Wednesday, August 29, 2007

RIP Richard Jewell

I don't remember what I was watching the evening of July 27th, 1996, but you can be damn sure it wasn't the Olympics. Anyway, I ended up missing what I was watching when news of the Centennial Olympic Park bombing was broadcast.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWithin days the hero of the bombing, Richard Jewell (left), became the prime suspect. By this time I was riveted by the story, mainly because of this poor schlump of a man, living with his mother, working as a security guard, who had spotted the device and begun calmly clearing the area before it went off. In a low-key, soft-spoken way, he appeared various times on various shows and described what had happened; I just knew he couldn't have done it, even as others rushed to judgement.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketThe FBI, in their usual zeal to catch anyone - whether he did it or not - implicated Jewell in the heinous crime, which killed 2 and injured 111. Although never arrested he was put under surveillance and had his home searched. Neither turned up anything, naturally.

Of course, by the time Christian terrorist Eric Rudolph (right) was eventually apprehended, Richard Jewell had been fully exonerated; but even though the real bomber had been caught and Richard Jewell cleared in the most public way possible, I'll bet there are still people who think he's guilty.

Apparently Richard Jewell had kidney trouble related to diabetes. He was found dead at home today, aged 44.

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Y | O | Y said...

I just finished writing my post for this Friday naming Jewell my Hero of the Week. Talk about being handed the shitty end of the stick. And he never collected on his lawsuit against the Atlanta newspaper that slandered him.

michael sean morris said...

The poor, poor guy. Really a tragic figure, considering that his heroism saved probably hundreds of lives - and that he risked his own life to save them.

Lest we forget...