Tag Archives: Personal freedom

The wild horse and the red minnow

We are so afraid. The hand of the trainer has been on us. It has been a punishing hand. Often cruel. It has jerked us up short. It has demanded that we think and act in ways that please the trainer.

Over the years we have become like the horse born wild, captured, and then broken. We now back up to the plow and wait to be harnessed. The trainer – the composite of parents, the pressure of peers, of teachers and preachers, of public relations gurus, of politicians, and the flock itself, have domesticated us.

We have been taught how to act and how to think. Our values have been grafted on to us, ideas that are often strange to our genetic beginnings.

We conform. We embrace convention and distrust and disrespect those who do not. We are regimented and constrained and tamed.

We must conform, else we are in danger. Can you see it – ten thousand minnows, all silver, and that one red minnow? Can you see the approaching shark?

But we have choices. Dare we make them?

Advertisements

A just penalty for bankers

moneypile2 I have been thinking of bankers. I admit, I have thought ill of them most of my life. All bankers are not bad. There are good men among thieves.

But the bankers at the top of the financial world have caused too much misery and death in this country. I am short on love and compassion for them. Many a poor soul, some innocent of any crime, have been strapped to a gurney while the law stabs its needle into their arms, men, some condemned and executed for heinous crimes, but who have been responsible for far less pain and far fewer deaths than these world bankers have caused.

We are at fault, of course. We have fallen into the belief that those who have money must be respected and trusted. We have delivered our lives and well being to them. They have betrayed us. The culture on Wall Street practices the idea that profit is morality. It is all right to steal, to gouge, to throw poor people out in the street in the cold of winter if it promotes profit. On the other hand it is moral to tell people they must buy certain cars and homes and TVs if they wish to be acceptable, even if they cannot afford it, even if they must become financial slaves to pay off the banks.

Consumerism, which at the moment is being touted by the money cartel as necessary to save the nation, is another word for slavery. We suffer only a different master. The black slave of old at least knew his master’s face. Black slavery was cruel beyond understanding. But the master was a living, recognizable being, wicked as he was, who did not hide his identity from the slave.

The slave masters today are the banks. They are faceless corporations who exercise their mammoth powers against ordinary citizens, sit in plush offices, fly in private jets and exercise their dominion over whole nations. The people they injure and kill by their profit decisions are as faceless to them as they are to their victims. Their victims are mere numbers on endless pages, victims who are now asked to save the bankers.

I am not for the death penalty, even for bankers. But if I were to choose a punishment against those who have exercised their evil power of profit over our injured and dying citizens, it would be that these bankers might drown in the tears they have wrought in pursuit of their insatiable, wicked greed.

Winning—the simple secret

Some of my tribe have been worried because I haven’t posted for a while. You’ll recall I’ve been writing about slavery. We are all slaves. Each of us has a slave specialty—slave to work, slave to debt, slave to guilt, slave to social pressure, slave to habit, slave to sick relationships, slave to….I try to be free, and sometimes I won’t post for a while. You have given me that permission. Don’t worry. I may be taking a walk through the forest in the early mornings when I usually write. But it is good to be missed.

Speaking of forests, in a jury trial lawyers become guides to the jurors through a frightening forest. The jurors do not even know the person sitting next to them. They have never been in a courtroom before, this strange place where lawyers argue according to strange rules that do not make sense. The jurors do not know where justice lies. They do not know who to believe, both sides pointing their accusatory long white fingers at their opponent.

There is a judge looking down at them dressed in a black robe. Nothing grows in the courtroom. The place is barren of life. Lawyers with soft hands that seemingly have never done an honest day’s work talk in a strange language, one with incomprehensible words that have no other purpose than to put the jurors down. The jurors have worries of their own, their families, their jobs, their debts that grow while they sit and listen to this senseless blather. Still they know the stakes are high, a person’s freedom or life or well being are at stake, and the jurors want to do the right thing.

I have said that it is as if the juror is about to embark on a journey through this forest and he or she has to decide which lawyer, as a guide, to follow. That’s why the only thing a trial lawyer has to sell to jurors is credibility. Without it, the most skilled, the most charismatic, the most comely, the best dressed, the highest paid, the lawyer with the highest IQ, the lawyer from the largest firm, even the one the judge seems to favor cannot win without credibility. It is also why the lawyer who may be frightened, inept, less skilled, not so eloquent, even second rate and sometimes befuddled will win every time if he or she is a credible person.

I have been criticized for being “too superficial.” I suppose that means that my own intelligence quotient is dragging behind or at least isn’t on display. But remember, we can think our way to any decision. The reasoning of the U.S. Supreme Court is a good example. The court’s numerous five to four decisions tells us that about half the court have thought themselves into the wrong decision and do so continuously. We can think ourselves into oblivion. Science is already knocking on that door with its invention of nuclear weapons and the manufacture and use of devices that will surely destroy this fragile, pretty little planet.

Our worst enemy is our own species. We have the ability to lie to and cheat our own and to thereby seriously injure or destroy each other. But we are also equipped with what I call “psychic feelers” that tell us when someone is attempting to deceive us.

Our worst enemy is our own species.  We have the ability to lie to and cheat our own and to thereby seriously injure or destroy each other.  But we are also equipped with what I call “psychic feelers” that tell us when someone is attempting to deceive us.  We can be hoodwinked for a day or two.  But in a trial that lasts for any length of time, the jurors begin to understand, even on a subconscious level, who is the most trustworthy.  Over the long haul, jurors usually can’t be fooled, and those who contend that this simple truth is superficial and does not give due credit to their own massive brain power will be those who use that same superiority to explain why they lost their last case, and the case before that.

I have often spoken of “the magic mirror.”  It reflects who we are with each other.  If the lawyer does not trust the jurors, the jurors will not trust the lawyer.  If the lawyer does not like the jurors, the jurors will respond in kind.  If the lawyer keeps secret his or her feelings the jurors will secret their own.  If the lawyer hides behind big words and tricky tactics the jurors will turn away from him.  How hard is this to understand?  I keep insisting that our role models should be our children.  I have often said I have learned more from my kids and my dogs than from all of the super minds out there.

So how can you win your next case? How can you win your next argument — in the courtroom or at home? How real and how credible can you be? 

May we get together?

These are my first words on a blog. It is a frightening experiment—that I should enter your world, without invitation, without yet knowing you as friends, or clients, or those whose shadows and mine have merged, or who have been readers of my books and who have therefore shared with me my thoughts and experiences and have made them their own. That has been a great gift to me.

But you of this other world, this internet world—I have not reached out to you except through my web site which, I am told, is miserably inadequate considering today’s more experienced ways.

What can I offer you? I am sitting by a stream in the country as I write—in Wyoming where I was born and where I have practiced law for many years, yes, for 55 years. I am truly a country lawyer. Yet I have spent much of my life trying cases in the great cities of this country.

I have learned things about our broken judicial system I want to expose to you.

I have ideas about our condition in this slave-hold under which many decent Americans suffer.

I have published sixteen books, and have tried many cases for people–some cases you may know about, like the Karen Silkwood case, the murder defense of Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, recently the defense of Geoffrey Fieger, the great trial lawyer who defended Dr. Kevorkian, and many others.

In 1994, I established the Trial Lawyers College at our ranch near Dubois, Wyoming, a non-profit institution to reeducate trial lawyers for the people.

My greatest fear is that I will die before my life’s work is complete. That unfinished business includes joining you in this internet world and sharing with you what I have learned. I hope you will hear my timid knocking at your door and let me in.