Calhoun’s Cannons, The Bay News, Tolosa Press, SLO, CA for October 24, 2008
Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it . . .
In an odd way, it was the perfect verdict: O.J. Simpson, not guilty of the savage murder of two people, but O.J. guilty of greed and stupidity. The official conviction was for armed robbery and kidnapping, but in reality, he was just another dumb thug, part of a Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight, an old has-been caught red-handed fumbling around a Las Vegas hotel room trying to steal back odd bits of memorabilia and other junk left over from a wasted life that was long gone. It was ridiculous. It was pathetic. It was perfect. The real O.J. for the world to see, at last.
Long gone was the O.J. still surrounded by his fawning sycophants. Gone were the high-powered attorneys in their Armani suits, slapping his back and crowding in on the TV lights, eager to be part of the Trial of the Century, a celebrity affair of wretched excess and goggling public obsession.
If that O.J. had been convicted of that horrific double murder, he would have been able to go out in a blaze of glory – A man to be feared, to be reckoned with, a man who felt he had a right to slit his wife’s throat when she dissed him, and then take out a brave young stranger who came to her defense. Two with one blow! A fearsome power player still at the top of his game, his innocence trumpeted amidst a cloud of race cards all being played at once.
And he would have entered the prison system as Top Dog, the kind of man given deference, admiration and a wide berth -- a legend, a famous ex-football star, the one who dared stand up, an innocent black man railroaded by the LAPD, a hero!
That boffo grandstand ending was denied him, thanks to LAPD history, clever lawyers, poisonous racial pay-back and a lying cop – in short, a perfect storm of historical retribution and miscarried justice. It was a deadly brew that remains a potent stumbling block to justice for so many, even to this day.
What followed was a civil trial that found him liable for the death of two people, and civil penalties that sent him scrambling with his assets to Florida to spend his years on the golf course “looking for the murderer of his children’s mother,” surrounded by the usual grab-bag coterie of “friends” --hangers on, each sucking from his fame teat, hoping a little glory and a few bucks would come their way by the association.
But the civil trial and O.J.’s nature was the karmic cog that had been tripped into motion, the small moving wheel that compelled him to Las Vegas to fulfill his destiny.
While it still remains a possibility that some legal loophole will again see him walking free on the golf links, he can now never escape his true identity --not a feared, formidable double murderer, but a greedy, sleazy thug, trying to hustle hustlers who were tripping all over themselves to rat him and each other out, all scrabbling to make a few bucks off of junk that rightly should have been sold on E-bay for a couple of dollars.
Some of O.J.’s former lawyers, the ones whose high-priced talent and courtroom shenanigans helped free him on a double murder charge, were contacted by the L.A. Times for comment on the Las Vegas verdict. It was a Who’s Who of legal fame, these men who couldn’t wait to rush into that original courtroom and appear on Court TV. But not now.
“I just don’t want to talk about O.J. Simpson anymore,” said Gerald Uelmen, a professor at Santa Clara University Law School and former dean.” “I have no comment,” said F. Lee Bailey.” “And from Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz: “I’m not going to talk about it.”
No, of course not. After all, these lawyers are the kind who are only available for the rich and famous. Why should they waste their precious time commenting on a run-of-the-mill crime committed by a common criminal who’s headed for prison, nobody special, dime a dozen, good riddance to bad rubbish. After all, being a double murderer isn’t a real crime in America; being a has-been is.
The perfect coda for the perfect crime.