An exercise in optimism

Followers of the Track Your Plaque program already know that maintaining an optimistic viewpoint is important in gaining control over coronary plaque.

In fact, I believe that, in many cases, a sense of optimism may make or break your CT heart scan score-reducing efforts. Pessimists rarely drop their score, while optimists do so all the time.

This week posed a challenge to my optimism. I spent the last week on jury duty hearing the details of a murder case. For four days, I listened to blow-by-blow testimony about the totally pointless, unprovoked death of a young man by a drug-dealing thug. Much of the witness testimony was from people who shared the hopeless, violent world of the defendant.

I was, however, completely impressed by the dedication of the prosecuting attorney, a 50-some year old man who was clearly deeply dedicated to his mission and didn't once provide any indication that he was grandstanding or looking for some personal glory. He was doing his job and trying to obtain justice for the fallen victim. I was equally impressed by the judge, who seemed unfazed by the events but carefully explained why the system worked the way it did. After the trial, he provided some further insights to us jury members and I saw him as a human being who, like the prosecutor, was trying to make a small contribution to making the world better.

Though many of the witnesses who testified against the defendant shared his world, I was impressed with their courage in coming forward. They face the threat of reprisals, I'm sure, for coming forward to the law and testifying against a known career criminal. Several of them said that they were not after any reward, but simply wished to do the right thing and provide testimony that proved damning against the defendant.

I acted as the jury foreman and I was proud of how the jury members listened carefully, asked intelligent and probing questions, and then helped us render a confident and expeditious sentence: guilty.

If anything, despite the tragic circumstances, I was much heartened at how all the participants in this process played their part and justice (at least in the legal sense) was served.

Let optimism prevail, even in dire circumstances.