20 Apr 2004 01:16:15
Trudi Marrapodi
The Dick Button 1978 bashing...as the New York Times reported it (complete...warning, it is LONG)

OK. Here we go. After considerable hours of research, all of which I
enjoyed because I like that sort of thing (color me strange if you must,
but I do), I found all the articles I believe to exist that the New York
Times ran about the attack on Dick Button and five other men in Central
Park in 1978. I will summarize the information here, and then review what
Poster Dirk has said about what the Times did and didn't do in covering
this event, as well as what can be told from this research as to what NPR
said and didn't say (because the Times was kind enough to make and print
an editorial by Robert Lipsyte that was taken from their coverage), and
compare it with what I found.

If you have no interest, I'd like it if you would do me a favor and skip
reading the thread, rather than bothering to post about how obsessive and
boring you thought it was. But then again, I can't do anything about how
you post, except choose to ignore it. Anyway...

Before I begin: I would like to note, as I did in another thread, that
there is nothing privileged about any of this information. If you live
near a library of any size, you can find it yourself. Go to the New York
Times Index for 1978 and 1979, look up "Assaults" or "Dick Button," and
there it is. No need to go to New York City. Yes, if you want to actually
read all the articles, and you don't want to have to pay the Times to send
you copies, you will have to do as I did...find the microfilm reels and go
through them all on one of those annoying machines. But it can be done.

Now. Here we go:

First article: 7/6/78
As covered before in a previous thread, this was the initial report of the
crime, indicating that it took place at about 9:30 at night in the Central
Park Ramble (including map), that it involved a group of young white men
attacking "strollers and joggers" with baseball bats and tree branches,
that there were six victims (names and ages given for all), but only five
were hospitalized (including Button), giving status of all victims. This
story also quotes Button's business partner Paul Feigay as saying that
Button went to the park every evening to jog, and that on that evening he
was also on his way to see a cabinetmaker at their new offices nearby (but
hadn't shown up, which was how they knew there was a problem). The article
includes a photo of Button jogging in the park in 1972. The commanding
officer of the Central Park precinct says that a similar incident happened
the previous year, and makes some claims that the park was being patrolled
as well as possible. All the attackers, said to be young and white, got
away, but the city police commissioner ordered detectives from the
homicide task force to join park detectives in an investigation, and
assigned decoy personnel to the area as well.

Second article: 7/8/98
This is the one Sarah and Sandra apparently referred to. It describes the
police effort (at least as much as it was permitted to describe) in
investigating the crime. It says two dozen extra detectives and other
policemen, on loan from homicide and burglary squads, as well as anticrime
patrols in neighboring precincts, had been pulled onto this case,
questioning park visitors, acting as decoys, etc. It is the first to
describe the Ramble's atmosphere and call it a "known nighttime trysting
place for homosexuals" whose character changes as day turns to night. It
also says that the police "were at pains to point out" that the mere fact
that someone had been attacked there at night didn't mean the police were
assuming the victim was gay. (One has to consider here not only the Button
angle, but that the crime victimized five other men, all of whom were
private citizens. Even if you're a person who believes the sexual
orientation of all celebrities should be a matter of public record--and,
unless they're elected government officials who consistently work against
gay rights, I'm not--I find it hard to argue with the police's wish, then
or today, to remind the public that to call a man a victim of a possible
gay-bashing is not to be equated with confirming him to be gay. The
gayness or non-gayness of the victims is almost beside the point--the
gay-bashing *intention* is the point.)

Here, too, some of the victims are described as being "distracted by a
fireworks display from a concert nearby" and the police report that Button
was "jogging through the park and stopped to watch the fireworks."
Although this may be going into quite a bit of detail that may cause some
to be skeptical, it should be pointed out that nowhere does the article
imply that the victims WENT to the Ramble to see fireworks or listen to a
concert, or because it was a great vantage point for such activity.
Rather, it implies that the fireworks and music in the vicinity were
elements in the distraction that allowed them not to realize someone was
descending on them with a tree branch or a baseball bat.

