Wednesday, June 27, 2007

God & Gays Gathering August 3 & 4

We've sent out a press release and wanted you to have a look so if you see mentions in your local media, write us and let us know. Word doesn't always get back to us that someone has covered our movie or the Gathering.

Also, feel free to copy and paste the release and email or fax it to your local TV, newspaper, radio, entertainment magazine's news assignment editor in arts & entertainment, religion sections and features editors. And, if you have a favorite personality or reporter, send it to them as well. We have seen the success over and over again that if people know about the movie and now the Gathering, they will show up and as a result, thousands of lives will be positively impacted. So help spread the word.

You can also easily send it to your local churches, diversity resource center, University multicultural office, state equality organization and others you know of that will want to join in and get the word out. Thank you in advance! It takes all of us!

Contact: Michele Karlsberg
(718) 351-9599
Gathering Schedule Available at:

God & Gays: Bridging the Gap
The Movie. The Gathering. The Movement.

Bishop Spong, Mel White and Actor/Comedian Jason Stuart and many more converge in Nashville for the highly anticipating
God & Gays Gathering 2007: Unity is Our Identity

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 1, 2007 -– “I’d rather she be dead than gay,” confesses a mother who, unfortunately, got her wish. She lost her daughter to suicide and talks about it in the heart-wrenching and yet unifying feature documentary, God and Gays: Bridging the Gap.

Filmmakers, Gathering founders and life partners, Luane Beck and Kim Clark, created God and Gays: Bridging the Gap to offer an intimate look into the lives of people raised in Christian homes and who struggle, knowing – or fearing, their homosexual path. Now, they host the largest, most impressive line-up of qualified speakers on the country’s most non-discussed topic, can you be Christian and be gay? With the religious right and mainstream Christianity teaching emotionally traumatizing ex-gay therapies, celibacy or subtle and equally as harmful forms of tolerance, it’s the perfect time in history for the God & Gays Gathering.

The God & Gays Gathering features progressive Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong, previous ghost writer to Jerry Falwell Rev. Dr. Mel White, evangelical minister’s wife Peggy Campolo and ex-Exodus group leader Darlene Bogle plus many more together to Nashville, TN. Considered a central location for people all around the Bible belt area to attend, Gathering founder Kim Clark hopes, “anyone who is tired of being asked to vote on marriage equality and hearing only fear as the reason to keep people divided and are ready to deal with the human side of the debate around homosexuality and religion in a safe, accepting environment is welcome. We are ready for the parents and friends of gays, lesbians and transgender people to come so we can support them as they will and do get flack from society for not disowning their loved one. We are ready for the gay person with nowhere to go safely, who has contemplated or attempted suicide to instead invest time in him or herself, in what they’re going through and how to work with their faith to be the solution, not the problem. We’re ready for the church leader, the teacher, the therapist, to give them support in leading their groups to learning more on what it’s like to be gay and religious. The goal is empowerment. Get people out of victim status and they become more of who they are, how God made them.” Clark is best known for her quote, “comfort zones are slow dream killers” and lives by it on a daily basis, which is what got her through making God & Gays: Bridging the Gap and creating several support services like the Gathering. Her partner, Luane Beck, originally made the film based on Clark’s own personal struggle with being gay and Christian. Since premiering, they’ve toured the country speaking to large groups, showing the movie, receiving thousands of emails, letters of support and stories about changed lives.

God and Gays: Bridging the Gap is a rare opportunity to get questions answered, challenge the myths about gay people, and to put a human face on a hot political issue. The story is uniquely told by the people who live the struggle, judgment, fear and ignorance of others every day. “This is about real human beings, contributors to society, educated, kind, God-loving people. This is for real and people deserve to see and hear the stories of the people whose lives they will affect,” says Producer Kim Clark.

God and Gays: Bridging the Gap unifies Christianity and sexual preference in a time where church denominations are on the verge of dividing, in an era where history doesn’t repeat itself, but people repeat history.

Editors: For an EPK and free viewing of the movie trailer, go online to To schedule an interview with the filmmakers and people featured in the movie, call (718) 351-9599.

About Zernus Productions: Writer, Director and Actor Luane Beck started Zernus Productions to produce her first feature-length narrative drama Intentions in 2001. Award winning documentary producer Kim Clark joined in 2003 and together they focus their true-to-life stories with social integrity and unification in mind, heart and soul. Learn more about the nationally distributed Intentions at
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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day of Silence for Internet Radio

Most folks are not like me in some ways. For example, I eat my gardenburgers upside down. If I have any socks on at all, I walk around with only one on usually. I bounce my left leg feverishly for an hour before I notice it.

