Norman Porter/J J Jameson: “Out, Damn Spot, Out”

My first posting on Norman Porter/J J Jameson was a collection of thoughts. My second posting on Norman Porter/J J Jameson refined those thought.

This posting acts as a full reconsideration. More a sequel than the second posting was (that was more episode 1 1/2).

This was brought about by a quotation from NORMAN PORTER, JR. VS. SUPERINTENDENT, etc (Read from this article, of course). On page 115, testimony is quoted as to him stating, after he killed Mr. Piggot, Now you know I mean business.”

This was not available to me, at least to the degree I searched (and it definitely wasn’t up during the first couple months). And while an article with the quote had been published in Chicago Magazine (on page 2 of the article), I never bought that magazine and had begun a separation from the Chicago poetry scene that would last until today (April 2, 2008 ) at the least.

And I do remember looking up Norman Porter and J J Jameson on the Internet. The quote never came up, and there were plenty of news articles and news from the Chicago Poetry community. Even now, looking up both names in themselves you don’t find anything with the above quote in it. You have to use the quote itself to find it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So how does the quote above change things? Collapses them, in fact, to this:

Can you rehab a murderer?

Not “should” (as in “is there a moral responsibility?”). Not “could” (as in “do we have the money, time and gumption to?). “Can” (as in “is it possible?”)

Many societies and places kill wild animals who have killed people on the theory that one they’ve killed a human and tasted human blood, they no longer fear humans and therefore will kill and eat humans again. And while we make heroes of men who kill during (a victorious) war, everyone knows very well how much of a struggle it is for former soldiers to fit themselves back into society. Even those who come back to welcomes and embraces end up suffering; ask a WWII veteran who now suffers continual flashbacks from memories held back for sixty years (yes, they exist).

So what about the man who kills with malice and intent? And I count the quote above as showing intent, as it implies that Mr. Porter/Jameson had thought through his actions and understood what they might mean. While Piggot wasn’t an intended target in any way, his being shot was more than the bad luck of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

And, of course, if one can doubt whether a killer can be rehabbed, it’s that much harder for a killer to rehab himself. Even with the effort put forth, there’s still the issue of the core of the being. If people who kill for God (and/or Country) can have trouble, imagine the trouble from a man who’s killed for personal gain. Even if he comes to repent of his actions, can he repent of the man who had gone and done said action without denying himself? In short, is the only way to cure the killer part is to kill yourself (or have yourself killed)?

Never mind the fact that Porter had to literally remake his past to gain entry into the land of the living. When you attempt to throw away an old identity and replace it with a new one, stuff ends up having to be covered over or just plain unexplained. Amongst other things, that would explain why his poetry was always obtuse and impossible to see through. It always seemed as if he was working his hardest to put up barriers in his poetry.

In the end, my point is this: I’m beginning to think that there IS such a thing as unforgivable sin. Not suicide (which is unforgivable ONLY if you succeed), but sin which soils the heart so deeply and so strongly that you can’t rid yourself of it no matter what you do to right it. Stuff which you can’t repent of because the heart, upon letting the sin touch it, won’t let go no matter what.

3 thoughts on “Norman Porter/J J Jameson: “Out, Damn Spot, Out”

  1. I empathize with your moral struggle to come to a reasonable and fair perspective concerning J.J. Jameson/Norman Porter. Your comments reflect a willingness to search out the facts and to evaluate them carefully before judging another man’s life.

    To help you and others do that, Friends of Norman A. Porter will soon launch a website presenting accurate information supported by 46 years worth of documents, scanned and available for anyone to read.

    One of the misconceptions we’ll address on the website is the idea that Norman (or anyone else) said “Now you know I mean business” at any time during the robbery. The person who attributed that statement to him, District Attorney John P.S. Burke, was not in court during the trial. He was present only at the sentencing. Paul T. Smith, Norman’s lawyer at the time, gave an affidavit (a sworn statement) to the court affirming that the assistant D.A. who was in court trying the case never presented any evidence having anything to do with the “Now you know” words. In his affidavit, Mr. Smith says the following (Quoting directly from the affidavit):

    “My memory is that this statement was made by District Attorney John P. S. Burke during his dispositional argument. Since Mr. Burke did not actually prosecute this case and was not present in the courtroom during the trial days preceding Mr. Porter’s guilty plea, I believe that Mr. Burke’s statement was undoubtedly based on misinformation concerning the course of the trial.”

    I appreciate your independence of thought and would never consider telling you or anyone else what conclusions to draw about Norman Porter. But I hope that before coming to a final judgment, you will continue searching out and weighing the facts, and that our website will help you do so. We hope to launch it at the end of this month; the URL will be

  2. Please revise the address for the Porter Friends website to read as follows:

  3. The “friends of Norman Porter” simply need to give it a rest. How can Norman Porter ever repent for the crimes he committed if a pack of delusional supporters are continuing to encourage him to live in denial. Whether or not Porter said this or that is so beyond the point it is ridiculous. The man was part of a stick up crew the committed a premeditated armed robbery (not their first one, mind you) which resulted in a brutal murder. Then Porter smuggled a gun into his prison cell that was used to murder one of the guards. After having been given two life sentences the laxed system of his day allowed Porter to live in a minimum security facility that even allowed him to sign himself out to go take a walk. And he even abused THAT by escaping. Now he’s found out and he’s back in prison where he belongs. I personally knew JJ Jameson when he lived in Chicago and I can tell you, despite all the propaganda that is spread by his “friends”, that Norman Porter was no angel when he was on the lam. He was a violent, abusive, manipulative doped up drunk driver who lived a twenty year lie that finally caught up with him. His so-called friends are doing him more harm than good. They continue to encourage him not to take responsibility for his own actions. We simply would like to hear Norman Porter say “Yes, I killed someone, I am sorry, and I accept the consequences.” STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

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