The Outlook

This isn't for the sensitive

Priorities

I was alerted to a disturbing news story today.

A young mother in Atlanta was recently convicted of vehicular homicide in the death of one of her young children. The twist here is that she was not in, let alone driving, the vehicle that was used in this homicide.

(Read the AJC report here)

The prosecutor in her case determined that because she chose to walk her children across the street directly from the bus stop where she was let off instead of walking over a half-mile down the road with hungry and tired little ones so that she might use the crosswalk there (and walk that half-mile back up), she deserves to be in jail for up to 36 months.

The man who hit her son, who admitted that he had been drinking, and was on painkillers and legally blind in one eye and has previous arrests for drunk driving, will most likely serve less time in jail than she will since his charge of vehicular homicide was dropped. This is the part where I call bullshiggity.

Ok, ok. Fine. You want to go by the letter of the law and charge this mother with some crime, ok. That’s crap, but fine. But you want to charge the woman NOT driving with vehicular homicide AND drop the charges of the man who was ACTUALLY driving down to a “hit and run” (because after he plowed into the family, injuring 2 and killing one, he drove off, as he did in 97 when a similar thing happened)? Oh come the eff on.

Meanwhile, Casey Anthony is somewhere writing her memoirs preparing to make some major dough off her life story because they couldn’t manage to figure out how to convict her of SOME crime related to the disappearance and death of her daughter. Does anyone else see a problem?

Many of the blogs I’ve read on this story highlight class and race as an issue. (Read one of them here) They are. I wanted to avoid mentioning them (though one is obvious) because I think some people immediately discount what you say as soon as you bring issues of class and especially race to the surface. But come on already. Raquel Nelson, an African-American single mother, was convicted by a jury of middle class whites who probably never have had to deal with the issues of public transportation with kids in tow. There’s no way that if you’ve EVER had to use public transportation, you’d want to convict this lady of vehicular homicide.

Back in 2010 I was in an accident where the car I was driving struck (but did not kill or seriously injure) another individual. He was ticketed for crossing the street where he should not have. I felt bad for him as the officer wrote him a ticket while he was being loaded into the ambulance. I had not been drinking, was not otherwise distracted and the accident was his fault — but he was also mentally handicapped and THAT was why he ran out into a dark street without looking to see my car coming down the road. I mention this to say I really do empathize with both sides of this story and while I think it disgusting that this man was on the road with all his many ailments, I still can understand that it can be frustrating when people dart out into the road in areas where you’re not expecting them to.

But even with all that out on the table you can’t make me understand why this mother should get 36 months in jail while the jerk who hit her and her kids, killing one of them, won’t. You can’t make me understand why a bus stop is located so far from a crosswalk. You just can’t make me understand why we’re ALWAYS kicking the little guy when he’s down.

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July 23, 2011 Posted by | Could we overreact any more?, News, Ok. That was stupid | Leave a comment