Friday, December 5, 2008

OJ Simpson Sentenced To Lengthy Jail Term

I'm not that averse to conspiracy theories: I don't think JFK was done in by Lee Harvey Oswald; 19 dudes with boxcutters sounds rather iffy; Kurt Cobain certainly did not commit suicide in my book; and I don't believe OJ Simpson killed his ex-wife and her fuck buddy. (At least not alone.) There's plenty of facts supporting these theories or at least underlining the presence of reasonable doubt vis-a-vis the official account, so if you disagree, don't just lazily flame me, look it up and make up your own mind.

Still basking in the glow of the historic election of a black president, I hate to get racial here, but I must. For no public figure has highlighted that particular divide in our country in modern times more than that of Orenthal James Simpson. I don't think that I'm trafficking in hyperbole by stating that only Osama Bin Laden is hated more than Simpson here in the US. Not one bit. It pained me to see the blatant hypocrisy in people that had stood up for the judicial system in so many instances when justice did not prevail to quickly and effortlessly turn around and decry the outcome of Simpson's murder trial when it didn't go their way. Suddenly and miraculously, these people discovered and qualified the system as broken. (And don't get me started on the whole 'not guilty but responsible' deal: according to one verdict Simpson was not liable but another verdict found him financially responsible. Give me a fucking break. Talk about a double standard...)

On a personal level, and as a person of color, I'll never forget seeing the reactions in my then place of employment a decade and a half ago, when the Simpson verdict went down and feeling that perhaps some of those people who I had befriended and even become close to, deep down might not feel the same way about me and others like me.

Fast forward to last year and the kind of irresponsible sensationalism the “news” people inflicted on the second most hated man in America, as he found himself in trouble with the law again.

The first mental picture I got from the “OJ Simpson Suspect In Casino Armed Robbery” headline bandied about the news that day, was Simpson cracking into a Vegas casino vault, and with
ski-masked, automatic rifle-toting accomplices making a getaway while hauling out a flatbed truck’s worth of cash. “Wow, he’s cracked. He got that desperate? Damn.” The evil, big, black man strikes fear into the hearts of America once again. Mission accomplished, indeed.

Later on it's uncovered that Simpson, having been alerted by an auction house of a secret sale of allegedly stolen memorabilia of his, went to a Vegas hotel room where the secret sale was being held to reclaim what he believed were his stolen belongings. He eventually was arrested and charged with multiple felonies in this case. But during the initial 48 hours of the case being reported, headlines announced what looked like the potential plot of Ocean’s Fourteen, and no one cared that a man may have been unfairly characterized in the media at this level. Of course not. After all, not even Hitler is as despised in this country as Simpson is. (Before you once again accuse me of hyperbole and invoke Godwin's Law ask yourself this: does OJ have hundreds of thousands of adoring adherents ready and willing to rise in his defense and, if necessary, kill innocent men, women and children in his name?) But I digress.

Today OJ Simpson was given to 8 to 33 years in jail for his part in the memorabilia recovery caper, which was deemed a hotel armed robbery and kidnapping by a judge who prefaced the sentence by stating it had nothing to do with a previous case. "I'm not here to try and cause any retribution or any payback for anything else." Really? Then why bring it up, your honor? If your sentence is fair and appropriate why the need to add a disclaimer? I'll bet dollars to donuts she won't make Keith Olbermann's "Worst Persons" list. And why did ESPN, after having their legal analyst opine on the sentencing, put up a statement by Fred Goldman, father of the slain Ron, but none from OJ's side? And speaking of the Goldmans, why were Fred and his daughter among only 15 members of the public who were admitted to the Nevada courtroom where OJ was sentenced, if this case had nothing to do with the one involving their loved one?

I'm not into football but I'm feeling a strong urge to purchase a #32 Buffalo Bills jersey right now.