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Monthly Archives: March 2017

By Tom Demerly for tomdemerly.com

You won’t find a bad review about the beautiful film-meditation “Kedi” and rightfully so. Director Ceyda Torun built a dream-like soft documentary stitched together from several storylines, and it fits and flows with elegance and mirth.

This is a kind, gentle and soothing meditation about our relationship with cats and, by proxy, with each other as humans. It identifies something good and meaningful in every person, and every animal, and celebrates it through the reverent monologues of the human supporting cast of the film as they pay homage to the roaming cat population of Istanbul, Turkey.

Kedi is a long time coming, a movie that will likely enjoy decent commercial success with the rise of cat prominence via social media. In an era of increasing social divisiveness posting a photo of a cat to your social media is the modern equivalent of talking about the weather. Everyone can relate, no one is alienated. And that is where Kedi begins, with the universal and oftentimes unspoken confession that we are more connected to our animals than we will sometimes openly admit.

Whether you are a “cat person” or not, Kedi is visually luxurious, a transparent travelogue through Istanbul and an examination of the reality that good is to be found in nearly everyone. Kedi reveals an intimacy in our relationship with animals I’ve never seen in film before, and that is uniting. It is something we need to hear.

A worrisome plot boils under the glowing surface of Kedi, the brief mention of expansion and modernization that threatens both the indigenous stray cat population supported by the citizenry, and also threatens this entire gentle culture, both human and animal. It’s ominous but not obnoxious, and mostly this film is charming, but this inference is unsettling. But that is a story for another documentary. As for this one, you may relax and enjoy this beautiful meditation.

Cat lover or not, Kedi is intrinsic and well made. It is worth seeking out. If you are a cat lover, then this film is an anthem and an ode to why we worship and cherish these perfect, gentle, beautiful animal-lords of our world who are so generous to include us in their lives.

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By Tom Demerly for tomdemerly.com

Terry Lacroix (left), the driver who killed Karen McKeachie, during a court hearing Monday, March 6, 2017. (Photo Credit: John Counts Photo for The Ann Arbor News)

Terry Lee Lacroix is responsible for the death of Karen McKeachie.

That is a fact.

Had it not been for his willful actions on August 26, 2016 at approximately 10:45 AM, McKeachie would be alive today.

There is no question about the responsibility of Terry Lee Lacroix. He caused her death. That is known.

But what is mysterious is what should be done with Terry Lee Lacroix in the aftermath of Karen McKeachie’s killing? And it is a killing. It is not an accident. Lacroix’s willful decisions directly caused McKeachie’s death.

Emotionally some may want to exact a type of “revenge”, a willful infliction of loss or suffering upon the perpetrator Terry Lee Lacroix for the killing of Karen McKeachie. There may be a circumstance when this is appropriate. If Lacroix were in a position to willfully kill again. Then his capability to do so must be neutralized in the interest of public safety.

How our courts decide to punish Terry Lee Lacroix for the killing of Karen McKeachie will say a great deal about our society. It will place a value on a life. It will demonstrate what we are willing to do to prevent further loss of life, and it will reveal structural insights about our character and intellect.

What was Karen McKeachie’s life “worth”? What is the value of the life of the next victim of a similar killing? And, there will be more willful killings of cyclists by motorists.

To decide you must look in the mirror. Put a price on your life. What would you exchange for it? What is the correct toll for your life’s forfeiture?

I’ll suggest no such comparison; no such valuation can be assessed. The value of your life, and the loss of McKeachie’s, is incalculable.

But what about the next life lost to willfully deadly driving? And there will be more.

As a culture have we learned anything from losing Karen McKeachie? Will we change anything? Will the existing laws be applied as a template, and then reused on the next willful killing of a cyclist?

On Monday MLive.com reported that Terry Lee Lacroix pleaded “no contest” to a “misdemeanor charge of a moving violation causing death”. The maximum penalty is one year in jail. We are, in effect, stating clearly that, “If you choose to kill a cyclist with your car, you may go to prison for a year.” That is the value we place on a bicycle rider’s life. One year of confinement. Three hundred sixty five days confinement and the remaining legal record and expenses. That’s it.

A one-year jail term is not a substantial enough penalty for willfully killing a cyclist with a motor vehicle.

And because it is not substantial enough, because the penalty is not commensurate with the loss, the deterrent value, the compelling reason to drive more carefully, does not exist. Until the penalty fits the crime, cyclists are little more than collateral damage that may cost a reckless driver a year in jail, a prison record and legal fees.

But one year is all. And that is wrong. Your life, the life of Karen McKeachie and the lives of every cyclist are worth a greater penalty to compel drivers to behave more cautiously around cyclists.