Saturday, May 8, 2010

Murder, I said

What a shame, what a horrible loss of a promising life, what a tragedy is the loss of the young lady Yeardley Love, the University of VA lacrosse player who went to high school at the prep school right off Providence Rd where I was raised. All evidence indicates that she was killed by her erstwhile boyfriend, one George Huguely V, who is from the DC area where his family operates a lumber yard and sent him to a high school with a tuition tab of $28,000 per year. He is not, therefore, a scrappy tough kid from the mean streets for whom violence was the only way out.

He is, however, someone who chooses violence as a means of self-expression, it would seem. Two years ago, drunk as a lemur at some fratboy party, he was lurching into traffic and taken into custody to protect himself from himself by the police in Lexington, Va. Instead of cooperating with the police at that point, he fought them, threatening, "I'll kill all you bitches" to a female officer, and was tasered into the submission to which he would have been wise to enter in the first place.

Now, no one is perfect, with the exception of my great-niece Finley (possible bias!), but I think I have a better idea for the courts here. And while to some I am cast as the archetypal liberal, I take a most illiberal stance on the topic of crime and punishment. I happen to be against the former and for the latter.

Young Huguely V has been quoted on this topic before. The Washington Post printed his thoughts in 2006, when some of his former prep-school teammates were embroiled in the matter of the Duke lacrosse team and the allegations of abuse, later disproved, at a party. Said George V at that time, "In this country, you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty."

Might just hold you to that, George.

You get a smart-guy rich punk like this Huguely V, who has been raised to think that whatever in the world he can't have by buying it, he can beat it up, and when he threatens to kill a police officer, you put him in jail for six months or so and see how tough he is then. And not a suburban jail with a gym and a library and a sitting room. No, you send him to federal pound-me-in-the-assets prison, where he will find out that what passes for tough on the lacrosse field does not threaten the men of surly mien who will be his cellmates. His attorney, Francis Lawrence, who surely has spent more time in bigtime boardrooms negotiating deals than he has in courtrooms defending murderers, nonetheless uttered this about the death of that fine young lady:"We are confident that Ms. Love's death was not intended, but an accident with a tragic outcome."

No, Francis. An accident is when you cut your hand while slicing a bagel, or back your car into another car on the Credit Union parking lot, or drop your ice cream cone at the zoo. What your client did was to bash repeatedly the young lady's head into the wall of her apartment, ALLEGEDLY, causing her to die. ALLEGEDLY.

How in blazes is it an "accident" when you grab someone's head and ALLEGEDLY bang it into a wall until that someone ALLEGEDLY dies at your hands?

Prepare yourselves now for the defense, which will roll out all sorts of evidence saying that young Huguely V has anger-management issues that will surely be cleared up after a six-month stint at a minimum-security penal campus and some chats with a counselor. Oh, the parade of character witnesses will resemble the gathering at a Trump wedding in sheer scope of size. They will bring back the nannies who raised him, the people who worked for his father, George IV, at the lumberyard, and his fellow athletes. To a man, and woman, they will all agree that this was an isolated incident.

So was Pearl Harbor, son. See you at the big house. Allegedly.

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