Racism is also eliminated as a likely motive for the attacks, just as
gay-bashing is brought in, with only one black and one Hispanic among the
victims.

As to the issue of other previous attacks in the area, police are quoted
as acknowledging that they had happened, but that it was hard to pursue
the investigation given the reluctance of victims of such crimes to
testify. (One can see how that might also be the case. Why were, and are,
gay-bashings a problem? Because police don't take them seriously or care?
Because the victims don't always want to come forward? A bit of both, I
suspect.)

Third article: 7/9/78
Actually, this is just a paragraph in a larger story about a woman who had
been thrown into the path of a subway train so the crook in question could
steal her purse, find out where she lived and rob her blind. (Ha ha--he
was foiled--the woman managed to climb up out of danger and tell the
police, and the cops followed the crook right to her apartment and
arrested him in the act. But I digress.) The paragraph reports that in
other crime news around the city, the police have "several strong leads"
in the Central Park attacks and that Dick Button, still hospitalized, has
offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to arrests.

Fourth article: 7/12/78
Front-page, bottom-of-the-fold news: five young men had been arrested and
charged, four adults and a juvenile. They were charged with assault and
robbery. We are told that in all, 75 detectives were assigned to this case
and conducted 300-plus interviews (amongst the items they recovered were
blood-stained baseball bats). A park precinct detective also reports that
these losers boasted about the assault to their friends, but he wasn't
about to go on record with more other than to say that they conducted it
to "beat and rob" people. All five had arrests on previous assault
charges; yes, they were real winners. Again, the possibility that they
were trying to beat up gays is included as part of the story. There is a
paragraph in which the reporter seems to be expressing a bit of impatience
that the police strung things along a bit by saying they had good leads
but then not having anything to report for a while. Whatever. An update is
also given on all the victims; by this time, Dick Button and another man
were out of the hospital, two of the men were upgraded to satisfactory,
but one was in poor condition in the special-care unit. (The sixth man,
who had been treated and released, was quoted in the original article, in
which he said he "ran like hell" after he was hit and heard others
screaming.) One was said to have been headed home from sunbathing; another
said he stopped to hear music being played near a fountain when he was
attacked.

Fifth article: 7/14/78
A sixth suspect, a juvenile, joins the Un-Fab Five. He, too, has a
previous record. There are now more details about how it all panned out,
according to police reports: the suspects said they got together to huff
paint and drink liquor before hitting the Ramble with their weapons. At
this point, all suspects had been collected; as two were juveniles at the
time, their names were not given, although they eventually were in the
trial the following year, by which time they were no longer juveniles. (I
won't be listing any of their names here; as wretched as these guys were,
I don't know what's happened to them since, and I can only hope at least
some of them have cleaned up their acts. If so, they deserve to be able to
do so without having their youthful stupidity easy for anyone to Google at
will.)

Relatives and neighbors of the youths are interviewed, and it starts
getting even sadder. A mother of one of them calls herself a "failure" for
her inability to control her son. Now I'm the first to believe that if
your kid's rotten, as a parent maybe you could have done something to
prevent it, but still, it's sad to see her so upset that things have come
to this pass. It sounds as if she tried...and it didn't work. Anyway, much
is said about these guys having a reputation amongst the people they know
as being nogoodniks, especially one in particular (I'll call him "Bad Boy
#1"). He'd been arrested nine times before and gone to a rehab program
from which he escaped. The suspects were reported as having "made obscene
gestures and sounds imitating monkeys" when booked, and one (BB#1,
possibly) was quoted as saying that they went after gay men they had
"caught in the act" or who had "propositioned them," and "We went out to
get faggots, because we hate them." The suspects were said by police to
have shown no remorse and to have said they would do the same again.

A nearby sidebar article goes into greater detail about how the
investigation worked, and says that Jack Button, Dick's brother (an
earlier brother said Dick himself) offered the $10,000 reward for
information. The best information was found in Yorkville, where BB#1
apparently had quite a reputation, and so did some of his friends. That
soon led to a tenement apartment BB#1 liked to hang out in, and some
bloody baseball bats. Bingo.

