Friday, May 15, 2015

Life, Death and Societal Safety

When I served on a criminal jury a few years back, I was surprised at how unemotional I was about the task at hand. I was very quickly able to suspend the reality that a young woman was in front of me who we were deciding to send to jail or not for forging checks and cashing them at area banks. She was 19 when she committed the crime as I recall. The same age as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev when he murdered four people.

The judge spent a lot of time with us getting us to understand that we had to objectively weigh the evidence and leave our emotions outside the courtroom door. The young woman's court-appointed defense attorney was terrible. He didn't even appear to have studied her case and offered only one lame implausible scenario in her defense.

The prosecution had her on film cashing the checks at two different places. There was no mistaking her.

The jury was made up entirely of women. I noticed that as we were being chosen, the defense clearly challenged only men. Since attorneys have quite a few challenges without cause, that pretty much seated an all-female jury.

I understood why. Women would be perceived more likely to be sympathetic to this young woman and want to mother her, let her off easy, give her a second chance. The result was exactly the opposite. We unanimously decided she was guilty though as a group we all expressed the sadness we felt that her life was already so off track.

It was when I walked out of the courtroom and headed back home that it hit me. This young woman would serve time and I was one of the reasons. It was a long drive home stuck in Boston rush hour traffic so I had a lot of time to think. 

How easy it was for me to distance myself emotionally from her in order to get the job done. I am not an uncaring person nor did I ever feel vindictive in voting guilty. I had a job to do for the state of Massachusetts and its citizens and I did it. I do not regret that.

In discussing the death penalty and more specifically the Tsarnaev case, I often put myself in the jurors' shoes. I did not have to consume some of the shocking images that they did at trial and I did not have the same level of punishment to weigh. But I'm sure they had suspended reality just as I had - at least to some degree - to get the job done with the same amount of integrity.

I am for the death penalty in some situations - and the Tsarnaev case is just one of those situations. As with the young woman whose fate I had to decide, I am not cheering that justice was served or feeling that the "good guys" won. No one wins. Let me repeat that - NO ONE.

My reasons for supporting the death penalty are quite against the teachings of the Unitarian Universalist faith I belong to. I am likely in the minority in my beliefs on this and some other non-liberal stances I've taken in the past. 

UUs believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. And when we say "all", we mean all. When I work with the high school group and this topic comes up in relation to heinous criminals, it is a hard one to get our heads around. (Note: I never tell them my stance, but rather facilitate a discussion.)

My backing the death penalty has to do with the belief that anyone who has shown him/herself to be monstrously dangerous to society has to go. There must be no way for that person to ever harm anyone again. Life in prison is not life away from society. Prison is its own society.

Having been involved in animal rescue for 15 years in a leadership position, I feel the same about animals who are in a similar situation. Making a decision to euthanize a dangerous dog that cannot be rehabbed is not easy. I've had to do it. But it is done for the safety of society. Society is more important than any one individual. In order for the species to continue, I've always felt that there needs to be a way to eliminate those who would destroy it. 

So what was my reaction to Tsarnaev's death sentence? After reading this you would think that I would just nod and say that my Darwin-like sensibility was satisfied. You would be wrong.

As I watched the Boston news channel and followed comments on Twitter, I was overcome with sadness. While the 24 pages of the decision was being read (before the death sentence was revealed) I sobbed. Then I sobbed even more when the sentence was read. Why? Since I thought that the decision was correct?

Because a loss of life is still a sad thing. Whether justified (in Tsarnaev's case) or not (in the victims' cases). Again, NO ONE won. This is not about winning or losing. 

When I had to euthanize dogs because they could not be in society without causing harm, I sobbed each time. It mattered to me with them and with Tsarnaev that they started their lives as blank slates. They were held and loved and no one expected anything but wonderful things for them. But something went very wrong. Something that could not be fixed. And so, for the good of society, a difficult decision had to be made. 

I'm sure that there are many many people in my church and outside my church who disagree with me. That's okay. Death penalty opposition to others is a spiritual gut-feeling just like my vegetarianism is to me. Neither is "logical" and can't be argued that way.

But I do ask that my right to my own well-thought out belief be respected and I will do my best to respect others who disagree with me. It is my hope that we can all share in the sadness of the loss of life and potential. And that we can move on together to build a society that is better for everyone. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Quilting by hand

My latest quilting project
"Not many of you left," she said. 

