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Victims of The Law

I

“Alright, boys. Time for breakfast. WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” shouted the guard as he banged his nightstick on the prison bars. He gave them food inside their cell.

“Oh, by the way, this one just came in,” the guard brought a man with some bruises on his face. The prisoner was about 180 cm in height, taller than everyone inside the single cell. He had huge muscles, judging by the tight prison clothes that he wore. Intimidated by the man, everyone sat away from him when they ate. One of the prisoners whispered to the leader of the cell.

“Hey, boss. I-I think you should talk to him.”

The boss, without a single word, stood up and came close to him.

“Hey, you. Tough guy. You got wounded pretty bad there, eh?”

The guy kept on eating his food and ignored the boss.

“HEY!!! I’M TALKING TO YOU!!!” shouted the boss angrily. 

The man stayed silent and kept on eating his meal. Of course, the boss was not stupid. Compared to the man, he was only 160 in height. So, he tried not to lose his temper.

“I’M THE BOSS OF THIS CELL, GET IT?!?!?”

The man, after finishing his meal, stood up and said, “Loud and clear… Boss.”

He sat in the corner, looking out of his prison cell. The other prisoners were curious about the guy. As they went to the prison’s courtyard, they started asking other prisoners.

“Hey, heard about the guy that came this morning?”

“That tall, big guy?”

“Yeah, him. Any info?”

The tall, big guy just stood there, facing out of the cell while looking sternly at the prison walls. 

“Ah, him. Some guards said that he beat up several guys. Wait, uh… three guys.”

“So, he’s in for assault?”

“More like… a fight. Yeah, a fight. He put three of them in hospital and is now waiting for trial.”

As the clock hit 1 am, the prisoners went inside for lunch in their cells. Anchovies, eggplant and rice, like usual. The anchovies were very salty, and the eggplant was undercooked. Yet, everyone kept on eating it. One of the prisoners, Randi, came close to the big guy and started talking to him.

“So, uh… fighting, huh?”

The guy stayed silent.

“Well, I am here for pickpocketing,” shared Randi to the guy. “Two years, six months with good behavior.”

“I’m still waiting for my trial. But, I think I’ll be here for a long time.”

“Well, no doubt. Three guys went to the hospital. Is it true?”

“Yes,” said the guy with a low tone: a tone of regret.

“I’m Randi. What’s yours?”

“Yarsa.”

Yarsa went back to his food and started eating it.

“Hmm…,” Randi hummed curiously towards Yarsa.

“What is it?” asked Yarsa.

“You’re not that type of guy,” replied Randi.

“What? What guy?”

“You know, the guy who looks for trouble, the guy who beats up others just to show dominance. I’ve been living in this prison for a year and, if you were THAT type of guy, you would’ve beaten my boss the first time you stepped in. I mean, with that big muscle of yours, you’ll win for sure.”

Yarsa looked at him and then threw his face away.

“Guess I’m right. So, you wanna tell me?” asked Randi.

“I would tell you. But, it’s not a matter of how good or bad my story is. It’s a matter of whether you believe it or not.”

“Fine, hit me.” 

I don’t really know what the intention of this guy is. He keeps talking to me, but I guess there’s no harm in telling him. 

“Very well. One night, I was… going out… all by myself.”

II

The night was… nice, like usual. I was relaxing after a long day’s work, and I was walking on the sidewalk calmly. The sound of vehicles on the street was music to my ears. It was a perfect way for me, a middle-class worker. 

But, hunger suddenly struck me, and I decided to eat at a local shop. I sat down, and the waiter came to take my order

“I’d like some egg fried rice and an ice tea, please.”

He took my order and went to the kitchen. As I waited for my food, I watched TV news; an accused corruptor went free. Many said he was guilty, but he was proven innocent, as usual. 

“BAH… THAT’S RUBBISH!!!” said the guy not far from me.

