I can think of one thing more depressing than Bus 49
i got on the bus from the torrential rain. my shirt
clinging to my skin despite the rain jacket that i was
wearing. the rain had seeped through every little crack it
could find like a persistent trail of ants on their march to
a pile of sugar. i sat down with my pants making that nasty
suction noise they make when extremely wet. is in the last
open seat and was immediately greeted by the bus announcer
gaily declaring the bus that i was currently riding was a
i guess i happy bus was what i needed at that moment, i had
just gotten off of a phone call with my parents that annoyed
me to an extreme i hadn't been at for a while. and the more
i mulled over what we talked about the angrier i got and the
more exasperated i felt in general.
then the first instance came.
"you got a dollar and a quarter?"
i looked over to the seat next to me. it was this nasty
looking guy who's beard was affray from his face as though
it was comprised of a bunch of jagged glass standing out of
his face...the rain creating an eerie glassy glistening
"you got any cigarettes then?"
"you got 65 cents then?"
i glared at him. god fucking damn it! he turned to his
already quite uncomfortable passenger next to him and asked
the same shit.
i stared straight ahead and saw a sad sight. it was a girl
of maybe 14, 15, 16??? shit i have no idea. she was sitting
there huddled into herself, draped in a black cloth jacket
with a dirty 'hello kitty' backpack slinking upon her
shoulder in a lackluster fashion.
she was literally shaking. then her face turned at me and
stared at me...or more correctly she stared through me. and
it made my hairs stand up on end for a split second. the
despondency in her eyes was crazy. she was fucking dead.
dead as a doornail. her eyes blinked and the void stopped
penetrating me for a second. she then huddled into herself.
"how about a quarter? everyone's got a quarter, you got a
i was starting to feel a weird rage inside of me. i stared
straight ahead but that was no good, all i could see was the
huddled mass of forsaken childhood, squandered and destroyed
by some nihilistic excuse for a parent.
i had to get out. the bus stopped and i sprinted to the front.
there that ass of a bus driver was grinning.
i stared at him as pissed as i had been in a long time. all
i wanted to say was flying through my mind.
YOU HAVE A FUCKING DRUG ADDICT ON YOUR BUS HASSLING PEOPLE
WHO JUST WANT TO GET HOME FROM WORK AND SCHOOL!
YOU HAVE A POOR GIRL WHO IS LIKELY TO BECOME THE NEXT DRUG
ADDICT WHO WILL HASSLE POOR PEOPLE COMING AND GOING ON YOUR
FUCKING HAPPY BUS!
instead i just paid and left. and walked in the rain. i
walked and i thought as usual about a 'debate' i had in
class today and then i thought of the one i had yesterday.
the debate today was whether or not the battered woman's
syndrome should be a viable admission of evidence to support
a self-defense claim. now i don't know what type of legal
mind i am, but i try to adhere the rigidty of the
'black-letter' law and trust in the policy behind it. and
therefore i realize the hardships placed upon the ever
ambiguous qustion of, "what would a reasonable person have
but how far do y ou go to accomodate the provoked defendant?
what if it is a child who has been abused? or a child
molested? who finally reacts to some extrinsic shock? but
more specifically how much do you accomodate a battered
woman when she shoots her abusive husband?
how far do you accomodate the murderous woman who shoots her
deranged, abusive husband who at the time when she put the
gun muzzle to his head was sleeping like an angel in his bed
dreaming his satanic dreams of the further mayhem he could
inflict on his wife and his children?
was he an imminent threat at that moment? hell no! he's
sleeping. so can she claim self-defense? well for
self-defense you need an imminent threat of serious bodily
injury or death to excuse yourself.
not here. but what about the battered woman's syndrome?
ah, well there's some evidence. what if we can have an
expert witness explain to you the psychological breakdown
these women suffer...how they devolve into their own little
world of self-disgust of fear of utter desperation? is that
admissible? more importantly is it even relevant? how far
do we go?
do you know of the holocaust syndrome? it's what people got
who survived the holocaust and saw their entire family get
murdered. stood and watched...passively as their family was
slaughtered. these people then manifest such aggression in
response to even the slightest provocation that they may
kill someone who had just intended to pick their pocket.
should we accomodate them too? seems fair doesn't it? i
mean if we allow one syndrome, how can we exclude another?
well i argued with this guy who had the above point. i
appreciate the equivocality he's trying to invoke but i also
find it noxious and disconcerting.
first of all the two syndromes are COMPLETELY different
other than them both being called syndromes. in one a
manifestation of a psychosis developed more than 50 years
ago is unleashed. in the other the tormented person subject
to their syndrome (IN SOME BUT NOT ALL) cases are subject to
the very exertion of dementia which causes in the first
place (the abuse) up to the moment they pull that trigger.
now do i look at the battered woman's syndrome and say,
"shit, she was battered a couple of times, there was no
other way but for her to kill her husband."
no. as with every case it depends on the facts. all i'm
saying is that the expert testimony should ALWAYS be
admissible as to the syndrome for explanatory purposes and
that it is NEVER irrelevant.
then the jury takes the facts. did the wife try as many
means as possible to get out of the situation? (although the
syndrome describes how women are literally trapped in the
vicious cycle...nevertheless it is a valid question to
consider). how long had the abuse been going on?
and so on and so forth.
the case we had was of this woman who was kicked, punched,
thrown down stairs, bitten, had one pregnancy terminated due
to the abuse, had her children get abused, was forced to
prostitute herself to her husband's friends and this went on
for 20 years!
then finally on that night she pulled out his gun which he
had stuck in her mouth many times before telling her that he
would kill her some day and blew his brains out as he
the jury convicted her and sentenced her.
and through all this journal as i reflect on the bus and the
syndrome i can only think of rocking in the free world and
"Don't feel like Satan, but I am to them."