There aren't many situations like this in my life; TBG and I have worked very hard to get to a place where we owe no one anything we don't want to give. When the law reaches into my living room and asks me a question, though, my reality shifts... just a little, but just enough to remind me that it never ends.
And so, as I do with my exercises which annoy me and take me away from less onerous but less necessary pursuits, when the big manila envelope from the U.S. Department of Justice United States Attorney District of Arizona arrived this afternoon, I opened it before I could figure out a way to put it off.
If I don't go to the gym first thing in the morning I never get there at all. It's the same thing here.
There's a cover letter or two from the Victim Witness Coordinator and her assistant inside the envelope. Boilerplate for the most part, explaining who she is and what I'm receiving and what will happen and how to get more information and it's fairly routine except for the 4 bullet points in the middle of the first page:
Number of Charges
|14||Federally protected activities||Guilty|
|2||Attempt to commit murder or manslaughter||Guilty|
Assassination, kidnapping and assault of certain officials
It's okay..... take a moment.... I certainly took a few.
There I am, one of those 14.... right there at the top.....right above assassination and kidnapping and murder. There are all those guilty dispositions, just what thought I wanted.
It's not enough and it's all that there is. It's awful, it's right, it's just..... and it's all attached to me.
I'm not saying that I am at fault. I was in the right place at the wrong time and the shooter planned it so it's all on him. I know this is true because it's on page 12 of the plea agreement:
Factual basisand then on page 13, he admits that he
I agree that the following facts accurately describe my conduct .... On January 8, 1011, I went to...the.... Grocery Store....I was armed with a Glock model 19, 9mm semi-automatic pistol, loaded with 33 rounds of ammunition, and 3 additional magazines containing an additional 60 rounds. Prior to arriving, I had formed a plan to kill Congresswoman Giffords and the people who were at Congress on Your Corner....I ... shot people who were participating in Congress on Your Corner, with the Glock pistol, intending to kill them, and having planned the killings.
shot Susan A. Hileman....with the Glock pistol, willfully injuring, intimidating or interfering... I shot them because they were participating in Congress on Your Corner.I know that he said all these things because his initials are scrawled in the bottom right hand corner of every page. A light touch with the pen, no bold strokes, no definitive gestures there. Just JL in cursive, his initials on the paperwork which will send him to prison for the rest of his life... and then some.
I read every word. They all matter to me. The names of those who were there that day will be with me forever... for as long as the shooter is living in a box... and longer. Good deeds have been done and good works have been promoted but the brutal facts are that this was a well-thought out attempt to create a different kind of America than the one in which I choose to live. We don't settle our grievances with weaponry.
The packet contained print outs of the official FBI and DOJ statements. There was also another manila envelope included in the packet. I went back through the pages and I found the Victim Impact Statement, which is to be returned to the Judge "who is interested in knowing the impact this crime has had on you," in that other envelope. Dutifully, I began to read:
1. Have you experienced any of the following feelings since the crime occurred? (PleaseIt's going to be a long night. There are 7 questions and I can attach additional pages if more space is needed.
check the appropriate response(s).
__Depression __Anxiety __Fear __Anger/Rage __Loss of Sleep __Loss of Appetite