I have always thought it to be strange that Ron Goldman & Nicole Brown Simpson were killed on the same day Shannon was, June 12th. Yesterday Denise Brown was near tears on the Today Show trying to fathom why anyone would publish OJ’s book, “If I Did It.” I can’t help but to agree and empathize with her. But the family of Ron Goldman wants it to go to press, with the assistance of Beaufort Books. The book comes out on my 30th birthday, October 3, 2007.
No one can tell the family of a murder victim how to grieve. It takes many forms, but the end goal is always the same. People want their peace back. Some think money will make the pain stop. Some want revenge. Some want to forgive. Some want to forget. But they all want their peace. Some never get it.
I don’t usually write about how Shannon’s murder affected me outside of the Prologue of my book. But I’d like to share some things with you all about what it’s really like to have to deal with a tragedy like this while in the middle of the spotlight.
The first thing to know…nearly anytime a person is murdered, they automatically become a “story” or a “case.” We had to remind ourselves, especially while going through Shannon’s murder trial, that she was a vibrant, living, gorgeous girl before he took her life. Seeing her case in court made it harder to remember her voice, her smile. That is a really painful thing…to be afraid of forgetting.
The closest I have ever been to punching someone in the face (without a physical threat being posed to me) was the final day of Shannon’s trial. After two weeks of a grueling trial and after several hours of jury discussion, the judge finally said the word we craved: GUILTY. After he said it, we all just kinda sat there, feeling sick and like we’d won nothing. I remember someone from Shannon’s family sobbing, but she was the lone crier. Everyone else just sat there like stunned deer. I don’t know how long it was, but when we finally moved from our seats reality set in and people started crying. I remember taking a few of my younger girlfriends under both arms, and escorting them out of the courtroom. The moment the doors opened, we were greeted with blinding lights of media cameras and journalists assaulting us with questions about how we felt…as if it wasn’t apparent from our faces. I got instantly angry when one camera was lurched in my face, and I told them to F&%$ off. This is not normal behavior for me, but I just cannot explain to you the rage I felt as these media people invaded our moment of trying to digest this entire tragedy on a whole new level. I felt my fist clench. I seriously almost decked this cameraperson.
Shortly after we maneuvered past the media mob, I escaped out the front door of the courthouse. I needed air and space to keep a promise I had made to Shannon’s best friend Kim, who couldn’t attend the trial because she had a grad school exam at her college in Rhode Island. I promised I would call her when the verdict was read. Standing on the front steps crying, I said to her, “Kimmy, Shannon did it. She got her justice. He’s guilty on all charges.” It was such a heavy moment…so many emotions. Happiness that it was done, despair she was still gone and complete exhaustion from the past few weeks of hearing and seeing unspeakable things about her final moments. And just then, I felt someone behind me. I stopped, turned to look, and it was a reporter recording my entire conversation with an audio cassette recorder. When he saw the look on my face, he physically RAN. And I am so glad he did…
So this is just a minor glimpse into the world of the Goldmans, the Browns and anyone else who has lost a loved one and it became a media spectacle. It’s not easy, and it’s not fair no matter how it goes down. It hurts, plain and simple, and often that hurt turns to anger and gets redirected to new battles. I just hope someday, all of them find their own version of peace. Each of them deserve to have it back.