Commentary: My encounter with a superhero
I met a superhero last week.
I watched as she stood in the face of pure evil.
The enemy - larger than life and twice as menacing – had held the all the cards for decades.
But despite the odds and fear of failing, she stood strong.
And I didn’t have to pay $12 and sit in a sticky, darkened theater to watch it all happen.
No, this drama played out in a rural courtroom right here in Montana when a teenage girl stood face to face with a man who had sexually abused her and beat him to the ground with a weapon more powerful than any magic hammer or shield. She had the Truth.
It was sordid tale that belongs on NBC’s ‘Dateline’. The villain was a man who used his relationship with his then wife to gain access to her young sisters and eventually the daughter of a family friend. He used a sophisticated set of mind games to earn their trust and violate their innocence.
And it worked for years.
He was given a four-year sentence in another state for his grievous deeds.
Just. Four. Years.
As his story finally started to unravel, his tactics changed. He wrote to his wife from prison proclaiming his innocence and saying there was a Doppelganger who was out to get him, committing these atrocities on his behalf in an attempt to do him in.
He wove a tale of evidence hidden somewhere deep in the forest and did it so convincingly that his ex-wife took a shovel into the woods to search for it. When she came back empty handed, he told her he had the evidence secured in a safe she knew nothing about.
Evidence he would never produce.
But our hero started wielding her sword of truth, telling the judge of her harrowing experiences at trial and then making a powerful statement at the sentencing hearing Friday. She stood just feet away from the monster, stared him down and made it clear that what he had done would not be allowed to happen again.
After finishing she returned to her seat in the gallery, her attorney turning to her with a smile and mouthing the words “bad ass”. She smiled and blushed at the remark.
In considering the verdict, the judge spoke at length about the heinous crimes that the criminal had committed. He finally decided on the maximum penalty of 100 years for each of the three counts and a minimum of 50 before parole ever becomes an option. It was if he had a judicial version of the Infinity Gauntlet and with one snap, sent this villain to parts unknown for 300 years, or basically … oblivion.
But it was the strength of one young woman that made the difference.
One small, young lady helped end the torment of four other women and their families and start the healing.
Our hero had only the truth, courage and her determination to not remain a victim.
It proved to be more than enough.
While movies make billions for lauding the exploits of make-believe heros, we need more heroes like this teenage woman.
With more folks like her, the world would definitely be a better place.