I was in a fabric store in Portsmouth, NH today with a friend and I was checking out with my three spools of all-cotton thread that is hard to find. 

My friend Erika and I had been poking around the store looking at all the pretty fabric and I was dreaming of my next quilt. When I started seeing a life coach, we talked about many things that I want to accomplish, not just a change in career.

Getting back to quilting was just one of those things. And I've been on a roll with a queen-sized quilt that I started 4+ years ago but put down due to caretaking and work commitments.

I asked the quilt-shop owner some questions about the thread based on the type of quilting I do  hand-pieced and hand-quilted which is different from machine quilting in many ways.

When she said there weren't many of us left, she was right. I know other quilters and, with the exception of my friend Lynne who taught me how to hand-qulit, none of them do all the work by hand.

I've often thought that the art of hand-crafting is being lost in our society. We do lots of work with our hands still but it involves electronic devices. We don't even teach our kids cursive writing any longer. 

The shop owner who looked to be about 10 years older than me, said that she used to hand-quilt years ago. When my friend Erika asked her why she gave it up she said simply, "Arthritis." 

My heart sank. Is this my fate? Do I only have 10 years left to do this thing that I love so much? If so, I better get to work!

My mom always lived her life as though she would live forever. I'm not saying that I am awaiting death but I also don't kid myself that at 56 I have all the time in the world to accomplish some bucket list items. 

It's a trapeze act, these mid-life years. Honoring and appreciating the wisdom and experience that you've gained over 50+ years shouldn't exclude you from gaining more in the time you have left. It's easy to sit back and relax. Never pushing the envelope, always playing it safe.

The trick is to suspend reality just enough to allow yourself to act as if you have forever while bringing along what you've learned in forever.


Monday, March 30, 2015

A new job brings new questions

I've been at my new job for about a month now and I'm still not used to it. That doesn't mean I don't like it. It's just different. Very different. How diffent? Work stops at 4 pm. Period. I have no deadlines. I have no one reporting to me. My work is very straightforward. The technology is simple. I am never in meetings or on the phone. No one sends me emails.

When I left high-tech recently I left behind what was my career path. I had moved up the ladder (slowly due to my CFS but "up" nonetheless) to the point where the stress was too much for me. 

In order to do my management job well and support both my clients and my direct reports, I felt that I needed to be available pretty much 24x7. I was involved with a crisis du jour for years and didn't really think there was any other option for me.

When I left it all behind last month, I went to work for my beloved town. I've been involved in Westford pretty much since I moved here almost 17 years ago. The first thing I jumped into was the Westford Conservation Trust where I was a director and newletter editor for about three years. I've worked the elections for the town for 11 years and really enjoy that process.

For years I have also written for Westford news agencies as either a columnist or a news reporter. 

Going to work for my town was appealing to me on many levels. It wasn't just about downsizing my stress, it was actually more about helping my town. 

Several people have said to me, "So you're basically semi-retired now." My reaction so far has been to say that I am really just changing careers. And that I've worked part-time for many years now so that's no different.

But am I being honest with myself? And why do I feel so defensive about not being viewed as a serious career person? At 56?

My employee model as a kid was my dad. He went over 30 years without a sick day. He would take a vacation day if he was really sick - and by really sick I mean unable to move. He felt that it was important to set an example for his direct reports that sick days are to be kept to a minimum. Dad worked a lot and clawed his way up the corporate ladder without a college degree. He worked hard to provide for his family. 

Retirement did not go well for my dad. He was sort of lost without work. He liked to be a mover and a shaker and took great pride in making things happen that no one else could do. 

I always said I would not define myself by any job so that I could retire with ease. So why does my back go up when people say I am even just semi-retired? It's the old Yankee/Puritan work ethic, I think. I don't want to appear lazy or unmotivated. 

This has been an underlying issue with many in the American work force throughout time. So many of us feel that we need to be exhausted after a "good day's work." Working into the night and on weekends has become a badge of honor for a lot of workers in high-tech careers. There's almost a camaraderie built around how little free time team members have. It takes the "I feel your pain" head shake to a new level.

