One of the more puzzling songs from the smash commercial success “Waking Up The Neighbors” by Bryan Adams was the song “Not Guilty.” I am no stranger to puzzling about the career or lyrics of Bryan Adams , and this song is more puzzling with most. Adams calls himself a rock jock just watching his back and claims that it’s not his fault that he’s falling apart and that he’s not guilty. What is he claiming to be not guilty of? His whole defense has the flavor of someone who is trying too hard and protesting too strongly–not that this is an unfamiliar sort of thing for me, only that it is something that encourages suspicions rather than easing them. Nevertheless, the line where Adams claims that it is not his fault if he’s falling apart is something that I found to be a worthwhile line to appropriate and look in a larger context likely not intended by the singer-songwriter himself. So, let us begin.
Without wishing to complain too much about myself, today was definitely a day that reminded me about things that are falling apart. When one has a nosebleed while engaged in innocuously taking one’s shower, that is not an auspicious beginning to the day, and there was plenty else that was falling apart during the course of the day. Enough was not going particularly well that I thought it worthwhile to examine a larger context to keep myself from writing so much about myself. I had thought to write about the differences in communication between written and spoken word, a subject in my upcoming split sermon, but the shambolic nature of what was going on around me forced me to think about why things go wrong so much. It was such a day of disasters that I even got to pipe in on who was the more stupid Game of Thrones person in an episode where things were falling apart in a particular Chinua Achibe-like way.
Criminal justice in Missouri took a hit today in a way that almost requires commentary. A not-very-nice but potentially not-guilty murderer was about to be executed today despite some DNA evidence that may exonerate him from the murder weapon until the governor stepped in to stay the execution at least temporarily. For once protesters appear to have gotten something right. I’m not sure if the DNA completely exonerates the convicted killer, but I have a strong belief that one needs to be absolutely sure when it comes to the death penalty. The murder victim was a former newspaper reporter, so the death row inmate has few friends in the local press, which has been savage about the need for justice, but there needs to be justice even for unsympathetic people. An adversarial system of justice tends to reward only those who have enough money to play the game well, and most public defenders are an overworked lot who simply do not have the resources and the stamina to really defend people as best as possible, and certainly not to force the investigation of any line of evidence or reason that would clear someone who isn’t going to win any popularity contests. And so we end up with situations like this where someone who may be innocent required a last minute stay of execution even as evidence was being investigated.
Why do things fall apart? We live in a world where entropy and decay are a facet of life, but how do they get to the point where life does not function well? How is it that the simple act of showering could cause a nose to bleed, simply because the heat loosened blood vessels a little too close to the surface of the skin? How is it that throughout the entire day I could not help but be reminded about the janky nature of computers and software? How is it that a justice system is so janky that a man was nearly put to death by a state while DNA evidence on the murder weapon was being examined? Surely our world cannot be so broken that such matters are commonplace and not worthy of comment, right? At least a few things in this world worth relatively well, like those systems which send me books to read. I suppose I cannot complain too much when there is some space to fill with books worth reading.
 See, for example: