*Justice was served in the Conrad Murray trial this week.  But there’s a hollowness to the victory.  I’m gratified by the guilty verdict returned against this unethical doctor who nurtured Michael Jackson’s drug dependency and, ultimately, took his life through self-centered negligence.  But I cannot help feeling a twinge of anger against the King of Pop, who chose drugs over his children.

That’s a harsh criticism, I know.  But no harsher than the reality of three youngsters being left to grow up without the dad they loved and depended on – because that dad depended on dope.

Michael Jackson was a deeply troubled soul, and for most of his life he struggled with inner-turmoil that none of us can fully fathom. So, we grieve for Michael.  And we sympathize with him for the unseen agony that drove him down a self-destructive path that ended in tragedy.

But I do feel anger.  Because Michael abandoned his kids.  When we become parents, we forfeit the right to live primarily for ourselves.  We have to put the needs of our children first.  For their sake we have a responsibility to subdue whatever demons we may be wrestling with.

Life is hard.  And we are just human beings – vulnerable, fragile.  Even the strongest, bravest and most disciplined among us has a breaking point.  The desire to escape and the temptation to surrender – to depression, to substance abuse, even suicide – can feel overwhelming.

But, even in the abyss we have choices.  The old saying is correct:  “Pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice.”  So, for the sake of those who depend on us – especially our children – we must make the choice to confront and manage our pain!  If we can’t make it on our own, then we need to find somebody, somewhere to help us.  In doing so, we’ll protect our kids and rescue ourselves.

I wish Michael Jackson had been able to do that.  And I pray that when my time of testing comes, that I’ll be able to do so.

Thanks for listening.  I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.

See Cameron’s “Turner’s Two Cents” video commentaries on YouTube and watch for Cameron on NBC Los Angeles’“The Filter with Fred Roggin,” on NBCLA.com.  Cameron would love to get an email from you — [email protected]