This amazing photograph was taken by the always-excellent Mike Stocker of the Sun-Sentinel. It is, of course, Beverly Gallagher running out of the courthouse with her family and a particularly zealous videographer.
Gallagher looks like she's in a daze, like she can't believe this moment is really happening. Her face seems frozen, zombie-like. No matter how much you hate corruption, you should get no joy from this. You should be grateful that a law enforcement agency finally decided to clean up this town a little, but on a personal level, there can be no satisfaction. I don't believe Beverly Gallagher is necessarily a bad person; I believe she let herself be swept up in a badcounty, in a bad system, full of other people undone by their own venal and baseless ambitions. Lobbyists made her feel like an elite, and she started to believe it. And elites deserve some extra money, don't they? If not, what's the use of being an elite? Elites can take what they want, right? The rules don't apply to the elite, or they damned well shouldn't.
Beverly Gallagher, of course, is no elite. None of them are. She's a regular human being with all the foibles that go along with it. She's an ex-housewife who got involved in the freaking PTA, a woman who put the bribe money in her own doggy bag. She's not an evil human being; she's a weak human being. And she just happened to fall into one of the worst crowds you'll ever find: Broward's ruling class.
Once someone like Gallagher gets sucked into the vicious vortex of Broward politics, it's very hard to ever come back. It's sort of like being born again to a family of grifters; once you've high-rolled in Broward, you start to see everybody as a mark, every situation as an opportunity to make a sideways buck. No, it's not evil. It's amoral, and that can be much worse, because it slides along tricking the world that it's perfectly fine while underneath it's all full of gnawing cancer.
I'm not a religious person, but I do believe there is only one hope for Beverly Gallagher. She's got to repent. She's got to swear off her former life like a drug addict or serial rapist. She's got to go cold turkey because if she returns to it even in the slightest of ways, she'll return to it. She should swear both of her daughters out of it too. She should move far away from Broward County.
But she won't. They never do.