I am a terrible follower of things that get the internet excited. By "terrible" I mean, I'm always late to the party or don't attend at all.
But I did see the video of the United passenger being "escorted" off the plane the other day, and it affected me. I could've been him. I could've been the ornery person who didn't want to leave her seat. I have a temper, especially when I've been traveling.
In the days since, the story has become a multi-sided die as the media tries to suss out who did what to whom and when.
It has followed a pattern that has become all too familiar. 1) Outrage. Always outrage. 2) Turning the victim into a saint. 3) Tearing down of the victim's character. 4) Facts start to trickle out that make the situation seem not so cut-and-dried.
But he was a doctor.
But maybe he did some bad things.
Doesn't matter. Shouldn't matter.
The fact is, we live in a country where it happens too often that citizens end up beaten or killed by the people who have sworn to protect them.
And then we use the victim's own life to either excuse it or call it reprehensible. But he was a doctor. But she was an honor student. But he sold drugs. But she had gang ties.
Over and over the onus is on the victim to prove he or she didn't have it coming.
I'm watching 13 Reasons Why on Netflix right now. It's the story of a girl who dies by suicide and leaves behind cassette tapes for the thirteen people who may have pushed her to that point. The lines are blurred. The characters, including the girl, are all flawed. No one is innocent.
Lawyers are hired to defend the school against the girl's parents' claim that the school stood by and did nothing while their daughter was bullied. The defense attorney is charged with digging up dirt on the girl's past.
She had it coming. She was no innocent.
It makes the violence more palatable.
It justifies the fact that we sit by and watch this happen over and over again.
I wrote a book! It's YA novel, THE SOUND OF US. You can find the details right here! Kirkus calls it "a winning story about a teenage voice student that hits all the right notes."
I also wrote another book, Any Boy but You, (You've Got Mail in the Pokemon Go era). You can buy it here.
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