Scapegoat and Symbol (28)

From ’61 on, came the argument between petulant lower-court judges and the Supreme Court. And spoiled rotten DAs. When they lost a case… the city attorney in Los Angeles, every time he’d lose in Washington, I’d get my ass kicked when he got home.

That was Lenny Bruce again, on scapegoating and its repercussions on anyone designated to be a symbol of everything the authorities hate. Danny Fabricant must be a symbol, or else why is he serving the same sentence as the Underwear Bomber, who tried to kill an airplane full of people? Law enforcement argues that the ends justify the means. But nobody even knows any more what the ends are. To what purpose is a small-scale purveyor of 51.9 grams of a substance to another biker, serving a life sentence? What exactly was the point of selling a massive amount of untraceable weapons to vicious thugs in Operation Fast and Furious? What did the beating death of Kelly Thomas achieve? From national security right down to a savage attack on a homeless mental case, and everything in between, law enforcement has gone berserk.

While Danny Fabricant may not be Boy Scout of the Year, he seems to have been elected Scapegoat of the Decade. But why? One reason might be that the egotistical and publicity-loving John Ciccone took a personal interest. The agent’s sleazy tactics caused the prosecutions of large groups of Hells Angels to be, for the most part, dismissed. But maybe all he wanted was the Fabricant trophy. Maybe all that other waste of resources was worthwhile, because it got him the one guy he had peculiar vendetta against.

When you really wrap your head around what goes on in the legal system, when you truly understand what kind of a clown-show can put a person in a cage for the rest of their life, it’s frightening. They just round people up, like buying a string of lottery tickets, hoping there’s a prize in there somewhere. With these “operations” they flung out a giant net and, at the end of the day, had nothing to show for it except this not very big fish. They went after Moby Dick and speared a tuna.

This saga was like some grotesque game of musical chairs, with Fabricant the last guy standing. They’ve got to have something to show for the Black Biscuit, Dequiallo and Casino Shooting Incident operations, and he’s all they have left. They’re like a rube at the county fair who blows $50 tying to win the giant stuffed panda by throwing baseballs at bottles, and ends up with a lucky shamrock can opener.

This particular motorcycle enthusiast makes a very satisfactory scapegoat in other ways. Maybe he’s catching the retribution that the system feels should have been dealt out to his father. Without a doubt, the system has a personality conflict with anyone who has the gall to represent himself. Here’s a guy who stubbornly maintains his individuality, sticks up for not only his own rights but those of others, and helps out in other ways where he can. And never quits.

One way of looking at it is that Danny and Rachel were collateral damage in the Garcia murder, Not victims to the extent of losing their lives, but certainly to the extent of losing large portions of their lives. Allowing Kramer to get away with two murders has to be justified somehow. In authority’s eyes, sentencing Danny to life mystically balances things out. Even though he had no part in the Garcia murder, he’s somehow the surrogate, taking the punishment that should have been Kramer’s.

A person might believe that everything the court has done so far was technically legal. Still, it would be necessary to admit one thing. The fact remains that at any stage, the court could have done something else. There were many points at which the court could have made a different and equally legal move, that would not have resulted in Danny Fabricant still being locked up. That’s the long and short of it, the nitty-gritty, the essence, the kernel, the core.

About Pat Hartman

I write. Please see the page "How I Inherited a Hells Angel"
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