So, today I had to appear in traffic court. It was a hearing where I had to either admit or deny the validity of my speeding ticket. Regardless of my firm belief that the officer clocked the car in front of me (strikingly similar to our van) yet pulled ME over, I admitted the offense just so I could get the hell out of the courtroom. The presiding judge clearly explained all options available to myself and the other dozen or so folks sitting in his courtroom. As for opting to go to trial for whatever infraction we were charged with, he offered the information, "[The state] does this all day, every day. They are VERY GOOD at what they do." Read: If you're ballsy enough to take your case to trial, you will most likely be squashed by the prosecution, resulting in additional court fees and possibly the maximum fine... which in most cases was about $500. Not one to try and rock the boat, I arranged to pay the fine assessed to me and left.
But first? There was entertainment.
Let me preface this account with a very clear statement: I, in no way, mean to offer disparaging remarks to any person who has autism, their family, friends or acquaintances. I do not mean to make light of this condition, nor do I intend to offend anyone in any way.
So here's what happened... a woman entered the courtroom (LATE! This was her first mistake) with her 10-yr-old-ish son. Clearly there were issues with the boy. He became increasingly disruptive, until the judge politely asked her to take him out in the hallway and he would call her when he got to her case. She complied. Just by looking at her, I made the (correct) assumption that when she got her chance to talk to the judge, there was going to be a show. I was not mistaken. When she was called before the judge, her son was very agitated, and proceeded to not only fidget and play in the chair in which he sat, but continually leaned over and grabbed another woman's belongings, purse, etc. off the adjacent table. I felt so bad for him -- the courtroom is not a place for children, and I couldn't believe his mother was brazen enough to bring him with her. The whole time, the mom kept barking orders at him, trying to get him to sit quietly and behave. At one point, after the boy took his mom's papers and threw them all over the floor, the judge snapped and told her in no uncertain terms that this was not a place she should bring her son.
"Common sense should tell you that," he sternly told her. Then she started to get shitty with the judge. (Second mistake.) Throughout this whole debacle, she kept saying, "I'm sorry,... he's autism." It was pretty apparent there wasn't a shred of sincerity in her voice, either. Plus... "he's autism"? Seriously? Autistic, yes. But unless he has been chosen as the poster boy for the condition, I don't think she can say that. The whole thing just reeked of her bringing him into court to gain some sort of sympathy from the bench. Needless to say, if that was her plan, it didn't work. The judge finished lighting her up with his verbal reprimand, and dismissed her as quickly as he could. As they left the room, the boy waved and said, "Bye-bye!" At this, his mother yanked him by the arm and hissed, "You shouldn't say that. He didn't really want you here." (Oops. Third mistake.)
What do you want to bet the judge made a few extra notes in her case file, hmmm?
You know what's probably going to happen, right? Sometime down the road, this is going to turn into how she was discriminated against in court and kicked out because of her autistic son.
How very sad that she thinks what she did this morning was OK. Sometimes, I really have no idea what goes through parents' minds when they pull stunts like this.
I believe Keanu Reeves' character, Tod, summed it up best in the movie "Parenthood." "You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog or drive a car. Hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any [a**hole] be a father."
True, it specifically says "father," but "mother" will work, too.