A lot of effort and a lot of disguises went into this...detectives dressed
up like everything from hot-dog vendors to beach bums in order to query
people and make arrests. Really quite an interesting story.

Sixth article: 7/15/78
Another sad article. This one carries no real news on the case; it just
says the six suspects were all part of a voluntary church-related
neighborhood counseling program designed to help keep high-risk
adolescents from going bad. Obviously, in the case of these guys (who were
remembered by the social workers in the program), it didn't work. There
was a suggestion on the part of one that these kids go bad because they
resent the wealthy New Yorkers they see and know they can never be like.
Yeah, well...put it this way, this article gives conservatives a great
argument against bleeding-heart liberalism. A social program obviously
didn't make a difference with these guys.

Seventh article: 7/21/78
Not really an article, but a letter to the editor, written by a gay man,
in which he comments on the attacks and says that it was "anything but
random, or an isolated incident." He calls it part of "an ongoing attack
by heterosexual punks on gay men, or at least men they presume to be
homosexual." He blasts the parks commissioner for saying that only one
similar attack happened the previous year, claiming to have been attacked
a month and a half ago in the Ramble himself by a gang of four young men
with metal pipes whom he was able to scare away by grabbing one ("they
didn't expect 'fags' to fight back"). Claiming that the police had a
lukewarm reaction to his experience and that staff at the hospital (the
same one the victims in this case were taken to) said that attacks happen
all the time and the police do nothing about it, he opines that the only
difference in their response in this case was that a celebrity was
involved. He criticizes the policing of the park and suggests maybe if the
police won't protect gays, they will have to organize their own defense.

Eighth article: 7/31/78
There are some problems with a confession given to police by one of the
accused in the case. The lawyer for him says that his client wasn't
Mirandized properly before giving the confession. To make a long story
short, not all of this confession may end up being usable.

Ninth article: 8/1/78
Ah...here we go...an editorial by Robert Lipsyte, National Public Radio
commentator, described as "adapted from one of his commentaries." Dirk,
here's your smoking gun. No need to contact NPR after all. But...the gun
doesn't smoke all that much. Especially given what you were saying about
how the Times didn't give this story the coverage NPR did...well, the
Times ran this editorial, didn't they?

To sum it up quickly: Lipsyte recalls a boy he knew in high school who
used to go down to Greenwich Village on weekends and "beat up queers." And
yes, this kid did it by giving them sex, often for money, then stomping on
and whipping them. (Sounds to me like a kid who has a problem with his own
sexual identity...someone who hates a part of himself, and who copes with
his self-hatred by beating up on other people as if he can beat what he
hates out of himself by beating them up. Either that, or he does something
he considers "degrading" for the money, not the kicks, and then attacks as
a form of dissociation.) Lipsyte decries, just as the earlier Times
letter-writer did, the casual attitude too often exhibited by the police
that allows thugs to get away with it. He says the attack in the Ramble
brought all this back to mind and says that, yes, this kind of thing is a
pattern. Lipsyte blames it all on people who want gays to stay in the
closet--where they can't protest when they are hurt. Well, I'm with him up
to that point. But then he essentially says that because of this, it's the
responsibility of all gays to come out of the closet, because the only
thing the closet does it perpetuate the oppression. Me? I don't think
that's the magic solution. But anyway.

It should be noted here that nowhere in the article does Lipsyte go into
any undisclosed-by-other-news-sources information about what the men in
the Ramble attack were allegedly doing when attacked. It says that
Lipsyte, in his youth, knew a kid who both had sex with gays and beat up
on them. And it offers his opinion that gay-bashings continue as they do
because gays don't come out of the closet and, simply by living open
lives, bring them to a halt. Blaming the victim? Your call.

Tenth article: 12/14/78
One of the Sleazy Six pleads guilty to three counts of assault and one
count of robbery--suggesting that the detective who wouldn't go any
further than to say these guy were "out to beat up and rob people" might
not have been telling the whole story, but he wasn't covering anything up
either. One of the guys said he beat up and robbed people. Well...