But, many folks are like me in the way of listening to internet radio, the last free medium for indy artists, multicultural music and channels to lost songs and artists that we'd never hear on commercial radio. And it's free to the listeners. No subscriptions, they survive on donations.

I personally listen to UK and French stations through the internet. I like hearing what's going on in Europe since they are far ahead of us in music trends and I like variety. I mostly like listening to ambient...or "chill" music. It's meditative and helps me be creative in my writing.

Today, I gotta pull out the CDs because internet radio channels are silent to demonstrate how the future will sound if we don't get involved with what's going on in DC these days. There's been a horrific copyright royalty charge on internet radio stations including past years that will put most internet channels out of business. That's the point. The proponents want to silence them, because they can't control them.

There's lots of talks quietly going on around the internet to make it more profitable for large companies. Being an indy filmmaker, and with filmmaking one of the last frontiers to have a voice untouched by profit margin, I tend to step up for whoever the little guy is when the big guy is trying to crush the little guy.

Hey, I grew up on Underdog. I also believe in cooperation and that there's abundance in this world. We don't need to crush and eliminate others so we can advance. Wallace D. Wattles writes about the maturity of a person in their spiritual growth is marked by embracing creativity and not lowering oneself to competition. Yep, this harkens to the philosophy that I learned all I needed to know in kindergarten. Sharing, making room for another so we can all work together balancing our strengths is what benefits us all. There's no reason to silence internet radio, besides fear and lack of control...which is fear.

So, if you appreciate internet radio like you do indy films, free speech blogs like this one and other internet beauties, I highly recommend going to and learn more how you can simply help. The little guy is more representative of who we are as individuals, than the big guy trying to define who we are as a collective. You're needed. Help 'em out and contact your congress person telling them to rescind the enormous royalty charges. It's not that radio doesn't want to pay any, they just can't pay the rate they are being charged.

Extinction of good things can be preserved. Ball's in your court. Thanks.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ex Gay Survivor in Irvine this Weekend

This weekend is the Ex Gay Survivor's Conference in Irvine, CA. and Soulforce put together a series of workshops, speakers, performances, music and movies to bring people together who have dealt with ex gay ministries in their lives.

I will be in the minority there as I didn't fall for the ex gay ministry tractor beam propagated by many Christian churches in the country. I don't know how I escaped it actually. Under the sign saying "Grace Ministries" at my previous church, sat a table top full of books titled "You Don't Have to Be Gay" and other such myths. I was fortunately at a place of self-acceptance that seeing the contradiction of the book titles with the sign saying Grace helped me leave the church, never looking back.

If you're not familiar with what ex gay means, it's a philosophy around believing being gay is preventable and/or curable. All you have to do is read the Bible more and welcome Jesus into your heart. It completely negates those of us who have reconciled did not do so in spite of God, but because of Him. Well, recently the head honchos at Exodus International, the biggest and best funded ex gay ministry (by Dobson's Focus on the Family) stated they see homosexuality is actually not a choice. Gee, what took them so long?

It's a way to make people conform to other people's level of comfort. It takes creativity away from God. It's absurd and there's thousands of people in loveless marriages because of it.

Now the course of self-justification of existence is to say gays must be celibate. As if all gays can be priests, when priests aren't always able. It's insane. It's emotionally traumatic. It's caused youth and adults to commit suicide. It's psychological malpractice. It divides families. It divides individuals. It's conditional when the Bible is clear on loving as Jesus loved, which is unconditionally.

We have Darlene Bogle, a former ex gay (I guess an ex ex gay...) and former leader in Exodus Ministry in our movie. She has a powerful story of how she sees how damaging her life was by confusing being numb with being straight. The self-hatred she had, burrowing it in alcohol, drugs, staying busy at work so she didn't have to feel or deal. I've met others who are anorexic. I have a personal friend who has caused herself an ulcer, had surgery, aged her skin with stress, kept her kids home from school so she isn't alone, got addicted to Vicodine...all to avoid and self-punish after listening to made up marketing terms like "pro gay theology". People will cause themselves physical harm when emotional trauma manifests. It's emotional trauma because there's a huge disconnect from our soul to God when we pull back and listen to made up rules from human beings versus listening to what God is telling us in the whispers. Even if we ignore it or deny it at first, it always gets worse and the consequences greater. Always. Being gay can't be fixed, because there's nothing to fix.

