Sunday, July 27, 2008

Local horrors, part two

My daughter says the strangling murder of her classmate is "sad but not surprising." Apparently everyone knew the girl was being abused--her friends, family, and classmates knew, the police knew, the county prosecutor knew, the judge knew--but every time charges were filed, the girl would recant her testimony: "Oh no, he didn't hit me; I walked into a door."

The last time she was in court, the judge and prosecutor did everything short of charging her with perjury to get her to tell the truth, but she stubbornly refused. "Walked into a door....Sure he was angry, but she overreacted....Didn't want the babies to grow up without a father etc." It all sounds like a Lifetime domestic-violence drama full of the usual movie cliches.

I suppose it's useful to be reminded that cliches don't start out as cliches but as truths whose sharp edges are dulled by constant repetition. Which in itself is sad--but not surprising.

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