Wednesday, February 02, 2005

R. Budd. Dwyer.

Remember him anybody? I do. And so, apparently, does Chris at Dangerous Logic, my favorite morbid kitty watcher.

(I'd never heard of a cat show & frankly can't picture a cat cooperating with that kind of thing anyway.)

I was surprised & fascinated when I saw the R. Budd clip on, most likely, WTTW out of Chicago on 1/22/87, a date that appeared to blow out of everybody's memory pretty quickly. (I actually may have seen the story on 1/23/87. I don't know what time the fatal press conference was, & if film was ready for the 10:00 news that same day.)

I was surprised, because with little info & no fanfare, the news anchor led right into this video that showed a rambling, somewhat distraught looking man & stopped right before the money shot. Damn.

I was fascinated because this distraught man, whom I'd never heard of & knew nothing about, chose to end his pain in front of the press. He chose to. I thought then that the story would be bigger & we'd be hearing, reading, and seeing endless analysis of suicide, the press, gun control, politicians, and the eastern US. I heard little. Maybe there was more out east, but from where I sat in the midwest, we apparently had more pressing death & destruction to attend to.

I had already begun to hate the press by then. I was pretty young (only about 10 years younger than I am right now. Keep up.) and the press had lost my respect by endlessly panting over sordid & lurid details of dead, raped young girls, brutalized young men & women, and molested kids. They sent me over the edge when, I think it was the same station I saw the R. Budd story on, they let their anchor apologize profusely because they'd just shown footage of some military family being informed of their child's death & you could hear screams coming through the front door. Around that same time, a young, quite young, girl was brutalized and murdered in the notorious elevators of a now-razed public housing highrise in Chicago & the cameras were rolling in her mother's living room as she screamed & cried. No apology there. Welfare mommas are fair game.

I always suspected R. Budd got buried quickly in Chicago because he was white, old, a guy, and far too respectable for leering. He murdered himself on TV. He wanted us to leer.

Go here if you'd like to (tastefully) do so. Turns out (I hadn't known this before today) he was likely a victim in an elaborate money-skimming scam & he was probably headed to prison for someone else's crime. Go figure.


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