Not a Hurdle, A Draft of My Speech to the Maricopa County Victim Assistance Division

LESSONS OF A CRIME VICTIM

YOU ALL ARE VICTIM ADVOCATES FOR A REASON, I GUESS, AND I DOUBT THAT REASON IS MONEY.

I WORKED FOR THE STATE ONCE MYSELF; THE BENEFITS AND RETIREMENT ARE GOOD BUT THE ACTUAL PAY CHECK SUCKED.

ANYWAY, I SUPPOSE SOME OF YOU TOOK THIS JOB OUT OF A SINCERE DESIRE TO JUST HELP PEOPLE. OTHERS OF YOU MAY HAVE JUST FALLEN INTO IT AND DECIDED YOU LIKED IT. I SUSPECT SOME BECOME VICTIM ADVOCATES AFTER AFTER HAVING BEEN THEMSELVES, A VICTIM OF CRIME.

I SUPPOSE THERE ARE AS MANY REASONS AS THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE ROOM. SOME GOOD AND ALTRUISTIC, SOME MAYBE CYNICAL. BUT WHATEVER IT IS, EVERY MORNING YOU WAKE UP AND CHOOSE TO BE HERE.

I DID NOT.

IT IS NO STRETCH TO SAY, I’D RATHER MY SON WAS ALIVE AND I’D RATHER HAVE MY OLD LIFE BACK, THAN TO BE HERE TODAY.

I’D RATHER BE BACK WORKING IN OBSCURITY AND PISSED OFF ABOUT ALL THE LITTLE THINGS IN LIFE THAT TEND TO IRRITATE US ALL; FLAT TIRES, HAIRCUTS, THE CARDINALS AND THE BROWNS. THINGS THAT SEEMED SO IMPORTANT NOT SO LONG AGO, NOW SEEM SO TRIVIAL.

YES, EVEN WITH ALL ITS IRRITATIONS, I’D RATHER HAVE MY OLD LIFE BACK, MY LIFE OF AMBIGUITY. WHEN NO ONE CARED WHAT I HAD TO SAY.

BUT, HERE I AM, TALKING TO A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHOSE FUNCTION IS TO BE A LIAISON BETWEEN A CRIME VICTIM, AND THE COURT AND THE PROSECUTOR.

I, ON THE OTHER HAND, AM IN A PLACE I DON’T WANT TO BE, TALKING TO PEOPLE I DO NOT WANT TO MEET (UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES) JUST TRYING TO MAKE A POINT.

SO WHAT IS THAT POINT?

I AM JUST GOING TO TRY AND GIVE YOU A PERSPECTIVE. IT’S THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN ORDINARY GUY THRUST INTO AN EXTRA-ORDINARY SITUATION. A GUY WHOSE SON, WHO WAS DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG, WAS MURDERED. A GUY WHO HELPED CATCH THE PUNKS THAT MURDERED HIS SON AND WHO WAS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY.

WITH THAT AS BACKGROUND, I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT GRIEF, A SUBJECT NO ONE TALKS ABOUT.

SO, HERE WE GO

ALL OF YOU, I AM SURE, WORK ON CASES INVOLVING MURDER, RAPE, ASSAULT, ROBBERY, BURGLARY, AND THEFT.

EACH ONE OF THOSE CRIMES, CAUSES ITS VICTIM TO EXPERIENCE SOME LEVEL OF GRIEF, NONE MORE OR LESS INTENSE THAN THE OTHER.

GRIEF, UNDERSTAND, IS RELATIVE. THE WORSE THING TO HAPPEN TO SOMEONE IS THE WORSE THING THAT HAPPENS TO SOMEONE, PERIOD. THERE EXISTS NO GRIEF OLYMPICS. THERE IS NO GOLD MEDAL OF GRIEF. I LOST A SON, IF SOMEONE ELSE LOST TWO CHILDREN IS THEIR GRIEF GREATER THAN MINE? NO. IF SOMEONE IS RAPED, IS THEIR GRIEF NOT AS GREAT AS MINE? NO.

