Earlier tonight I made some popcorn, put a DVD in and sat down to watch a movie. I won’t get into what movie, for our purposes the actual movie isn’t what’s important. What is important is the promise. Now we all know that previews can deceive. They show you the best parts, the most thrilling or the funniest moments, trying to trick you into spending your money. They want you to need to see more, they want to leave you on the edge of your seat. When you think about it, how hard is it to find 90 seconds of intriguing film in a movie that’s 90 minutes long? It’s a wonder that every trailer doesn’t look like an Oscar worthy performance.
This particular movie was an action film. A movie that dealt with a horrible act that occurs at the start and the events that follow. A man who’s left to pick up the pieces of his life after he loses everything that holds meaning for him. It was about the justice he deserved…..the justice that was owed to him. There was promise of meaning in this movie, meaning for what justice should be about. Throughout the movie that meaning was dangled in front of the audience, close enough to see but not touch.
Now normally I don’t hold too much expectation of what the final message of a film will be, I try to keep an open mind. In this case, dealing with this situation though, there really was no fitting place for them to go except to show some sort of justice. It could have been any kind of justice really, I wasn’t being picky. As long as the justice was handed down evenly, fairly, for everyone. Of course this isn’t the way of the real world, it should be but let’s face it, it’s not. The message that was sent, well that ended up being something about an eye for an eye is bad………for you, but an eye for an eye is okay for him because…………..oh look the movies over, time to go. It left me wanting to know why, why is it okay for one person to break the law but not the other?
Maybe I missed something. I must have, right? The movie itself should have been good. The performances by its stars were good. The story was good, everything was good…..everything except the last 2 minutes that is. At that point they packed it in and decided to go home, after all they were practically done making the movie. But that two minutes, that final scene was the difference between enjoying the movie and being left to feel like nothing made sense anymore. It’s funny that so little can ruin so much isn’t it. That is the way of the world though, one bad apple can spoil the bunch.
There is always a loophole that will be exploited by someone. That someone just never seems to be somebody who deserves to catch a break. I read a story a couple weeks ago about a man who was in prison for murdering two FBI agents, convicted of the murders the year I was born. He is serving 2 life sentences and was just denied parole. He had been in prison for 31 years for those two murders, a model citizen…unless you count being viciously beaten and threatened with death as poor behavior. At this point it’s tough to have too much sympathy for someone who killed two FBI agents though. I mean, he was convicted, he lost his parole hearings twice and he won’t be up for parole until 2024. Most likely he will die in prison, he’s already spent more than half his life there.
The law, in 1976, was that inmates with a good record after 30 years should get mandatory release. Does he have a good record? Yes. So why wasn’t he released? Good question. Instead of being released he was given another 15 year sentence. It would appear that the law is only to be used as a guideline, assuming you are powerful enough to manipulate it. Forget the fact that basically every piece of evidence points to him being wrongly convicted, evidence has been overturned and shown to be flat-out wrong. The law is only as just as the people handing it out. That much is clear.
Guilty or innocent, according to the law this man should be released. The fact that he is probably innocent is a side note at this point. As is the fact that people like Nelson Mandela, the Dalai lama and many, many others have all come out in his defense. Bill Clinton was one step away from granting him clemency, a loophole that could have ended this travesty. But loopholes don’t help those that need them, do they? 500 FBI agents demonstrated outside the White House, once again proving that the law is not equal for all.
For some reason, those last 2 minutes of that movie brought back the anger I felt when I did some research on this story. Leonard Peltier is still in prison, the only hope he has of release at this point is if he is granted clemency by President Barack Obama. It will take a strong and courageous man to stand up to the FBI, to undo what they have been doing for the past 30 years. There is no doubt that the FBI will put pressure on Obama to keep Peltier in Jail, the way they did when Clinton was President. This is a chance for a good man, a good president, to right a wrong. Guilty or innocent wrong has been done here, still is being done to Leonard Peltier. It’s a chance for President Obama to show just how courageous he is.
This isn’t the kind of thing I normally write about, nor is it the kind of thing that I plan to write about. This post was going to be about something completely different when I started but, it lead me here, so here I am. There are many petitions for Peltier’s release, I encourage you find out more about his story, decide for yourself what is fair, humane. I realize that there are always two sides to every story, which is why I think it’s important that we make up our own minds and ask our own questions. I’ve heard people say that money is power and sometimes that appears to be the case but, deep down inside I can’t help but think that knowledge beats money hands down. At least it should.
I promise that I’ll be back to something more fitting of this blog the next time, but for now this is where the keyboard led me.