Opinion: ‘No negative zone’? May this be the start of the ‘no O.J. Simpson zone’

Today we acknowledge the 25th anniversary of a day that explains a lot about the United States as we now know it. On June 12, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were killed by, uh, somebody – launching us into the O.J. Simpson murder trial, Simpson’s shocking acquittal, his lifelong quest to “find the real killers” on golf courses around the country and a surreal, made-for-TV reality that permeates American life to this day.

In other words, this is an anniversary best forgotten. Unfortunately, that will never happen. O.J. is still talking.

“Life is fine,” Simpson, 71, recently told the Associated Press in a phone interview. He says he is happy and healthy and living in Las Vegas, where he plays golf nearly every day. Good to know he’s still on the case.

He told the AP that he and his kids don’t want to talk about June 12, 1994, the day his ex-wife Brown Simpson, 35, and her friend Goldman, 25, were stabbed to death at Brown Simpson’s home. But then he talked about it.

“We don’t need to go back and relive the worst day of our lives,” he said. “The subject of the moment is the subject I will never revisit again. My family and I have moved on to what we call the ‘no negative zone.’ We focus on the positives.”

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This photo provided by Didier J. Fabien shows O.J. Simpson in the garden of his Las Vegas area home June 3, 2019. After 25 years living under the shadow of one of the nation’s most notorious murder cases, Simpson says his life now is fine. (Photo: Didier J. Fabien, AP)

I’m personally looking for the “no O.J. zone.” To that end, let’s pivot to the people we should care about on this infamous day, including Kim Goldman, Ron’s sister, now 47.

“I don’t suffocate in my grief,” she told the AP. “But every milestone that my kid hits, every milestone that I hit, you know, those are just reminders of what I’m not able to share with my brother and what he is missing out on.” 

Kim and her father, Fred, have spent the past 25 years trying to find some kind of justice for her brother and Brown Simpson. If we want to celebrate an anniversary, let’s celebrate that.

After the verdict in the criminal case, they filed a civil suit against Simpson. When a jury concluded in 1997 that Simpson had been responsible for the murders, he was ordered to pay $33.5 million for the wrongful deaths of Brown Simpson and Goldman. Some of his property was seized and auctioned, but most of the judgment has never been paid. Kim Goldman told the Los Angeles Times that she and her family have collected less than one percent of that amount. 

One would hope that golf courses would tell him to pay what he owes the Goldmans before ever letting him set foot on their property again, but this is the O.J. Simpson case, so whatever seems fair and right likely isn’t going to happen.

There was that time, however, when a judge threw him in prison for nine years for robbery, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges after he attempted to steal back some of his sports memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room. That sentence might have been a bit over the top, but it sure was perfect.

If there is any good news in this horrible saga, it’s this: Kim Goldman is the vice chair of a prominent victims’ rights organization and runs a project that helps troubled teens. She never uses Simpson’s name, calling him “the killer,” or the “murdering liar” in interviews.

“He doesn’t deserve more,” she told the Times. Of course, she’s right.

So we note today’s date, because it was a tragic and remarkable moment in U.S. cultural history, and of course remember where we were, but otherwise, may the rest of our lives be a “no O.J. zone.”

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