October 4, 1995 in Nation/World

She Weeps For Brother, But We All Should Mourn

Mitch Albom Detroit Free Press
 

A woman wept. Her sobs echoed through the courtroom, distracting you like someone coughing during a movie. Her voice, raw and broken, cried as the first “Not guilty” was read by the bailiff, and as the second “Not guilty” was read. On and on it went, this terrible sobbing, even as O.J. Simpson smiled and his lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, shook a fist as if his team had just scored a touchdown. The tears belonged to Kim Goldman, they streamed down her face and into her hair, matting it against her cheeks. She buried her head in her father’s chest, but she couldn’t stop. Her brother, Ron, is buried in the ground - same as Nicole Brown - and today there is no killer behind bars to avenge their death. In all likelihood, there never will be. She cried for them.

She could have cried for us all.

Who wins? Not the victims, not the families, not Simpson’s children, who might always wonder if Daddy killed Mommy. Not the police, who thought they were in charge when they were actually on trial. Not the jury, which rushed from its duty like kids who couldn’t wait to go to the bathroom.

Who wins? Not blacks. The Boston woman who faxed a radio station with a note that read “Black Power Lives!” and the cheering crowds on the streets of L.A. are terribly misguided. O.J. is not free because he is black. He is free because he was rich and famous.

This kind of purchased justice is nothing new. What’s ironic is that it is practiced more by whites than by blacks in America. Any poor black man who thinks this case is a good sign if he gets in trouble better hope he wins the lottery. Otherwise, Cochran and Barry Scheck will not be rushing to his aid.

Who wins?

Not cops. They were the ones found guilty in this trial. Detective Mark Fuhrman, a snake of a man, was right when he said, “If I go down, the case goes down.” He didn’t know his racist words, not his evidence, would be what shook the verdict loose.

Who wins? Not Simpson. Yes, he is free this morning, but free to do what? He was addicted to fame, adulation, people believing a lie, that he was this sweetheart of a guy when he was nothing more than a punk who beat up his wife. Those pictures of Nicole Simpson looking like a bloody welt will never go away, neither will his voice on the 911 tape calling her a “bitch” and screaming, “I’ll kill you.”

Who wins? Not women. It might be open season on celebrity wives, because the subtle message is if you’re famous enough, you can get out of anything. The last words the jury heard were Nicole pleading “help me.” The next thing they did was acquit her husband.

Who wins? Every expert worth a nickel says the evidence was enough to convict 10 people. In 16 months, no one has offered a whisper of another real suspect - and this is after Simpson himself offered $500,000 for information and a New York disc jockey offered $1 million. Not a peep?

And so it ends. The media made this a sideshow, the lawyers were happy to jump in, and all we can do is shut the damn thing off, do not give any more time to Cochran, Resnick or Kato as they dive into the pig slop of fame. And anyone who buys a pay-per-view interview with Simpson - which is surely coming - is as slimy as he is. You might as well pay a stranger to slug your wife.

In the time it took to hear this case, thousands of men and women were killed in equally brutal fashion. Their cases drew no headlines, no cameras. But this was never about the average American. It isn’t now.

Who wins? Blacks still don’t trust whites. Whites still don’t trust blacks. Nobody trusts the police. Everyone hates lawyers. The victims are in the cemetery, nobody is in jail, and the final sounds of the Trial of the Century were the a sobbing of a dead man’s sister and the words “not guilty” being read for all the wrong reasons. Who wins?

The TV ratings, that’s who wins.

Sometimes this country makes me so sad I want to fly away.


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