I read once — somewhere in the long ago — that character must be tested like a blacksmith tempers metal. Our personalities are forged in the furnace of our circumstances, pounded into shape between the hammer of our ambitions and the anvil of daily life. I have taken a bit of poetic license here, mainly because this particular metaphor seems slightly overwrought, but let's stay with the fiery image because, when confronted with flames, heroic characters often run toward them instead of seeking safety...
I was supposed to post some afterthoughts about "All In," last Tuesday or Wednesday and, instead, I am late with my entry about this week's new episode, (which was directed by Jon Tenney, better known to our fan base as Special Agent Fritz Howard). It just goes to show you that our best intentions can suddenly be overwhelmed by the unforeseen. In my case, the surprise was sinusitis and a prescription for some fierce, energy-sapping antibiotics that have forced me to adjust my professional plans. While physically irritating, it has made me even more sympathetic to the detectives in Major Crimes, all of whom find themselves dealing with the unexpected when their holiday vacation gets derailed by a shopping trip to Venice Beach.
We begin with Flynn and Provenza ambling through one of the kookiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles...
If the recent exigencies of the Great Recession have taught us anything — doubtful, honestly, considering how easily it could all happen again — it's that humans tend to take for granted the status quo in unhealthy ways, and that, worse, we tend to equate being rich with great wealth. During the financial downturn, many people were amazed to find how ephemeral their finances turned out to be. We woke from a sleepy sense of entitlement to find we had been living in a bubble.
So our victim tonight, the manager of a very small investment fund, turns out to have taken on more risk than he knew; his friends and family, who trusted him with their money, are horrified to find that he essentially sold their cow for magic beans, and their lives on country club estates are more tenuous than they first supposed.
As we discussed in the previous blog, one way of dealing with those who hurt us is to forgive them, and another way of dealing with them is murder. Forgiveness seems to be the better route.
This is not to say I'm for dismissing charges in a homicide. The law should have its own say in dealing with criminal behavior. Grace is a human reaction; governments must look at murder in another way. But allowing the justice system to manage our passions and anger and desire for revenge could be one of the best innovations of human civilization.
Clearly, however, the justice system has flaws...
Perhaps no single trait builds character more than the capacity to forgive. Compassion for those who have offended us can be hard to learn. Yet this is the curious paradox found near the center of the human heart: those who hurt us the most, are usually the ones most in need of our sympathy. Still, how to pardon an injury that can never be redressed? And what happens to us when we can't? ...