I was eating chinese food during a dinner break from my telemarketing job on July 17, 1994.
El Dorado Street, located in Downtown Stockton, was a pretty busy and diverse place, with all kinds of characters roaming around. As a 19 year old making 12 bucks an hour, I commuted the hour each day from my apartment in Carmichael, working an 8 hour shift on the phones disturbing people during dinner. But hey, it paid for my car payment and all the other things a teenager fresh out of his parents’ house could ask for. So on this hot and dusty Friday afternoon in June, I was scarfing down something that resembled egg foo yung when the Rockets and Knicks moved from a fullscreen showing on the old Magnavox 32-incher they had to just half the TV.
I couldn’t hear what was going on, but I saw a white Bronco driving down the freeway, and wondered why the piss the NBA freaking Finals was being relegated to half a screen so we could watch some dumb car chase. And then yellow letters splashed across the screen: “LIVE: OJ Simpson believed to be involved in car chase”.
All of a sudden I didn’t really care about the Rockets or the Knicks.
The rest of the story you know, and if you don’t, I can’t (or won’t) help you. For those of us that lived through the entire crazy, sordid, strange, and emotional saga, today’s parole hearing brought back many of those memories.
OJ was granted parole today by unanimous vote, which is exactly what should’ve happened. He was by all accounts a model citizen in prison, and based on the crimes he was convicted of, should’ve been granted his freedom come October 1st. But that doesn’t mean I was happy it happened.
The justice system worked as it was supposed to work today, but didn’t so much in the past. Should OJ have been on trial for past accusations that he was acquitted of by a jury of his peers? Absolutely not.
But if you’re someone like me, that truly believes he got away with a double murder two decades ago, the idea of him being screwed over today wouldn’t have engendered much sympathy.