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reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Forgotten Hero?

In their mad rush to fulfill their own personal agendas, the FBI and the media almost destroyed me and my mother. - Richard Jewell

I did not see a single reference to Richard Jewell in today's articles on the sentencing of Eric Rudolph for the bombing at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Richard Jewell was working as a security guard at the Olympics. He was the first person to spot a suspicious package which turned out to be a pipe bomb planted by Eric Rudolph. Mr. Jewell alerted other authorities to the presence of the bomb and began moving people away from the area. The bomb went off shortly thereafter killing one and wounding over 100. Had it not been for the actions of Mr. Jewell it is quite likely that others would have been killed and many more injured.

In the following few days Richard Jewell was rightfully hailed as a hero. Then someone involved in the FBI investigation apparently leaked his name to the media as a possible suspect. The media went into a blind feeding frenzy and dug into every detail of Mr. Jewell's past. They began reporting many incriminating "facts" about Mr. Jewell now known to be completely false.

For the next 88 days Richard Jewell was followed everywhere by the media and placed under constant surveillance by the FBI. He always maintained his innocence and ultimately passed a polygraph examination. Reluctantly and belatedly the FBI formally cleared Jewell as a suspect in a statement that still fell short of an actual apology.

Richard Jewell has since tried to rebuild his life and even helped save a choking infant while working as an police officer in a small Georgia town. He also sued many of the same media outlets that were so quick to proclaim his "guilt". It has been reported that Richard Jewell obtained a monetary settlement to resolve these cases.

I am glad to hear that but I wonder if any apology, even if it had been given, or any amount of money can repay Mr. Jewell for the loss of his privacy and the defamation of his name and character.


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