I expect this time to be an adjustment. 35 years of excelling in technical, competitive, political jobs has shaped how I view myself in society. It has also provided me with a sense of accomplishment. Like my dad, I have always taken pride in making things happen and moving things forward when others could not. 

My soul-searching work during this life-changing time is first to notice my long-held beliefs about work and life. Then I have to pull apart the pieces and examine them. Are some okay to keep? Can I integrate them into my new direction or do they just not fit any longer? Why do these beliefs matter to me? And is it okay to ditch them after all these years?

I'm lucky, I know. Not only have I had rewarding career experiences I also have had many opportunities presented to me because of a great network of people I've worked with in different capacities.

The questions I have to answer for myself make this time uneasy but also helps me prepare the way for a fulfilling retirement. Change without self-reflection is just change for the sake of change.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Self-learning never ends

In a previous blog post I talked about starting a journey with my life coach Sally. We've met several times now and it has been a huge help with my career decisions.

Having CFS creates a job situation that is very unique. Oftentimes people with CFS don't work at all and, because it is a disease that has no test to prove you have it, they face uphill battles to obtain disability insurance. I've chosen not to go down that road and just be creative and persistent with my work options.

After a couple of months of seeing Sally we came to the conclusion that the work I've been doing in high-tech for my 35 year career is really not a good fit for my innate skills and passions. My being good at whatever I do in high-tech has been confused by me with what I should or want to be doing. 

To that end, I felt empowered to leave my job. I love who I work with and for but the 24X7 type of work I do is killing me. Maybe if it was something I was more passionate about, I would not be so exhausted all the time.

The work I'm doing with Sally is not limited to my job decisions. She is a life coach not a career coach so our work doesn't end with my job change. 

Today we talked about where we can go from here. We did a lot of digging previously about what drives me and now we are going to focus on why those things drive me.

It was something I've never thought about before. I'm quite introspective and self-analytical but never once have I thought about why I do what I do. Strange,  huh?

When I put Sally's thoughts into my own words, what came out of my mouth was very scary to me. I said, "If I'm not doing something for someone else then what should I do? And, by extension, if I'm not being someone for someone else, who am I?"

Most of what drives me is my need to help others. To be the best employee, daughter, wife, friend, mentor is extremely important to me. But now that I'm not someone's employee or daughter, what does that leave me?

It was a question that rocked my long-held definition of my life and my character. I was raised to be all things to all people by my parents who defined their own lives as how they were of service to those in need. How do I change that now? And can I?

Sally gave me a place to start since I felt I had suddenly been hit by lightning. She told me to start journaling: "Now that I'm 56 years old, I will....." is the plan I need to complete. Imagine, 56 years old and I'm just now realizing that my life is mine, not someone else's. Where do I start? How do I redefine myself at such a late age? 

It will be a long process and one that I will take seriously. Sally proposes I start taking baby steps and make a weekly date with myself to do something I want to do: Learn a new craft or visit a museum, for example. 

I will make these plans and stick with them. It won't be easy to come up with things I want to do that don't involve others wishes. But I will push myself through it to get to the other side of this wall in my life.

Imagine? Thinking about what *I* want to do with my life. Frightening yet exciting all at the same time.

My life coach is Sally Seekings and I highly recommend connecting with her to explore making your life what you want it to be. To learn more visit Spirit Renewal Center, Chelmsford

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The body bears the burden

When I was in fourth grade, the nuns told us we were all going to leave our classrooms and go see a movie in the auditorium. We were so happy to get out of class to do something - anything - but school work.

The auditorium was set up with folding chairs and a large screen. As soon as we were all seated, a police officer stood at the front of the assembly and spoke to us. He talked about the movie we were all about to see and told us how  important it was for us to pay attention. The lights lowered and the movie began.

The story started with girls playing in a school yard. They were my age. But then a strange man appeared and I felt anxious. I could sense that something wasn't right. He offered candy to two girls and they got in his car.

I remember knowing that was a bad idea but kept looking for the happy ending. It was an uncle, maybe. Or he had a lovely surprise for them from their parents. The story continued with words of warning from the narrator. I started to think, "Someone will save them in time." "They'll escape and learn a lesson."

The next thing I knew, the girls were being hunted down in the woods by this strange man. They tried to hide but he found them. I remember feeling like I wanted to yell, "Run! Run!" but had to stay silent. 

