Saturday, September 15, 2007
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
I drank, I drove, I got busted. You already know this. Among the numerous brainwashing sessions incumbent upon me, the victim impact panel has been the worst.
Deep in the churning bowels of the Cook County Courthouse at Rolling Meadows (across the street from the horse racing track) lies a horrible subterranean room with an impossibly low ceiling and tiny little bucket chairs arranged in tightly compacted rows. Buzzing florescent lights flicker, poorly amplified microphones buzz and pop, clogged outdated ventilation wheezes and clanks but fails to circulate oxygen in any meaningful way. Guilty folk such as myself are squeezed into the dirty rows of old cracked chairs, elbow to elbow, to breathe upon one another, to jostle, to squirm, and to wallow in collective guilt.
The municipality, in conjunction with the local Alliance Against Drunk Driving, conducts two hour seminars twice monthly. Damaged people stand before us, offering tearful heartfelt testimonials, recounting the deaths of loved ones, the permanent paralyzing of children, the infinite tragedy brought about by the thoughtlessness and negligence of alcohol addled motorists. Like me.
I arrived with my heart cast in stone, my mind sheathed in cynicism, utterly and totally cold to the plight of these pious fucks who wished to baptize me in fear and regret.
They drew their arrows of tragedy and let fly.
I was spared the guy whose mother, aunt, and stepfather were killed by a drunk. He would've been wheeled in, neck leaning, drooling, pathetically quadriplegic in his wheelchair, for the lot of us to ogle in horror and disgust. He was absent due to the fact that he was away at law school, simultaneously studying for the bar exam while having a nurse insert a catheter into his numb dick to allow for clean urination.
Instead, they played a slideshow of his family photo album, before and after the crash, set to a multiple copyright violation soundtrack of the Beatles' "Help" and several current horrible pop punk songs by bands like Good Charlotte. I got the point, but it was belabored and tastelessly done, inducing exasperation and even hatred on my part.
I didn't give a blue fuck that his life was destroyed. Sue me. I'm a suburbanite, and I don't give a shit about anybody but myself. I'm an American.
The next guy I liked a bit better. His daughter and three of her friends were killed one morning in Naperville in October 1997. His speech was eloquent and heartfelt, but most importantly to me, skillfully told, with foreshadowing and suspense, despite the inevitable outcome, given the topic at hand.
That is, for the first half. The story portion. After that, he spent another half hour recounting the girl's social activity, academic activity, and utter specialness. I wondered: why is everyone whose story is shared here middle to upper class, white, and shining examples of suburban bliss?
How come I haven't seen such outpourings of sympathy and grief for victims of gang violence, poverty? Blacks, Hispanics? Where's the outrage over the War in Iraq, the injustices and violence perpetrated upon both American soldiers and the little brown people we're vaporizing daily? Because it didn't hit us at home. It doesn't matter until it happens to us, personally. We're selfish people. All humans are. As I realized this, the little tentacles of compassion worming their way up my gut evaporated.
Hear no evil, see no evil, everything is fine until the blood spills on OUR porches. The American Way. I'm not so cruel, I'm only typical.
The outrage and tragedy I'm presented with here is myopic. This man's daughter died ten years ago. He's manipulating me, yanking at my heartstrings like a low budget soap opera. He may be trying to do a good thing, and maybe he is, but he's wallowing in a horror from a decade past, refusing to move on, and enjoying his sadness in public atop his weeping soapbox. He loves jerking at tear ducts.
This is perverse, I realize. This is sickening, and not for the reasons he presents.
Maybe I'm a shit. A bastard. However, I learned a long time ago that life ain't fair. I'm not going to have a guilt orgy to satiate these speakers' appetites.
I'm sorry, but tough shit. Shit happens, too bad. People die all the time. Fact. One day something ugly and evil will happen to me, and I won't expect the world to drop to its' knees and weep for me. I'm a stoic.
Stow that utopian "it didn't have to happen" bullshit away. Keep it private. Have some dignity.
Call me an asshole. Fine. The reason I won't drink and drive anymore is because I don't want to die. And because it's financially expensive. I'm pragmatic. I don't care about your well being or your misfortunes. That's mutual, even if your little baby girl is gone now. You still don't care about me at all. Not a bit.
Buy some body armor for troops. Buy some books for poor schools. Your tunnel vision focusing on this statistically minor problem is perverted and self indulgent. Keep your slimy hands off my emotions.
I know you wouldn't give a shit if I got hit by a bus tomorrow. Your sincerity is so insincere, you fucking filthy victims.
1:12 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
September 16, 2007 8:38 PM, said...
You are a miserable, greasy, loathsome waste of oxygen. Let's just hope your liver fails soon so that you can die a slow, painful death. Bastard.