THE WORLD OF GRIEF, BY ITS OWN NATURE, HAS TO BE A WORLD WITHOUT JUDGEMENT, WITHOUT DEGREES, AND WITHOUT CLASS DISTINCTIONS. IT IS A LONELY PLANET, WITHOUT PETS, WITHOUT PEOPLE, WITHOUT CARE.

AND THE MOMENT YOU CAST JUDGEMENT, YOU MINIMIZE YOUR CLIENT’S GRIEF AND TRUST ME, WE PICK UP ON THAT IMMEDIATELY.

EACH OF YOUR CLIENTS IS UNIQUE. THEY ARE BORN OF THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE.

WHY?

BECAUSE THEIR TOOL BOX, THE THINGS THEY USE TO COPE, IS THEIR OWN, FILLED WITH THEIR PERSONAL HISTORY; HISTORICAL TEACHINGS FROM THEIR PARENTS, THEIR GRANDPARENTS, THEIR SIBLINGS THEIR TEACHERS, AUNTS AND UNCLES. WHAT FEW TOOLS THEY DO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THEIR GRIEF IS ALSO SHAPED BY THEIR OWN PERCEPTIONS AS THE OBSERVER; SOMETIMES WARPED, SOMETIMES NOT.

GRIEF, LIKE A FINGERPRINT, IS UNIQUE TO THE INDIVIDUAL. AND UNLESS YOU HAVE AN IDEA ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON INSIDE YOUR CLEINTS HEAD, YOU WILL REMAIN PERPLEXED, INEFFICIENT, AND YOU WILL BE A BURDEN TO YOUR CLIENT. I HEAR IT ALL THE TIME.

SO, ANYWAY, EACH OF THOSE CRIMES, I MENTIONED EARLIER, MURDER, RAPE ASSAULT, ETC, CAUSES A FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT IN THE VICTIM’S BELIEF SYSTEM AND IN THE VICTIM’S WORLD VIEW.

EACH OF THOSE CRIMES, OR ANY CRIME THAT IS IN ANYWAY PERSONAL IN NATURE, RAISES HUGE QUESTIONS IN THE VICTIM’S MIND REGARDING THE OVERALL GOOD OF MANKIND, THEIR PLACE IN THE WORLD, THE SECURITY OF THEIR UNIVERSE, THE TRUSTWORTHINESS OF OTHERS, AND, SURPRISINGLY, THEIR OWN GUILT ASSOCIATED WITH THE CRIME ITSELF.

EVERY TRUE VICTIM, WHEN YOU MEET THEM, HAS JUST BEEN, AT A QUANTUM PARTICLE LEVEL, CHANGED.

AND THEY ARE STRUGGLING WITH THAT FACT. AND THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO VERBALIZE IT. AND THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO HANDLE IT. AND THEY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT.

NOW, ADD TO THIS MIX THE FOREIGN UNIVERSE OF THE COURT ROOM, AND THE INCREDIBLY INEFFICIENT AND COLD ARIZONA LEGAL PROCESS, AND YOU HAVE THE REAL POTENTIAL FOR PERSONAL CHAOS AND MAYHEM.

AND I AM SURE EACH OF YOU HAS WITNESSED IT.

AS VICTIM ADVOCATES, YOU STAND IN THE EYE OF THE STORM SITTING, NEXT TO A TEMPEST. YOUR FUNCTION IS TO BE THE SAFE HARBOR, THE PLACE WE, AS VICTIMS OF CRIME, CAN GO, FOR INFORMATION, FOR SUPPORT FOR GUIDANCE AND ASSURANCE.

THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS A VERY HEAVY BURDEN TO CARRY.

