If you are like me and grew up in a mainstream Christian home, you probably learned that it's important to feel sorrow upon learning that someone you know (or know of) has died. Along those lines, you also probably learned that one should never "speak ill of the dead."
A couple of recent events have caused me to rethink those notions and ask this question: Is it OK to be glad when a sorry human being--a real son of a bitch--dies? The answer, I've decided, is yes. This blog, more than anything else, is about honesty--about exposing SOBs and the harm they cause to others. So why should we drum up false sorrow when such an individual is no longer among the living? I don't think we should, even if it conflicts with what I was taught as a child.
What brought this issue to mind? First, came the death--unexpected, as far as I know--of a relatively minor character in our Legal Schnauzer story. This guy was minor enough that I have not mentioned his name or written about his actions on this blog. But he lived a few doors over from us and took it upon himself to act like a major horse's ass toward Mrs. Schnauzer and me. I would call him a "neighbor," but that term suggests some level of good will, and this guy showed nothing but ill will toward us--over issues that did not even involve him. I will refer to him as The Jackass Who Lived Nearby (JWLN).
This guy twice acted in a threatening manner toward my wife, both times while she simply was trying to walk Murphy, the beloved miniature schnauzer for whom this blog is named. And he did this even though Murphy, Mrs. Schnauzer, and I had never wronged him in any way--or anyone else, for that matter. In fact, Mrs. Schnauzer and I had never even spoken to the guy--and for the record, neither had Murphy. But he saw fit to twice act like such a bully toward my wife that she thought seriously about calling the police. Those acts earned JWLN my eternal hatred, which brings up another old Christian saying: "It's wrong to hate anyone." My response is, "Why?" If someone has earned your hatred, I say go ahead and hate them. It doesn't have to consume your life, but holding a genuine hatred probably is more healthy than pretending all is well.
The second event was the death last week of Dunn Lampton, the former Bush-appointed U.S. attorney who instigated the Paul Minor case in Mississippi. I probably have written more about the Minor case than any human on earth, and our blog has shown beyond any doubt that the prosecution was bogus, driven by the fact that Paul Minor was a highly successful trial attorney who generously supported Democratic causes and candidates. We also have shown that the case was unlawfully handled and wrongly decided, causing Minor and codefendants Wes Teel and John Whitfield (former state judges in Mississippi) to be imprisoned for "crimes" that do not exist under the actual law.
Oliver Diaz, a former state supreme court justice, twice was prosecuted in connection to the Minor case and was acquitted both times.
How evil were the Minor prosecutions? Paul Minor, who clearly committed no crime, was in prison when his wife died and his son got married. Paul Minor was not allowed to attend either the funeral or the wedding.
Dunn Lampton, to a great extent, was responsible for true wickedness being heaped upon fellow human beings. Are we supposed to be sorry that he's gone?
Lampton was only 60 years old when he died, pretty young by today's standards. He had been in poor health for several years and apparently died of natural causes. Here is part of what the Jackson Clarion-Ledger wrote about him:
Lampton, of McComb, was in office when then- state Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz and his wife were indicted in 2003 along with millionaire lawyer Paul Minor of the Gulf Coast and two former lower court judges on federal bribery allegations. Oliver Diaz was cleared of the bribery charges in 2005. Minor and the other judges are in prison.
The Jackson newspaper made an effort to "balance the scales" on Lampton:
Lampton, appointed to the post on Sept. 14, 2001, also was the chief federal prosecutor for the Southern District when two dormant civil rights-era cases were successfully prosecuted. Reputed Ku Klux Klansmen Ernest Avants and James Ford Seale were convicted. A slew of Hurricane Katrina fraud prosecutions also occurred during Lampton’s administration.
Perhaps Dunn Lampton accomplished some good on this earth. But what is his final legacy? He caused three innocent people to be imprisoned for purely political reasons--and he had to know it. For that, Dunn Lampton should be roasting over a red-hot fire in the pit of Hell.
What about JWLN? He was only 56 when he died of a heart attack, and I've been debating whether to identify him and describe his actions toward Mrs. Schnauzer and me. Since his death, I've read an obituary that described him as a loving family man. I've also read a piece on his church blog that described him as a devout, caring Christian. Well, that's not the JWLN we saw.
Unlike Dunn Lampton, JWLN was not a public figure, so for now, I've decided to let his sorry soul rest in peace. But in the interest of exposing gross hypocrisy, I'm tempted to unmask him.
Am I glad that Dunn Lampton and JWLN are dead? It's probably going too far to say that. If I hadn't stumbled upon news of their deaths, I might have never noticed they were gone. In my immediate world, they didn't matter enough for me to waste psychic energy on them.
Do I feel sorrow because they are gone? I sure as heck do not--and I have patriotic reasons for feeling that way. Our country, in my view, is in trouble largely because we have too few honorable people and too many dishonorable people. From what I know of Dunn Lampton and JWLN, they were wretched SOBs--individuals who acted with dishonor toward the ideals upon which America supposedly stands. Our country is better off without people like that. So I say, "Good riddance."
Here is the big, cosmic issue with Lampton, JWLN, and others like them: It's one thing to make a mistake, or even commit an intentional act, that causes harm to someone else; it's another thing to not recognize that you have done wrong, to fail to be accountable, to fail to apologize and try to make it right. In the months and years before they died, Lampton and JWLN had plenty of opportunities to acknowledge the harm they had caused to others and seek redemption. The best I can tell, they did nothing.
Is there any justice in all of this? Maybe so. Consider this line from the Clarion-Ledger article about Dunn Lampton's death:
Lampton retired in 2009, about two years after he suffered a severe spinal injury in an accident on his farm near Summit.
Hmmm, the accident would have been in 2007, not long after the bogus verdicts in the Minor case. Maybe there is a loving God who cares about justice. Maybe payback really is a bitch.