How about we just say that today involved a lot of "challenging" people and that I was proud of myself for meeting the challenge and call it a win, hmm?
Seriously, though. Perhaps today is a good day to remind everyone that regardless of how bad a day you are having, if there is a person in front of you with a name-tag, and that person did not have anything to do with whatever has gone wrong with your day (and, frankly, even if they did) they are still a human being and worthy of being treated as a human being.
"The Hanging Judge," by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The best science fiction, in my mind, involves not just the romance of technology or a unique setting, but really showing the sociological implications of said technologies or settings. With "The Hanging Judge," Rusch has done exactly those things, adding a great story to Beyond the Sun.
Set in a frontier colony where life is hard and the colony sees next to nothing in the way of positives from the taxes they pay, the people of this story have decided that this society - a society where everything is managed by cost-effectiveness and resource utilization - is in dire need of a shake-up. They have a target ready for their symbolic assault - a woman known as the Hanging Judge, for apt reasons.
In these colonies, there are small ships that fly out to take prisoners back for incarceration, but they also have the option of using their execution chamber instead - something this woman is known for doing (since prisoners cost so much time and effort and resources). Unapologetic (and unsympathetic), this judge makes a perfect woman around which to make a point, and the plan is underway upon her latest arrival to "deal with" punishment for this distant and poor colony.
The story hinges on these various pieces of sociology, economics, and stratification, and it does so in a brilliant way that left me with a very clear picture of just how far this society has fallen. So well done, and such a great idea.