Demagall conviction a tragedy
Ripped from the headlines
Demagall guilty of murder: This is a real Berkshire tragedy. Make no mistake about it — William Demagall was mentally ill when he committed murder. He may still be. In my book, anyone who murders another person is mentally ill.
Lots of people have been acquitted of murder by reason of insanity. A previous trial verdict was overturned because expert psychiatric testimony had been disallowed. When it comes to an insanity defense, some juries buy it and some do not. No matter what his mental state, the man committed a murder.
Demagall’s relatives are our friends and neighbors. They are good people and the greatest part of this tragedy is the suffering that they have had to endure. Demagall had escaped from a psychiatric facility. Having killed another human being, should he be confined to another psychiatric facility with the relatives of his victim knowing that he might soon be out, walking the streets? Apparently, this jury, in nearby Columbia County, New York, didn’t think so. There are societies in which people are held accountable for their actions, insane or not. I always come back to asking myself what I would do if someone murdered one of my loved ones. It seems to me that is an essential question.
The holidays are here again: Oh, brother, here comes the annual hit from the O’Reilly people, grousing about how Great Barrington refuses to put up holiday lights. Well, they already put up an appropriate set of lights across Main Street. That should shut the loudmouth up.
Frankly, I wish they hadn’t even done that. We are energy conscious in the Berkshires and proud of it. We are green and getting greener. The Berkshire spirit is to buck the tide and stand up for principle. There’s a lot of energy being used, to the point that the competition over BTU consumption can get dangerous.
Some of these displays of wattage are an incredible waste of money. I think we ought to give out prizes to the people who are most tasteful and conserve the most energy in their holiday decorations. We’ll call it, the BPFLHC — the Berkshire Prize for Least Holiday Consumption. Kinda has a nice memorable ring to it, doesn’t it?
Taliban leader in secret talks was an imposter: Oh, sister! This is extraordinary. First of all, the so-called secret talks in Afghanistan between the ruling group and the “Taliban negotiator” weren’t secret. We were treated to leaks every day. I kept scratching my head and asking myself what the point was. If the Taliban is winning, why would they need to negotiate? If the Afghani government was winning, why would they negotiate?
So it turns out that they guy who the Afghans thought was an influential Mullah is an influential nothing. He was an imposter. Do you believe that they just found out about that? I don’t. Who is he? Did the Taliban put him up to his performance to embarrass the Afghani government? Did the Afghani government put him into the negotiations to scare the United States into giving them even more because they were worried about the Taliban controlling the company? Is the entire security apparatus of the Afghani government and the U.S. government (with all its various spy agencies) so inept that something like this can still happen?
Wow, what a pathetic mess!
Irish debt crisis forces collapse of government: Years ago, the lovely Roselle and I took a trip to Ireland and rented a cottage with our kids. It was great. We went to visit our good friends John and Primm ffrench and loved their little cottage by the sea. Roselle said that she’d love to retire to Ireland. At that time, you could buy something quite nice for a song. But then came the great Irish uptick and real estate and just about everything else Irish went through the roof. For all those with such intentions, this is one of those rare opportunities to buy low. What a beautiful country, what a beautiful people. Remember, buy low, sell high.
Merchants turn out to protest Great Barrington redesign: What a meeting! The bureaucrats were convincing but the merchants and a lot of others were undeterred. There are those people who think that the civil engineers and professional bureaucrats should have the last say in decisions like these. I am more of a democrat. Let the people speak. It’s their town.
Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 11/27/10