Even though I was “encouraged” to read in ways that made reading seem more like a laborious chore than something one does for pleasure (a common failing of modern education systems, sadly), sometimes I do enjoy a good read. And Vincent Bugliosi, if nothing else, makes a good author for the most part. He occasionally gets carried away and repeats himself a few too many times for his own good, but that is not exactly a failing in the subject he is writing about.
Bugliosi had a long and distinguished career both as a lawyer and as a district attorney. For a fraction of what private criminal lawyers charge, Bugliosi was expected to argue the State’s side of criminal cases. And he did so in at least one of history’s most famous cases. The murders committed by the Charles Manson cult are still talked about, albeit much less frequently, today.
It is Bugliosi‘s contention that not only was O.J. Simspon guilty of murdering Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but that the not guilty verdict can only be explained by incompetence on the part of not just the district attorneys responsible for prosecuting the case, but also on the part of judge Lance Ito and much of the media in the bargain.
Outrage, the book in which Bugliosi criticises numerous facets of the O.J. Simpson trial, is really quite a book. The Wikipedia has it that Bugliosi illustrates broader problems in the American criminal justice system, the media, and the political manner in which judges are appointed. This is a pretty accurate description.
But what of the contention I spoke of earlier? How firmly does Bugliosi believe that Simpson murdered his wife and the unlucky man who just happened to be with her when Simpson struck? In the introduction alone, Bugliosi makes very clear that he would have prosecuted the same case with such intense passion and fury that the jury would have likely thrown Simpson in the electric chair and flipped the switch. And make no mistake about it. It is one thing to hear that death sentences have been handed down with less evidence than what the district attorney had to throw at O.J. Simpson. To hear it explained by a man who knows how to prosecute cases, which by its nature entails explaining to a dozen people in terms they can understand a myriad of things that may otherwise go right over their heads, is something else.
I had long thought O.J. Simpson to be guilty of murder, based solely on his suspicious behaviour and the pictures showing, in heavily censored form, the dead bodies of the victims. Bugliosi points out, quite rightly, not only that people who are killed in such a savage fashion are rarely unknown to their killer. No, that is too easy. In the trial itself, O.J. Simpson‘s lawyers contended at length that LAPD detectives, led by one Mark Fuhrman, planted evidence in order to frame O.J. Simpson. Given that California law at that time provided that if you plant evidence in a case where the defendant may face the death penalty, you can also face the death penalty yourself, Bugliosi hardly needs to exert himself in order to make this aspect of the defense case look ridiculous.
In fact, everyone, according to Bugliosi, who was involved in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, was incompetent. Including, you guessed it, the defense. The defense tried to paint a positive portrait of Simpson‘s character, including very abortive attempts to paint him as giving back to the community.
This is where it gets a bit hairy, not because Bugliosi makes no bones about how he would destroy such arguments by giving the jury a strong picture of Simpson as a “house nigger”. Among other things, he suggests that he would point out to said jury that Simpson would need a road map to get back to “the hood”. I did not find these statements difficult to read at all, largely because of the fact that they are accurate. What disturbed me in this portion of Bugliosi‘s case is that it paints a picture of middle, upper-middle, and upper class white America that is plain disturbing.
O.J. Simpson had sponsorship and commercial deals falling out of his arse. I do not know why I am repeating that, but to people living outside of the United States, it may not be so obvious. The man was a classic example of a black man who managed to make a fortune in an avenue that was in prior times traditionally only open to “good white folk”. In other words, he fit the profile of what many would refer to as a “house nigger”. Bugliosi makes plain that if he had been the one prosecuting the case, he would have pointed out to the jury, the whole jury (not just the black parts of the jury) that Simpson had been pampered (but never allowed into a position of say-so) by the white-controlled sports media to such an extent that he would need “a road map to get back to the hood”.
