During Aaron Hernandez's first trial, at the courthouse in Fall River, Massachusetts, I stood in the street out front with a notebook in my hand and talked to people. I was born in Fall River. The courthouse is three blocks from the paper where I am a columnist/reporter, six blocks from the now-defunct restaurant where my father proposed to my mother and seven blocks from the now-defunct Singer sewing machine store where my mother took premarital sewing lessons.
The city editor had to tell me who Aaron Hernandez was before he sent me out. I'm a boxing fan, a much cleaner sport than football because boxing doesn't lie. Boxers die brain-damaged and broke, and everyone knows it and no one gives a damn.
In front of the courthouse, I talked to a couple guys who were wearing football jerseys with Hernandez's name on the back, and one guy carrying a "Free Aaron" sign. When the crowd knew Hernandez was in the building, there was a brief "Free Aaron" chant.
Aaron Hernandez hung himself in his prison cell Wednesday morning, the same day Fox Semi-News announced they were canning Bill O'Reilly, a semi-newsy screamer of traditional values who can't keep his hands to himself.
O'Reilly should have hung with Hernandez. It would have been more honest. If Hernandez wanted to see naked women, he went to a strip club. You watch the girls dance, you order a couple $200 bottles of Champagne, you tip big, you're a celebrity, you buy a "private dance," you put your hands all over her, and no one cares. It's dirty, but it's a clean dirty.
Of course, Hernandez shot and killed a guy, and you go to the can for that, sometimes forever, sometimes just until you can get the bed sheets knotted around the window bars. You don't come out of jail the same way you went in, and everyone knows it and no one gives a damn.
Somebody will hire O'Reilly, some operation just a little cheaper, but Hernandez wasn't going to play any more ball. Hernandez was looking at a lifetime of showering with lunatics. O'Reilly's just going to have a little more trouble selling his ghost-written history books.
When famous people commit either genuine or career suicide, everyone says, "I can't understand why he'd DO that." But I can.
The Catholic scholar monks of the Dark Ages said the devil never changed the ways he tempted us because we always fall for the same things.
Rage. Wanting to get high. Sex. Money. Power. Pride. Jealousy. It's a short list of pathetic bait, but we hurry into the trap like a guy running for a bus.
Across the street from the courthouse there's a little park. Twenty years ago, I knew a guy who got clean from heroin, and he got a night job about four blocks from the courthouse. But his girlfriend starting using again, and she overdosed and died. So, one night, he took his regular break from the job, walked down to the park at about midnight, shot up several bags of heroin and overdosed. The guy probably made $10 an hour, so no one cared as to why he walked down to that little park to die in the corner of the wall, in the back, where the headlights of passing cars couldn't find him.
A lot of people die in the dark, far from by celebrity's flaring glare. Everyone knows it and no one gives a damn.
To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "King of the World on $15 an Hour," is a collection of his columns and is available for Nook and Kindle.