The Post-O.J. Trial Upside: Riots As Scarce As Justice

Millions of people were stunned and outraged by the not-guilty verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. But I always try to look at the upside. And there are plenty of reasons to feel relief and gratitude.

For one thing, there was no rioting. I had feared that thousands of furious blond, blue-eyed women and their brunette sympathizers would take their rage into the streets, burning, killing and looting.

While I don't condone rioting, the historic and sociological reasons would have made such violence understandable.

As one woman told me after the verdict: "For thousands of years, we have been putting up with abuse from large, strong, arrogant, evil-tempered men.

"There is no group on Earth that has been kicked around the way women have. Since the dawn of history, we've been beaten, violated, enslaved, abandoned, stalked, pimped, murdered and even dissed by men.

"Now this jury and the legal system have sent a clear message to society: It's OK for men to cut our throats from ear to ear."

But why haven't you rioted?

"It would just give men another excuse to kick us around."

Another group that I feared would riot were obscure waiters.

As one of them said after the verdict: "This figures. Throughout history, obscure waiters have received little respect. A waiter goes to a table and says to someone like O.J., `Hi, I'm Ron and I'll be your server.' Would O.J. say, `Hi, Ron, I'm O.J. and I'll be your customer?' No, all O.J. would say is: `Get me a clean fork.'

"What do you think that jury would have done if O.J. the superstar had been murdered by a obscure waiter? Do you think Johnnie Cochran would say that some cop planted the waiter's bloody apron as false evidence?"

Then why didn't all of you obscure waiters riot?

"What, and miss the dinner trade?"

Another positive development was that Mark Fuhrman, while a Los Angeles cop, was a bigot and had used the infamous "N-word."

This was a shocking revelation because it shattered the widely accepted stereotype of big city cops as being incurable liberals who support the ACLU and love white wine spritzers and Woody Allen movies.

It also led to the perfectly logical conclusion that any white cop who used the "N-word" was almost certainly involved in a massive racial frame-up, regardless of what DNA and other scientific evidence indicated.

This could lead to a new body of law in which Irish-American cops are asked if they ever said "dago," Italian-American cops if they ever said "polack," Polish-American cops if they ever used the word "heeb," Jewish cops if they ever used the word "schwarz," and black cops if they ever used the word "honky."

It could resolve the problem of overcrowded prisons by assuring just about every accused criminal an acquittal on the grounds that policemen use bad words.

My faith in the jury system has also been restored.

Until now, I didn't believe that someone like O.J. Simpson, a black football hero and star of TV commercials and motion pictures, who could not afford to spend more than $8 million on lawyers, could possibly get a fair shake from a predominantly black jury when accused of killing his white ex-wife and a Jewish body-building young waiter.

But this jury proved that they could overlook the racially volatile fact that Simpson belongs to a mostly white golf club and reach a verdict based strictly on the evidence.

And the verdict helped wipe away the slander that America is a still a racially polarized country. No, the sight of all those middle-aged white people leaping about the streets, hugging, kissing, cheering and giving each other high fives, while blacks grimaced and shook their heads, has inspired hope for the future.

Finally, Simpson, now a free man, has vowed to devote his energies to tracking down the real murderer of his ex-wife.

That's very good because some people had thought it strange that from the very beginning of this mystery, Simpson had seemed far more concerned with his own feelings than with the terrible fact that the woman he loved had been brutally murdered.

Now he says he will try to find the evil brute who killed the mother of his children. Maybe he can invite the Goldman and Brown families to join him in the hunt.

So those of us who believe in justice should wish him well in his search for the identity of the real killer.

But I wonder - can Simpson shave without looking in the mirror?

(Copyright, 1995, Tribune Media Services, Inc.)

Mike Royko's column appears Friday on editorial pages of The Times.