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Freedom Found and Squandered (or Streamed)

By Lori Welch Brown

It’s July, and what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Freedom.  Which, to be honest, I often take for granted because I’m an entitled American, and thanks to a lot of brave people whom I tip my hat to a couple of times a year, I get to say and do what I want.

I’m joking, but also not.  I do take my freedom for granted.  I’m guessing that many of us do.  When I think about it, I enjoy a treasure trove of freedoms every single day.  I am free to get up when I choose, free to eat and drink what I choose.  Free to purchase what I choose from whomever I choose.  Free to read and/or write whatever suits me.  Free to leave my house when I want and make decisions of my own will.

Many human beings do not share these same luxuries I afford every day.  There are many sick people who are not free to leave their bed, many forced to work two jobs to keep themselves afloat, and many who are trapped under a cycle of domestic abuse—which is my segue-way to talk about what we all really want to talk about:  The Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial.

For the record, *domestic abuse is no joking matter, and in no way do I want to make light of it.  Although I agree with the jury’s findings, whether you agree with me or not, I’m sure we can all agree that domestic violence is never okay—towards men or women.  Whatever my thoughts are about the trial, I do think that shedding light on the fact that men can be abused and not just abusers was a good thing.

In case you have been living in a cave, the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial took place in our very own Fairfax County for the better part of six weeks.  Megastar Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, over an article she wrote in the Washington Post which he claimed defamed him, labeling him as a wife beater.

I wasn’t immediately riveted to the trial, but once I was hooked, it was over.  I spent countless hours glued to the live stream.  I even went to the courthouse on Day 13 in an attempt to acquire one of the coveted courtroom entry tickets. Alas—I was not successful, but I did get a JD sighting.

So you know, I wasn’t a huge Johnny Depp fan before the trial, but I did know he was Captain Jack Sparrow and had been in a lot of movies including Edward Scissorhands.  I had no clue who Amber Heard was—didn’t even know they had been married.  I have since gone back and watched many of his movies.  If you haven’t seen What’s Eating Gilbert Grape or Benny and Joon, tee them up ASAP.  But, I digress.

Once the closing arguments were presented, I was like a feral cat waiting for the verdict.  All those hours watching attorney’s sidebar with the judge, I will never get back, but my time was not a total waste as I did learn quite a lot from the trial which I’d like to share:

Famous people own a lot of real estate and employ a lot of people;

You can make a crap load of money being an expert witness;

If you have enough money, you can find anyone who agrees with your opinion and who will ‘expertly’ testify to said opinion;

Rich people do a lot of recreational drugs;

Rich people drink really expensive wine.  Amber was guzzling $500 a BOTTLE to a tune of $30,000/month;

I don’t have a drinking problem;

MDMA is a drug, not a government entity;

You can’t take your dog to another country without doing some serious paperwork so probably best to leave Fido at home;

Personal assistants are underpaid and can be very surly as a result;

Amber Heard is not a great actress even on the witness stand;

Court reporters are underrated;

Johnny Depp is a charismatic, engaging actor, especially on the witness stand;

It pays to have a great legal team;

It pays to be friends with rich people—you get free rent at swanky condos in cities you could never otherwise afford to live in;

Trailer parks are underrated—even celebs dig them;

Much of life can be chalked up to ‘hearsay;’

You can assault your couch and/or some cabinets, but not your spouse or anyone for that matter.  EVER.

The true lesson is that we enjoy many freedoms that we should never take for granted—apparently the freedom to enjoy a mega-pint first thing in the morning is one of them.  What we don’t have is the freedom to bully and/or abuse anyone—emotionally or physically—even if he/she left a #2 in your bed.  Did that really happen?

In the end, you are free to form your own opinion or those of the many expert witnesses who were paid a lot of money for their testimony. Whoever you believe, it’s important to treat everyone as a human being and offer them kindness, compassion, and maybe a little empathy.

Perhaps we owe a debt of gratitude to Johnny, Amber, all the attorneys, jurors, etc. for giving us the ultimate freedom—distraction from real world events and disturbing news stories.  Personally speaking, I may have to go back and watch it all again for that very reason, and thanks to streaming service and the sweltering heat, I have the freedom to do just that.

About the Author: Lori is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise with our readers. She has been penning a column for the OTC for over 20 years. Please follow Lori online on Medium for more missives like this.

*Domestic abuse is no laughing matter.  If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, please seek help by calling the National Domestic Violen

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