WE, AS VICTIMS, SIT IN THAT COURT ROOM NEXT TO YOU AND WE NOTICE EVERYTHING: EVERY LAUGH, EVERY SMILE, EVERY TURN AND NOD OF THE HEAD; EVERY HANDSHAKE, EVERY WHISPER, EVERY JOKE! OUR SENSES, ALL OF THEM ARE TUNED AND HEIGHTENED. WE SEE AND HEAR EVERYTHING.

AND WE EVALUATE, EVERYTHING, IN TERMS OF THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT FORM A SINGLE QUESTION:

DOES ANYONE CARE?

DOES ANYONE CARE?

DOES THE JUDGE CARE?

WHO CAN TELL? OTHER THAN THE ROTE RECITATION OF VICTIM RIGHTS AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY HEARING, READ ALOUD LIKE A COP READING THE MIRANDA CARD TO A SUSPECT (I JUST GOTTA DO THIS) HE OR SHE DOES NOT SEEM OVERLY CONCERNED WITH OUR PRESENCE.

DOES THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY CARE?

DEFENSE ATTORNEYS, TODAY, SEEM TO WANT TO BE LIKED BY THEIR CLIENTS. THEY JOKE, THEY FIST BUMP. THEY SHAKE HANDS AND PUT THEIR ARMS AROUND THEIR CLIENTS. IT’S INSULTING. THESE ARE THINGS I NEVER, EVER DID. I NEVER LIKED MY CLIENTS AND THE LAST THING I WANTED WAS TO BE LIKED BY THEM. RESPECTED? YES. FEARED? YES. TRUSTED TO FIGHT? YES. BUT LIKED? NO. THEY WERE BAD PEOPLE.

TO ME THEY WERE SIMPLY A BUNDLE OF WALKING, TALKING CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. NOTHING MORE, NOTHING LESS.

A GOOD DEFENSE ATTORNEY HAS BRED OUT OF HIM OR HERSELF THAT ABILITY TO CARE ABOUT A VICTIM. PERIOD. TO FEEL IS A MISTAKE.

DOES THE PROSECUTOR CARE?

WELL, THEY HAVE A JOB TO DO. THEY EVALUATE THE CASE IN LIGHT OF FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCE THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT THE VICTIM OF THE CRIME MAY BE A SON OR DAUGHTER, OR A PARENT OR RELATIVE OF THE PERSON SITTING ON THE VICTIM’S SIDE OF THE COURT ROOM. THEY ARE CONCERNED WITH RULES AND PROCEDURES; NUMBERS LIKE RULE 8, RULE 15, RULE 15.1 THINGS THAT MAKE NO SENSE TO THE AVERAGE CRIME VICTIM. NUMBERS, IT SEEMS, HAVE REPLACED LATIN AS THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF THE COURTROOM. EITHER WAY, IT MAKES NO SENSE.

PROSECUTORS TEND TO BE FOCUSED ON THE TASK AT HAND. AND THEY HAVE LIMITED TIME BETWEEN HEARINGS AND EVENTS

BUT

I HAVE FOUND THAT THE PROSECUTORS DO, IN FACT, CARE; THEY JUST HAVE LITTLE TIME TO SHOW IT.

AND THEN THERE IS YOU. THE VICTIM ADVOCATES.

IN THE “DOES ANYONE CARE?” DEPARTMENT YOU HAVE A FUNNY ISSUE TO OVER COME; ONE YOU MAY NOT HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT.

TO A VICTIM, AND I HAVE TALKED TO QUITE A FEW, YOU ARE VIEWED AS BEING PAID TO CARE.

TO LOOK LIKE YOU CARE, IS YOUR JOB.

IN OTHER WORDS, RIGHT OFF THE BAT, YOU HAVE A PERCEIVED SINCERITY ISSUE TO OVERCOME, IF YOU WANT TO.

SO, YOU DO SOMETHING GOOD, AND THEY THINK, WELL, HE OR SHE IS GETTING PAID TO DO THAT.

