What an example of how different homelife can be from someone’s public personna. The things said on the tapes are despicable and certainly will change many people’s opinion of Mel Gibson. But how it will affect his likely visitation dispute is unknown. Clearly most judges will believe anger management and other counseling is needed. And an expert psychological opinion may be needed before the judge or the mother agree to Mr. Gibson being alone with the child. But there is likely much more to the story. Without being an apologist for Mr. Gibson, other facts, once known, may change our opinion again. Perhaps he was so drunk that he couldn’t even stand up? If so, then he may still be disliked for what he said, but he may then seem less of a physical threat if he has never acted like this when sober or when physically capable of inflicting harm.
The point is, no one really knows anyone else, if their only information comes from the media, or even if it is just from public, social observation. One thing is clear, especially to me as a family law attorney: abusive behavior is certainly not limited to the poor or uneducated. Human traits are specific to humans, all humans. And each situation should only be judged after all the facts are known. Unfortunately, our court systems are overwhelmed and sometimes the full story isn’t told. But a thoughtful, careful review of all the facts is important, even if, as may potentially be the case for Mel Gibson, they ultimately all lead to the same conclusion.
The most telling fact for me, in this situation, is that Mr. Gibson had his second chance. His previous racist comments became public, and he was given a second chance. But it seems, if these tapes are indeed of him and not “doctored” in any way, that he truly has some tough issues to tackle. All anyone can hope is that he acknowledges them and does whatever it takes to overcome them. America loves a comeback, but this one may take some time.