September 16, 2007 11:32 PM, said...
I think you are right about these people not giving a shit until the blood is on their doorstep, but maybe the accident destroys their tiny little world, and they realize that more than what they see outside their door inhabits this planet, and unselfishly want to keep others from going through the same pain.
Take that rock sheild off of your heart man. It protects you from the bad, but it keeps out the good as well.
**judgments soley based on 1/2 fictional stories from this blog.
Or is it more like a 1/3? Anyway..I dont "know" you.
September 17, 2007 10:33 AM, marco said...
They want something, anything good to come from the bad - they don't want their kids to have died for nothing. They didn't reach you but maybe they reached someone else in that room. "Have some dignity"?? Look who's talking.
September 18, 2007 12:56 PM, justacoolcat said...
I think it took a lot more courage to say what you did than for the anonymous and unlinked commenters to disagree. The DWI situation is a giant propoganda machine driven by the hugely powerful and weathly MADD lobby; ask any lawyer or judge.
Did you know MADD puts a rep in every courtroom during every DWI case to record the results and pressure the judge with their presence?
Sounds an aweful lot like politcal extortion or a judge to me. Also, in many states it's now possible to get a DWI at .04 if you're breaking another law. E.g. speeding 5 miles over the limit.
September 19, 2007 9:19 PM, staticwarp said...
indeed. the punishment for drinking and driving is often confiscatory, with court fees, fines, jail time (lost productivity = no income). it is also absurd, in so many ways. sure, you shouldnt drive if you cant even walk straight. you might kill someone, or yourself. however, the same treatment and punishment is not also extended to the thousands of soccer moms and professionals driving at high speed while talking on the phone, applying makeup, and popping xanax, demerol and vicodin. i have seen completely sober people who cant drive for shit cause multiple accidents, and i have seen people drive long distances with one eye closed to kill the double vision drive safely home. and to call .04 legally drunk is just absurd. this just goes to show the power of the madd lobby.
there is also the fact that our government is willing to crack down on driving drunk, but not to do anything to actually solve the problem. most public transportation stops running after midnight, while revelers keep it going until the wee hours. especially in small towns and suburbs, where there is little no no public transport to begin with, many people are faced with little choice but to drive around loaded. people drink. people drive. people drive to get where they are going to drink, and by the time they're done, they arent thinking about the punishment that awaits them when they get pulled over, nor are they fantasizing about the horror they will cause when they inevitably kill or paralyze some poor, poor motherfucking sob story.
like the war on drugs, dui keeps police occupied, and it keeps federal and state money flowing to their precincts. it gives the police state the right to invade our privacy with random stops, sobriety checkpoints, and incentives to pull over as many people as possible, without regard to whether or not they were actually doing anything wrong. you can catch a dui for having two beers and a tail light out. you can also tap a keg and a case of jaeger at a party and make it home safe and sound. the system is broken.
i'm with steve on this one. fuck em.
September 20, 2007 1:27 PM, marco said...
I've done the cover one eye thing to cut down on the number of lanes I see, but I don't kid myself that it's in any way OK, or some huge conspiracy to keep cops and lawyers employed. But I understand the petulance - it's natural for alkies to lash out at anyone who wants to get between them and their drinkin'. Try this: have a kid, watch that kid die because some selfish lazy fuck (like me) couldn't afford or be bothered to call a cab, then see how "people die all the time" sounds to you. Great post though, it took a turn I didn't see coming, powerful stuff.
justacoolcat, so you have a link and a name; how does that make you any less anonymous? Post your address and phone number, or stfu about anonymous comments.
September 25, 2007 10:57 PM, Stinkbait Boucher said...
"I'm not so cruel, I'm only typical."
You're daring people to like this one.
I'll accept the challenge.
The sentiments, from both sides of the table, are foreign to me and for that I'm thankful - I've been neither the victim nor the witness for the prosecution. Dumb luck is the only thing I've had on my side and the only thing sparing me from either perspective.
I try not to be too laudatory as it cheapens the overall effect both of your thoughts and my ramblings.
In this case I have to applaud the graceful style and language as well as the fearless honesty.
Most of us are afraid to even recognize their reactions to situations such as this let alone name and embrace them.
Nicely done & worth the wait.
September 26, 2007 3:10 AM, if_i_had_a_hammer said...
I drink. And sometimes, when I'm not thinking the better of the situation, I drive. It's rare, and every time I do it, I'm glad I made it back home without killing myself or someone else. Mostly, I'm worried about getting caught. I don't want the inconvenience. Also, I don't want to be responsible for someone else's misery. I'm already responsible for my own, and that's almost too much to bear. I'm not sure I agree with you, but the honesty is nice. Good to see you writing more regularly.
September 30, 2007 12:10 PM, said...
