I was struck most by your statement, “Rights are things we grant each other.” Situations such as yours are reminders to me that our “rights” are never guaranteed. Power is power, and if you have enough of it, the rights of others need not concern you. After all, what can “the little people” do? Will they really go through all the paperwork it takes to prosecute the government? Pay all the fees? Do “the little people” really have that much faith in themselves that they are willing to jump through a thousand hoops to “achieve justice”? Bureaucracy is a shield that corrupt systems use to hold back a discontented people. And the people shrug, forgetting that all systems have a beginning and an end.
I do not feel sorry for you because my pity is of no benefit to you. Your story serves as a grim reminder that the only person who can guarantee your rights and your dignity is you. Be strong for the next time something like this happens to you — because it will.