Monday, July 15, 2013

What did Eric do? & what happened next?

I don't particularly want to talk about the Zimmerman thing, but I live in Florida & it can be hard to get away from.  During other famous trials, I have successfully kept my head down.  During the Nicole Brown Simpson & Ron Goldman murder trial I actually declared the area around me to be an OJ free zone & when people attempted to discuss it even in my hearing I would get obnoxious about it because free speech cuts both ways people (a funny upshot of this was that my boss later THANKED me.  Apparently productivity went down everywhere during that trial, but our office stayed on track; he thought this was a direct result of my talking about my menstrual cycle when anyone brought up OJ). 

Caysey Anthony was another local, sorta.  That was another media feeding frenzy, before & after the Not Guilty.  I was standing in the local Home Depot when the verdict was announced OVER THE INTERCOM.  What?!?!?!?  This is a folksy Home Depot & they often have rather strange intercom messages that are clearly as much inside jokes as actual information, so I guess I forgive them.  My view during the whole thing (the trial, the post trial, the post-post trial) was maybe, just maybe Nancy Grace cares more about her ratings than actual truthful content.

& now Zimmerman's acquittal.  I'm sorry people are sorry, but he probably didn't break a law.  As it happens, Trayvon Martin, had he been carrying a gun, could have shot George Zimmerman dead once Zimmerman started following him & should have been protected under the same law. It's a BAD LAW.  Florida is riddled with bad laws.  Recently they passed a law making it illegal to use any thing that could be used in a game of chance.  Like the laptop I am writing this on.  Or the smart phone I take with me when I leave the house.  When the legislature refers to themselves as professionals I cannot help but think strippers are professionals.  Manicurists, mechanics, et al, all professionals.  They are regulated, licensed &  so forth.  Florida legislators on the other hand...there is a word for them but "professional" is not it.

So I thought I would take a step back, & take a look at another infamous verdict.  Today in 1958, Julia was walking to the bus from her sister Mimi Stanley Smith's home when she was struck & killed instantly by off duty police officer Eric Clague.  Clague was almost certainly driving drunk & despite witness statements to the contrary, claimed she had run out in front of him.  I looked but could find no witness account that agreed with his version of events & at least one in the court record that certainly did not agree with it, but the court ruled in his favor.  A contributing factor was no doubt Julia's troubled history.  Her son John had been removed from her care & was actually raised by the sister she was visiting.   & although she had two daughters with a Mr. Dykins & lived with him until her death, it was well known she had never divorced her son's father.  In between the birth of her son & her two daughters with Dykins, Julia had another daughter who was given up for adoption.  While it does not make it OKay, this background may have made it easier to say this was a mistake, not a crime.  I think this happens a lot.  I know it does.

All of this would have been a small, unnoticed miscarriage if not for her son, John Lennon.  He mourned her all of his life.

Ultimately, Clague left the police force & became a postman.  He was probably expecting a quiet life, & even if he did not think he had done anything wrong when he killed Julia Lennon, I doubt he ever had a chance to forget it.   In one of life's little ironies, part of Clauge's postal route included, until 1965 anyhow, the family home of Paul McCartney.  In 1965 McCartney bought his father a home of his own. 

None of this makes the Zimmerman/Martin thing OKay.  A young man was killed because someone who really should have known better behaved like a jackass (even the majority of people who think Zimmerman should not go to prison are in agreement he should have let 911 handle the mysterious guy in a hoodie).  I hope that people channel their energies into repealing that dangerous law, but I know the Nancy Grace's of the world would rather they didn't.  So much more money to be made if they don't. 

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