Mumia Abu-Jamal is practically a folk hero to the world at large. I remember back in the 90’s seeing all the “Free Mumia” shirts, and I admit I didn’t understand it then. Someone I went to high school with explained it to me then by saying, “he’s a guy who was trying to help a cop, and the cop shot him, then they tried him unfairly for murdering the cop.” Okay, I said…if that’s the case, free Mumia!
This case was one of the reasons I started over-verifying everything I heard before making a decision on what I believed about it.
The reality was that Mumia was the only cab driver parked in a garage across the street from where his brother was being pulled over. Danny Faulkner, the police officer, was doing a routine traffic stop when the driver of the car got out and hit him. Danny took out his nightstick and defended himself. Mumia got out of his cab, ran across the street, and shot Danny in the back. Danny turned and fired back, hitting Mumia. But Mumia stood over Danny as he breathed his last and emptied his gun into the young cop’s head. Witnesses proved what happened, as did forensic evidence, including gunpowder residue on Danny’s jacket and on the hands of both men. Mumia’s own brother admitted what had happened. And Mumia, coming into the hospital, screamed, spit and swore that he’d done it and he hoped the cop was dead.
Something similar happened with Tookie. Remember him? Stanley “Tookie” Williams was convicted of murdering four innocent people during a robbery. He was caught on tape later making fun of the noises his victims made as they died, gasping for air and pleading for mercy. Both of these men came back later and tried to say they didn’t do it and came up with a litany of different stories to explain the airtight evidence that proved their guilt. Somehow, both men have been nominated for the Nobel Prize and have continued to draw thousands of followers.
Why? Is the draw that so many feel to them somehow linked to the draw that some women feel to marry imprisoned convicts? Is it desperation to feel wanted? Or is it just sheer stupidity? I’ve yet to figure it out. I have worked in four different prisons, including a juvenile facility, and I will never understand it. What in the world makes so many people so gullible that they’d be willing to believe anything said by a convicted murderer?
It’s scary to me sometimes not only how gullible they are, but how vehemently they defend their position once convinced. I’ve always been of the belief that if something is proven wrong, I don’t want anything to do with it. I’m loyal to my friends because they’ve earned my trust, not because of their skin color. I vote conservative because those ideals usually make sense to me, but that doesn’t mean I always vote for one party or the other. I cannot imagine what it is that makes so many people so bull-headed that they flatly refuse to see a differing point of view. What’s more mind-boggling is that they’re usually the ones screaming for “tolerance.”
Tookie, I’m glad you’re gone. If you really felt remorse then I’m happy. Mumia, I hope you rot behind bars, and the kind of people I see championing your cause speaks to your character and the lack of validity to your claims. To those of you who follow these monsters…’nuff said.