Eleventh article: Mid-July 1979
Sorry I don't have a date on this one, but I had to position it at a
certain spot to get it to print correctly, and as it turns out, the date
ended up appearing nowhere on it as a result. Should've dated it myself.
But anyway, it obviously dates from the point at which the trial started
for the other three "adults" in this case. It's a small item mentioning
that a state Supreme Court Justice issued a gag order on all attorneys
involved because defense attorneys complained about "misstatements" they
said appeared in articles about the case "yesterday." (I checked the
previous edition of the Times for any such article and found none; I can
only presume the attorneys were referencing two of New York's sleazier
purveyors of information, the Daily News and the Post--neither of which my
local library carries on microfilm. Too bad.) Anyway, the lawyers didn't
specify what these alleged misstatements were, and because of the gag
order, reporters couldn't ask, so...nothing there.

Twelfth article: another undated, but a trial report. One of the juveniles
in this case was granted immunity in return for his testimony. He says he
saw all three of these guys clubbing away. He says he saw Bad Boy #1 hit
someone "10 or 15 times." When said victim screamed, another one of the
guys yelled at him to shut up and began beating him with a "coach leg"
(corrected in later stories to "couch leg"). He is reported as having
stopped at one point in his testimony to cry for about two minutes.

Thirteenth article: another undated, but a trial report
Dick and another of the victims testify in court about the attacks. Dick
testifies to a permanent loss of hearing in his left ear (maybe that
explains some of the times he doesn't seem to be paying attention to what
someone else is saying in the ABC booth) and says his inner ear was
injured (not surprising; skulls were broken here). The other victim on the
stand also reports his injuries--a compound skull fracture, a broken arm
and a broken hand--and says he still suffers from blurry vision and hand
stiffness.

This article does mention, apropos of nothing, that Dick is married and
has two children. (It doesn't quote anyone, however, as saying this, or
anyone as having any more to say on the subject.) The other victim, a
surgical technician (this is the one described as being beaten 10 to 15
times, then beaten again), testifies that he was on a diet and exercise
program and that he decided to go to the park to jog that night because he
wanted to "break 200 pounds tonight if it kills me--and it nearly did." So
yes, he seems to be saying, or the Times seems to be offering details,
that jogging to tweak that needle on the scale on the other side of 200
lbs. was his "excuse" for being in the Ramble that night. And including
the information about Dick's family life for no particular reason seems to
be somebody's way of trying to say "These two men were not gay." But it's
the last time anything is said about what anyone claimed to have been
doing near the Ramble at that time of night. On the other hand, the
stories on the trial continue--and they continue to mention Dick Button,
and that the attacks appeared to be intended as attacks on gay men.

Fourteenth article: 7/25/79
Yes, we have a date! Seems Bad Boy #1 lost it a bit during the trial. His
mother was apparently walking out of the courtroom when she either tripped
or appeared to be fainting, and suddenly he sprang from his
chair--"screaming obscenities about homosexuals"--tried to jump over the
barrier separating him from the public to reach her, and had to be
restrained by four court officers. One had to be sent to the hospital for
treatment.

BB#1's confession (his was not the one at issue in the Miranda situation)
was being read to the court at the time--one in which he had said he was
in the park earlier in the afternoon when "We saw some fags making out. I
had a fight with one of them and he bit me on the left cheek." (There is
no information indicating that aforesaid "fags" were amongst those
attacked that night.) He then said he left the park, collected some
friends with whom he imbibed aforesaid paint fumes and booze (apparently
to bolster their courage--later we are told they sniffed paint, drank beer
and smoked marijuana), and at night, off they went with their weapons to
seek revenge on whomever they found there at the time.

Perhaps his mother got up and left at that point because she couldn't take
any more. Perhaps BB#1 didn't like having his sainted mother hear about
how up-close and personal he apparently was with some of these people he
professed to hate so much. In any case, he lost it.

Naturally, two of the defense attorneys jumped at the chance to request a
mistrial. The judge, wisely, didn't give them one.

