My mother was a kind lady. She impressed everyone around her with good deeds.
Her children knew her to be kind but stern. She took a straight and narrow path when it came to raising us.
Apologies weren’t exactly the order of her day. She gave few and never appeared interested in those that her offspring tried offering up in regard to their wrongdoing.
Her philosophy of raising children seemed to me to have been that kids were always on the hunt for finding their parents wrong.
And so for O.J. Simpson being a model prisoner, and now apologizing for his criminal armed robbery and kidnapping activity and gaining parole, my mother would not be impressed.
Not only would she be unimpressed with last week’s proceedings, but Simpson also pretty much falls into another of her philosophical categories, usually revealed when we whined about what we considered to be undeserved punishment.
She wasn’t at all touched by our professed innocence of the misdeed at hand, as she always responded with the same hardline response: “Hmm, well, just think of this punishment as the one you should have gotten for the misdeed you got away with.”
My mother didn’t fool around. Of course, we also complained that she wasn’t fair. Her golden words to this retort quite aptly primed her offspring for the world we would enter once we left her loving care.
“Life’s not fair,” she would tell us, always with an air of authority and without a hint of being intimidated by the arguments of her children.
O.J. Simpson, The Juice, was found worthy of release at his parole hearing last week in Carson City, Nevada, despite what news commentators and other television talking heads kept calling “the elephant in the room.” That elephant, of course, was the Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal trial in which Simpson was charged with and acquitted of two counts of first-degree murder for the June 12, 1994 deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
“Yeah, he did it,” a young adult black male said to me back then. The man was wearing a jubilant grin that he had great difficulty concealing.
“White folks get away with murder, embezzlement and everything else, so why shouldn’t a black man get to walk?” he asked.
A rhetorical question, I figured, and therefore did not try prolonging our difference-of-opinion conversation regarding O.J.’s acquittal. But the young black man had a point — a point, I might add, which many black folk agreed with.
But it’s regarding this notion of “justice delayed” that my very wise momma’s wit speaks to me.
Although her “Life’s Not Fair” philosophy doesn’t make headlines, it speaks loudly for me when it comes to the case of O.J.
The path that my mother chose in raising her children — you got away with that but I’m gettin’ you on this — was certainly thought by many to be the underlying reasoning behind O.J.’s prison sentence for entering a hotel room with several companions and stealing sports memorabilia from two men.
O.J., who was convicted back in 2008 of burglary with the use of a deadly weapon, kidnapping and assault, was sentenced to not less than nine and no more than 33 years.
Having served the minimum, O.J. has now been granted parole. He is said to have been a model prisoner, and he’s apologized for the criminal behavior that put him behind bars.
In a lengthy presentation to his parole board, O.J. claimed he didn’t realize he was committing a crime when he took the memorabilia that he said was rightfully his.
“It was mine,” he insisted.
My mother’s not listening. Neither am I. She’s moved on to higher ground, having passed away 20 years ago. However, she left a legacy.
That silent elephant in the Nevada hearing room may not have raised his or her trunk with the familiar trumpeting that the species is known for when excited, lost, angry, playful or surprised. But following my mother’s philosophy, I’m sounding my own trumpet, saying O.J. got off in the Los Angeles courtroom for what public opinion felt he was guilty of, and the sentence he received, some years later, for taking back his stuff in Las Vegas may have been, as many have claimed, outrageous.
But life ain’t fair. You get away with one but pay up for another.