IF YOU SCREW UP, MIS-STATE A COMMUNICATION, A VICTIM ASSUMES: “NOT EVEN MY VICTIM ADVOCATE CARES. I AM JUST A FILE, THEY THINK, I AM A NUMBER, AND ALL ANYONE WANTS IS FOR THE FILE TO CLOSE.”

YOURS IS A CLASSIC CONUNDRUM – A RIDDLE WITH NO ANSWER.

FOR EXAMPLE, A LAWYER, IS PAID TO WIN. WHEN WE WIN, THE CLIENT SAYS THAT’S WHAT I PAID YOU FOR, NOT THANK YOU. I SUSPECT THE SAME IS TRUE FOR A VICTIM ADVOCATE.

LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE OF THE TIGHTROPE YOU WALK.

IT IS A STATEMENT MADE BY MY OWN VICTIM ADVOCATE. IT WAS A PERFECTLY LINEAL, RATIONAL COMMENT, BUT ONE THAT PISSED ME OFF BECAUSE OF WHO I WAS WHEN THE STATEMENT WAS MADE AND WHERE I WAS AT IN MY GRIEF OVER THE LOSS OF MY SON.

IT SHOULDN’T HAVE MADE ME ANGRY, BUT IT DID, AND IT DESCRIBES HOW CLOSELY YOU NEED TO EVALUATE WHAT YOU SAY TO A CRIME VICTIM, A PERSON WHO LOOKS AT EVERYTHING, THROUGH THE GREY FOG OF GRIEF.

DURING ONE OF THE ENDLESS, BLOODY, STUPID, WASTEFUL AND INEFFICIENT STATUS HEARINGS IN ZACK’S CASE, OUR VICTIM ADVOCATE, COMMENTING ON THE _______ THAT FILLS THE DEFENDANT’S SIDE OF THE COURTROOM, LEANED OVER TO ME AND MADE A VERY INNOCENT AND INNOCUOUS STATEMENT:

I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR ABOUT HIS (MR. HARPER’S) CHILDHOOD, YOU KNOW, TO UNDERSTAND HOW HE GOT HERE.”

THAT WAS IT! SOMETHING, I AM SURE, ALMOST ANYONE WOULD WONDER ABOUT.

MY REACTION? I DIDN’T SAY THIS, BUT I CERTAINLY THOUGHT IT:

WHO GIVES A F________ ABOUT THIS LITTLE SH_____’S CHILDHOOD. HE SHOT MY SON. I REALLY DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT HIS F_____________’IN CHILDHOOD!!!”

AND I CONCLUDED: “MY SON’S CASE IS SIMPLY A CLINICAL EXERCISE FOR HER.”

NOW, WHEN I SAY THIS OUT LOUD, IT SOUNDS SO STUPID TO MY INTELLECT, MY WESTERN MIND. BUT IT’S NOT. NEITHER THE VICTIM ADVOCATE’S STATEMENT NOR MY REACTION TO IT WAS WRONG OR STUPID, THEY BOTH ARE JUST TRUTH.

SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?

IN MY OPINION, ACCEPTING THE FACT THAT EVERY PERSON YOU ARE DEALING WITH IS EXPERIENCING GRIEF AND THAT GRIEF IS MULTI DIMENSIONAL AND NON-LINEAL WILL HELP YOU OUT IMMENSELY. IN MY OPINION, THAT UNDERSTANDING WILL HELP EXPLAIN YOUR CLIENTS REACTIONS TO SEEMINGLY MINOR THINGS.

IN MY OPINION:

FIRST, AND AGAIN, CAST AWAY ALL JUDGMENT. REMEMBER, THERE ARE NO SHADES OF GRIEF. I LOST A SON. THAT DOES NOT MEAN MY GRIEF IS GREATER THAN THE PERSON WHO LOST A GRANDFATHER OR GRANDMOTHER, OR A WOMAN WHO WAS RAPED; OR A PERSON WHOSE HOME WAS BURGLARIZED.

