I knew of this guy for the six-plus years I lived near Chicago. While I can’t say I was a fan of his poetry (or of his reading style, as it seemed he was forever struggling to read his stuff), I must say I found him an interesting character.
After his arrest, as I heard from friends and read the articles, I found myself of four minds concerning the man:
- The guy has rehabilitated himself. The man I knew in Chicago had indeed made himself a credit to the world, and to the people who knew him.
- There is the issue of the two deaths. While none of them could be pinned to Jameson/Porter with intent, he did admit to an accidental killing and was probably used as a set-up man in the guard killing. Admittedly there has to be some payment for this, and while I’d like to say it’s enough I’m not the one allowed to say.Indeed, it’s amazing how strong victim’s rights are when they’re used. I know of a guy who made a mistake over thirty years ago in shooting a couple of cops, and another guy at the hospital swore to the perp that he would make sure he lived his life in prison. Since then, the prisoner has studied, graduated, repented of his crime and gained a skill. Even the person who swore he’d stay in prison believes the guy has fully rehabilitated himself. Guess what: the guy is still in prison because the other buy continually keeps his word. Indeed, I expect the prisoner to die before the other guy.
- Who’s to say he didn’t turn himself in? After all, the guy is sixty-five years old, is actually quite sick, and has nothing in Social Security. He goes to jail, gets medical attention for free, and will probably publish to some acclaim (if not profit).Plus, he wouldn’t be the first person to do that. Anyone hear of Ronnie Biggs?
- While J.J./Norman had indeed rehabilitated himself, it took a damn long time for him to do it. The guy seemed to find trouble aplenty, getting arrested four times over a six year period for petty things. And the fact that he claimed to be halfway through his troubles in 1999 would seem to tell me there were more recent travails going on with him.Some people seem to work out better with greater restrictions on them than others. I think that J.J./Norman may have been one of them, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find out he still WAS one of them.