|Courtesy of philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.com|
I have a theory.
Life is a crazy journey. That is its wonderful, awful nature. It twists and turns and drags us along while we move our feet and hope. And if we have the wisdom, we pause and truly see the good moments...then bear down and survive the bad.
Who would have ever thought my life would find one such twist on the High Trestle Trail in Sheldahl, Iowa? But I did. A bicycle outing was interrupted by a deputy who challenged us with demeaning and bullying words:"Do you know what a little, red, octagon sign means?" A few moments later, after he charged down the bike trail in his squad car and we scrambled off the path and out of his way, he issued a threat: "I'm gonna rain on your parade!" After a 30 minute wait, he emerged from his vehicle with $300 in tickets for me, a $100 fine for my friend despite the fact we never broke a law!
We wanted justice. Sometimes, good people must act on principle; this is what Lisa Schaa and I did.
We pled not guilty. We fought the charges...we filed a complaint. Today, four months later, our painful voyage through the justice system is complete. ALL CHARGES HAVE BEEN DISMISSED! We won.
It’s important for all to know that I have had deep respect and admiration for law enforcement officials all my life. My life has been blessed with family members who serve their communities as officers, and I have the witnessed the enormous demands the work places on their lives and their families. The men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our world deserve respect.
However...what happened on that bike trail on that day with that officer needed to be addressed.
The County office? It harassed us....ignored us....delayed us.....then finally asked for a strange solution: mediation. Mediation allows victims to speak to those who hurt them and try to find a good solution. But in our crazy scenario, the deputy played the role of the victim. Unbelievable! This bully sat fully uniformed and wearing his fire arm. I mentioned to the mediator that I found it upsetting that this man, who threatened and bullied us on a bike trail, now sat in front of us fully armed. The deputy objected and pointed to his badge: "I'm on duty 24/7."
His same haughty and empowered attitude prevailed.
We asked, for the third time, to view the video tape or hear the audio recording so we could prove our innocence; we received the third different excuse as to why this is not recorded: his camera and audio equipment were both broken. Oh my....But in the end, justice was served and we left with all charges dismissed. The system worked.
There is no doubt; I was naïve. I did believe we were doing the right thing when we filed the complaint with the Sheriff’s department. I did believe the system needed an awareness of what had happened. I was wrong. They didn't want to know.
Was it all worth it?
I am unsure. I do not have the wisdom to know if good will come from our battle with injustice. But I can reflect on the goodness that has flooded my life from the misadventure.
I walked into a courtroom and found a world which I did not know existed. I blogged and experienced the great, good fortune of having people listen. And I received the blessing of support from dear friends and complete strangers. For all of these things, I am deeply grateful.
And I am so very grateful it is all over!
On June 28th, I blogged that I had suffered injustice and lost my faith. The day I wrote those words, I was completely defeated. I was dazed and sick by the state of the justice system. I was incensed to suffer disturbing treatment on a bicycle trail and then suffer further bullying and intimidation from those who I thought would care about my ordeal.
But I continued to shuffle my feet and hope. Somehow, with some great good fortune, I found justice....and I found my faith....and I found so many blessings.
So, I guess I have found the moral to this story: just keep shuffling.