The Shafted: Paul Kevin Curtis (2013) and Richard Jewell (1996)

If forget my shopping list there’s no chance I’ll remember its contents.  However, I tend to remember the shafted.  In my eyes, the latter is more important.  Today I want to mention two of their number.

Lets start with Richard Jewell.  His story is covered quite nicely in Richard Jewell Cannot Accept Our Apology at Popehat.

Richard Jewell’s story played out in 1996.  The Olympics in 1996, like the Boston Marathon in 2013, was bombed.  Eric Robert Rudolph was the asshole who planted the bomb and he’s in jail now. (Sadly, he wasn’t drawn and quartered but jail will suffice).  Rudolph is convicted, guilty, and evil.  We know that now.  We didn’t know it then.

Richard Jewell was a earnest and slightly goofy mall cop who discovered the bomb, called it in, and got folks out of the way.  Everything he did was the right thing to do.  Law enforcement thought Jewell’s quick discovery of the bomb was “too convenient”, decided he must be the perpetrator, and (as is common) leaked their conjecture to the press.

Jewell was pilloried by the media, jailed and questioned by law enforcement, and generally treated by everyone as if he was bomber scum.  I still remember it.  Eventually level heads prevailed and Jewell was exonerated.

By then Jewell was a wreck.  By most accounts he was never quite the same until his death in 2007.  Tragic!

Suppose you did a heroic thing and found your life, honor, and reputation in shambles.  Would you recover?  Remember, Jewell heroically saved lives and they ran him through the meatgrinder.


Now lets talk about Paul Kevin Curtis.  Several days ago poisonous ricin was mailed to President Barack Obama, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and Sadie Holland a judge in Mississippi.   Paul Kevin Curtis was accused, jailed, and questioned.

You might have heard about it?  It was shoehorned in the news between reports about Boston’s tragedy and their subsequent experiment with martial law (I’ll comment on that some other time).

Mr. Curtis sounds like a bit of a fruitcake.  He has a theory about medical malfeasance (which may or may not hold water) and he’s an Elvis impersonator to boot.  Much like Jewell, he’s an easy mark.

I’ll bet dollars to donuts you heard about the crazy Elvis impersonator with tinfoil hat theories who got all evil and terroristic.  One sure sign of his manifest evil was a quote taken from his Facebook page and plastered all over the Internet:

“To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner in its continuance”

Apparently the ricin perpetrator used the quote too.  You could therefore presume Curtis is a poisoning monster and indeed the quote was formally mentioned as part of the charges against Curtis.  From my point of view it’s no more proof that Curtis is a bad guy than an indication he’s a deliberately moral fellow.  Ironic eh?

Here’s the part that is inconvenient.  Curtis didn’t do it.  Ricin isn’t the simple baking of evil cupcakes that journalists who failed chemistry make it out to be.  Eventually everyone agreed that Curtis could no more make Ricin than he could build a lunar capsule.  Shortly thereafter Everett Dutschke was arrested and charges against Curtis were dropped.

So tell me.  How many of you have heard news of Curtis’ vindication?  I found it buried on the web but I sure as heck didn’t see it widely broadcast.  Curtis is fortunate that he wasn’t pushed deeper down the rabbit hole like Jewell.  In a way, we are all fortunate too.

Let us pause a moment to honor Jewell and Curtis.  One a hero that got shafted mightily and one a bystander that was spared some (but not all) of Jewell’s fate.  Neither gentelman deserved to be shafted.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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10 Responses to The Shafted: Paul Kevin Curtis (2013) and Richard Jewell (1996)

  1. Weisshaupt says:

    As for Curtis, the “Co-Exist” Liberal that got caught in his own Big Government Machine and hung by the corrupt culture he supports, I have no sympathy. Let them reap what they have sown.

    If he was worried about Righting Wrongs, he could start by not supporting the use of the Government as a weapon against his fellow man.

  2. cspschofield says:

    I got news of Curtis’s clearing that had about the same impact as the news that he was a suspect….but I get most of my news from the internet. I haven’t watched broadcast or cable TV in slightly over a quarter of a century, and I haven’t voluntarily watched TV news in somewhat longer.

  3. robertsgunshop says:

    I heard about it on the local talk station on the radio. Of course they are a Fox affiliate. I heard a little something on the Toda show, but it amounted to “oh, wrong guy, sorry.

  4. MaxDamage says:

    The way I figure it, if the police and politicians nearly always use the excuse that they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation to avoid tough questions, then commenting on an ongoing investigation to the press is an offense that should be prosecuted under the laws of libel, in additional to a malfeasance of duty by going against policy. The press that printed it would be likewise culpable.

    I realize this infringes upon the freedom of the press. That is too bad. Libel is printing false accusations and defamation of character. Since those laws exist and have presumably passed constitutional muster let’s give the falsely accused his day in court.

    A few million paid out here and there, suddenly reporters and editors might remember their job description is to report news, not innuendo and rumors.

    – Max

    • Jewell got some money through litigation; so from that standpoint the system worked. I think he, like any of us, would have preferred to be treated like the hero he was and forgo the money and the drama.

      • MaxDamage says:

        I’ve come to the realization that if I have enough money and name recognition I’m treated as a celebrity, at least by people who want my money or to tag along on my fame. Which, in today’s climate of American Idol, is generally better than we treat actual hero’s. It’s a sad state of affairs.

        Money also grants a certain status of independence. A loss of reputation can be handled a lot more easily when living on an estate, with a cadre of lawyers on retainer and a social secretary screening calls and appointments. This also pretty much explains why members of Congress can actually look themselves in the mirror each morning.

        The down side, of course, is that its only after one becomes wealthy that one realizes wealth alone will not bring happiness. It will bring fewer worries, but not happiness. For that you need a moral compass and confidence in yourself.

        – Max

  5. Southern Man says:

    It is also worth mentioning that the Feds absolutely trashed Curtis’ home while searching it.

  6. KA9VSZ says:

    Didn’t know about Jewell; read about Curtis in the newspaper. Makes me hesitant to do the right thing…

  7. KA9VSZ says:

    And no, I don’t know that I would recover after being scapegoated. I’m rather delicate, y’know.

  8. Woodman says:

    Curtis apparently has quite a bit of personal property damage from the search for his secret lab. Apparently the police were looking inside picture frames and under carpets and through his garbage, which they kindly spread all around the place, for evidence.

    The police/FBI/Secret Service have reportedly said “tough shit” in response to his complaints.

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