Volume 2, Number 4 -- April, 1997
By Dave Lind
Having just spent the better part of an hour on my barstool listening to the unwashed masses argue about the innocence (or lack thereof) of Mr. Orenthal James Simpson, I have reached one simple conclusion.
There are those who believe he did it, and those who are fooling themselves, and you will never, ever be able to reach the latter.
OJ did it. He killed two people, left a trail of blood that ran from Nicole Brown Simpson's condo all the way to OJ's mansion via a white Ford Bronco, he ditched the murder weapon somewhere between Bundy and Chicago, hired an unimaginably expensive team of crack defense attorneys and got off! Period.
But no matter how much evidence was compiled by the prosecution and the Goldman family no matter how much DNA, 911 recordings, photographs of OJ wearing Bruno Magli shoes, no matter how many lies OJ was trapped in or how many legal experts explain the process of jurisprudence and the differences between the criminal and civil justice systems, there will always be room for those who would prefer to believe that OJ was the victim of a world-class frame-up the likes of which would make Oliver Stone blush.
The question is, "Why?" Not, "Why will they not believe?", but , "Why is it so hard to understand why they will not believe?"
Really, think about it. We worship our celebrity heroes. We build them up to be larger than life, to exemplify everything we do not see in ourselves. They win the battles we cannot win, achieve the things we cannot achieve, sleep with the women we cannot sleep with. In short, they live the lives we cannot live.
We follow them from their first ballgame, movie, or album. We read everything we come across about their lives, their families, their pasts, and their dreams for the future. We follow them through airports and restaurants in search of a scribble on a cocktail napkin. We even name our children after them. We invite them into our living rooms and build a relationship with them to the point that they almost become family.
Now ask yourself, if someone in your family, your son or your brother or your father, were accused of a horrible, brutal crime the likes of which would make you shudder even to contemplate, would you not wish with all your heart to believe that that loved one was innocent? Would you not scrutinize each and every shred of evidence with brutal skepticism? Would you not, in your mind, concoct every imaginable explanation that might disprove the conclusion that the mounting pile of evidence must otherwise logically point to?
Now imagine yourself surrounded by thousands, millions of other like-minded individuals who similarly wish with all of their heart to believe in the innocence of your family member. Would it not be difficult, nay impossible, for some stranger in a bar or on the TV or on the radio who does not know your family member as you do to convince you of his guilt?
This, then, is the problem we face as this ongoing saga continues, and will continue, to unfold. Accept this fact: Those who believe, either in his guilt or his innocence, will always believe, and nothing either side can say will sway the other.
This, then, is the OJ legacy.