Is America a country where a men and women are the authors of their own destiny, or is it a country where the odds are stacked against certain groups to essentially guarantee failure? Let us consider the case of Miami-Dade County Judge Mindy Glazer, who ran into accused burglar Arthur Booth in her courtroom. The two have a very telling history together — they were childhood friends. The exchange between them brought one man (and the country’s many race-baiters) to tears.
A local ABC affiliate reported June 30:
The suspect in front of the bench was Arthur Booth, a classmate of Glazer’s at Nautilus Middle School.
Glazer asked if Booth, who is facing numerous charges including burglary and grand theft, had attended the school.
“Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!” exclaimed Booth before beginning to cry.
Glazer said that Booth was the nicest and best kid in school.
“I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened,” Glazer said. “I’m so sorry to see this.”
Follow the link and watch the video. It is well worth your time. You can almost see the moment where Mr. Booth’s brain registers just how different his life could have been if he made better choices along the way.
Two American minorities go to the same high school. They’re both intelligent kids. They play the same games, have the same teachers and the same friends, and yet at some point a string of bad decisions sends Mr. Booth’s life into the ditch. He treated his life like a pro golfer who inexplicably decides to swing his club with reckless abandon, and then wonders why his partner winds up with the a large trophy room.
Every day we dip our hands into an endless stream of consciousness, pull out decisions, and then act. We inherently know that the sheer volume of choices that rest squarely on our shoulders means that most trials and tribulations can be overcome. When it comes to discussing racial issues, however, those truths are suddenly denied or turned upside down.
The next time you hear about “white privilege,” I suggest thinking about the race that you’ve run in the ultimate marathon that is life. Think about the mind-bending number of decisions that you have made over the years to get to where you are today. Think about the times you have fallen short of your full potential. Think about your faults. Think about the hard work you put in over the years to recover from your personal and professional mistakes. Then ask if episodic instances of racism or bigotry in the United States has the power to keep anyone from attaining the vast majority of their hopes and dreams.
Hopefully Mr. Booth realizes what Judge Mindy Glazer’s comments highlight: there is no reason why the nicest kid in school should wind up a middle-aged adult with a criminal record unless he long ago decided to walk down a dangerous dead-end road.
Reminds me of that “Up” specials which runs every four years or so in the UK (I think it runs in the U.S now). Someone who was the nicest, most articulate and brightest children in the class ended up being homeless for several decades. Thankfully there was no criminal record for him in contrast to this guy, but it so easy to slip from the mountain of promise through so many failings, of society, of yourself..it is important to keep your principles in mind even if you feel at times they don’t seem to matter.
What I see is that at first Booth was pulled away from the situation and back to the past as he recognized his childhood friend. There was pure and childlike innocence on the smiling faces of both him and Glazer as he said “oh my goodness” leaving out “look at you!”. That quickly changed into deep shame; he couldn’t bare the pain of facing his friend who (I am freely projecting) represents the good in his world: “oh my goodness”… “no please don’t look at (literally: “don’t judge”) me!” (as he is judging himself deep in his heart). This changed into deep pain and sorrow about what he has done to himself, how he wasted his life, about the choices he has made: “oh my goodness” … “what have I done!”.
Glazer represents the best of humanitarian civilization in her show of respect, empathy and sincerity. From a literally higher moral ground she didn’t talk down but stepped down and reached out her hand. Some core values are shown; mercy, forgiveness, generosity and friendship.
This interaction is pure beauty!
Possibly nothing changed for Booth because of this. Habits form over time. Good and bad. It will take effort to break with bad and get his life in order. Watching this video regularly might actually be helpful and very therapeutic for him.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Eric. I appreciate it.
I went to school with both of them. I always wondered what happened to him. He was smart, a great athlete and a nice kid. He should have made it. So sad to see what he has become.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it. Indeed, it is always sad to see what happened to childhood friends who squandered their potential.