As I sat there unblinking and horrified, the movie switched to crime scene pictures of two beaten, bloodied and dead girls. It was a real story and I was not prepared for that. I had never seen anything so evil in my eight years of life and I was sure that this evil would come and find me.

When I returned home that day (running all the way, terrified that I would be pulled into a strange car), I told my mother all about it. She was so upset that she went to the school to yell at the mother superior. But the damage had been done. I couldn't unsee that nightmare.

I was physically ill and lived in a state of complete panic for a week. I couldn't go to school or even out in my yard. 

At some point, my mother started walking me to school and doing the same on my way home. But it had to end at some point as my sister had just been born and mom couldn't always wake my sister up from her nap to meet me. 

I walked with my older brother to school who either hadn't seen the movie or was unaffected by it. He would often run ahead with his friends. I remember trying to keep up with him so I wouldn't be alone. I spent my school day looking out the window for strange cars or men. I could not erase that movie from my mind.

As always, time and distance help. I eventually moved on but it took many many weeks of feeling like my death at the hands of an evil man was inevitable. 

Fast forward to 2015. 

I read The Body Bears the Burden by Richard Scaer, MD recently. It talks about childhood trauma, PTSD, and somatic illness. The movie came back into my conscious mind and I started to remember how traumatized I was by that incident. 

I've always believed that my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with crushing exhaustion, cognitive struggles and constant pain was the result of chronic anxiety. I suffered panic attacks off and on my entire life after that incident even into adulthood. They were always just around the corner even though I kept them at bay for many years in between flareups.

When I was in my thirties, the panic attacks became unbearable. I was afraid to leave my house or even sit in business meetings. I had that terrible feeling again that something evil was going to get me. I had been seeing a therapist but hadn't told her this story because I had sort of forgotten about it. Suddenly it all came flooding back.

It took me a long time to work through it. To be that child again and walk through the terror - only this time as an adult. After meds and talk therapy, I got to the other side. But I feel that the trauma I felt as a child had a long-term negative effect on my nervous system. A few years later, I developed CFS.

I googled the movie last night. I knew nothing about it except the following words: child molester film 1960s. The search returned a link to the movie on youtube. It is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT35pryNVfk.

It took me only a few seconds to decide to watch it. I felt that the only way to take the power out of it was to watch it in a safe environment as an adult. My heart raced through the 20-minute film. So much of it was familiar to me even though I hadn't seen it in almost 50 years and had only seen it once.

When the crime scene images appeared at the end of the film, I didn't feel trauma or panic. I felt sadness and anger. Not for myself but for the two girls. It wasn't me as a child any longer absorbing that evil in a way that made it all about my own fear. I was an adult now and its effect has shifted based on my life experiences since then.

I did more research on the victims and the murderer. Facts about "scary" events/diseases/people are very comforting to me because they take the emotion and imagination out of the equation. 

The girls were seven and nine years old - my age when I watched it for the first time. The man that killed them was 18 and had a long history already of child-related deviance. He had been institutionalized for a time but was released by a system as screwed up as the ones we have today. 

He eventually pleaded guilty after trying an insanity defense. He died in prison at 33. I would guess that that "system" took care of his ultimate punishment.

I could spend the rest of this post talking about how the nuns were clueless and some were even great proponents of scare tactics with children. But instead I think about the others like me who were forced to watch that movie and have been forever affected by it. 

Did it help? Did it save any of us from being molested or killed? Hard to say. I never had a situation where that was even an issue. 

When I was falling asleep last night I remembered one more fact about that incident. The police officer who showed us the movie was my fellow classmate's father. She, like me, was a little awkward and shy. 

Our paths crossed about five years ago. We exchanged updates about our lives since we had left that school. I moved away as an adolescent but she had not.

She told me that she never married. Her parents died years before and she still lived in the house she grew up in. She never left home. She went to college down the street from her house and works nearby as well.

I wondered for the first time what her life must have been like being raised by a man who thought nothing of terrorizing children. What was it like in her home? How many more traumas did she suffer at his hands? 

It was then that I added one more tragedy to the death of those two girls. My shy friend who didn't have anyone at home to understand her horror. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Merry Little Christmas

My parents were the Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig of the family. Since before I can remember, they hosted a huge Christmas Eve party at their house. It was an open house so people came and went as the night went on.

