A Play in Three Acts

The Girl Next Door

There has recently been a kind of faux outrage about Kellyanne Conway kneeling on the couch in the Oval Office. We’ve all seen the photo. Yeah, she’s kneeling. On furniture. And getting ready to take a photo.  This WORSE THAN WATERGATE!  Oh, heaven help us, the Republic is Falling!

Let me get back to you on this…

Alexa, Make Me a Sammich

Another thing. Some clueless dweeb has been sexually harassing Siri and Alexa to (supposedly) test the programming and has found that, incredibly, someone forgot to program outrage into these service modules.  Her words: “the responses were horrific!”  In other words, Siri and Alexa won’t put you in your place you male bastard! Yes, that’s right, someone is upset because no one thought to protect electrons from sexual harassment even though electrons have no gender and are incapable of feeling emotion. But that doesn’t stop flesh and blood people from feeling outraged. Outraged because, let’s face it, harassing a computer program is some serious stuff.  It’s like … let me think… gee, let’s just say there’s no comparison.

I’ll get back to you on this one too…

It Was Only a DUI…

And then there’s the outrage over the fact that people who came over the southern border of this country, illegally, violating both our sovereignty and our criminal law, are being rounded up like so many criminals (because they are) and kicked out of the country (because they don’t belong here).

Bear in mind many of these folks worked hard to get on the list for early export back to Mexico, including things like rape, robbery, assault, theft, resisting arrest, and the whole panoply of violent crimes against persons.  Child sexual abuse is a personal favorite of many of these clowns that ICE busted, but, hey, let’s still cue the outrage.  Because outrage is what we do now!

But, let’s focus instead on those poor schmucks who were merely Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) which everyone recognizes is just a minor administrative offense.  It’s like parking in a handicapped slot.  Or forgetting to signal when you turn.  In other words, it’s not capital murder, or hacking an election, so what does it matter?   Why would we ever “tear a family apart” over a silly little DWI conviction. Insert your favorite violin music here as CNN shows “poor disaffected migrants struggling to get by” as they’re shipped back to their country of origin.  Oh the Humanity!  Why, heavens, Why?

Let me tell you why.

It was summer, just after the Fourth of July. The old saw used to be that corn had to be “knee-high by the Fourth of July” in order for it to be a good season. This year was a super season, and along rural roads in the Republic of Illinois (the second-most anti-gun state in the union) the corn stood tall, diffusing headlights and sometimes obstructing a full view of the roads near the Mississippi River.

We’ll call him Matt.  It’s not his real name.  He was a National Merit Scholarship Winner. A fine young man who was working hard to put money away that summer before he went off to an Ivy League school. He was waiting word on his baseball scholarship.  He had his eyes set on an MBA in five years. He wanted to be on Wall Street.  He had worked late at a Lock on the Mississippi River near where his parents farmed, and he was headed home at about 11 pm.

The couple coming the other way were not of that caliber. She had snuck out of her mom’s house at 9 to go party with “Jimmy” (no, not his real name).  She was pretty in that “trailer trash” sort of way, although I base that on the pictures in the paper, and not on her condition when I saw her.  Between the two of them they’d polished off a half gallon of cheap sweet red wine as they screamed down the river road at about 80 miles per hour (as the later investigation would show). We know the alcohol content from the testing in the ER (1.6 for him, the driver, and 1.9 for her).  Both drunk.  Both unbelted.  Neither paying attention.  Did I mention they were going 80 on a road designed for 55?

“Matt” had little time to appreciate the danger ahead of him because of the corn, but he saw it in enough time to slam on the brakes and steer toward the right shoulder. The impact was just behind the driver’s side door. Fortunately he was belted in. Still, this was in the days before side curtain airbags, and the offset angle of the crash caused him to strike his head on the driver’s door. He lost consciousness, and memory, and motor control, and personality at that moment. The fine young man going to the Ivy League school was reduced to the brain’s most basic survival mechanisms in that moment. He continued to breathe as his brain started to swell.

Someone heard the crash, dispatched help, and 45 minutes later three people showed up in the ER. I was called in from home to help. I drew the young lady. Everytime I squeezed the ambu bag blood shot out the top of her badly fractured skull. The young man was taken to the OR first, followed by the girl, and finally, the driver responsible for the crash. Hours later, after a sixty-minute code blue procedure, we let the young lady pass on to the next world. Her boyfriend died minutes later. But the fine young man lived on. Sort of.

This is real life, not Hollywood.  In the movies, the young man goes walking out of the hospital to speak on the evils of drinking and driving.  He becomes a senator with a hot blonde wife. Someday he runs for President…

But not in real life.

“Matt” never went to the Ivy League.

He never got the baseball scholarship he wanted.

He never had to worry about girls, or dates, or perhaps finding the right girl.

Because for the next year he had to learn to walk again.

Speech never fully came back, although his parents can understand him.

His major life goal is not to become a financial analyst on Wall Street anymore, it is to someday, again, be able to remember how to tie his shoelaces.

Reality bites.  Instead of a successful son, his parents were left with a dependent who will never be able to support himself.

Most DUI/DWI incidents don’t end like this.

But every one of them can. And we should champion our heroes in law enforcement who take these jackals off the streets because doing so dramatically improves the odds for the rest of us. And so when someone says “it was only a DUI” and then says “you can’t deport him for that,” I tell this story. I tell it because if that young man’s devastated life had a purpose before, it now serves the purpose of telling people that DUI is simply a form of delayed manslaughter.  It can kill, yes, but sometimes it only kills dreams and destroys potential.

That we would not send people back for DUI is what would be an outrage.

Now, about Siri…

And for that dear little belle on Wall Street who is outraged over Siri and Alexa, let me suggest she read this. This young black woman was hit with a belt and made to dance suggestively for her paycheck. She understands what real sexual harassment is like. She also knows that it is hard to convince a jury to award damages to a woman who simply gets called a few bad names or told a few inappropriate jokes. That doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it okay to sexually harass women. But when you feign outrage over Siri, you demean those women who actually do endure sexual harassment in the workplace. You make it that much harder for them to pursue their claims because they’re competing against… electronics? Really?

Now back to Kellyanne.

Folks, it’s furniture. Would she sit like that at home? I would hope so. Because she reminds me of the girl next door. She is kind, a good mom to her kids, and she has the President’s back. She reminds me of my wife, who always has my back, even when I do dumb things. Like trying to educate Twitter Trolls.

The real problem with the outrage over Kellyanne’s posture is not that she’s kneeling on the couch.

It’s that she’s in the Oval Office at all.

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