What’s an Onlya?

A couple of people have asked me, “what’s an onlya“?

An onlya is any person whom a group has a reason to marginalize: “he’s only a drug user,” “he’s only a kid,” “she’s only a judge.”

Members of the group can treat the onlya worse than they would treat other group members.

We’re all onlyas to someone.

Whether someone is an onlya depends on the group. Among drug users, a drug user is not an onlya. 

So Felix Booker, Dr. Michael LaPaglia’s first documented victim, might have been an onlya to LaPaglia because he had been arrested and was suspected of possessing drugs: only a criminal. He is an onlya to the courts because LaPaglia found drugs.

But Dr. LaPaglia’s second documented victim, Antwan Gulley, isn’t an onlya to the civil courts because LaPaglia didn’t find drugs in his rectum.

It’s not right, of course, for the civil justice system to treat Mr. Booker differently than Mr. Gulley: LaPaglia committed the same torts on both men. But there you go.

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