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October 09, 2008


A lot of folks, self included, are pleased that O.J. Simpson may very well spend the rest of his life in prison. It's the kind of good news that's put grins on many faces and spring into many steps. I heard people greet their friends with, "Did you see the footage of him when the verdict was read?"

There's been a grey cloud since the day he was acquitted and it wasn't just that one murderer went free. It was that we had this jarring wake-up call that sometimes our criminal justice system just don't work so good. There's been a small but noticeable drop in support for the Death Penalty in this country over the last two decades. Some of it, I'm guessing, is because with DNA testing freeing so many people from Death Row — people found "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" — we don't trust that system as much as we used to. The first O.J. verdict was also a big contributor to that decline in trust.

Here's a thought that occurred to me...

We all know O.J. killed Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. This may be a futile wish but I'd still like to see him make a believable, credible confession. It would be good for our national equilibrium, I think. It might even force some people into a little more confrontation with the failings of our courts. Let's make it inarguable that the system got The Crime of the Century wrong. Also, as a buff who spent waaaay too much of his life watching that trial and reading all those damn books, I'd like to know a few things, starting with how close to the actual truth did all the criminologists — professional and armchair variety — get? Then there are details of the case: Did he really ditch the knife at the airport? Just what did happen to those bloody clothes he had on? Did he go to the house intending to kill her...or just to scare her and it got out of hand? Questions like that.

Some O.J. watchers believe he's been incrementally confessing over the years; that some perverse part of the guy is dying to brag that he's so smart that he got away with murder and from time to time, a bit of that leaks out. I'm wondering if it'll now explode in a gusher. Maybe he'll just go nuts and/or decide to go for broke...sell the confession as book or pay-per-view special and pour all the money into lawyers for his appeal. If a guy's sitting in prison for kidnapping, what good does it do his reputation to keep denying he's a murderer? We might still find out what happened to that knife.