Time was, you went to a ballgame and the only people likely to be injured at the stadium were on the field. But our society, with its ever-increasing anger, has caught up with that, and so it was that Brian Stow, a 42-year-old father of two and paramedic - a man who was making decent contributions to society - was beaten savagely at Dodger Stadium on March 31, following Opening Night at the ballpark. The Los Angeles Dodgers were playing the San Francisco Giants that evening. Stow, a Giants fan, wore a Giants jersey to the game, and for this, was beaten into a coma and will now live with brain damage for the rest of his life.
The Los Angeles police put twenty full-time detectives on the case. They had collectively worked more than 6,000 hours on it by Saturday, when they arrested one Giovanni Ramirez, 31, at his Hollywood apartment.
Remember when Hollywood meant glitter and glamor, the kind of life we all wanted to live? Now it's where people like this hide out. Ramirez is, police allege, the man who meets the description of "Suspect One" in this case. Witnesses reported one of the attackers to be a bald man with a goatee and neck tattoos. A parole officer gave the cops a tip, and they rounded up Ramirez over the weekend.
Still at large are another guy who was in on the beating, and a woman who drove them away from the scene. You have to wonder, in these cases, how long til the guy under arrest starts naming the names of his confederates. My bet says "before lunch today."
And then we will see the trial, and the defense attorney will claim, what? That his client was so enraged at seeing a Giants jersey after the Dodgers won a baseball game that he and his buddy blindsided Stow, knocking him to the ground and kicking him to near death? That his client was so full of rage that he acted this way?
Notice that a parole officer fingered the suspect. This meant, of course, that one time he was let out of prison - possibly the same prison to which he might soon return. I'm sure someone in LA will be looking into that.
Meanwhile, can we all remember that we all are just people, no matter what jersey or hat or skin color or political affiliation or faith or language? It's become more of a punchline than it ought to be, but can't we all just get along?