It is actually a pretty sound tactic when you want to give a dispossessed minority group an illusion of power or having made their way up in the world. You put one or two prominent figures in a position where they appear to be rubbing showers with the white power elite, and you let blackie and whitie public eat the images up to their hearts’ content.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the white rich power establishment wants people of different races and cultures to remain alien to one another. Whilst I am not old enough to remember many of the big cultural changes of the past, I am old enough to remember one that irks me to no end, not least of which because only a few people behind closed doors had any idea in mind of what they wanted to do with it, and they got exactly what they wanted.
Political correctness is a bit like a persistent skin infection. You have no idea how it got there, it annoys the hell out of you, and you want it to go away. Well, in the interests of education, I can tell you that it came from a bunch of idiots sitting on university campuses inventing terms and catchphrases that they thought would be impossible to offend anyone with. Unfortunately, what these bright sparks did not get is that words and meanings are always secondary to the intent behind them.
An effect that surprised the hell out of everyone from political correctness, but was exactly what its insidious inventors wanted, was that people of different groups no longer talk to each other for fear of causing offense. In 1989, when children from Lebanese, Maltese, Italian, Scottish, and English backgrounds spoke to one another in my neighbourhood, we were not only what we saw to be truthful about ourselves to one another. We were truthful about how we saw others, to an extent that would leave today’s politically correct hordes gobsmacked.
To get back to the subject, I personally believe that this politically-correct, “offend nobody at all costs” invisible gun held to parties’ heads now is, to be blunt, responsible for all of the hate and anger between groups today. Nobody ever expressed thanks that we have “laws” that tell us what we can or cannot say in reference to one another. But you better believe that many people, even people who have known me since birth, have snarled in contempt at same.
Which is why Bugliosi‘s shattering of the defense’s contention that O.J. Simpson was a good black man who gave back to the people and all that pretty stuff is so relevant today. When this contention was offered in Simpson‘s defense to a jury that must have been thoroughly confused by closing arguments, neither of the district attorneys who were prosecuting the case offered any challenge to it. Not even slightly.
I will talk about this in further detail later, but Bugliosi‘s contention that incompetence is profound and permeates every Human endeavour is well-proven by his dissection of the O.J. Simpson trial. For that reason alone, I highly recommend reading the book.
One thing that does chafe about Bugliosi‘s writings is the repetition of the words “common sense”. Maybe this conjunction of words means something different to Bugliosi than it does me. But in recent years, I have seen it used as a cover for intellectual penis envy on the part of intellectually inferior folks. “Look, the Sun revolves around the Earth! It is just common sense ya know!” or similar propositions come out of idiots’ mouths with such frequency that the phrase alone is intensely aggravating.
I could, for example, proclaim that unless the Human species does something right now to make sure that it will number less than two or (to be generous) three billion by the year 2100, the result will be the greatest level of suffering the species has known since the Dark Ages. I could call that common sense, but I would prefer to point to the absolute mountain of evidence that builds on a daily basis to this effect.
Mister Bugliosi provides mountain after mountain of evidence towards O.J. Simpson‘s guilt. So much so that reading it today and reflecting that Simpson is serving thirty-three years for robbery comes as a relief. The appeals to common sense (“it is just common sense that you convict when DNA evidence states that the chance of someone other than Simpson having these blood markers is one in 57 billion” (not an exact quote) and so forth) are unnecessary. In my opinion, they damage the case that Bugliosi makes more than they help it. People in Los Angeles were proclaiming it to be common sense that the LAPD tried to frame Simpson in spite of the fact that doing so could get the conspirators sentenced to death. Common sense is a worthless concept, one that has outlived its usefulness to a greater extent than conservative economics.
Anyway, I am starting to ramble and repeat myself a bit, so I will summarise here. People new enough to the world might think that the legal and trial systems of the English-speaking or First world are efficient, driven by arguments that have merit, and therefore likely to reflect the truth. By the time you get so much as a hundred pages into your first reading of Vincent Bugliosi‘s Outrage, you will either know better, or have made Odin wonder why he gave you sufficient brain-matter to take care of yourself.
Either way, this book has opened my eyes to a string of facts that I believe I should share with everyone who reads this shitty journal. More writings about those will follow in the coming days.