Darlene now is on fire to minister to ex ex gays and help those currently in ex gay groups get out and get on with their life as a whole human being.

We have another person in the movie who is currently ex gay and has been for 10 years. We've gotten the feedback from screenings of how viewers can see her pain and struggle and wish she would truly connect to God and get her nose out of studying herself into dead ends to keep herself from feeling anything. It's interesting. People think they pull off how they are happy and at peace, even though parts of them are quite shut down.

We don't fool anyone. Except ourselves usually. I'm excited to be at the conference and show the movie on Sunday, July 1st 4pm at UC Irvine as the grand finale. I'm proud to be a part of a sanctuary of sanity for people who got caught in the ex gay net. Hope to see you there on Friday with Mel White, Wayne Besen and Darlene Bogle. I love my job.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Luane's Other Projects...and Our Next

So, how about this for "coincidence"? I'm started to write this blog at 6:16pm. That miracle won't mean anything unless you read the previous blog, but...SEE?? It happens to me all the time. Has it happened to you yet? We'd love to hear if 6:16 suddenly starts catching your eye...we can start a nationwide movement called 6:16 and have it about taking a minute every day to remember why we're here and be in appreciation that we are here. interesting idea.

Speaking of 6:16, I forgot to tell you a few years ago Luane actually wrote a David Lynch-like script called 6/16 for a grad program project. We gathered a crew and shot the 24 min. short over a long weekend (and it was loooonggg...not much sleep on indy film sets). Luane's not happy with how the lighting turned out so currently it's only for our eyes. We showed it once at an Intentions screening (Intentions is Luane's first can get it at amazon, blockbuster, netflix and see it on Logo television). There was a fantastic reaction to it, but Luane being the artist she is, doesn't want to release it as it is. Who knows, maybe we'll re-shoot it and put it out there.

The story is basically how I saw and dealt with my sister's tragic death...then and now. It's out of order, I acted in it (well, tried) and the pool scene was too intense for me to stick around and watch. But it's a good script, a great story and I'm sure it'll help someone someday. With this short film and God and Gays, you'd think Luane uses me and my life story as her muse. Well, I guarantee our next project has nothing to do with my life...but a lot to do with my sense of humor. We're in scripting and plan to fund and start shooting next year. So excited!

We'll keep you in the loop as things move along...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Sister is An Alien

Okay, today's blog is just for sister, her husband and their kid took photos in the local Apple store with new software called photobooth. I laughed so hard! Enjoy:

Monday, June 18, 2007


June 16th is a very memorable day in my family. June 16th, 1985 my younger sister and youngest sister went with my mom to the grandparents for my younger sister's birthday. I was supposed to go with them, but as a typical 16-year old on the weekend, I slept in, so they left without me and my Dad went to his second job he did on the weekends.

After an afternoon of Doritos and Diet Coke (I can't believe I used to live on that junk...) and watching MTV when it was still showing music videos, I hear screeching of tires into our driveway. I hear my Dad screaming for me as he runs into the kitchen. I jump up, we hug, he's very very upset and manages to tell me there had been an accident.

What happened at that moment and for the next three days completely changed my world, my family and me.

My 12-year old sister, on her birthday, had lunch with the family and followed my then 6-year old kid sister and my mom out to the pool at my grandparents house. My sister was a frog, not only for the green swimsuit she wore out but because she loved being in that pool. With my kid sister bobbing along with her floaties in the shallow end and my mom sitting by the pool taking out her contacts, my sister was doing a lap, pushed off the deep end wall where the underwater light is, her feet touched the metal frame around the light and was instantly electrocuted.

My grandfather later found out there was an electrical short out there. Even though no one blamed him or was ever upset at him, he took that guilt to the grave. My family was devastated, changed, and asking why.

We all grieved and handled it in our different ways, maybe a little too separately. Two years later, my parents divorced.

The good stuff that came from this life-altering experience is I recognized life is short. Too short to get into drama. Drama is stupid. I became more patient. More compassionate. A better listener. Closer to God.

The one major pattern I just recently got help recognizing that started from that moment 22 years ago is how I handle conflict and tough situations. What I do when Luane and I disagree, is I pull back, I disconnect, I put up a wall of shame and guilt for messing something up, not doing something, not doing enough...and therefore not BEING enough. This came from the guilt and shame I carried for YEARS believing I was supposed to be there with my family at my grandparents. Had I been there, maybe I could have saved my sister. I felt horrible about making such a stupid choice as to sleep in. I kept saying I just wanted my sister to come back and tell me she forgave me for not being there for her. I was always there for her when kids picked on her or she wanted to borrow my clothes. I felt the one time she really could have used me, I wasn't there and now she was gone...somehow, I believed it was my fault.