I agreed with him, though. One hundred million suddenly gone like the wind, and the suspect was proven innocent. I heard the police would freeze any assets of the suspect in a case like this. I believed it was true, but I think they didn’t count the hidden one. Perhaps, it was never frozen. I didn’t know. 

The following news was a little bit… interesting. It was about a person who beat up some burglars that entered his house. They got injured badly. It was unbelievable. The burglars got only three months in jail, while the man ended up with two years for beating them. The judge said what the man did was “ruthless and uncivil.” He beat the thieves using a piece of thick wood while the thieves used machetes. He stroked his hammer down without giving any clear explanation. As he went out, he told the reporter that the man should’ve waited for the police instead of doing it on his own. 

Ruthless? Uncivil? A person protecting his house is considered those? What kind of a judge is he?

My food arrived, and I stopped watching the TV for a moment. I just couldn’t believe it. A person went to prison for protecting his belongings? That’s just…. Unbelievable.

I finished my meal and went back home. When I was walking on the bridge, I heard the sound of a motorbike getting louder. Two guys, shorter than me, stopped at my front. One guy grabbed a machete, and the other held a bat. I think they are street gangs. The first guy, who grabbed the machete, lunged first, but I managed to block his attack. His machete went down the river below the bridge. I managed to knock him down, but the guy with a bat hit me in the face. I was stunned for a second, but I kept my consciousness and grabbed his bat at a second attack. I beat him once with the bat, and he got knocked down. I heard that you have to prove your worthiness if you want to join a gang… That was why they tried to kill me.

I was glad that I managed to fight back. But, suddenly, I heard a siren.

“DROP THE BAT AND PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!!!” shouted the police to me.

“Officer, there must be a mistake. I was the one who got-UGH!” The police put me down with their nightstick and cuffed me along with the two guys.

“… And here I am. Waiting for my trial.” 

III

“Yarsanius Yafka, even if self-defense was your reason, you are guilty of weaponized assault, and I hereby sentenced you to 7 years. While the two of you will receive 1 year in juvenile prison,” said the judge. She then struck her hammer down, and Yarsa was sent to prison.

———————————–

“Wait, WHAT?!! Juvenile prison?” said Randi to Yarsa. 

“Apparently, they are still underage to go to the real prison. So, they sent them to Juvie,” I told him as I went back to my cell after my trial. 

“BUT, 7 YEARS FOR YOU!!! That’s insane,” replied Randi.

“Huh, you think that’s insane?” asked the boss, coming to them. “An old lady went to prison for only stealing a coconut. Now, that’s what I call insane. By the way, kid…” said the boss, reverting his attention to Yarsa. “Welcome to the prison, for real.” Yarsa was still streaked down by the fact that he must be in prison for 7 years.

The prison bell rang, signaling lunch. Yarsa ate his food with a lot of sadness.

“HEY!!! Don’t fret about what happened. You’re not the only one, kid,” said the boss.

“Not the only one?”

“Yeah,” sighed the boss, “there are dozens of people like you in this prison. People who got accused but innocent and got an unfair amount of years.”

“How do you know?” Asked Yarsa.

“Because, I’m one of them,” said the boss.

“I was trying to protect my family from some street gang. I knocked two out and crippled one. As the police came, they cuffed me, and I got sentenced to 15 years. The street gang, well, they got only 1 year each. They even got the best hospital treatment while they treated me like a criminal. I was only protecting my family. Why doesn’t the government get it? Why is it wrong to defend ourselves? Is the position of law higher than survival? Then what is the point of law if it doesn’t serve and protect the people? ‘You should be more civil,’ they said. ‘You should just leave it to us,’ they said. ‘Just give your money,’ they said. I WAS TRYING TO PROTECT MY FAMILY FOR GOD SAKE!!!” said the boss, full of anger.

As they were eating, the news showed up on the prison’s TV. It was about a woman imprisoned for exposing corruption.

“Another one, huh?”

“Yeah, another one,” replied Yarsa.

-Fin-

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr

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