Saturday, February 28, 2009


The classic illustration of chutzpah is the boy who kills his parents, and then pleads for mercy on the grounds of being an orphan. But it is certainly not the only example. Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd excoriating bankers for the current financial crisis fall into that category. Barack Obama railing against George Bush's deficits while significantly increasing them does as well.

And I saw another one this morning. I was watching an episode of A&E's American Justice, filmed in 2001, about a 1999 murder in Bridgeport, CT. An eight year-old boy who was going to testify in a murder trial was himself murdered to prevent that testimony. Obviously, a tragic event, and one that should have been forseen and prevented. Relatives of the victims (both the boy and his mother were killed) hired a lawyer to sue the city for not preventing it. Which does not seem too unreasonable. But it seems more than a little bit inappropriate for Johnnie Cochran, of all people, to be making the case that the police and justice system should have somehow kept that murderer off the street before he killed the witness.

"If you're charged with, first attempted murder, and then the man is murdered and the man who's murdered says 'Russell shot me,' why is anybody even allowed on bail? Why do you even have that situation?"

That's absolutely a legitimate question. Johnnie Cochran is someone who forfeited the right to ever ask it.

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