Since we were all handling it differently, I didn't voice this. I expected them to agree so I felt shame. Ten years ago, I finally confronted my guilt, had several keening moments and finally forgave myself, acknowledging there was nothing I could have done and to focus on the good stuff of when she was alive.

It's been 10 years and I thought I was done. Nope. That pattern of retreat had stayed alive. Now I'm focusing on being more conscious, present and not letting old patterns run my life. I run my life. I run it with co-creation, energy supplied by God. My sister is still teaching me things, even 22 years after her death.

My kid sister, as you can see from the photo, has done an amazing thing. She tatooed the dates of our sister on her ankle. I was there and watched her wince and clench while it was being done, the whole time, talking to Tiff and letting her know how much we love and miss her. It was awesome. As my kid sister says, "going through something like losing a sister, you make up your mind as a family that ya stick together. No matter what." Which has helped her be supportive of my being gay.

The year I forgave myself around my sister's death, was the same year I had my struggle and came out. I wonder what else is getting ready to be revealed....

...but at least once a week, usually more, I'll randomly look at the clock and catch it saying 6:16. And every time that happens, it makes me pause, smile and say hi to Tiff, thanking her for looking out for me. I know I'm never alone, but it's sure cool to have that moment to remind me what's really important in life. When you catch 6:16 on the clock, I hope it helps you, too.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Massachusettes Still the Rock Stars in Equality

This just in...

Massachusetts Defeats Discriminatory Constitutional Amendment on Marriage

EQCA Calls on Governor Schwarzenegger to Oppose Discrimination

Statement by EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors

SAN FRANCISCO – In a joint legislative session on Thursday, lawmakers in Massachusetts rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples by a vote of 45–151. The vote secures marriage by eliminating any chance that the amendment would get on the 2008 ballot. At least 50 votes were needed to advance the measure.

“Today’s victory illustrates the incredible leadership of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, MassEquality, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, legislative leaders and scores of lawmakers who all diligently fought for fairness and dignity for gay and lesbian couples and the entire LGBT community in Massachusetts,” said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. “Since he took office, Gov. Patrick made the compelling and necessary case that minority rights should never be put up for a popular vote. Today, we call on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to demonstrate the same kind of leadership in recognizing that the ballot process should never be used to take away or preclude basic rights and freedoms.”

For more information visit and

Luane ran her marathon!

As many of you know, Luane started training in March when she could only stand walking a mile, to run a marathon in June (that's 26.2 the same day...). She signed up with Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She raised more than her minimum, stuck to what the coaches told her to do, ran the marathon by running 9 minutes, walking three for 6.5 hours in warm San Diego, CA sun with 17.000 other people. She is injury-free, she just walked really funny for a few days, and she's on a great personal high as this was one of her items on the "life list".

Now she's hyped to either be a mentor and do it all again (this time run in Alaska with the Moose) and/or train for a Team in Training triathalon.

I'm so proud of her. She got through all the mind garbage to acheive her goal and did while raising money for treatments to help someone's mother, brother, father, sister, friend not die needlessly without cures.

I know this doesn't really have anything to do with our work directly. But, since it's a big deal for us, it influences our work. We're getting the message that obstacles are not what they appear to be and can be overcome when there's a pure reason to do so.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Central Pennsylvania or Alabama?

We just returned from 4 screenings in 3 days in Central Pennsylvania. As the saying goes, there's Pittsburgh, there's Philadelphia and then Alabama inbetween. Depending on your perception and experience of Alabama will determine what you think of that statement. Its intent was apparently to demonstrate the middle part of PA is lots of country, farmland, Amish communities and religious conservatism. And therefore, not a welcoming environment for gay, lesbian or transgender persons.

A sidenote, did you know that the republican party actually motivated the Amish (who live their personal and religious lives in the running water, no electricity, ride in buggies) in the last election by frightening them of the eminent overrun of gay people if they didn't vote? Fascinating. I'd be ticked if I was Amish...being used in that way for political gain. Oh wait, I am being used that way....

