Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Becoming Handcuffed

I just ate my lunch and glanced through the paper.  I saw a picture of Michael Jackson's doctor having handcuffs placed on him.  Dr. Conrad Murrary was found guilty of involuntary mansalughter in the death of Michael Jackson.  He became a man in handcuffs.

I don't know how long the handcuffs stayed on Dr. Murray or the rightness or wrongness of the verdict.  The life and death of Michael Jackson are not straightforward.  But the image of this man, this doctor, losing his freedom struck me.

I wonder what it is like to go from being a free person and a medical professional to a person who is cuffed and imprisoned and at the control of the justice system.  What did he lose with the verdict and with the action of being handcuffed?  He passively accepted them both.  What else could he do?  But what is it like to go from sitting in a courtroom, well-dressed in a suit and tie, to suddenly becoming a handcuffed convict?

And really, why the cuffs?  It must be a standard procedure but I doubt that it's necessary.  Does it help anybody to strip away this man's dignity in this way?  From his defeated expression, he did not appear about to run away or hurt anyone.

This isn't about the rightness or wrongness of the handcuffs though.  It's about what it must be like to lose one's freedom and have one's situation change that quickly.  It's about wondering what it is like to, literally, have our hands tied, to truly be imprisoned, not imprisoned by the limits we impose upon ourselves.

For those of us who are free, who can use our hands, who can lead our lives, we have so much opportunity, so many options.  We can do so much.  It is in our hands. 


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