Commentary

Saunders: Mangum deserves to do time, but don't celebrate with vile comments

bsaunders@newsobserver.comNovember 25, 2013 

Y'all can exhale now. The Crystal menace has been removed and the streets of Durham are once again safe.

Even if Crystal Mangum does the whole 18-year bid for second-degree murder she received Friday for killing her boyfriend, though, she still got off easier than many of the people who are exulting in her conviction.

See, after 14 years or so – depending upon how she acquits herself behind bars – Mangum will one day stroll out of Central Prison or wherever she is sentenced to do her time free. One hopes she’ll become a mother to her children and a contributing member of society.

After she is set free, though, the people who are celebrating her thus-far unfortunate life and hoping for her ultimate demise will still be doing time in a bile-filled prison of their own making. ’Tain’t no parole from that kind of imprisonment.

Venomous comments

The hatred many of these keyboard cowboys spewed onto The News & Observer’s website was so venomous that the N&O was forced to shut down its comments section Friday night.

Want an idea of what you missed before the newspaper was forced, for decency’s sake, to shut it down? A top comment was this gem: “If Obama’s daughter was a stripper,” referring to Mangum’s previous occupation. Like-minded commenters stated that the president’s daughters probably will be, in time – you know, when they get older.

Even some guy who claimed to be from Brigham Young University and whose Facebook page is laden with scriptural quotes displayed his schadenfreude.

Chill, homes. That’s something you can display in public without getting a morals charge. It’s a German word for the feeling of joy some people derive from the misfortune of others. Man, people were schadenfreuding all over the place Friday after that verdict.

Even though many of the commenters would declare with their last, putrid breath that they aren’t racists – and really guys, nobody cares if you are: it’s your right to be one – they somehow managed to include in their obscene tirades the reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, dead teen Trayvon Martin and, as I just noted, President Obama and his daughters. His daughters!

Gee, how could anyone think race has anything to do with that, especially considering that Sharpton never entered the Duke lacrosse fray and Jackson did so mainly to offer Mangum a chance to stop taking off her clothes and shaking her tush for strangers?

The Triangle’s O.J.

Nobody, surprisingly, compared her to O.J. Simpson, but I will. Mangum is like the O.J. Simpson of the new millennium, or at least of the Triangle.

After Simpson miraculously beat a murder rap that many felt he deserved, the prudent thing for him to have done was join a church and become a member of its usher board and choir. Man, if I’d gotten away with what he did, I’d have been singing “Jesus Loves Me” louder than anybody every Sunday morning.

Instead, Simpson kept right on strutting and cutting up until he stepped in it again.

Likewise, Mangum, after being found to have falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape at a party where she was the scheduled entertainment, should have accepted that college scholarship the Rev. Jackson offered her.

She was, however, no blushing flower or scholar, and trouble seems to have been embedded in her DNA. In the eyes of many, she is getting her comeuppance for that case in this one. Nobody is saying that Mangum in her current incarnation is Sweet Polly Purebread or the kind of girl you take home to mama – unless mama is Ma Barker – but there are people among us who are actually joyous over her fate. Wow.

She is being deservedly punished for killing Reginald Daye – Reggie is what his family called him – and not, no matter how much her Internet antagonists wish otherwise, for her despicable part in the Duke debacle.

In one of rock ’n’ roll’s great feuds, John Lennon wrote an acidic song asking his former Beatles band mate Paul McCartney “How do you sleep at night, writing those silly love songs?”

That’s a question that should be asked of the people who are exulting in the demise of an obviously troubled woman who is paying for her crime.

How, exactly, do you sleep at night after writing such silly filth?

And how do you feel knowing that Crystal Mangum will be released from her prison long before you are released from yours?

bsaunders@newsobserver.com or 919-836-2811