GRIEF CANNOT BE MINIMIZED. IT IS PERSONAL, IT IS PAINFUL AND IT IS BRUTAL IN A COURT ROOM.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU THOUGHT, ABOUT A CLIENT, “MAN, HE NEEDS TO COUNT HIS BLESSINGS AND MOVE ON?”

NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

UNDERSTAND

WE LIVE IN A WORLD CHAINED TO INTELLECT. OUR WORLD, AND I MEAN THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, BRITAIN AND WESTERN EUROPE, PREACHES LIBERTY AND FREE WILL BUT, WHAT I HAVE FOUND IS THAT, IN POINT OF FACT, WE ARE NOT FREE, WE ARE A SLAVE TO OUR OBSESSIVE NEED TO INTELLECTUALIZE EVERYTHING. THAT SUCCESS IS MEASURED IN MONEY. AND HAPPINESS? BY THE BOUNTY OF THINGS POSSESSED.

EVERYTHING, LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS, CAN BE REDUCED TO A THOUGHT, A SCALE, A GRAPH, OR A BANK ACCOUNT.

YET,

THERE IS NO GRAPH, NO SCALE OR ANY BANK ACCOUNT THAT CAN EXPLAIN A COLD BLOODED MURDER, A RAPE, A ROBBERY OR AN ASSAULT. AND DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE HAVE THE HIGHEST MURDER RATES IN THE WORLD, MURDER , OR ANY OTHER PERSONAL AFFRONT, JUST DOES NOT FIT INTO WESTERN PHILOSOPHY.

THAT’S WHY NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT. THAT’S WHY PEOPLE WHO GRIEVE ARE DRIVEN TO SUPPORT GROUPS CONTAINING ONLY LIKE INDIVIDUALS. WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT.

IN FACT

WE ARE MOST COMFORTABLE WITH PEOPLE WHO DISPLAY STOICISM, SOMEONE WHO SUFFERS QUIETLY AND SEEMS IMMUNE TO PLEASURE OR PAIN. THE STOIC, OUR HERO.

IT IS EVIDENT IN OUR MEDIA.

THINK ABOUT THIS:

BRUTAL CRIME IS SO COMMON NOWADAYS, THAT WE HARDLY GIVE IT A SECOND THOUGHT. IT BARELY EVEN MAKES THE NEWS! WE ACCEPT IT AS A GIVEN IN OUR SOCIETY; AS A PRICE WE PAY FOR FREEDOM. UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO US. AND WE ARE AS SURPRISED AS CAN BE WHEN, INEVITABLY, VIOLENCE TOUCHES OUR DOORSTEP.

SO, WHEN SOMETHING BAD HAPPENS, IT MAY BE A STRY ON THE NEWS AND AN ARTICLE IN THE PAPER BUT THE FACT THAT IT HAPPENS JUST FADES AWAY. AND WHAT WE ARE LEFT WITH IS AN EMPTY COURTROOM, FILLED WITH A FEW OF ITS PLAYERS, AND THE VICTIM SITS ON A BENCH, IN FRONT OF A SIGN THAT SAYS RESERVED FOR VICTIMS, ALONE, FORGOTTEN, A MERE DIGITAL DING IN GOOGLE.

YOU THINK THAT MAYBE, SOMETIMES, THAT’S HARD FOR YOUR CLIENT’S TO HANDLE?

YOU BET IT IS.

DO YOU THINK THEY’LL EVER MENTION IT? NOT A CHANCE.

NEXT, WE ARE THOUGHT THAT EVERYTHING IS LINEAR. THAT THE MERE PASSAGE OF TIME HEALS ALL WOUNDS. EARLY ON WE LEARN THAT THE NEXT PET REPLACES THE ONE THAT JUST PASSED. THAT AT LEAST YOU HAVE TWO CHILDREN LEFT AND THAT YOU MUST PULL YOURSELF UP BY THE BOOTSTRAPS FOR THEM. THAT YOU HAVE TO MOVE FORWARD. FOR THEM.

