Thursday, December 18, 2008

From a View to a Shove

Okay, so I've fallen behind on my Schmuck Alert duties as of late, but a certain piece of video is pulling me out of my holiday malaise. Chances are if you've walked by a television set today, you've seen it. I'm talking about Bernard Madoff's morning stroll through a rolling scrum. Seems the disgraced investor was returning to his Upper East Side enclave when a horde of cameras both still and moving blocked his path. Madoff is of course the Manhattanite accused of bilking countless movers and shakers out of a reported $50 Billion dollars. That's a lot of cabbage and worthy of reportage in itself, but what brings me out of my funk is the pushing match that erupted between the hunter and the hunted. Watch for yourself: at one point Madoff pushes a photographer, only to have said lenslinger plant a hand in his chest and give a mother of a shove. (Stay in focus, damn you!)

Now, I'm not complaining. In fact, the video provided acres of entertainment for my coworkers today. At one point we slo-mowed the footage and dissected it like the Zapruder film (Hey, it's what we do). I'm just a bit flummoxed that neither shover or shovee made much of a fuss about the unnecessary roughness. Is that how you roll in the Big Apple? K-e-w-l.... The whole thing reminds me of another lecherous defendant: The 'Reverend' Jim Whittington. Back in 1992, the televangelist faced federal charges of money laundering and conspiracy after bilking an elderly widow of nearly 900 thousand dollars. Whittington was eventually convicted and did two and a half years in prison. I covered that trial and after a couple of weeks of trailing him from car to courthouse to car again, I wanted to kick him square in the grapes myself. I was younger then, afflicted with more testosterone and not always of sound mind. Though not a man prone to violence, ten plus days of smelling what that reprobate had for breakfast filled me with all sorts of unwise impulses. I may have acted on them too, had I not feared being pummelled by the pack of scary church ladies that clocked our every move.

Ever seen the size of those Bibles they carry? You'd hold your fire, too

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