In the Jewish religion the day of death is referred to as being more important than the day of birth. What has a person accomplished on the day of their birth other than being born? On the day a person dies we can look back and remember all of the things they have done in their life and commemorate it. The person’s death is then remembered every year on the date of their death which is referred to as the yartzeit. A candle is lit and an effort is made to remember the person through prayer and learning.
June 17, 1994
Do you remember what you were doing the evening of June 17, 1994? I was sitting with my father watching the NBA finals and a few other channels at the same time (as some people are wont to do) when suddenly everything changed to a flash news report that police were chasing a white Ford Bronco, albeit very slowly. It was revealed that none other than OJ Simpson was in the car and thanks to a suicide note it was thought he was going to kill himself. Eventually OJ was taken into custody by the police and most of the entire country was there to witness what was commonly referred to as the “trial of the century” for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. (Personally I feel that some of the other trials that are commonly referred to as the “trial of the century" are more deserving of this honor.)
The trial began on January 24, 1995 and lasted 133 days. Throughout the trial I went back and forth on my opinion as to whether or not he did it and eventually decided that there was, in fact, reasonable doubt – something I still hold by today. A verdict was eventually reached – of not guilty, and the country had a mixed reaction of anger and relief. There were some people who said that clearly the jury was biased because they felt that OJ shouldn’t be charged with murder somehow. There were other people who felt that this was like the justice system straightening itself out and that it was making up for all of the times when there was a non-wealthy person of non-celebrity status that was actually innocent and was put in jail or sent to be executed just because the person was a minority.
Two years later there was yet another trial, only this time it was in a civil court and OJ was found responsible for the murder of Ron Goldman, and he was required to pay 33.5 million dollars in damages which he has yet to fully pay. I remember reacting to both trials more or less the same way. When the first trial ended I was relieved that it was finally over and that a verdict had been reached. I was a little upset when the second trial began because it seemed like the past was being dragged up yet again. Could it be considered justice to the Goldman family, who had lost their son in this killing? Only if Simpson was the actual murderer. Here it seemed that even if OJ was not the person who was in fact responsible for their murder, he would have to pay for it. Nevertheless I was relieved that the trial was over and that this seemingly neverending story would be finally put to bed.
The Past Gets Dragged Up Again
I couldn’t have been more wrong about the murder of Nicole and Ron. In a February 1998 issue of Esquire Magazine, OJ was quoted as saying, “Let’s say I committed this crime… Even if I did this, it would have to have been because I loved her very much, right?” It was shortly after this that he publicly proclaimed that he was going to tirelessly search for the real killer of his ex-wife and Ron and he would not cease until the killer was found. This became a joke across the country with late night television programs showing video clips of OJ playing golf and having a great time while making fun of his alleged efforts to find the real killer. I remember a political comic around that time having OJ sneaking around a mirror saying, “I thought I just saw the real killer for a moment there…” or something to that effect.
Recently this has gotten considerably worse with the announcement that OJ has written a book titled “If I Did It” which purports to be OJ’s telling of how he would have committed the killing of Nicole and Ron, had he been the one to have done it – which of course, he says he did not. Not only this but there are to be two television specials on Fox Television which will have interviews with OJ on the subject. The Associated Press had a quote from Fox describing the television specials: “O.J. Simpson, in his own words, tells for the first time how he would have committed the murders if he were the one responsible for the crimes.” “In the two-part event, Simpson describes how he would have carried out the murders he has vehemently denied committing for over a decade.”
Why? Why is it necessary to drag this all out once again? If there is anything that we could call an anti-yartzeit this would have to be it. Not only is OJ not honoring the memory of his former wife and her friend by having this book published and speaking on two Fox specials about it, it is more akin to him unburying their remains, defecating on them, and then burying them upside down, only to build a casino on top of the plot. There is absolutely nothing good that could possibly come out of the publication of this book of which the publisher, “This is an historic case, and I consider this his confession” in an AP report. The gossip web site Defamer got right to the point in giving their opinion on the matter.
Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman are dead and have been for over twelve years now, and I think the best thing would be to let them stay dead and not try to resurrect them, so to speak, every few years in the name of book sales or television viewership. We can honor their memory every year by doing our part to educate people about the problems with domestic violence but this is surely not the way to do it.