your self-reflection, though painful, is a good sign.

Thank you all. Ian, you’re certainly right–it does put one’s problems in perspective.

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