They didn't have a lot of money back when I was young but saved all year to make Christmas "big" for everyone they loved. 

There are still home movies of family members coming in the door of my parents' small Cape with the unfinished second floor in Chelmsford. It was their first house and they were so proud to have a home to host family events.

A few years later they moved to a bigger home in Lowell that was perfect for the large events they loved so much. 

Dad was in charge of the bar and the coats. Mom handled the food and the entertainment. You couldn't walk into my parents' house without my dad saying, "What can I get ya to drink?". Even into their eighties, that was dad's greeting. 

Mom's signature greeting was a loud "HEY!" with arms dramatically thrown into the air to hug you before you even reached her. 

Hospitality was their gift.  

Mom loved a house full of people. Dad, although he was never the extrovert mom was, loved to be surrounded by family and friends as well. They glowed at parties. To them, helping others have fun was the best fun they could have.

While dad made the highballs and ribbed people about their favorite sports team or political candidate, mom worked the room. She would flit from person to person with a face lit up with love and joy. Her hazel eyes large and shining; her arms up for more hugs. And laughing. Always laughing.

The dining room table was filled with hot and cold appetizers and entrees that they didn't have to fuss over. There were desserts and coffee. And, my favorite as a kid, chocolate-covered cherries. 

Oh what a treat those were at Christmas - the only time we had them in the house. My mom had a fancy china dish for them with scalloped edges, little rosettes and gold accents. This only made the treat more special to me and my brother (and more tempting). "Don't eat all of those before company comes!", she would yell from the kitchen.

"Company" was always family and sometimes friends. Relatives from four generations would crowd into the house and squeeze onto the couch. Coming mostly from Irish-Americans, the stories would get sillier and increasingly boisterous as the highballs flowed. 

Even as a child I knew how lucky I was to have so many generations in one place. Every Christmas Eve, my brother and I would put on a Christmas show that we wrote for the event. Our stage was at the bottom of the stairs which wound up to our bedrooms that were bright with candles in the window with frost on their panes.

After one-too-many chocolate-covered cherries, my brother and I would be whisked off to bed by my mom. We would complain and whine because we wanted to stay up for the real fun that we knew was coming.

Once in bed, we would strain to hear all the goings on downstairs. With the candles still glowing in our darkened rooms and us all snuggled in our beds, we would hear our favorite Christmas songs played on the piano by my mom. All the adults, now stuffed with mom's Swedish meatballs and my grandmother's infamous chocolate cake with the candied cherries on top, would sing at the top of their lungs. Except for my grandfather. He would sing with his teacher face, concentrating on hitting every note. Singing was serious business for him.

We'd listen to the singing and the cheering and the laughing. Horrible attempts at harmony followed by more laughing. The Christmas songs would lead into For Me and My Gal, Five Foot Two, and all the other classics my mom would play because everyone knew the lyrics. 

All the while, my mother would laugh while trying to sing along. Forever distracted by others having fun. She had a great laugh. Right from her toes. Bending over the piano keys with her mouth open in a huge exhale before getting more air and laughing again. 

God, I loved listening to Christmas Eve from my magical room with the candle in the window. 

After everyone left (very late), my folks would stay up later to clean up and (I found out later) wrap our gifts. 

They'd go to bed just before my brother and I would wake them up early to see if Santa had come. We would race downstairs and wait for them. Our eyes darting from package to package. "He brought SO much!", we would say to each other. 

After a morning of opening the copious amounts of gifts my parents bought us, they would head to the kitchen and start preparing Christmas dinner. A few hours later, most of the Christmas Eve crowd would return for a full meal. 

Dad would ask, "What can I get ya to drink?" while taking coats. Mom would fly to the door with her arms in the air for a hug that looked like she hadn't just seen the returning relative 12 hours before. 

Christmas was big to my parents. And they loved it that way. Celebrating the great fortune that was manifest in the family that surrounded them was the real meaning of the holiday to them.


My husband and I put up our tree tonight. Our own traditions solidly around us: Ornaments collected during our 26 years of marriage, our favorite Christmas CDs playing on the stereo, candles in the windows of our own home. 

