In the last few days I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. A relatively small-but seemingly growing-percentage of people who call themselves Michael Jackson “fans” seem to be in support of Murray’s acquittal. Note the quotes around the word “fans.” I’m having a personally hard time getting my hands around this.
But I think a lot of it may have to do with recent comments from former MJ bodyguards Javon Beard and Bill Whitfield.
To paraphrase some of what Beard and Whitfield have said, they basically feel that Michael wouldn’t have wanted Murray to be on trial, would not want him charged in his death, and certainly would not like the private details of his life being made into a public spectacle (this last part I agree with, but as I’ve acknowledged myself here, it’s part of the price for justice in this case). They contend that Murray was a good guy, a friend whom Michael obviously trusted. They also cotend that Murray would not have killed “his paycheck.” This I don’t get, since Murray isn’t being charged with murder, but rather involuntary manslaughter. Translation: No, he didn’t INTEND to kill his paycheck. But he did.
Anyway, here is a very big problem. Once you have MJ “insiders” coming forth with this kind of talk, it creates a sheep effect. You will have fans who actually agree that, indeed, this must have been how Michael felt. This is the sort of thing that also leads to division within the fan base, which has already happened far too many times.
Well, let’s put this in perspective. It’s also irritatingly “sheep”-like when we allow ourselves to get caught up in this view that we are supposed to just automatically and blindly go along with anything we believe Michael would have thought-let alone when it’s only someone telling us what he thought. The only person who really knows what Michael Jackson thought-or would think now-is Michael Jackson. And he’s not here to tell us.
Michael probably did think very highly of Murray and perhaps even considered him a friend. That’s why the guy had his $150,000 -a-month position in the first place. But the idea of Murray as Michael’s trusted “friend” goes right smack to the heart of this whole case, which is what the prosecution has argued all along: Murray violated the sacred doctor/patient relationship when he allowed himself to cross that boundary and become a “friend.” And even the word “friend” I use loosely because, frankly, I’m not in any way convinced that Murray was a friend to Michael, though I’m sure he did a good job of convincing Michael that he was his friend.
I think where a lot of this is stemming from is the notion of conspiracy theories and the knowledge that Murray is not “the whole picture,” that the culpability for Michael Jackson’s death goes far beyond just Murray. There are some who sincerely believe that Murray is just a sacrifical lamb, being sent to slaughter for all of the other accountable vultures and enablers in Michael’s life. Aphrodite Jones wrote a great blog on just that topic for Investigation Discovery:
This is something I have never disputed. I even said that I agree with Chernoff’s closing statement that Murray was simply a “little fish in a big, dirty pond.” And, yes, I do feel bad in a way that this one man is being made the scapegoat when there are a lot of others accountable as well. But we have to remember what this charge is really all about. It is about who/what led directly to Michael’s death on the morning of June 25th, 2009. Not who or what may have led him up to that morning.
As I’ve said before, accountability has to begin somewhere! In an ideal situation, every single doctor who ever prescribed drugs that he/she knew Michael didn’t need; every single shady character and leech surrounding him who enabled, or turned a blind eye when they knew he needed help, or who may have plotted against him or undermined his health and well being, or who added to the stress that exacerbated his insomnia, etc etc etc, would be on trial. But we all know this is not an ideal world, and it’s not going to happen.
So is it fair to make this one man, Conrad Murray, the so called sacrifical lamb? This is what the bodygurads seem to be questioning. But questioning whether this is fair is a flawed arguement that I fear some fans are starting to buy into. Before you allow yourself to get snared in this line of thinking, consider a few things:
Dr. Steven Shaffer expertly outlined no less than 17 egregious violations of the standard of care in regards to Murray’s “treatment” of Michael Jackson. By now, we know most of them by rote, but let’s have a little memory lesson here. We know as fact-not rumor or hearsay, but as fact-that Murray:
Voluntarily administered propofol-a dangerous anesthetic-in a home setting
Did not bother to use the proper monitoring equipment
Abandoned his patient
Was on the phone, texting, and sending emails for over 45 minutes
Delayed calling 911 (for what purpose, whether to hide evidence or what, we can only speculate)
Failed to perform basic CPR
Lied to paramedics about what he had given Michael, at a crucial time when this knowledge might have made a difference in life or death
Lied to medical staff at UCLA
And these are just the basic eight violations that were most glaringly egregious; it does not even include the many more technical violations of the standard of care that were violated.
Now, you can look at any one of those violations and make the arguement: But for this, Michael Jackson might still be alive!
This is what we have to keep in mind before we get too caught up in “sacrificial lamb” theories. Murray may have been Michael’s friend; he might even be a good guy but for making some very stupid, blundering mistakes on the morning of June 25th, and maybe trying too hard to keep his employer happy. But none of this absolves his guilt. Sacrifical lamb or not, the above violations of the standard of care are not disputable. They are fact. Those “blundering mistakes” cost MJ his life.