Fifteenth article, 7/27/79
Testimony's over and the jury is deliberating. They retired after four
hours with no verdict. The report of the summations by opposing lawyers is
quite interesting. The asssistant DA is reported as giving a quiet summary
of the information given to the jury. The defense lawyer for one of the
punks is said to have given a "loud and angry speech" in which he said
that the juvenile promised immunity for his testimony "lied through his
teeth," and asked that his testimony and that of the youth who pled guilty
be discounted by the jury altogether. (It should be noted that this report
places the attacks at just after 8:30 p.m., not 9:30.) One written
confession by one defendant and most of a confession given by a second
were suppressed on the defense's pretrial motion based on insufficient
Mirandizing, but Bad Boy #1's written and signed confession was used in
its entirety as testimony. (You gotta love his lawyer. Here's a quote from
his summation: "Now, I wouldn't suggest for a second that beating up fags
was a legitimate summer sport in New York City or anywhere else." How
generous of him.)

The denouement of this trial is described as playing to a packed house in
a small courtroom, with spectators including friends, relatives, "and
avowed homosexuals wearing T-shirts and buttons expressing their
sympathies."

Oh, and BB#1's mom? She had fainted the other day. He was charged with
assaulting two of the officers who restrained him.

Sixteenth article, 7/27/79
Another bottom-of-the-front-page story. The verdict is in: all three
youths guilty of assault, attempted assault, and conspiracy; not guilty of
robbery. One juror is reported as weeping. The defendants are reported as
being expressionless. We're told the jury deliberated seven hours over two
days.

The detail is added that a woman was subpoenaed from Houston (where she
lived by that time) to testify that the three youths left her apartment
shortly before the attacks carrying baseball bats, and that their bats,
and BB#1's pants leg, were bloody when they returned.

Oh, and that other juvenile is named, a younger brother of one of the
guys, who is now 16 and old enough to be named. We're told a "legal
maneuver" by the Manhattan DA's office kept him from being tried in this
case, but he's in state prison on an unrelated felony charge anyway.
(Sad...16 and in state prison.)

Seventeenth article, 10/17/79
Sentencing at last. Bad Boy #1 gets 5 to 15 years; the other two guys get,
I believe, 3 to 15. (Unfortunately the microfilm is corroded, and a big
streak of corrosion runs through the film and makes the paragraph giving
their sentence near unreadable. Should have copied this info from the
Index.) We learn that BB#1 had 19 prior arrests, on charges ranging from
sodomy to robbery (the fact that he had a sodomy arrest only suggests all
the more that this particular fellow was likely comparable to Lipsyte's
high school acquaintance--i.e., he beat up that which he was attracted
to). He had also been jailed for seven days for using a cane to rob and
beat a man. Most of the other charges resulted in acquittals or
dismissals. As for the other two, one had no previous convictions (which
probably helped him) and the other had a charge of attempted larceny
pending.

The basic outline of the crime as revealed by testimony is repeated--with
mention being made that two men, including Dick Button, were permanently
injured--and we are reminded that the police said "because of the random
nature of the attacks," "there was no reason to believe the victims were
homosexuals." In other words: Yes, it was intended to be a vengeful
gay-bashing. Were all the victims then, by necessity, gay? No.

And that's it. Now if I were really going to go wild, I'd try to find out
whether any of these guys ever got into trouble again. But I think at this
point, we all know enough. It would be nice to learn whether any of them
ever served more than a minimum sentence, yes. They certainly deserved at
least what they got, IMO. But there's probably no way to find that out
without consulting the legal records. The sad part is, had they been
convicted of robbery, they would've gotten up to 25 years.

Isn't it pathetic that the justice system (at least in this case) seemed
to care more about people's money than their lives? Give me the choice of
being robbed or having my skull bashed in, and I know which I'd pick.

Now. Conclusions. Because that's what this is all about.

