Monday, March 7, 2011

What To Do?

He-Who-Should-Be-Slapped has a court date on Wednesday.

Some very important people have assured me that I would be kept apprised of the legal proceedings at every step of the way.  The Attorney General of the United States held my hands and promised to keep track of me.  The United States Attorney for the District of Arizona is coming to my house this week to talk about the case.  My-Guy-At-The-DOJ calls with alarming regularity, answering my questions and offering a sympathetic ear.  He tells me that his job is to be my advocate.  

I have an advocate at the Department of Justice.  

There's another sentence I never thought I would type.

I'm still not looking at the mug shot smirking back at me from the television or the newspaper.  Up until this week, when the superseding indictments were true billed by the Grand Jury, I allowed myself to think that I didn't have to care because I didn't have a stake in the pending indictments.  I wasn't named, nor was Christina-Taylor.  The whole Law'n piece could wend its merry way through the system without me.  

But then My Guy called me to tell me that he would be calling me later that afternoon or early the next morning with some news.  (I'm not kidding - I am being kept informed of every shiver and shake in this situation.)  He wouldn't tell me any details, though I tried my best to wheedle it out of him.
Will it be good news?
I think so
Is he going to plead out and make this all go away?
(long pause) I understand how you and some others could want that, but it's unlikely.  His lawyer......
And that's when I realized that resistance was futile. There is publicity to be had, a juicy story to be told, and the media would be back once more.  Lawyers would posture in front of the Federal Courthouse.  Cameras would be at every doorway.  My phone would ring - AP and Fox Radio and NBC and the Arizona Daily Star and KGUN and on and on - and everyone would want to know what I thought and how I felt and what I wanted to happen.

What I want is impossible - C-T alive and well and helping me water my containers.  My hip not held together with baling wire.  My Cuters not touched by tragedy and my life not tainted with evil.  The courts cannot give me that.

Nor can they give me peace of mind.  The world is a scarier place to me right now, and probably will be for a while.  I am physically vulnerable and emotionally uncomfortable.  Cracks in the sidewalk loom larger from my walker-hopping perspective.  Distances and dark nights have taken on a tinge of despair -- it's too far,  I'm so sad, I just .....

I just what?  I really don't know.  

The system knows, though.  I am counts 38 and 39 in Case 4:11-cr-00187-- United States of America, plaintiff vs Jared Lee Loughner, defendant.  The paperwork was filed on March 3rd, and all the players will gather at the Federal Courthouse on Wednesday to do whatever it is that the rules of criminal procedure dictate that they must do.

I don't know what it is that they must do, but it must be awfully nice to have the next step clearly outlined for you.  Life isn't being that obvious for me right now.  Not at all.

Initially, I didn't want to hear of him or look at him or know anything about him.  I shielded my eyes from his image, and friends learned to change the channel or warn me about a headline before I opened the paper.  I was protected, and nobody looked askance at me for hiding from the truth.  The truth was ugly and evil and incomprehensible -- who knows somebody who got shot? let alone who is somebody who got shot.  I can't even say it with good grammar. 

"Was shot" is probably the best example of why the passive voice is frowned upon by writing teachers.  There's a distance between the act and the telling that pushes the reader away.  It's also not true.  I am still shot; I have the scars to prove it.  On January 8th I "got shot".... the only other phrase that comes close is "took three bullets" but that's much harder to type and to look at.  And why is that?  Because I am trying to keep what happened on that sunny Saturday morning in a little box with a lock on it hidden away in the corner of my brain.  I've been concentrating on healing, and that has been enough effort for one lifetime.

Up until now, every turn, every reach, every motion had to be carefully considered.  If I went laterally, was my mid-line seam protected.  If I bent forward, was my hip centered and fixed.  Taking something over my head involved everything; it was better not attempted at all.  And don't even think about getting into bed or rolling over or being comfortable.  

But this last week has seen yet another step on my healing staircase.  For the first time in nearly 2 months I've had long periods of time where my body was not the center of my attention.  I can sleep on my side and it doesn't take 5 minutes and 2 pairs of hands to adjust the blankets and the supporting pillows.  I can put on my own socks (when I'm just out of the shower and feeling limber) and I can open the refrigerator door without feeling like I am ripping myself in two.

These are all good things, no doubt about it.  They reassure me that the end is in sight.  I have aches and tugs but I don't have pain.  I didn't think this day would ever come.

But with progress comes responsibility; I can no longer hide behind healing and deny the fact that I am a defendant in a criminal trial.  All of you, represented by Wally Kleindienst and cohorts, are going about the business of proving that an Attempted Assassination of a Member of Congress took place as did the willful murder of a child... all with a Glock 9mm semiautomatic pistol.  Somehow, compared to with premeditation and malice aforethought did unlawfully kill Gabriel M. Zimmerman my inability to read a newspaper article about the case seems awfully puerile.

