Addressing criminal conduct, challenging obstacles to lasting reform, and healing the resulting harm to individuals and communities are concerns in every society. Effectively resolving how to change criminal behavior and reintegrate offenders into their communities prove to be even more difficult. Our present system of punishment, isolation, and the lifelong stigmatization of shame produces the opposite of what we say we want- individuals who respect the law and fellow citizens to the extent they are less likely to reoffend.
PHOTO CAPTION: Copies of Detective Tom Lange’s Notes from the double homicide investigation of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman, National Law Enforcement Collection, 2016.8.3
Los Angeles (CA) Police Detective Tom Lange wasn’t surprised by the verdict exonerating O.J. Simpson for the murders of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson on October 3, 1995. As lead homicide detective for the investigation, he spent eight days on the stand listing off the wealth of evidence he and his partner Detective Phil Vannatter collected over the course of the investigation. However, the jury didn’t seem interested in what he had to say:
On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a car through downtown Dallas. It was an event that shocked the nation and became a cultural touchstone for a generation of Americans who can vividly remember where they were when they heard the news. In the months following the assassination, there was a desperate need to understand what had happened, why it happened, and if it could have been prevented.
It’s one of the first things we hear as a group of students makes its way down the stairs to the admissions desk: “Is that a helicopter?!” Yup. “Is it real?” Sure is. The story of how Eagle One came to rest here, hanging above the exhibit space in the National Law Enforcement Museum, is a good one to tell.