May 15, 2007

Pondering on pressing charges: Nonvegan post

Posted in accident, real life at 7:39 pm by nevavegan

A week from today I go to court, in a supposedly final step in pressing charges against the man who hit me with his van. At this point, so far away now from the actual incident, my hope is to simply be done with this. An ideal solution would be to put it on the stet docket (doesn’t go to trial, no conviction) on condition of a stay away order. I know that where I live a stay away is about as worthless as the paper it’s printed on. When he was following me around my neighborhood I supposedly had a stay away, but the police refused to do anything about it. But I would hope that just knowing he has the stay away would deter him from coming after me. Of course he has a record of violating protective orders, so that might be a false hope on my part.

He might want to go to trial though, thinking that getting his wife and kids to lie on the stand will solve this for him. And it might.

All this of course depends on him actually showing up for trial, which might be doubtful.

It’s not that I don’t think he’s dangerous. My whole rational for going to such lengths to press charges was that he did something so incredibly reckless and dangerous, that showed complete disregard for my life. I’m ok, but I was bothered by the idea that had any one out of many factors been different, such as my overall health, my reaction times, my leg placement, speed, and so on, had any of those been different, I might have died. So then I thought, well if he thinks the way to get away with a hit and run is to drive into the person to stop them from getting his plate number, what if the next person he hits is elderly, or has a bad knee, and what if someone is killed or gravely injured.

That impression was re-enforced by going by his house and observing that his other car, his pick-up truck had also recently been in an accident (his front bumper was smushed). So I felt he was driving carelessly much of the time. When we pulled his record and saw how violent he was, charge after charge after charge. That also encouraged me to press charges.

Now that I’ve been through this whole thing up to this point I kind of see the futility in pressing charges in a place where the police simply don’t care. I would have been better off just licking my wounds and staying home. Anyway, if I want to see him locked up, I guess all I have to do is wait as he can’t stop breaking the law and hurting people to save his life, and so one way or another he’s likely to not stay out of jail long.

The thing is that there was another time of course that I didn’t press charges and I’ve been haunted since by the thought that maybe my decision caused problems for someone else down the line. What if in deciding not to press charges I’m responsible for someone else being attacked later?

How does this all relate back to me as a liberal person who doesn’t want to really be responsible for other people’s hardships (though I didn’t make anyone else’s choices obviously). I don’t want to put anyone else behind bars. I just want it acknowledged in some way that this isn’t ok, that it’s not a tolerable way to behave within society. But some kind of inner peace on it is the thing I’m least likely to get out of testifying.