Mr. Wrong By Joe MacLeod

Mr. Wrong: The Mr. Wrong column is depressed

City Paper

It’s great for these words to be The Mr. Wrong Column. I mean,this is an Entity, almost, when you encounter The Mr. Wrong Column, that’s it, the words right here, because you probably don’t know me In Real Life (lucky you), so these words are the I AM, you know? Now wait, I don’t mean to blaspheme (sometimes I still do), all I’m saying is these words you are pulling in through your eyeballs or having read to you into your earholes are all you need to know about The Mr. Wrong Column (yikes), and I probably don’t say it enough times, because I dunno, man, it’s kinda boring to be all the time blah-blah-blathering about how much I am psyched to have a place to poop out a column more or less weekly, but yeah, I am not gonna let that stop me, I am telling you I am grateful to have a place to drop my column and of course that is largely due to the fact that I get paid, hiyo!

Seriously, I get paid Money to write this column, and every once in a while I feel it is my Duty to be Transparent about the fact I get paid One Hundred and 50 Dollars and No Cents to provide the 900 or so words poured into each gaping The Mr. Wrong Column-shaped hole over the wide and wondrous array of mediums that are Media.

Having a column means that with only a few exceptions I can remember, I get to put whatever I want into this space. If I want to complain about snack food, I can do it here. If I want to tell you how you should behave when you are at a baseball game and doing the stupid “wave,” I get to do it right here. I get to say the fucking F-Word right fucking here, motherfucker. I haz Bully Pulpit! The Blue M&M’S® are the worst piece of M&M’S®.

The Mr. Wrong Column is a General Interest Column. Most of the time it’s a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in your pants, but I can’t be doing a column on the regular here where I live, in Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America, Earth, and pretend to ignore the Recent Civil Uprising, which—whatever side of the issue you are on—you should not ignore either. Just saying. This is not going away.

Mr. Freddie Gray died in police custody, and there is a long way to go before this is over, which is to say before (or if) anybody gets put away behind this for real. Lots of people are waiting for the System to resolve this, and many people already have their minds made up. I am kinda on the mind-made-up side, but I also think maybe this time, after many times when we are supposed to accept that another person died in police custody without anyone other than the deceased being held accountable, there is a chance the System will work the way everyone thinks it is supposed to work, and the accused will receive a fair trial and there will be Justice. It’s depressing to realize, based on the past, that’s not something many people assume will happen. I don’t think anybody realistically expects every one of those accused officers to go to jail, or for all of them to lose their jobs, but I do think reasonable people can look at what’s going on, and as more facts come out, expect somebody to get convicted, expect somebody to lose their job. I expect it, but I’m not sure that’s gonna happen.

Meanwhile way too many people out there do not correctly process the definition of the “second-degree depraved heart murder” charge, which I read about in a legal dictionary at on the internet, to wit:

The killing of a human being without the authority of law by any means or in any manner shall be murder . . . when done in the commission of an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved heart, regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual. . . . [D]epraved-heart murder involves a higher degree of recklessness from which malice or deliberate design may be implied . . .The traditional view has since evolved. An act which poses a risk to only one individual and which results in that individual’s death may also be deemed depraved-heart murder. For example, death which resulted from a beating has been deemed to be within the scope of depraved-heart murder statutes.

So yeah, I know, I am an expert on the law because I looked at an internet site. I’m not the judge, and I’m not the jury (I have yet to make it past a voir dire when I am on Jury Duty), I’m just a person with an opinion and a column in which to write it.

I keep talking about “second-degree depraved heart murder” because after I hear people say the man basically committed suicide, I also hear people say stuff like, well, anyway, there was no intent on the part of any of the police officers to kill Freddie Gray, so there’s no case, but that’s the whole point of this specific “second-degree depraved heart murder” charge, there doesn’t have to be any intent, it’s all about the result.

Also, the thing about the knife the guy was carrying? One minute it’s a switchblade, the next minute it’s described as a penknife, then I’m seeing it described as something with a spring mechanism in it, which makes it illegal to carry in Baltimore. OK, fine, we are now completely off topic, which is that the man died in the custody of the police. That’s the whole thing. It seems to be hard for some people to stay on that part. 


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