I used to drink and drive many moons ago. It was literally a fucking miracle that I didn't kill anyone else or myself in the process. Frequently I wouldn't remember getting home the night before - it was total autopilot. I'm just thankful I got caught before the inevitable tragedy would've happened.
I've also had 2 people I know killed as the result of alcohol impairment and another severely injured for life. You don't really comprehend the full impact of what the stupidity entails until you experience it yourself.
That much being said, I can see your angle on it, however I think at this point you're pissed off at yourself for getting in this position. That was pretty much my reaction to getting caught. Not to mention the cops who busted me were young rookie assholes who treated me like shit (prime example was putting the cuffs on so tight I literally couldn't flex the fingers on my hands for days afterwards).
The thing that pisses me off more than anything else is when law enforcement or gov't people get caught, they almost ALWAYS get off with far less punishment than your average joe. We had a cop from my neck of the woods who flipped out on his motorcycle killing his girlfriend who was on the back of it. He ended up with a suspended sentence and a fine less than what I paid. Fucking asshole...
October 08, 2007 4:07 AM, Aaron X said...
I was hesitant to post a comment on this subject because it touches too close to home, and I try to avoid the whole judgment thing when it comes to substance use and abuse. So instead of making a joke, or leaving a nasty response, I'll just give you a little piece of my life.
Two women, well girls actually, who were important to me.
My first girlfriend, Lisa West. She didn't have an easy life, her stepfather got her pregnant when she was 11, and her daughter, born to Lisa at age 12, was raised as her sister. She told me after we'd known each other for about a year, and it helped explain some of the disfunctionality in our relationship, and in all the relationships she had with men/boys. But that's another story.
The other was Alisa Story, one of the first girls I ever wanted, and I wanted her to be my girlfriend. But she liked older guys who were more mature, as most girls do when they're in their midteens.
Alisa was out one night, she'd been drinking a bit, and went to cross Federal Highway US 1 in Pompano Beach Florida, and that asshole boy friend of hers wasn't looking out for her. As she did so a 1982 Camaro, clipped her at the knees going about 70, effectively amputating both her legs. She bled to death on the way to the hospital. I found out about it from a flyer in a window with her picture. Hit-and-run, girl killed, driver never identified. I took it hard.
Four years later they finally tracked down the woman responsible, after she killed somebody else and drove away. Turns out she been responsible for three deaths and four serious injuries over a 20 year period as a result of her drinking and driving.
A few months later, I called my ex-girlfriend Lisa's house to see how she was doing since I hadn't heard from her in a while. This was years after our relationship, but we remained friends.
Her mother picked up the phone and told me she had been killed. Lisa was on Federal Highway as well, in Deerfield Beach just two blocks from my house. She and her cousin, whose first name was also Lisa, the two Lisas, Lisa Marie and Lisa Ann, they always hung together like sisters, they were making a left turn onto the highway when a guy who was leaving a local bar ran the light doing 80. He hit their small Isuzu pickup from behind, ripping the cab off the truck, decapitating Lisa Ann killing her instantly. Lisa Marie, my friend and my first love, she survived in the hospital for eight hours before finally succumbing to massive traumatic injury, which included a split skull, multiple spinal fractures and a crushed rib cage. I took it hard.
The guy who killed them was released from hospital that night, and from the sheriff's custody the next day, before any charges could be filed. Some kind of screw up on the part of BSO (Broward Sheriffs Office), because he had a blood-alcohol level nearly triple the legal limit. A resident of a Honduras, he fled the country within hours of his release and never had to answer to the law for what he did.
Soon after I went to BSO, got a picture of the guy, and found out what I could from my friends in the sheriff's department. Six months later I took a trip to Central America, I was down there for awhile, got a job, learned the lingo. I spent some months, or maybe it was years, in the rain forest.
One day I found a little bar in the middle of nowhere, and I hung out there every night, until I ran into someone, someone who I'd never met before, but I knew his face, I knew it well. But just to be sure I pulled out the old dogeared picture I kept in my wallet, and studied it closely under the dim candlelight, just the way I'd done nearly every night since Lisa died. I struck up a conversation, bought the guy a few drinks, and we talked late into the night. I asked him if he had ever been to the US, he said he had.
After the bar closed we found ourselves walking in the hot humid air down the muddy logging road, and almost without thinking I told him who I was. I couldn't see his face because it was very dark, nothing but the starlight to silhouette his now silent form, he'd stopped walking and was just standing there. Everything went quiet, nothing but the sound of the forest insects in the darkness.