So, we started at Penn State in Harrisburg where we ate large chocolate chip cookies (I had so many over the weekend! The word got out that I love them and have the goal of eating one wherever we travel...I'm still batting 100% on that goal), we made our own calzones and experienced a thunderstorm in the middle of the movie that knocked out the video of our movie, but the audio kept playing. In our sense of humor, our host told the audience to think of it as listening to NPR while they fixed the projector. It was fantastic...everyone stayed during the black out and was very enthusiastic during the Q&A. Then the question came around if we'd distribute an audio version, which we do plan to do. We just didn't count on testing it on an audience just yet.

Then we had two showings at the Penn Central United Church of Christ Conference where they had voted that morning to continue to honor marriage equality 251 to 91, a flip from just a year ago. We had ministers telling us they were on the fence or on the other side of the marriage equality issue and were so touched by the movie and our stories, they are now committed to equality in their churches and see how crucial it is for straight people of faith to step up and speak out. It was incredible. We even had a few people who had been strong advocates for keeping GLBT folks out of the church and not allowing equality in marriage attend. They came, they stayed, they listened, they nodded in affirmation. We couldn't ask for more. But we did get more by meeting a local therapist who was just crying to us afterwards. She's the person who hears the pain and the stories in these more oppressive areas. She meets and works with these real people with these real problems. She shared some of her stories so people who think they don't know anyone gay can get a grasp of how serious this all is. I just kept saying thank you to her, over and over again. I get how important it is that she's doing what she's doing. I get that she's carrying a lot with her when she hears other Christians talk about the gay agenda and other myths about the homosexual community.

Our last screening was at an open and affirming UCC church just outside of Harrisburg. They became O & A (which means they openly and officially accept LGBT people as they are...they don't try to fix what ain't broke) not because there were LGBT people there. They don't even know if there's any LGBT people who attend their church. They did it because it's the right thing to do. Entirely lead by straight allies who are members of the church, since their transition they've seen their attendance increase some by LGBT people (well, the ones that are out anyway) but more by straight families. They WANT to go to a church that walks the talk of taking people for how God made them. They get that if one is disadvantaged, we all are. We live in a system of relationships and the system is altered when there's pulls us all down.

So, don't believe the hype about Central PA. They really genuinely care about their neighbors. They are doing something about it. Their PFLAG chapter is very strong, very committed and unconditionally loving. And they need to be. We're big fans of PFLAG and love meeting the volunteers. I cry every time I meet a PFLAG parent out of gratitude for what they are choosing to do with their time and love. We look forward to visiting Central Penn again soon. There's lots of reasons to go back, namely 3B ice cream...just kidding.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dr. James Holsinger for U.S. Surgeon General?

Fitting to the pattern of choosing the most controversial persons to high posts of government, Pres. Bush announced recently his nomination of Dr. James Holsinger. You might have seen the CNN ticker that said "gays oppose Holsinger" or the like, often not really saying why and therefore leaving the impression those gays are just whiners and would disagree with anything the President would do.

That's not true. I think lots of gays would be in agreement if Bush decided to leave office because his conscience finally got to him for all the harmful decisions he's made over the years that have effectively touched all Americans and quite a few folks around the world personally. I can see the purpose for a psyche of denial and irrational support for irrational decisions like Holsinger. It's a coping mechanism. If he ever actually felt a piece of the damage he's helped cause, it'd be too much to one could handle the guilt and weight.

So, the reason in a nutshell why Holsinger isn't the best candidate for the Surgeon General job is because, as HRC says:

How can we trust Holsinger to be America's top doctor, when his resume looks like this:
  • In 1991 used basic plumbing analogies to write a "scientific and medical" paper arguing that homosexuality is unnatural and dangerous.
  • Founded the Hope Springs Community Church, which reportedly has a special program to "cure" gays from "that lifestyle."
  • Past writings indicate that he views sexual orientation as a "lifestyle choice." This could not be further from the view held by mainstream medical or scientific organizations.
and Soulforce says in their press release:

Dr. Holsinger is the current president of the United Methodist Judicial Council. As a member of the council, he opposed the 2004 decision to allow Rev. Karen Dammann, a lesbian, to continue serving as a minister. He also upheld the 2004 defrocking of Rev. Beth Stroud, another lesbian minister, and sided with a Virginia pastor who denied church membership to an openly gay man. Soulforce stood in solidarity at the trials of Rev. Dammann and Rev. Stroud, challenging the unjust policy that bars gay men and lesbians from ordination in the United Methodist Church and the false doctrine that homosexuality is "incompatible with Christian teaching."