And when James Taylor sang to us to have a merry little Christmas my voice, which had been belting out the lyrics for several stanzas, caught in my throat when I got to "little Christmas". 

That's what it is now that mom and dad are gone. Little. No more singing around the piano, no house full of crazy Irish stories, no chocolate-covered cherries in the special china dish. 

I had to stop for a moment and find my joy again. Christmas will never be the same without my parents. They filled my Christmases with so much gratitude for my place in the family tree that I shared with them.

For a second I had a strong vision of them standing with their arms around each other in front of the last Christmas tree they shared together. They were smiling at me. Dad with his football-player shoulders and mom with her pretty little face looking at me with such love. 

I picked up another ornament and continued on with a lump in my throat. My husband stopped and looked at me. Knowing my thoughts. He looked at me with such love and understanding that I was able to continue.

It will be a little Christmas for me and for us. But my heart is full of gratitude for  the gift my parents gave me that is bigger and merrier than any I've ever received. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Prosecutor's Dance

I stayed up late Monday night when I heard that the grand jury decision would be announced in Ferguson. Since I was very young I've been interested in the law. In fact, when my grandmother asked me and my cousins, all standing around her at a collective age of 6, what we wanted to be when we grew up, she was surprised at my answer. There were the expected "nurse", "teacher", "cowboy" responses from my cousins. But I said, "lawyer." 

When I was in my twenties, I decided to pursue a career in law. Since I wasn't sure if I was really going to like it or be good at it, I started with a smaller step. I enrolled in Bentley College for what was then the only bar-certified paralegal certification program in the state.

I not only did well at it, I loved it. 

One of the courses I took was Criminal Law. Not many students in that program took the course since there really was very little demand for criminal law paralegals. But I was always fascinated with this area of law since I was young (thank you, Raymond Burr.)

What I learned in that class was more valuable to me than any other college course I've taken. I finally understood the criminal trial process. I no longer read the newspaper with questions about the difference between civil and criminal litigation, evidence gathering and discovery, and murder vs. manslaughter charges. 

When I watched Ferguson prosecutor Bob McCulloch explain the grand jury decision, I understood all of the background processes.

My first thought was that this grand jury was out-of-process. What I learned from my instructor at Bentley (a criminal defense attorney and former assistant DA) was that the grand jury is made up of people off the street like you and me –  just like a trial jury. 

The difference in a grand jury is that these citizens are not tasked with delivering a verdict. Their job is to decide if a criminal case has enough "probably cause" or merit to be prosecuted by the state. 

Now how do you define "probably cause?" This is a gray area that most citizens are not schooled enough in the law to determine on their own when the case is very complicated. 

My instructor told us that the prosecuting attorney (in the Ferguson case, that would be McCulloch) always drives this process. He works with the grand jury to help them understand the evidence, the law surrounding how it was obtained, and then always (always) makes a recommendation to the jury for whether there is probable cause.

I remembered this story because I wondered then what the point was of a grand jury if the prosecuting attorney was making the call every time. My instructor agreed that this was really not the intention of a grand jury when the process was started, but that it had evolved over time.

So when I heard McCulloch insist time after time that he had nothing to do with the grand jury process and that he sent his "assistants" to deliver the evidence, I wondered again. But this time, I wondered why he did not make a recommendation as prosecutors always do.

It would make sense that if the prosecutor did not make a recommendation to prosecute that the group of citizens tasked with the decision to prosecute would be less inclined to do so. Was McCulloch's lack of involvement interpreted by the jury as a vote against prosecution? Especially given that he is the lead prosecutor? Would the jury surmise that the evidence was not strong enough to prosecute so McCulloch was therefore not pushing for it?

I wasn't on that jury. And having been on trial juries several times, I can tell you that what happens behind closed jury doors is quite intense and can't easily be guessed.

My thoughts on Ferguson are many. And they are all over the map as far as both Brown's and Wilson's culpability in a situation where I was not a witness. I always try to stay impartial until I've seen the evidence and heard the testimony.

But I can say that the grand jury process was not only not typical but very unusual. And process is so important in such a high-profile case. This was too much information for a group of citizens to weed through without someone with a legal, prosecutorial background. 

Was a subtle message sent to the jury by McCulloch's lack of involvement? I think so. And I also think that his hands-off approach was more about protecting his own political future than anything even close to justice.