Up to that point I hadn't felt anything, nor had I planned anything... specific, though I'd be lying if I said thoughts of retribution hadn't crossed my mind before that moment. And as we both stood there silently in the dark I'd begun unconsciously fingering the Sig Sauer P226 I had tucked in my pants at the small of my back. And in the next instant, perhaps fueled by the tequila I'd been drinking, something began to well up inside me, it started small like the spark that ignites a forest fire, a rage, a burning rage, that soon became an uncontrolled conflagration, as I remembered my first love Lisa, and what had happened to her, what he had done to her.
Love can make you do funny things, don't you know.
When I got back to America everybody wanted know where I'd been, and what I'd been doing. I lied.
So here's the way I see it, you drink you drive, that's your business. But you kill somebody I care about while you're doing it... well let's just say that I can guaran-Goddamn-tee you there will be a reckoning, and some measure of justice will find you, no matter where you go. This isn't a threat, just a little FYI for all of you who are comfortable downing a few beers and getting behind the wheel of your car.
PS Revenge is for suckers, don't waste your life on it. Conversely, don't for one moment think that there's people out there that won't.
Bottoms up Mother Fuckers.
November 08, 2007 9:30 AM, said...
OKay. So I think your right about the guilt trips lol. I love the angry comments. This is Jen from Nelly's by the way.
November 10, 2007 12:00 AM, said...
Shitty Neighborhood Rallies Against Asshole Developer
CHICAGO—Residents of the Carney Gardens neighborhood on Chicago's South Side are opposing an effort by asshole real-estate developer Royce Messner to build a godawful $45 million strip mall and condominium complex in the crime-ridden shithole they call home.
Residents march to protect their beloved, execrable squalor.
The Save Carney Neighborhood Foundation, the most organized non-criminal group in this part of town, has filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the scheduled April 2008 groundbreaking. While halting the project would surely prevent a tragic urban-planning nightmare, it would also mean keeping the run-down, economically depressed community exactly as it is.
"Carney is where I was born and raised, and it remains a tight-knit community," said Foundation chairman Althea Hynes at a fundraising block party held Monday on a broken bottle- and condom-strewn stretch of Carney Avenue where the money-grubbing Messner wants to put a soulless indoor food court. "Lots of young kids still play in the empty lots around here."
Messner, 54, a three-time Chicagoland "Builder of the Year" and all-time unbelievable scumbag who made his fortune in the 1990s converting public parks and cheap, blighted properties into high-rise luxury residences, is seeking to "revitalize" Carney Gardens by razing it and replacing it with a damned cookie-cutter mixed commercial-residential development that would benefit no one who lives there now.
Unrepentant prick Messner.
"What people like this can never get through their heads is the fact that progress isn't always painless," the rapacious bastard said, as if he were not talking about driving thousands of poor benighted fucks out of the place that, pestilential hellhole or not, is the only home they've ever been able to afford. "They complained about the expressway over their heads too, but its easy-on, easy-off access makes Carney Gardens a prime area for development. Once we get a few more chain restaurants in that area, the whole economy will turn around."
A hellish 16-block stretch of burned-out buildings and howling poverty, Carney Gardens has never recovered from its economic slide in the late 1960s. However, many of those who live in the human sewer say they can't just allow Messner to squat his bloated fat-cat ass over their neighborhood and dump a big concrete-and-glass yuppie turd onto everything they've ever known.
"There's no way this city can allow some developer to just come in here and ruin our community," said liquor store owner Carlos Jimenez, demonstrating willful ignorance of Chicago history, the conditions immediately outside his door, and even his role in Carney Gardens' downfall.
"Where are all these people supposed to go if they put up that mall here—Gary, Indiana?" said Hynes, as if living in a filthy, dangerous joke of an ass wipe city was some kind of affront to her standards.
Urban planning experts say that any opposition to the colossal asshole faces an uphill battle, as Carney Gardens has been a wart on the ass of Chicago for too long. Despite this, it seems that the determined Save Carney group will not abandon its hope of rejecting the only development proposal their hopeless pit will see in the next two decades.
"Poor communities are at a disadvantage against this type of developer, who speaks the language of City Hall," said Jackson Eisenberg, an architecture professor at Loyola University who has studied the effects of short-sighted, profit-oriented renewal and gentrification on dozens of crap areas. "It's the same dilemma faced by the working-class [losers] in [rotten-ass] urban neighborhoods across America. As a [shrivel-dicked] businessman looking for a lucrative investment, [evil] Messner sees a ripe opportunity here."
Mayor Richard M. Daley has yet to speak publicly about whether he will oppose Messner's human hamster cage, or allow the vile prick to wipe the bleeding hemorrhoid that is Carney Gardens from existence.
November 17, 2007 7:01 PM, Alecia said...
This, in all entirety is simply depressing.
December 11, 2007 11:11 PM, Stinkbait Boucher said...
man don't make me come over there.
you need to write something - for me.
fuck all the long-talkers. your voice is lacking and that's troublesome to me.