Thanks for Nothing, OJ

17 Jul

Sometimes I wish I could go back to being 25 years old. Not because my life was so much better back then (it really wasn’t) or that my ass was so much smaller (it really wasn’t). It’s because before I was 25, I lived in a bit of a cocoon. When I was 25, I had an epiphany; The world is an unjust place. It sounds EXTREMELY naive, and I am fully aware of that fact. I was naive. I didn’t grow up in the lap of luxury, but we were comfortable, and my dad had a way of making it SEEM like we had a lot more than we did (which looking back was probably not a good way to live). More than that, though, I grew up thinking that the world was a good and just place. I don’t know why I grew up thinking that, I just did.  After watching the OJ Simpson trial on TV, like half of America at the time,  I started thinking maybe everything wasn’t so rosy. When Simpson was acquitted of murder,  I started to open my eyes to injustices.  I don’t think it is controversial of me to state my opinion that I think OJ Simpson is guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. I think he got away with murder. He was not the first of course, and sadly, he will not be the last.

George Zimmerman being found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Trayvon Martin did not surprise me. It saddens me, because beyond all the media hype and charges of racism,  a 17-year old young man is dead now and honestly, if Zimmerman had stayed in his truck, he would not be. I imagine stating THIS opinion IS controversial. I also imagine that I don’t care. I don’t write to be controversial, or to not be controversial. I write because I have a need to write and I write about what I want to write about.

I do think that the jurors did the best they could in the parameters of the law with the charges Zimmerman faced. However, it still makes me sad. I am not a lawyer, just a woman with a computer and an internet connection, but from what I understand, if Zimmerman had been charged with aggravated assault, thanks to Florida’s ridiculous mandatory minimum laws, he would have gone to prison for 25 years.

I refer to mandatory minimum laws as ridiculous because I believe they are. There is no “one size fits all” situation that warrants mandatory sentencing, also known as 10-20-life.  I have written about Marissa Alexander and her case and how mandatory sentencing means that she is now in jail for 20 years for having fired a gun into a wall.  I don’t care if you dispute the facts of her case or don’t believe that she was in the situation she says she was in, this is indisputable – she fired. A gun. Into. A. Wall. And she is in prison for 20 years. She will be the first to tell you that she made mistakes on that day as well as on her day in court when she was offered a plea deal and rejected it.  I imagine George Zimmerman would say he would do things differently as well. The difference is, Marissa Alexander is in jail for hurting nobody, and George Zimmerman is walking free while having killed someone.

Maybe you totally don’t buy anything about Marissa’s case. How about the case of Ronald Johnson, a 65-year old Clay County, Florida man who in 2009 fired two shots into the ground to try to scare away a couple of teenagers he thought were breaking into his neighbor’s house. What is interesting about Johnson’s case is that Circuit Judge John Skinner sentenced him to 3 years because he declared the 10-20-life statutes “unconstitutional”. Shortly after that, State Attorney Angela Corey appealed the sentence and Johnson was sentenced to the mandatory 20 years.  In June, 2012, Fourth Circuit Judge Don Lester granted a new trial, ruling that the jury instructions were flawed. Johnson is out at this time awaiting a new trial. In all fairness, if 10-20-life is not reformed by the time of his new trial, he really SHOULD go back to jail to finish his 20-year sentence.  But hell, what’s fair, right? Like I tell my kids, fair is a place for funnel cakes, and that’s it. It certainly has no place in the justice system it seems.

I have been in contact with Marissa and I am struck by how incredibly positive her outlook is. It is amazing because I would be awful and I would actually have a reason to be a terrible bitter bitch, unlike now.  And now we’re back to pre-OJ and how I wish I was there sometimes because once your eyes are open to injustice, it’s hard not to see it. I find myself torn with what to do, though I know I HAVE to do something.  What I AM doing is writing everyone I can about her case and the insanity that is mandatory minimum sentencing. I am looking into what can actually be done to change the statutes. I am working on attending and/or organizing rallies.  I am TRYING.

Take her out of it if you want to, the fact that there are statutes on the books that have the ability to send someone to jail for 20 years for simply firing a gun in a situation deemed felonious in nature scares the ever-loving hell out of me, and should scare all citizens of Florida. Actually, it should scare all human beings.

I haven’t even touched on the fact that Florida also has mandatory sentencing statues that apply to people who are convicted of selling drugs. That is another depressing rabbit hole that I will tumble-down and write about at some point,  I am sure.

Like the real world in The Matrix, my real Post-OJ world is pretty ugly. However,  I am not so bitter about the state of things that I would rather do nothing than to try change the world just a little bit.

“You can’t make footprints in the sands of time by sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?” –

Bob Moawad

 

*Picture credit – autismhwy.com

10 Responses to “Thanks for Nothing, OJ”

  1. Anna Lea West July 17, 2013 at 11:04 am #

    “I also imagine that I don’t care.” Love that line.

  2. Miss Molly July 17, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    A brave and well-written post. This case cast a light on Florida, but the problem is everywhere in America. Justice isn’t blind – she’s weeping.

  3. mainelysane July 17, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    My eyes were opened to injustice when, at 18, I was hit by a drunk driver who had already had his license revoked for DUI. He was driving his wife’s car and she claimed he stole it. My car was totaled. He was kept in the local town jail overnight because he was so drunk that he couldn’t even walk. He was released in the morning and never served jail time or probation. Nothing. Because his uncle was a state judge and his brother worked for the DA.

    I’m glad you posted this. My husband and I were just discussing the OJ case last night and how unjust our legal system is. I don’t usually watch the news because I get so worked up about things like this. Especially after Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her 2 year-old. It’s just sick.

  4. datinginvegas July 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    I was a Senior in High School when OJ was tried. I had my eyes on law school at the time. When he won, I realized I wanted nothing to do with the legal system. I related to this post because I was also changed by that trial. I discovered the legal system was flawed. I also completely agree with you on the Zimmerman case. He.Should.Have.Stayed in the truck. No more needs to be said. Thanks for writing this. It struck home with me!

  5. kerbey July 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    My head explodes if I think about all this too much. Shooting bullets into a wall or into the ground as a warning shot should not give one jail time. If I have to shoot an intruder, I’ll make sure to shoot to kill, so they won’t sue me for splintering their ankle. But then again, I don’t have a gun. What I wish would not happen (like in the Rodney King verdict, and don’t get me STARTED on that one bc he was no saint), how groups will then find that an appropriate time to go loot and riot and push over cars of innocent people. It makes you very fearful to be the wrong non-racist person in the wrong place at the wrong time. And like Norm McDonald pointed out on his SNL skit (that probably got him fired), OJ DID IT.

  6. Joker July 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    I had this whole thing written out and Thank You WordPress for telling me that I can not post a comment. Long and short? No Manslaughter Charges? He did get away with Murder.

  7. bensbitterblog July 19, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    I would certainly be bitter about jail, but you know…

  8. mollytopia July 23, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    “Marissa Alexander is in jail for hurting nobody, and George Zimmerman is walking free while having killed someone.” Such crap, but yay you! I really respect that you’re out there trying. I read about all this also, but I’m the ass hole leaving butt prints in the sand. I need to reconsider that…Thanks. Great post.

  9. Domy kli.com.pl January 1, 2014 at 1:32 am #

    Hi there, I enjoy reading through your article post. I wanted to write a little comment to
    support you.

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