Mood: not sure
Topic: "Another Time/Place"(4)
Frodo had to resolve a dispute between two residents of Middle Earth for whom he had managerial oversight. Saul was a Jewish guy from Philadelphia who had been a Marine during the War, had a vacation house on Long island, and a daughter from his first marriage on Broadway. Cloretha was a black woman from Baltimore who had a string of academic credentials, and an unlimited professional future in front of her. A disagreement on procedure was escalating into something personal, reflecting mutual disdain by the verbal combatants.
Saul, out of respect for Frodo, backed down. In no short order however, he let Frodo know that he resented the carelessness of the opposition. He felt that a lack of attention to detail was an indication of greater problems, and that it was a grave error to gloss over potential problems, no matter how insignificant they might seem at first glance.
Cloretha felt that as long as the intent was clear, responsible people would act, well, responsibly. She indicated to Frodo that Saul was taking a "micro" approach to "macro" issues, and that results, which were significant, were the objective by which a true assessment should be drawn.
Both implied that the others' attitude reflected something sociological. Frodo did not doubt that some of that was true, but he was required to balance both the achievements and the procedural requirements. Neither of the combatants agreed with Frodo's final decision, which even Frodo has since long ago forgotten. The issues however, come often to Frodo's mind.
Saul died of a heart attack some years ago. His daughter, perhaps with theater lights as a backdrop, wrote Frodo that her father always respected Frodo, and that he had often remarked that Frodo was his best "commanding officer." Saul never knew how high Frodo's regard will always be for one who served so admirably.
Three-and-a-half years ago, a young man named Brian Nichols broke free from incarceration in the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, secured a firearm, killed four people, and beat another senseless. Among those he killed were the judge and the prosecuting attorney who had decided his fate in a rape case. During his escape he killed a prison guard, beat another mercilessly, and later massacred an innocent bystander who happened to be a federal agent. Frodo took note of these grim news reports, and almost missed the reference to the parents of the alleged murderer.
Brian Nichols mother was named Cloretha. At the time of the murders, she and her husband were serving in Africa on an official mission for the United States Government to assist an ally nation in their internal operations. Eventually, Frodo identified her from televison broadcasts as the same person he had known so long ago. Although he never made contact, Frodo followed the reported details of her life after that dispute with Saul, and pieced together what had happened. During the subsequent three-and-a-half years, Frodo listened and watched as Brian Nichols was eventually found guilty, and this morning, was sentenced to life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole, mainly because the jury could not unanimously agree on the death penalty. Three people stood out from the twelve.
During this time, Frodo noted the defense allegation that much of Brian Nichols behavior was due to the parenting deficiencies of Cloretha and her husband. The defense argued that because she was away from home so much, in pursuit of her career objectives, that Brian grew up without proper guidance. Frodo could not help but feel the heartache on the face of a once-proud mother whose whole existence was being shredded publicly, and who had to feel that her son may die because of her ambition, and to the lack of attention she had paid to the details of his upbringing.
Frodo thinks often of Saul Gruber. It was nothing personal. He had given her the most important message of her whole life, and she failed to get it. Knowing him, Frodo is convinced that he is crying for Cloretha Nichols, and for the innocent people who suffered because her son became a monster.
A part of Frodo is very disappointed that this monster will retain hope to again escape, and to kill again. Brian Nichols has neither evidenced nor expressed remorse for his crimes. The other part of Frodo does not believe that a death sentence is ever fully-considered, and that there are no equitable standards for its implementation. Perhaps, like art, Frodo may not understand all of it, but he certainly knows what he likes. Osama bin Laden, Brian Nichols, and others, serve no purpose in our lives, dear reader, and we are better off without them.