The Brian David Mitchell case has been spectacular in so many ways - the good, the bad and certainly the ugly. I've been sending quick missives to a few friends and family outlining my experiences, but as I said before, I'm not going to write too much about it until the court has reached a verdict. Though this has bloomed into such a sensational media story, at the end of the day it is about a young woman trying to move forward in her life, and I don't want to contribute to clogging the blogosphere about it before this story has an ending.
That said, this experience has been very sobering. I can't stop trying to wrap my brain around all the components that lead to the kidnapping and everything that happened during and after. I awoke this morning and found that I chewed through my night guard last night - the one that's supposed to keep me from grinding my teeth in the first place. Normally I would go to the hotel gym and try to exercise the stress away, but I had a little something something removed from my leg last week (benign) and was told "No exercise for two weeks!" by the dermatologist. Boo.
This is where the library comes in.
I had seen it from the outside during my last trip here, but today after court I decided to walk over and do some grading for work.
The Salt Lake City Public Library puts all libraries to shame. Does your library have a double-decker fireplace on each floor?
Does your library have three glass elevators that swiftly glide up the 5 floors? (photo taken from inside the elevator)
Does your library have rooftop photo-ops?
Yeah, mine doesn't either.
As soon as I entered this architectural wonder I sighed a little sigh of relief. I found a great spot with a great view and caught up on some work. I browsed the shelves, people-watched, spoke to librarians.
I had a funny texting moment with my friend Liz where my phone made up words and sent a crazy text (that I didn't check before sending). Her response, "I'm confused, please call me," sent me into such fits of hysterical laughter that I'm sure I looked like THE crazy lady in the library. The laughter was certainly a release from the sobering days I've been experiencing.
I ended up staying for hours, and it felt restorative and right. It was free therapy.
How to describe the feeling when chamber doors opened and Brian David Mitchell walked in in handcuffs, singing religious hymns. First, just the sight of him made my skin crawl. He is little, squirrly,greasy, vacant. He's got the Manson vibe, with longer hair. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest. The courtroom was silent except for his haunting tunes. I kept wondering how is he allowed to do this? But then again, this is the same person who allegedly broke into Elizabeth Smart's bedroom, stole her and then kept her for nine months, assaulting and abusing her. When the judge finally said that Mitchell needed to leave and watch proceedings on closed-circuit television from another room I was able to breathe easy. Or at least easier.
I just read in the local paper that the lead prosecutor spent time in Bosnia-Herzegovina assisting with criminal prosecutions, and also assisted in the prosecution of Saddam Hussein. His team of lawyers seems whip smart, eager and ready for the case. The defense team, in my humble opinion, seems flustered, bumbling, desperate. Much to my surprise, the two sides seem friendly and often talk with each other at the breaks. I guess I don't know enough about how these things work. I found the judge, who looks a bit like Alfred Hitchcock, to be personable, funny and very, very smart. There are a lot of personalities in that room, even more when you add the perspective jurors.
The court interviewed seventeen jurors today, retaining nine of them. Apparently they need thirty before they can choose the final twelve plus alternates. It might end up being jury selection all week, and if that's the case, I might need to come back at a later date to see some of the testimony. Who knows how it will all shake out. I suppose there's a chance that it could start Thursday or Friday.
I feel funny writing about this while it is just happening, so I think I might lay off the blogging until the end of the case. Also, it's a lot to digest, and I think I may need to take it all in first.
On an entirely different note, I am thoroughly enjoying my hotel's happy hour, replete with generous portions of wine, free massages and very interesting people.
Utah is beautiful and there is already snow on some of the mountains.
This is definitely a surreal trip, but I've already gained so much knowledge.