Friday, September 22, 2006

Near Zero Justice for the 100 Killed and 200 Injured in The Station Tragey

[Pre-citation: Factual information contained in this rant comes from today's Boston Herald, today's Providence Journal, as well as coverage this morning and previously by Boston's Channel 7-NBC and 4-CBS]

Allow me to continue my rant on today's big local headlines. Here's a story that's long disgusted me, from the time of the deaths and physically injuries and subsquent "emotional injuries," as the Boston Herald includes in the 200 injured, to the trials of Daniel M. Biechele, the band manager and pyrotechnician, and, most recently, the Derderian Brothers, the owners of The Station nightclub in Providence, RI.
Let's start with Mr. Biechele: he gave in too soon too fast. He has shown genuine emotion and concern for his having set off the fireworks that fateful evening--much more than anyone else directly involved or indirectly involved, such as the Chief Fire Inspector and other safety officials, people who--I can't agree with Herald's victims' comments more--if they had done their jobs, wouldn't have allowed the club to be open in the first place with foam on the walls, so few exits for the capacity and chained exits amongst those few available. Four years is more than enough for Biechele. I feel for for the victims and their families, but getting angry at his four- year sentence for something he has obviously done safely for years at safely-managed venues is a little over the top. I should have ranted on this a while ago, but I equilibrate his trial to that of Zacharias Moussaoui, the insane man with definite ties to Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks, but ties so weak a two-year-old could pull them apart. Both men, as the first to be on trial for the respective tragedies were basically the first to be ripped apart by respective victims and their families in an effort to "bring justice" to anyone remotely involved, even if he or she was about as much involved as a rat runnning the walls of The Station or Twin Towers. Biechele should've definitely done his homework concerning fire safety, but so should've, again, the people paid the big bucks to do that in the first place: the Chief Fire Inspector and other safety officials. Biechele was a pawn in the tragedy; he will always be, to me, a martyr amongst major players who've gotten slaps on the wrist. And rather than symphathize with his sincerity and candor, most victims and their families have shunned him forever. I truly believe he is sorry for what he has done and cannot say enough how other players in the tragedy have gotten scratched compared to his being skinned.
Now, the Derderian Brothers: is Jefferey's sentence harsh enough--no jail time, just a ton of community service, among other things--yes. Brother Michael handled most of the affairs--end of discussion. So the real question is was Michael's four years long enough, and to that I say "No." Michael should've at least gotten double that, both for having such a blatantly not-up-to-fire code establishment in so many ways irrespective of the fireworks (the few exits, the chained exits, etc.) and for allowing the fireworks to go on with the fire code and safety violations. But again, where are the city officials whose heads should roll in light of this? With all the press given to New York bars and clubs in light of my late great friend Imette St. Guillen's demise with regard to liquor-law violations and, specific to her case, hiring of bouncers with infamous pasts, the same kind of attention should be paid in this case with regard to fire code and safety violations. It's unfortunate, in both cases, that such great tragedy has to occur in the first place for New York and Providence officials to step in and do their jobs.
Lastly, let's talk about Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr: very sneaky with his handing down of sentencing to the Derderian Brothers--and then having the nerve to get upset with the local Attorney General's Office because it was leaked early, allegedly from that Office--then having the nerve to back-pedal and say that he sympathizes with the victims and their families for having heard such light sentencing not from him first! Sorry, Judge Darigan, but you seem to be putting more effort into protecting your behind after handing out such light sentencing and then blasting--in the age of fax machines with the media on speed dial--the leaking of the sentencing to the media than you than put into the sentences themselves! It's unfortunate that this clown further detracts from those state officials truly guilty in this matter... or maybe that was the grand scheme: to further deflect responsibility from fire safety officials. Can you prove otherwise? And as always the biggest losers are the victims and their families.

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