With that thought in mind, I opened the paper and read the reporter's story.  I survived.  I didn't start to squirm or shake or cry.  I finished the article and turned to the rest of the local news and life went on.  I was moderately proud of myself; progress is progress, regardless of how small.

But there's the issue of this hearing on Wednesday.  It's fairly certain that I will be called to testify at some point.  We will be in the same room.  I really and truly most sincerely do not want this to happen, but I have no choice.  Since it's coming anyway, why should I put it off?  Should I start to desensitize myself to his presence?  Will that make it better or worse?  I have no memory of seeing him at Congress on Your Corner; will being in the same space awaken memories I have comfortably suppressed?

And what about the issue of participation?  I was trying to demonstrate that to Christina; am I going to let fear dictate the parameters of my citizenship?  The people of the United States are taking on my assailant.  I ought to be there to show my support.

It's a quandry, denizens.  It really is.


  1. This was a hard post to read today. I usually don't come here until my lunchtime, but something told me to come here now. I don't even know what to say. I think you are right that you have to participate because you wanted to show CT what it is to be a good citizen, but gosh, this is a hard way to do it. My heart goes out to you. You will have to relive this over again in court and you are being traumatized again--something you shouldn't have to go through.

    For some reason, this didn't even cross my mind (court). I guess I thought it was so far off in the distance it wasn't something you or any of us would have to think about. And to be honest with you, I try to not think about that monster.

    Sending a virtual hug your way.

    Megan xxx

  2. Only you can decide on what to do. I don't envy you on that. It's a tough decision. Not only to go and sit there, but to see him in real life, the man who murdered your little friend. That will be hard. The media, the flashes, the questions. But for Christina...the answer might not be all that difficult keeping her in mind. I wish you the best in whatever decision you make.
    My heart and prayers will be with you...debbie

  3. I try to ignore the fact of him, too, Megan. He doesn't deserve space in my heart or in my living room or in my life. But he is there, nonetheless.

    You're right, Debbie : seeing the murderer in real life will be hard. Very hard.

    But American Democracy isn't easy....

    Thanks for weighing in.

  4. (REPOSTED FROM "YAWN" COMMENTS BY A/B.. WITH MY COMMENTS IN CAPS) For some reason your post "Should I Go" disappeared. (BLOGGER DECIDED TO PUBLISH IT LAST NIGHT INSTEAD OF WAITING TIL THIS MORNING, JAY. I CAUGHT THE ERROR AND FIXED IT) I read it on my reader and immediately upon closing it the thought popped into my head. If she is writing this she probably should face him and go. For what it is worth I think you probably should go. Show him that he has not made you afraid. Even if he has. (THIS IS A REALLY GOOD POINT... HOW LONG CAN HE "WIN"?)

  5. Okay, AB, I'm gonna get a little smarmy with you, but it's real and true...

    Rest easy in the knowledge that every time you enter the realm of evil you are surrounded and supported by an energy of love and light sent out by those who care.

    Call out to it. Ask it to uplift you, surround you, protect you. It will be there, unending, because I, and no doubt many others, are continuously sending it out, and then it takes on a life of its own. And good multiplies so quickly!

  6. I think you should participate. It may help you to heal to see and be a part of the process that will serve justice (PLEASE,GOD). I think he needs to see you there, as well as all the other survivors, and there should be reminders of the child. Why not put him through as much pain as you can muster for him?

  7. kenju, I agree. Remind him of what he has taken away... the only thing I worry about is him gloating about it or getting some sort of satisfaction. I say don't let him win! God, I'm really angry today.

    AB, I'm sorry you are having to go through this or even have to ask yourself whether you should go or not. I think you need to go though. You need to show him that even though he thinks he has won by destroying so much, remind him that you and many others have survived. Do it for yourself and do it for CT. She saw in you a strong, resilient woman. You can do this. Kim is right too. We are all here for you. Feel comforted knowing we are willing you to be strong and there is a lot of love and support with you.

  8. I work in the court system. It is not a pretty system. It is messy and inefficient and sometimes oblivious and cold. But it is the best anyone has come up with so far. Only you can decide how much a part of it you are up to involving yourself. You sound quite strong and determined. This may be a part of your healing. Or not. Best wishes whichever decision you make.