Murray may well be just a little fish in a big, dirty pond, but this goes back to what I said here a few days ago: Let’s not forget, he’s still one of the fish. And he is the fish whose irresponsible actions led directly to Michael’s death.
Accountability has to begin somewhere. If not Murray-the man directly responsible-then who?
To adress a few other issues and misguided myths head on:
That Murray Was Michael’s Friend, And He Wouldn’t Want His Friend On Trial:
Yes, well let’s not forget that whatever Michael thought of Conrad Murray, it would be what he thought of him up to and UNTIL the morning of June 25th, 2009. If Michael could communicate with us now-with the ability of hindsight from the grave-would he still feel the same way about the man who has taken him away from his children, his family, his fans, his comeback, his dreams for the future? We all know Michael had a very forgiving heart, so who knows what he might say, but I honestly think if death provides 20/20 hindsight and he is aware of all the details we know now, he just might feel very differently towards his former friend.
That Michael Wouldn’t Be Happy About Having The Private Details Of His Life Paraded On Trial:
Well, no one is arguing that. Just as I’m sure he wasn’t happy to have every detail of his private life made public in 1993, or 2005. He wouldn’t be happy about this trial taking place, but I’m sure he also isn’t happy to be dead. Michael was an intensely private man, but the paradox is that he was also a public figure, and one of the most intensely scrutinized public figures of all time. There were many, MANY things Michael was not happy about being made public over the course of his career. Even now, I blush at some of the details I know that, quite frankly, I probably shouldn’t. Michael would not have been happy for us to know what kind of porn he read, or what he used to treat his vitiligo, or that his penis was uncircumsiced and splotchy. He wouldn’t have wanted us to know that he liked his wine and occasional whisky, or even that he was a bit of a hoarder and messy packrat (something Michael and I nevertheless share in common, haha). For that matter, I’m sure Michael wouldn’t have exactly been thrilled with Beard and Whitfield going public on Good Morning, America about his having romantic trysts in the back of the limo, or having tantrums and throwing cell phones out the window! No, there are a lot of things Michael wouldn’t want us to know but have nevertheless become common, public knowledge. It’s sad that his life and privacy were violated so often and in so many ways. But it is what it is. This is exactly what I meant when I said that justice for Michael will not come without scars. No one ever said it wouldn’t involve some pain, discomfort, and sacrifice. But what is the alternative? No justice at all? Where do we make that stand, and say, okay, it may involve taking some lumps, but we need to do that because a death has occurred that didn’t need to happen? Nothing could have been more painful; more degrading; more humiliating; more downright dehumanizing than what was done to Michael’s private life during that circus of a trial in 2005. I honestly think if Michael was here, he would say, “I survived a lot worse than this.” Of course, the ideal situation would have been for Murray to just plead guilty and save all the trouble and heartache. But no, that would have been too easy.
That Michael Trusted Conrad Murray:
Yes, well Michael trusted a lot of people. That was part of his problem. He also trusted Martin Bashir, Evan Chandler, the Arvizos, Schmuley Boteach, and a lot of others he should never have trusted. In fact, looking at the long list of people Michael “trusted” in his life should be evidence enough to shoot that arguement down in flames.
I just had to say this because I am personally appalled that there are people who call themselves fans that are actively supporting Murray’s acquittal. It is disturbing on so many levels. If you’re a fan who thinks Murray should be acquitted, even despite his actions that we know he committed-what are you saying? That it’s all okay; all is forgiven? Conrad Murray never once played it straight with us; he never played it straight to Michael’s family, to the paramedics working feverishly to save him, or to anybody. What do we owe this man now? Seriously.
Well, maybe this is a good time to share a dream I had awhile back. I dreamed that Murray was acquitted. In the wake of his acquittal, he started touring the country, performing MJ songs. Yes, that’s right. In my dream, Murray could no longer make a living as a doctor, so he was touring as a Michael Jackson tribute artist! (Go figure, lol). But the most disturbing part of the dream was this: There were fans actually buying tickets to his shows, and cheering him.
When I woke up, my immediate thought was, Thank God, that was just a dream! A silly nightmare that would NEVER happen in real life.
Now I’m starting to wonder.
ETA: I do want to stress that this seems to be only a very small minority of fans, but it’s just something that I felt very strongly about after having seen Whitfield’s and Beard’s comments, and some fan comments in support of their position. This is a time when we all need to come together, put aside all other disputes, and pray for justice. I realize a conviction for Murray is only a kind of partial justice, but we still need very much to be united on this front. Remember what we’ve learned and what has been testified these past six weeks: Murray bears responsibility in this, and he deserves a conviction.