Friday, July 25, 2008

"Bad things happen to good people."

It's true that "bad things happen to good people." But a local criminal defense firm that advertises on the radio has stretched the intended meaning of this statement to absurd lengths.

This firm -- I can't remember the name -- kicks off its radio spots with one of its attorneys making this rather obvious statement. From there, he talks about how the firm "aggressively" represents its clients in criminal matters like drunk driving, drug offenses, and other felony and misdemeanor matters.

I'm all for aggressive, effective criminal defense. Everyone is entitled to competent representation and, if it gets to that point, a fair trial. But please spare me the nauseating talk that someone who finds himself in criminal trouble has had something bad happen to him.

If you have had six cocktails and driven home from the bar, that did not happen to you. You made a choice to drink and drive. If you broke into someone's home, you didn't just find yourself there, with their TV in your arms. You made a choice to violate someone else's rights.

I would be less bothered by this if the ad said, "Sometimes good people make awful decisions. If that is you, we're here to help..."

Perhaps I'm sensitive about this today because there was recently a "home invasion" in our neighborhood. I'm sure our neighbors feel angry and violated. I know I would. Hopefully the police will catch the kid that did it and he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Luckily, there is a general description of the burglar.

If they catch the twerp, I know what will happen. Sadly, he'll be remorseful after he has been charged, tell the court what a great kid he's been all his life and say how sorry he is to the family. I believe in second chances, but I won't believe this kid if it plays out that way. You know better not to go into someone's home to steal things. If you don't, there is no amount of "sorry" that will change you.

He might hire the law firm on the radio and be told how him invading our neighbor's home was a "bad thing that happened to him." Pitiful.

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