  9. I may be out of line in being so direct--but I say as your friend and as a former prosecutor: "don't go on Wednesday." If I were in Tucson on Wednesday, I would offer to go with you to the hearing if you insisted on going. Even then, I would advise you not to go on Wednesday. This case will drag on for quite a long time, and there will be many hearings from which to choose if you decide you want to confront him in this way. Not much will go on at this hearing besides formally taking his not guilty plea to the superseding indictments, and he certainly won't be aware of your presence if you are there. Take some more time to heal and to become a bit more comfortable with being an unwilling player in the criminal justice system. Go later. xoxoxoox

  10. a/b
    Whatever you choose, we're here and holding you close.

    In saying that, I follow Laura's comments and they sound wise to me. =

  11. And the experts begin to weigh in! Glad for your input, Laura. My Guy said it would be short and not that impressive.... I just feel a tug and a push and I am not getting any less confused.

    I am, however, feeling very loved and held very close. Thanks, denizens, for sharing your opinions. I'm paying close attention.

  12. My opinion would be to do whatever makes you feel better and don't worry about what others might think should be done or not done.

    I thought about it the other day that it seems wrong that there is going to be a big trial for someone everybody knows is guilty and the only question might've been whether they were going to an insane asylum for the rest of their lives or suffer the ultimate penalty for taking life/or lives with malice and forethought. There is no question of guilt and giving him a big trial just gives him more publicity which I am sure he relishes as it appears he knows no guilt as it's all about him.

    Our system is important when there is a possibility of innocence but when it's cut and dried (other than being incompetent to stand trial which is not the case here as he could plan this all out). This just becomes a gladiator sport and it's too bad there isn't a way we as a culture cannot come up with a better way to deny evil people a chance to become stars in any way shape or form as it only encourages more of them to do the same thing.

  13. Laura, I didn't realize this was just a preliminary hearing. I'm with you then. If it's not anything besides that, AB you might want to reconsider--especially if experts like Laura, alwaysinthebackrow and your DOJ Advocate are saying it isn't necessary for you to go. I'm not in your situation and thus I'm torn too. But you should do something that day to take your mind off of it. Do something you thoroughly enjoy and don't give him the time to even enter your thoughts.

    Sorry for being so opinionated today too. I keep coming back to see what others are saying. I'm just absorbed with this today.

  14. I think after reading Laura's note, I'm in agreement with her. It will be a quick hearing - you'd invest more time just getting to and from the Court - all for maybe a minute...If it were me, I'd take her advice...debbie

  15. My answer, in brief: beats the hell out of me!

    Your situation is one that society completely unprepares us for. All the "what-if" scenarios our mothers warned us about don't apply. (Although I hope you were wearing clean underwear, because You Never Know. :)) Because you're a Northerner by upbringing and temperament, you know what to do if the rear of your car starts to fishtail on ice; steer into it, right? But there's no counterpart in what you're facing now. There's no checklist you can run through in advance. No one ever gets a framed Certificate in Gunshot Survivorship.

    The New Yorker had an article recently about our failure* to prepare or even consider a response to an asteroid or comet strike. If we know soon enough in advance, we can launch something to nudge it aside juuuuuuust enough that by the time it approaches Earth's orbit, it will miss us by a few tens of thousands of miles away. The catch is committing (say) several billion dollars up front to detection, and then another several billion to preparing to respond as needed... for an event which may or may not happen for thousands of years, but will be CATASTROPHIC if and when it does happen. But isn't the money urgently needed NOW, for other things with a greater likelihood???

    That's what questions of "What should I do if and when I get shot? What should I do AFTERWARD?" are like, I think. The upside: there's no wrong answer. There are only answers with different consequences -- all of which depend not just on answer A, B, or C, but on contexts and future events and the decisions of others, all of which no one has any control over.

    Like I said: beats the hell out of me. Ha.


    * Not just the US's, but humanity's in general.

  16. I agree entirely with Laura; there will be times when your presence in court will be required and that time has not come yet. Wait, heal more, and always, always ask your legal advisors whether or not your presence is important at any given juncture. And, yes, I am weighing in as a trained person (retired) who was recognized as an expert by my state's courts and its Victims Assistance program...but not an expert in what you should do. Please, take my comments as the most humble suggestions, made in hopes of being useful.

    You know the systematic desensitization protocols: start at the smallest tolerable step and never take the next one until you're solid with the last. And always keep your posse and your tools with you (tokens, prayer or mantra, any and everything that provides you courage and/or comfort).

    So, now you know a bit more about what's coming (and I'm surprised that you weren't informed that you would be named--or maybe you were and I misunderstood that part), you can back up step by possible step until you can think of one that you might be able to bear...and of what it would take to help you bear that one (your loved ones holding you, imagining the thing aloud to someone, writing a script for it, my sending you my magic wand, etc.)

    You took that first step by reading the newspaper article...What courage! The first step is the hardest. You know how that works with physical training: too big a next step and you can land on your butt.

