Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Happens When a Butterfly Flaps its Wings

My last post was about the murder trial of a man accused of killing three members of a local family. I’ve attended several sessions of the murder trial. Every day a slender Vietnamese man wearing a gray suit and a curly jet-black mullet attends the trial. He is the live-in of the female victim, Melody, and father figure to her two sons, also victims.

I got to thinking about this man, known as Mike. He is not to be blamed for the murders in any way. He did not plan the killings, nor did he pull the trigger. He did not live a wild lifestyle or associate with dangerous people. But his actions placed his family at risk in a way he never anticipated, and he naively set in motion a chain of events that culminated in a terrible tragedy. I say naively, because he certainly did not intend his selfish personal indulgence to lead to the deaths of people he cared about.

Mike had an affair with a co-worker. Maybe that was ok in his thinking. After all, he wasn’t married to Melody, and so it’s not like there was a formal commitment to her. I don’t know the rules for those kinds of relationships. But, his cohort in the affair, Melinda, was married. And with her hot-headed husband Ricardo, the family with five young children led dysfunctional lives, living in filth and disarray, and going through bankruptcy. He had every right to be livid when he discovered her affair, then he became irrational after learning his wife was pregnant with this other man’s child. In short, Ricardo stalked his wife to discover her companion, then stalked him, then meticulously planned and executed the triple murder of Mike’s family.

Mike had the devastating experience of walking in on the murder scene (which was part of Ricardo’s plan) and in the three-plus years since, I am sure he has suffered to the nth degree. He is attending the trial daily, has heard the replay of his panicked 911 call, and has been repulsed by ghastly photographs of the murder scene.

Obviously, he would have lived his life more prudently if he could have foreseen the disastrous result of his secret life. Perhaps he has found solace in his family memories. Most of us don't pay such a huge price for our poor judgment. We must take careful thought to consider the end result before the butterfly flaps its wings, because once events are set in motion they can't easily be stopped.

NOTE:  On Thursday, February 25th about noontime, the defense rested its case. The jury is now  deliberating.

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