Now that spring has come, and the trees in our area have begun to pop with a full head of glorious green leaves, it occurred to me: "Have they had to chainsaw down the poisoned Toomer's Oaks down at Auburn yet?"
A tree specialist from - GASP! - SEC rival state Tennessee, has been called in to put the Oaks on an IV drip of sugar and some kind of tree steroids. I kid you not.
About the only thing left to get these old gals back to health, is to uproot them and send 'em off to Maui for a two-week vacation (impractical, I know.)
Why it takes from February of 2011, until June of 2012 to convict an SEC idiot who admitted on the radio to the crime he's charged with, is beyond me.
Guess we'll say "that's just Alabama for ya..."
Back in October, Paul Finebaum, who took Updyke's original gloating call on his radio show, wrote a piece for SI.com that said there's growing sentiment to call off the legal dogs and move on.
Updyke has just lost his fourth lawyer (who unlike the previous court appointed three was a renowned criminal defense lawyer doing the case pro bono). He's triggered enough legal land mines to make Judge Judy scream at the top of her lungs. Updyke's trial is scheduled for Oct. 31, but will likely be postponed. His previous lawyers advised him to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. But when your client publicly confesses on a national radio show, your legal options are fairly limited.
Meanwhile, Updyke, whose father was killed by a drunk driver when he was three, is fighting severe health issues; he was back in the hospital again this week with a heart problem. He claims to have recently lost 40 pounds and for years has dealt with chronic back pain caused by a terrible car accident while in a police chase to help a fellow officer. The accident ended his career in law enforcement.
Whether Updyke is mentally impaired or not, he is now remorseful as he told me recently during another phone call to my radio show.
"I just want to tell the Auburn people that I'm truly sorry for all the damage I've done," he said. "I'm not asking for sympathy. All I'm asking is forgiveness. I want the people that are Christians to understand I've done a lot of good in my life. I've never intentionally hurt anybody ... until this."
During the call, against his lawyer's advice not to ever call the show (the lawyer quit immediately afterward), Updyke's voice was cracking, sounding like a man knocking on heaven's door. I called him later that night at his Louisiana home to see if he was OK, and what he said was chilling to the bone.
"I think I'm going to die soon," he said. "If I go to jail, I'm certainly going to die in there."
You don't need a degree in criminal justice to know the odds are stacked against a former trooper in the state pen unless he's in solitary confinement.
Do I want to call off the legal dogs? Hell no! My 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice of punishment would be as follows...
1. Poison HIM with Spike 80DF. Preferably, in each eyeball. See what happens.
2. Hang him from the strongest remaining limb on one of those oaks, and let Auburn fans paper the corpse.
3. Put him in prison for the max sentence, and say "good luck!"
But at this point, I realize I am in the vindictive minority. I had not known until now, that Updyke is a former state trooper! Wow. I am starting to think that whole stereotype of "Boy, you got a headlight out" for southern state troopers was not so far fetched after all.
Even though he was RETIRED when he did this, it certainly calls into question the guy's basic judgement.
Note to self: do the speed limit next time I'm in 'Bama. And keep your head down.