Suppose you had a single sister, or daughter, that gave you a call one day and talked about bring a new beau to meet you. This is what she tells you:
“His name is Jay, and he’s the president of a community college in Maryland.”
“His name is Mel, and he’s a police chief in a small town in Ohio.”
“His name is Dave, he’s a lawyer and former judge in Texas.”
Is that the kind person you’d want your sister to bring home? Established, holding a leadership position in the community. I’d bet that, unless you are exceptionally anti-intellectual, or have a meth lab in the back yard, you’d think that he sounds pretty good. Maybe, you won’t like him when you meet him, but Jay, Mel, and Dave all sound pretty good.
I’d think it was great. Of course I’d make a smart comment about my sister doing anything to get into college, get out of a traffic ticket, or asking her if it was a condition of probation, respectively. My sister would know me well enough to understand that I was joking, presumably.
Those of you that have followed the Gricar case know the rest of the story. Jay is Jay Carsey, a community college president who left his life.1 Mel is Hinckley Township Ohio Police Chief Mel Wiley, who disappeared voluntarily after making it looked like he had drowned.2 Mr. Gricar had discussed the Wiley case with his friend, Mr. Sloane. If you have been reading Ms. Gamin’s blog, and I’d encourage you to do so, you know that Dave is David Lewis.3
Mr. Lewis’s family thought that he could have kidnapped, but his body, he had been the victim of a hit and run, was found more than 1,600 miles, by car, from where he was last seen; it was found about three days after he was last seen. The body was listed as a John Doe and was not identified for more than a decade, sadly. He flew out of Texas to Los Angeles, so it is very unlikely that someone, even prior to 9-11 was holding a weapon on him the entire time. Mr. Lewis was a crime victim, of at least a hit and run, but the evidence is that he his home state voluntarily.
Suppose your sister gave you a call one day and talked about bring a new beau to meet you. This is what she tells you: “His name is Ray, and he’s a district attorney in Pennsylvania.” I’d have the same reaction as above; I’d think it was great and make a joke.
All of these men were respected in their communities; they were established and had “legacies.” Some quite impressive; Mr. Carsey had been mentioned for a post in the Reagan Administration’s Department of Education.
We hear about Mr. Gricar’s legacy, even from me, discussing his remarkably good job as a prosecution. That legacy, however, was coming to an end in 2005. In about 8 ½ months, Mr. Gricar would not be the district attorney, would not be practicing law, and would not be running for any office. Unlike some of these others, from a professional or political, and possibly personal, standpoint, Mr. Gricar’s legacy would be meaningless in 8 ½ months.
It was a good legacy, if not a great one, but in January of 2006, it would be less meaningful that his successor’s legacy is today. Mr. Madeira is still practicing law (I’d call him a very good trial attorney) and gained experience (even from the problems) by being District Attorney. He can, and I think he is smart enough to, apply them to his practice today. Mr. Gricar, who wasn’t going practicing law, would never have that chance.
Jay Carsey, Mel Wiley, and now Dave Lewis, all have legacies and accomplishments; I’d be thrilled if my sister brought home someone like any one of them. In spite of being outstanding community leaders, all chose to leave their lives. They all left voluntarily. Ray Gricar had a legacy and accomplishments; I’d be thrilled if my sister brought home someone like him. In spite of being outstanding community leader, did he leave of his own accord? Maybe, it is possible that he did. I still give it a 50/50 chance.
E-mail J. J. in Phila at firstname.lastname@example.org