Holsinger co-founded Hope Springs Community Church, in Lexington, Kentucky, which operates an "ex-gay" ministry aimed at changing homosexuals to heterosexuals. Recent events have brought national attention to the existence of programs intended to modify same-sex desires, which continue to multiply in spite of the consensus of the major medical and mental health organizations that sexual orientation is not a disorder and is, therefore, not in need of a cure. The American Psychological Association identifies "depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior" among the possible risks associated with ex-gay therapies.

The concerns are valid that the nation's top doctor would be swayed by religious prejudice versus scientific medical findings in guiding the nation's health...mental and physical.

Learn more about ex gay "ministries" June 29-July 1 in Irvine, CA at the Ex Gay Survivor's Conference at UC Irvine. We'll be there, show the movie and have lots of discussion. Our own Darlene Bogle, an ex-ex gay, whatever that is, will be there too and speaking in her own workshop and doing book signings for her new book, A Christian Lesbian Journey.

Hope you'll consider calling your senator to oppose this nomination. It's not in ANYONE'S interest to have this grossly of bias when it comes to medicine and health...I shudder to think about it....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Equality Updates and Boundaries

The New Hampshire governor recently signed civil unions into law and California had a major bill passing to further marriage equality to same sex couples. It's fascinating that the California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, yes, the actor...I can't believe I'm writing the two careers in the same sentence...always puts a letter in the HRC programs as well as Pride Festival program guides all over the state. It's usually talking about how exciting it is that the "ice" is melting and unification is growing to respect each member of society equally. And yet, he's the one who keeps vetoing the marriage bills. One of his personal assistants who spends more time with him than his celebrity wife, is a gay man. How can the assistant stand to watch his boss stamp "denied" time and again keeping him and millions of others as second class citizens legally? How can Arnold do that to someone he trusts and knows so well? How does he sleep at night? Why the bogus letters in pride guides? Are we that dumb? Ouch.

It comes down to boundaries and what we're able to allow. We teach people how to treat us. I recently had lunch with two UCC pastors and we talked of just a few years ago how in hiding we were. Now, we can't even remember the people we were who would allow such lying. We couldn't hide for anything now. We can't lie anymore, about anything. We're so in our skin, so self accepting, all we know is what is real and what is honest.

We head out this weekend to Pennsylvania to be with UCC church leaders and members. We get to show the movie and talk with them as some embark on taking their congregation and churches to becoming open and affirming to GLBT people. They are seeking to bridge the gap in their community and help be a place for people to reconnect to their faith and to God. We're honored to be a part of it and we'll let you know how it goes.

PS: Don't forget the Bishop John Shelby Spong call tomorrow night, Thursday, June 7th 5pm Pacific/8 pm Eastern.

PSS: Make sure you vote on our web poll in the right column.

"Human Loss" in the Courtroom

Sorry I've been away from blogging over the last week. I've never been on jury duty before and it's weird to hang out with 12 other strangers brought together for a civil lawsuit over an accident that could've happened to anybody and not be able to talk about it for a week. It's a bizarre scenario to have your schedule and life interrupted by a :15 incident from 4 years ago because these two guys couldn't or wouldn't compromise. I wasn't all that pleased with the special verdicts, but it would've been worse if I didn't say anything. It was a fascinating sociological experiment for me too.

Since we were dealing with the awarding of money for "human loss" although no one died but instead got a bruise on their thigh, much of the deliberation came down to the people's relationship with money. The real estate investor felt the settlement was too low, $123,000 isn't a lot of money to her. To the college student, anything over $5,000 was too much. The bank teller was okay until $10,000. The appliance repair man wanted the moon, $200,000 minimum because he felt the plaintiff was kin to his struggle and wanted to give the guy a new life, a new start, something he really wants for himself. Our decisions and opinions were direct reflections of ourselves.

So little of it had anything to do with the actual case. It came down to people's emotions. Fascinating. So, keep this in mind if you are looking to go to trial around money and extracting it from another private citizen. It could work for you or against you, the facts and the case itself seemed to have little to do with some people's decisions. The real "human loss" was the inability to agree on responsibility and we're set up in a legal system to put a price or cost on something emotional and intangible. It's absurd. So, we go on with our lives and this part time massage therapist in his late '50s has to deal with his wages garnished for the rest of his life.

We're all a part of the same body, what effects one, effects us all. It was truly a curious experience. So much at stake when jury members just want to go back to their lives.