you can tell this is going to be an interesting post, right?

a week or so ago, someone came to the garden. they were kind of studying our rather large zucchini plant, and after a few minutes they said, “that’s celery, right?”. now i think i’ve been pretty up front and honest on this blog about my inexperience with gardening. i did confess surprise when i realized that the “weeds” i was debating pulling were actually the tops of carrots, which i had never seen growing before. so, i don’t want to make fun of this person.

however, if you’ve ever seen a big zucchini plants, you know that even though each stem looks kind of stalk-y, celery is a bunch of stalks close together with small leaves on top. zucchini has many individual large “stalks” with a huge leaf on the end of each one. it was kind of giggle-y, but it’s also overwhelmingly inspiring. lots of people (like me just a few short months ago) never really think about where their food comes from. tonight at supper my youngest took a tomato out of the plastic container from trader joe’s and asked, “is this from our garden?”. we all just stopped for a second, and then another daughter said, “do you think we grow plastic boxes in our garden?”  and the youngest had to really think- do we have plastic boxes growing in the garden? people have no idea what food looks like in a natural setting. ( yes, i know that raised beds on a suburban lawn is not exactly a “natural setting”, but please stay with me…) this garden continues to educate so many people on so many levels – and that is what i find so inspiring…

on a scummier note, i have a short story about something that happened yesterday on our way into court. as we were pulling into the parking lot, we luckily (because this stopped the incident before it became a big huge drama)/unluckily (because we had to deal with an incident that potentially could have been a huge drama) saw someone who we are purposely not in contact with. he is someone we actually loathe. we have told him unequivocally to leave us alone, but he randomly will pop up- phone calls to our house, trying to post on my blog, unwanted emails, etc. every time i even hear his name i feel sick. he is bad and evil. and he decided to come to court yesterday to “show [his] support” for us. after a brief and highly unpleasant interlude in the parking lot, culminating in us threatening to get the police, he left. how is it some people will not take a hint? it’s not like we try to hide our disgust of him; we have told him repeatedly to stay out of our lives, yet purely for his own selfish reasons, he continues to pop up- like that game ‘whack-a-mole’; you think he is finally going to stay gone and he pops back up. (IF YOU ARE ON MY BLOG READING THIS- AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE- GET OFF MY BLOG AND LEAVE US ALONE!!)

well. now that we have that resolved, let’s move on to the next topic weighing on my mind: legal loopholes.

i have at various times in my life either supported or disdained the idea that it’s better for 1,000 guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be accused/convicted (i have heard both versions). on principle, i certainly don’t think innocent people should be punished. but really if guilty criminals go free, lots of innocent people are getting punished- by having that criminal back in society! (what a great segue from the last topic!). i don’t believe in condoning corruption. i certainly don’t support police mistreating people or circumventing the law when it suits them. i don’t believe the end always justifies the means.

but, this is not meant to be a comprehensive analysis of the justice system (maybe i’ll do that in a different post…). this is meant to share one of the many things i learned in my brief stint as an accused criminal (i still almost laugh at that one!).

i learned that it is supposedly “standard” in criminal cases that if there is a dismissal, it is without prejudice. to my mind, that means that the charges can be filed against someone before the prosecution has their ducks in a row. they can charge, at a time of their choosing, and if they realize after the fact that they might have missed something, they can just get it dismissed without prejudice and bring it back any ole time.

they might find new evidence. they might discover new facts. they might never bring it up again.

and the accused just has to live with that. hunh.

if i was poor, or lived in a different community, or wasn’t smart/educated, or any number of other circumstances, this could have been a real tragedy for us. if we had to take a payday loan at 9,000% interest, or re-mortgage our house, or sell  family heirlooms to get a competent attorney, it would have been a disaster. if we didn’t have close friends- and now many extended friends- to have our backs and support us, this could have been a nightmare. if i wasn’t able to understand that ordinances sometimes are not airtight, and they need to be understood, and that you can’t be convicted of a crime that doesn’t exist, i would have been overwhelmed and demoralized.

we were soooooooooooooooooo fortunate to be where and who we are and to have this resolved in a matter of months. it’s not hanging over our heads for years, like some cases do. nobody got hurt or sick or maimed, thank god. it’s not the worst thing a person could endure. but if it was this upending to our lives, i can literally not imagine what other people go through in similar circumstances.  it makes me remember why, once upon a time, i wanted to be a lawyer. it makes me wonder if there are ways i could help to change things, given the limited amount of time and energy i have at this stage of life. it makes me wish everything wasn’t soooooooooooo complicated.

to that last part, someone said to me, “well, that’s what lawyers are for!” and that chilled me. because that is not what lawyers are supposed to be for. if the common person assumes that laws are meant to be so complicated and undecipherable and inaccessible that only lawyers can understand them, then we are even further off track as a society than i thought.

gosh, i hope he was wrong.

but i really know he wasn’t…