    You must treat yourself with all the gentle care that you would treat a child in the same circumstances...not because you're not a big, strong girl who knows how important participation is, but because you are a lover of humanity and you're one of us humans. One whom we love. One who has very few SHOULDS that actually apply to her in this case, no matter what pushes and pulls at her.

    Now, what can we do to help?

  17. Sheesh...I knew this was coming but it feels too soon.

    My head tells me you need to participate, but maybe not on Wednesday. Gather strength from those around you to rise above and be the bigger person. To look at him in the eye and tell the court what he's taken from you, from Christina's family, from Tucson. But my heart tells me to let you be cozy and safe, protected and shielded, secure in the comfort of your own. My gut tells me that by participating some healing will come, but maybe you should focus on your physical healing and save the court trips for when you're more emotionally ready.

    If I can do anything for you, please let me know.

  18. How well do you think you'll do sitting in court furniture? If this is going to hurt physically, I would give it a pass, especially since it's a preliminary. Don't wear yourself out until you need to. Pain delays healing.

  19. Wow, All these comments are really good and very caring. I read what you wrote and just stopped and walked away to think. There is so much those of us who weren't there don't know. We have read the details in the papers and know what you have shared with us but we weren't there. It makes it hard to say what I think because I don't feel the right to make that decision. But I moved away from my desk and stretched out on my bed and just thought. And what came to my mind was the poem of Billy Collins that you shared with us," Days." I was remembering the last lines. " Just another Wednesday, ..You whisper, The holding your breath, this cup on yesterday's saucer.....without the slightest clink. And there was the word Wednesday. It gave me goose bumps. So i guess what I would ask is what will feel the best do you think on Thursday? I know that is the dilemma, but sometimes when I am stuck in a hard decision, trying to think about it from a completely different direction gives me some clarity. I loved this poem when I read it in your blog and hope it helps to send these words back to you. I just know whatever you decide will be the right thing just from all the sharing you have done so far and the kind of person all that thought has shown us that you are..........Carol

  20. A/B, your blog post was extremely difficult to read today because it deals with He-Who-Should-Be-Slapped's court date on Wednesday, March 9, 2011. I totally agree with Laura the prosecutor that you should skip all preliminary court dates and focus on your health and recovery. I know you are a very strong women but why go to a preliminary hearing when it won't last that long. It is best to save up your energy until the trial begins in September 2011 and you are called to testify in the case. Just an idea, do something for you, The Big Guy (TBG), and maybe the Green family (John, Roxanna, and Dallas, Jr.) if they are up for it this Wednesday evening in memory of Christina Taylor. Just a thought.
    Obviously, you understand I am a very religious person who has been this way since I was a child and everything that has happened to me since has reinforced my faith in God. I pray every night that God will give you A/B wisdom in making the right choice when you are faced with a difficult decision.
    Finally, God Bless you, TBG, BC, LC, your family, and the Green family (John, Roxanna, and Dallas, Jr.

  21. I didn't realize it was a preliminary hearing either - so perhaps you should wait until the trial is in process. Whenever you do go, make sure to have a friend with you.

  22. I can't not go.

    Bad grammar but a true sentiment.

    TBG is going with me and yes, you are all correct - it will be short and unimpressive and a long way to walk and a chance that the seats won't be comfortable - but I have to be there. Nance, this is my next small step, my approach without having to confront, a little piece of reality tempered with hugs and my quilt of love and TBG's presence.

    It may be years before he sees the inside of a courtroom again - motions can be made which can delay the proceedings time and time again - I need to do this now. He's assuming mythic proportions in my head and I need to bring him down to size. A very small and insignificant size. A squishable size.

    As always,I learn so much from you all. I feel comforted by your offers of help and your loving thoughts. I'm so glad you are around.

  23. Nance's advice is so sage! My sister and I were in a situation upon father's death. We had to deal with the person we don't consider a sibling at a wake and funeral, and that person tried to hijack all kinds of things; and even trying to deliver a eulogy. My mantra was do not acknowledge or speak to this person; no good can come of it when dealing with a narcissistic sociopath. I held that tightly and prayed I would be dignified and honor my family by being strong and not flipping out, which in my minds eye I could see doing. Minimizing that persons impact by pretending he didn't even exist really worked for me and helped me keep it together.

  24. Then we will be with you in spirit and waiting to hear how it was for you...however it was. With no expectations, no needs for it to be any certain way. We'll hold you gently in our thoughts and we'll wait.

  25. Again, I am catching up -- back to reading blogs -- your blog again. This is history and I don't know your immediate future. What you choose...chose was right. And supported by our love.


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