THE PROBLEM WITH LINEAL THOUGHT, I HAVE DISCOVERED, IS THAT IT IS ONLY TWO DIMENSIONAL AND IT ONLY MOVES FORWARD. THAT IS NOT WHAT IT IS LIKE FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS JUST SUFFERED A TRAUMATIC, LIFE ALTERING EVENT. BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS IS WE TRANSFORM INTO THE MULTI-DIMENSIONAL.

NO CLICHE APPLIES. CLICHE’S MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD, NOT US.

LINEAL TIME DOES NOT HEAL, THE VICTIMS OF BRUTAL CRIME, LOSE ALL CONCEPT OF THE PASSAGE OF TIME; WE ONLY DEAL IN EVENTS. WE HANDLE EVENTS THE BEST WE CAN AS THEY ARISE, AND JUST WATCH THEM SLIP BY.

OUR INTELLECT WARS WITH OUR EMOTIONS. OUR PAST SHAPES THAT BATTLE.

OUR OUTWARD APPEARANCE BELIES THE PAIN FELT INSIDE. WE FEEL MISUNDERSTOOD.

EVERYTHING WE TOOK ON FAITH IS SHAKEN. OUR BELIEF SYSTEM IS ALTERED OR IN SOME, DESTROYED.

THE PROBLEM YOU HAVE, AS VICTIM ADVOCATES, IS THAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE, AT THE MOMENT YOU MEET THEM, MOVED OUTSIDE ANYTHING INTELLECTUAL OR LINEAL. THEY ARE ON NEW GROUND, SOMEPLACE UNFAMILIAR, UNWANTED, AND UNWARRANTED. THEY ARE CONFUSED.

IT’S LIKE WALKING THROUGH A STRANGE HOUSE AT NIGHT, WITH NO LIGHT, CONSTANTLY BUMPING INTO COUCHES AND WALLS WITHOUT ANY KNOWLEDGE OF WHERE THE LIGHT SWITCH MAY BE.

AND THEY REACH OUT TO YOU TO BE THAT LIGHT SWITCH. TO HELP MAKE SENSE OF THE DARK. TO BRING PERSPECTIVE TO THIS WEIRD VAN GOUGH PAINTING THEY SUDDENLY FIND THEMSELVES IN.

AND I DO NOT ENVY YOU.

WE ARE ONLY HUMAN, YOU AND I.

I UNDERSTAND HOW EASY IT IS TO BECOME CALLOUSED AND HARDENED BY OUR JOBS. TO PUT A WALL UP BETWEEN US AND THE EMOTIONALISM OF THE OTHER PERSON, OUR CLIENT. TO REPLACE EMPATHY WITH APATHY OR ANTIPATHY OR INDIFFERENCE. IT’S HARD TO WEAR OUR EMOTIONS SO CLOSE TO OUR SKIN, DAY AFTER DAY, YEAR AFTER YEAR, CASE AFTER CASE. ONE FILE BECOMES LIKE THE OTHER, ONLY SOME DRIVE US MORE INSANE THAN OTHERS. THAT HAPPENED TO ME AS A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY, TO AN EXTENT.

YOU HAVE TO FIGHT THAT FEELING.

MY FATHER USED TO TELL ME THAT EVERY CLIENT IN THE OFFICE IS BRINGING TO ME THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN THEIR LIFE TO SOLVE. IF I DID NOT TREAT THEIR PROBLEM, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS, AS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN MY LIFE, I WAS MINIMIZING MY CLIENT. THERE WERE NO SMALL FILES IN OUR OFFICE.

SO, AS I WRAP UP, WHAT DO I HOPE YOU TAKE AWAY FROM ALL THIS BLUSTER:

THE PEOPLE YOU TALK TO DO NOT HAVE A BROKEN BRAINS, THEY HAVE BROKEN HEARTS. YOU CANNOT INTELLECTUALIZE GRIEF. YOU CANNOT APPLY TRADITIONAL WESTERN LINEAL THOUGHT TO EMOTIONAL TRAUMA.

LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.

IN MY PRACTICE I NOW REPRESENT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN PHYSICALLY INJURED. THEY MAY HAVE SORE BACKS AND NECKS, BROKEN BONES, THAT SORT OF THING. AND THE EASIEST CASE, BY FAR, THE ONE THAT MAKES MORE MONEY THAN THE OTHER, IS THE CASE THAT SHOWS UP ON AN X-RAY. IN THESE CASES, THE ADJUSTER CAN SEE THE SOURCE OF THE PAIN. IT IS “OBJECTIVE.”

AND IN MOST CASES OF PHYSICAL TRAUMA, NOT ALL BUT IN MOST, THE PASSAGE OF TIME, WITH OR WITHOUT MEDICAL INTERVENTION, DOES, IN FACT, HEAL THE WOUND OR KNIT THE BONE.

THAT IS NOT TRUE OF A BROKEN HEART. YOU CAN’T X-RAY IT, YOU CAN’T SEE IT, WEIGH IT OR QUANTIFY IT. IT IS THE ULTIMATE SOFT TISSUE INJURY. IT JUST HURTS, EVEN JUST TO MOVE.

THE PEOPLE YOU DEAL WITH ARE NOT THEMSELVES, THEY ARE STILL DISCOVERING WHO THEY ARE,

WHO THEY WERE IS AN INSTANT, DISTANT MEMORY. WHO THEY ARE GOING TO BE? WELL, THAT’S NOT EVEN A GUESS.

AGAIN, I DO NOT ENVY YOU DEALING WITH THE LIKES OF ME. YOU ALMOST CAN’T HELP BUT MAKE A MISTAKE. BUT IF YOU GO INTO EACH RELATIONSHIP WITH AN OPEN MIND, AN OPEN HEART AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OPEN EARS. IT WILL BE FINE.

TAKE CARE NOT TO JUDGE.

TAKE CARE NOT TO PITY.

DON’T EXPECT US TO MOVE ON.

DO NOT APPLY YOUR PARADIGM TO MINE.

DO NOT EXPECT PATIENCE OR KINDNESS OR FORGIVENESS.

YOU ARE DEALING WITH THE MOST HUMAN OF SOULS.

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About daniel marco

For 23 years I practiced criminal defense. Then, on October 17, 2010, two men murdered my son. They were arrested a month later. It is a death penalty case. So I am coping not only with my son's death, but doubt about the purpose of my entire professional career.
This entry was posted in bereavement, grief, grief murdered child, grief recovery, grieving parent, inspiration, life after death of child, loss of child, parent of murdered child, Uncategorized, victims and the courtroom, victims of crime and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Not a Hurdle, A Draft of My Speech to the Maricopa County Victim Assistance Division

  1. Bobbi de Haan says:

    Powerful and insightful, Dan!

  2. whathappenedtoourcountry says:

    This is a shame:

    The Marco Zachary Reparations Protest (UPDATE): Daring Reparations Protester Marion Anthony Patterson Pleads Guilty to 2nd Degree Murder; “We esteem brother Patterson as the hero & Marco Zachary, who lived as a privileged pig, as the criminal. As Arizona has yet to make restitution for her generational race crimes against our people, we are thankful repara-tions offender Zachary can no longer deny our Holocaust & flagrantly flaunt his kind’s racial criminality before our people’s eyes.” Maricopa Black Foot Soldier Geronimo Adanandus; Arizona Soldiers Condemn Dan Marco (Dad’s) Hypocritical Characterization of the Zachary Marco Family as “Family of Civil Rights Activists” While Supporting Denial of Reparations

    http://nationalblackfootsoldiernetwork.blogspot.com/2012/02/marco-zachary-reparations-protest.html

    I voted for Obama in 2008 and had the hope that this country was making significant progress where race is involved. But I think Obama only emboldened blacks’ feelings that they are entitled.

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