We are back in Las Cruces New Mexico for the retrial of the man who killed my brother. You can read my first blog post here. I do hope it is clear that I am passionate about our court and the rights of the accused — even though it is a very very difficult situation for my family. That has not changed. But since asked, I figured I’d write a blog post, so there is no confusion and naivety about the way our criminal justice system works. At least for some defendants. And from my perspective.
If you are family or a friend, a member of this beautiful community or a regular Joe or Jane watching from afar, this particular trial can seem confusing and frustrating. In fact, at times it will be downright ludicrous and even a bit foolish.
Our family appreciates those who approach us in the community to say so. It really means a lot. We all know, and we are living this together.
So, let’s be honest — our court system at times may seem more about legal defense than criminal justice. And that is sad.
The burden of “Truth”
If you don’t know, you should. The defense attorney is paid very very well to say anything, anything at all. It doesn’t have to be true since there is no burden or requirement for them to prove anything. And they can hire B-list so-called “experts” who fly in from the middle of nowhere to say anything for a buck. And they can all act unethically (although they shouldn’t) and do anything, absolutely anything without fear of any significant consequences. At least outside of court. Continue reading “Criminal Justice … err Legal Defense … System”
Tracy and I have banned a few words from use by our three kids (12, 9, & 7) when describing their personal situation or present difficulty. In our household starving, excruciating, and the phrase “it is not fair” are not permitted.
Here is our thinking.
Starving — I’ve been around the world, and I have slept on a dirt floor of an orphanage with a group of beautiful children — looking into their eyes, I’ve seen starving. And while my little ones might find themselves hungry and we may eat a little later than usual sometimes, these fair skinned American kids do not know starving. And for that I’m grateful. But let us not forget those who are starving for real and reserve that word for them. And furthermore, let us give to a well-managed charity on behalf of children who are in need both in this country and abroad. They are precious, and it is our responsibility as a community to make sure they too are not starving.
Excruciating — A word literally created to describe the agony of crucifixion on the cross. Again, I know my kids have never suffered such pain. And while I understand falling into a cactus hurts and it is most certainly painful when you go down hard on a bicycle, I contend that in measure to the cross, it is nothing. For one, they will never find themselves in agony alone having been rejected by their father — I wouldn’t dream of it (although they usually just ask for their mother). And second, the pain — it just doesn’t come close. Continue reading “Starving, Excruciating, and Fair”
I love motorcycle riding analogies. I hope it’s my love of the open road, but maybe it’s just my simple mind.
Either way, here’s another.
If you ride, you know the importance of balancing the road speed with your bike’s engine speed for the most optimal performance. When out of balance, you feel the machine below you laboring or even losing power and traction. At the wrong time, say in the lean of a sharp curve this can be dangerous. Or simply just distract from the pleasure of the moment.
But when it’s right… a tight curve on an optimized machine, WOW. The tighter the curve, the greater the lean and the potential for a better experience. Being in the moment with the road moving beneath you as you glide, aware of what is happening around you and fully in control. What a thrill.
Just close your eyes for a minute and imagine the feeling. Pretty amazing, right? Continue reading “Just the right amount of throttle.”
Often we are either pulled by vision or pushed by pain. It has been my experience that I can sometimes switch between the two, or even be driven by pain until I develop a clear vision.
This is true in much of life and in business.
As for business, there is profit to be had in solving pain for an identifiable customer or better yet, developing something that solves a pain one has personally experienced as it yields both compassion and passion. And that is very rewarding.
There is even greater joy in developing past the pain and into a vision of what was previously unimaginable. Not just the absence of pain (as that is rarely, if ever, possible), but more excitedly the crystallization of a vision that is much much bigger.
The power of vision is that it is compelling and sustaining when times get tough or new problems develop, as they often do. Continue reading “Pulled by vision, Pushed by pain”
This weekend my son and I were working in the yard when we uncovered a massive root that appeared to grow between the bricks of our planter and under the back section of the patio. We were both surprised at how big it was as it snaked its way through layers of brick and concrete, Jameson was sure the root had to get smaller as it went on below the concrete. So we kept digging, and in fact, it was just as big.
I explained to him that at one point it was tiny, and that allowed it to spread out and grow in all directions making its way through the cracks and crevices. Once there, it grew and expanded pushing everything else aside. By starting small it grew along a path, becoming quite destructive.
It was a perfect opportunity for us to talk about how anger and hatred grow similarly in our hearts. It starts small and subtle, but it stretches out in all directions and if left unchecked it will only increase and cause great destruction.
We went on in our work discussing the importance of keeping short accounts; that is to say, the importance of talking often and honestly when someone hurts or upsets us. Not allowing destructive bitterness or anger to grow.
I love my son and want the very best for him, and I know life will give him a lot of difficult times and broken relationships. And it is important for him to learn, for us all to remember that it is never about avoiding pain. But rather dealing with it as it comes, quickly — and never alone.
The people of Las Cruces and Santa Fe are incredible. They have done so much to help and encourage our family during these difficult times. We are living here for several weeks as we attend court proceedings.
Just about every time we go out, we are stopped by a stranger who recognizes us and wants to hug or encourage us. There is a strong sense of community and belonging and it is apparent we are all healing together.
A local church community provided a vetted list of babysitters (between our families we have a baby and six kids under the age of 13) and provided week’s full of entertainment and daily activities to occupy our kiddos.
Our amazing Crime Victim Advocate, Suzanne provided a list of local restaurants and establishments who offered to provide food and other services.
And of course the little (often unseen) examples, like the service techs and manager who offered to cover parts and labor for my sister-in-law when they recognized her and knew she was making a trip out of town.
The Land of Enchantment describes New Mexico’s scenic beauty and its rich history. And Las Cruces is known as The City of the Crosses and it’s motto is People Helping People, our family has experienced both. Community is a means of grace and the people of this community have really come through.
This post first published at medium.com/@mrjamesmartin.
This article really hit home. I highly recommend a read as it has been on my mind a lot lately.
I was recently reading the parable of the landowner and the vineyard (Mt 20:1-16). This is the story in which a landowner hires workers in the early morning, then more at midday, then again more at midafternoon, and finally a group near the end of the day.
Tagged on Pocket
Read the full version from the author’s website.
I came across this story recently and thought it worth sharing.
The American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.
The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them, The Mexican replied, only a little while.
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” Continue reading “The Mexican Fisherman & The MBA”