Thursday, May 11, 2006

Girl, You Have No Faith in the Legal System

As a woman, I'd like to believe that when a woman says she has been raped she's telling the truth. Not just because I want to have faith in my fellow man, uh wo-man, but because it makes the rest of us look bad. Once one woman lies about being raped, it causes the powers that be (read Men) to doubt the rest of us when we bring forth allegations of an attack.

As a human and an American citizen, I'd like to believe that our judicial system works as it should: that we are innocent until proven guilty and that those in charge of prosecuting crimes take their positions seriously as a means to eradicating true crime and not just as vehicles for political gain or executing their own personal vendettas.

Sadly, the alleged rape case involving the Duke Lacrosse team has left me disillusioned and disappointed in both my fellow woman and my fellow American citizens, most especially Michael Nifong, the Durham District Attorney who is pursuing this case despite the lack of any evidence proving the guilt and more shockingly, in the face of clear evidence showing that neither of the two young men who have thus far been indicted could have been involved. Both have witnesses and evidence including ATM receipts indicating that they had left the party well before the hook, uh stripper, -- damn! I mean the alleged victim, arrived. Nifong refused to look at any of the evidence collected by defense attorneys.

Worse yet, is the fact that he has dropped pending charges against the alleged victim related to her theft of a vehicle and the subsequent high-speed chase on which she led police; the fact that he reduced parole violation charges against the second stripper involved after she changed her story to say that, indeed, a rape had occurred.

Now, in a further effort to intimidate a witness, Durham police yesterday arrested the taxi driver who came forward to say that he had picked Reade Seligmann up from the house where the lacrosse party and alleged rape took place and then drove him to an ATM, a fast-food joint, and back to his dorm, all before the alleged rape allegedly occurred. Apparently, the police asked him if had anything new to tell them about the case before they arrested him.

How is this happening in the U.S.? How is Nifong allowed to get away with this? Clearly, he has no case if he's so desperately trying to coerce testimony and throwing witnesses into jail in order to get his way. And ignoring that the alleged victim has mental health issues and a previous history of lies, deception, and criminal activity that might indicate she could be making the story up.

I wasn't going to write about this because I understand how it could be a controversial issue and that's not my game. But I am incensed over the idea, the very act of witness intimidation Nifong and his black-booted thugs are trying to carry out in Durham. I hope he fails miserably.

I hope someone with some sense sees what he is doing and disbars this asshole.

I hope the woman who started all of this gets the help she needs to get her life together. For her sake, her parents, and her children.

I hope the young men, and their fellow teammates, have learned that it's never a good idea to hire strange women to come to your home and take their clothes off unless you want to risk being accused of rape, and I hope that ultimately, they are able to clear their names and put this behind them.

Most of all, I hope our criminal justice system can withstand the battering it's taking right now.

Monday, May 8, 2006

Freakin' Evil Bird

thrasher, originally uploaded by belleoftheblogATL.

I dig birds. I have two bird feeders and a bird bath in our yard to attract a variety of songbirds. I planted red trumpet vine to attract hummingbirds. Nature is my friend.

That said, there is a freakin' brown thrasher living somewhere in our yard that I want to kill. Evil bird.

Every day for the last week when I let our sweet orange tabby boy, Mao, go outside to lounge in the sun or stalk chipmunks, this bird tries to attack him. When s/he isn't swooping down to pester him, the bird sets on a perch about two feet away and nags him with an irritating chirp that sounds like someone flicking their tongue against the back of their teeth. It will literally fly around the house to follow him if he tries to go from the backyard around to the front of the house. I can hear it over the TV or music it is so loud. I want to kill this bird! That chirp has become the single most irritating sound on Earth to me.

I'm sure it's a new parent and only wants to protect its young. I should relate to that. If my sweet kitty, who is a notorious killer, did in fact kill one of this bird's new offspring, I would feel sad and be angry at Mao.

However, my darling cat is innocent until committing an act of Darwinian brutality. So far he hasn't done that. To this bird or its young.

I never root for my cat against smaller animals. Except rats. But this time I find myself hoping he will get angry enough at this bird to put an end to its annoying chirping.

Of course, the day my kitty boy trots through the door with a limp brown thrasher dangling from his mouth, I'll be out searching for the abandoned brood of baby birds, hoping there's something we can do to save them and cursing my cat for his evil ways.