I think many of us who followed the criminal and civil trials of O.J. Simpson will never forget Fred Goldman, father of the slain Ronald Goldman, standing alongside Simpson’s L.A. County criminal prosecutors as an accuser; later, when the criminal prosecution failed, personally suing O.J. Simpson in a second, civil trial. Ronald Lyle Goldman died a few weeks short of his 26th birthday.
Fred Goldman & Ron Goldman
More recently we’ve seen family members of Kate Steinle, victim of a ricochet bullet allegedly fired by undocumented immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, suing the “Sanctuary” City of San Francisco for wrongful death. At the time of her death Kathryn Steinle was 32.
Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention and interviewed afterwards we’ve heard “Gold Star” parents Khizr and Ghazala Khan accuse Hillary Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, of failing to appreciate the sacrifice of their son U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan who died during a 2004 deployment to Iraq. Captain Khan died at age 27.
Khizr and Ghazala Khan
Very recently we’ve learned of a lawsuit filed by the parents of movie actor Anton Yelchin against Fiat-Chrysler, manufacturers of an SUV that self-shifted into gear due to poor engineering design and crushed their son to death. Anton Yelchin died at age 27.
Victor and Irina Yelchin
It’s an odd notion that the parents of an adult have legal standing to recover monetary damages from the death, wrongful or not, of their offspring, as has been sought in three of these four instances.
It’s an odder notion, still, that the parents of an adult who died while in military service have some special grace, and media-granted immunity from counter-criticism, when they choose to stand before a national political convention to make a personal attack against the character of another political party’s nominee.
Fred Goldman never conducted a personal investigation into the death of his son. He has never known anything other than representations made to him by lawyers, trial witnesses, media pundits, and — frankly — bigots who were certain that his Jewish son was killed by a famous schwartze.
Yet with no special knowledge Fred Goldman has been allowed with no media criticism to denigrate a man whom a criminal jury acquitted and file a lawsuit for wrongful death after that criminal acquittal to recover damages on behalf of a grown-up son.
The parents of the adult Kate Steinle have been pawns used in a media campaign by Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly to pass federal legislation.
And whether or not the wonderful actor Anton Yelchin was killed due to incompetent automotive engineering, why are the parents of this adult entitled to a pay day?
In our progressive-minded legal system grief has become an entitlement. Grievers have become another victimized class, not to be criticized, but able to throw political and legal assaults with a political and media-manufactured code that says it’s wrongful to fight back.
This is utter statist villainy and it’s got to stop.
I wrote on this topic previously: Grief as a Pointed Gun