Dirk implied the NPR report mentioned something about some thugs luring
gay men to attacks by having sex with them. Did it? Yep. Lipsyte says his
high-school acquaintance did just that. But...does he ever say the thugs
in this case did so? Nope. While we don't really know what Bad Boy #1 was
doing earlier in the day that made a "fag" allegedly bite him in the
cheek, and his previous sodomy arrest sure does make me wonder...and he
claims that the gang caught its victims "in the act"...there is no way to
be sure. For example, we do not know who the "cheek biter" was, if he was
a victim, or if he was even still around that night. And it doesn't appear
that the attackers really cared if he was. They came down like wolves on
the fold. Years later, what they did would be called "wilding" as well as
"gay bashing." It doesn't sound as if they took any time to set any traps
(and while BB#1 may have claimed they were "caught in the act," well...how
much credibility does he deserve?). These guys came running with their
weapons, apparently to hit whatever easy prey presented itself. So...any
speculation as to what Dick Button was doing in the park (besides what he
said he was doing...jogging through on the way to an office, and pausing
to look at fireworks) is sheer speculation.

Dirk implied the New York Times engaged in a careful conspiracy, aided and
abetted by Dick Button's money and lawyerly expertise, to "cover up" his
involvement as a victim in these attacks. Well, unless Dirk can produce
some good evidence that one of New York's finest KNEW that Dick was off in
the bushes with someone at the time he was attacked and was paid off by
Dick to cover it up, I don't think his argument holds water. Yes, it looks
like the reward money Jack Button held out to get the cops to do their job
worked really well. But if Dirk wants to claim that further "hush money"
kept "the truth" out of the papers, he'll have to do a better job of
proving it than he has. After all, despite the police's repeated
statements that there was no reason to believe the victims of this attack
were all gay, their names, including Dick's, were repeated in article
after article in which the attack was clearly characterized as being
intended as a gay-bashing. Not initially, but later...again and again. To
me, this suggests that if Dick WAS paying off someone on the NYPD, or the
NYT, to keep his name out of all this, his money didn't speak too loudly.
Not only that, but there are no quotes, no lengthy puff pieces in which
Dick sits around with his wife and kids and talks about how terrible it
is, as a straight-arrow man like him, to be mistaken for and attacked as a
gay man. Uh-uh. On the contrary, Dick takes the witness stand at the trial
to tell exactly what these thugs did to him. Doesn't sound much to me like
a guy running for cover from the "taint" of homosexuality. Sounds more
like a courageous victim who only wants to see justice done, even if it
means "being tarred with the brush," so to speak. (Not that *I* think it's
tar, mind you. That's not the point.) Again, just because Dick *could*
have had himself dissociated with this whole event if he wanted to doesn't
mean he *did*. The evidence we have suggests otherwise...and it was
reported by so many different people that in order to discount it all as
being just a fairytale, we'd have to believe the Times employed about 10
people on staff with Jayson Blair's morals in 1978-79. Farfetched? I think
so.

To wrap this all up, finally? (Well, I still want to look for those TV
reports...but that's another day.) In summary, I think Dirk's memory of
the NPR report, while accurate in some places, does not "prove" the things
he thinks it does about these attacks; that the New York Times, whatever
you think of its reportage of gay issues in general in the 1970s, did a
reasonable job of both reporting on this case and publishing opinions on
it that reflected the opinions of people who were opposed to gay-bashing
and gays being in the closet; and that the paper cannot be reasonably
accused in any way of having tried to push its coverage of this attack,
its nature, or Dick Button's victimization in it, under the rug.

Did they try to make him "appear straight"? Yes, if you call reporting his
explanation of why he was in the Ramble that night, publishing a photo of
him jogging in 1972, and then later mentioning that he was married and had
two children "trying to make him appear straight." But that was it. They
took no other special efforts to sell him as a straight man, nor did he.
Nor did they take especial efforts to sell any of the other victims as
straight, except to report what they said they were doing in the Ramble
when attacked--jogging, coming home from sunbathing, watching fireworks,
listening to music. Make of it what you will.

What it all comes down to is this: Whatever provoked it, the attack was
horrible and violent and unwarranted, perpetuated by a really nasty excuse
for a human being--possibly even gay or bisexual himself--and some guys
who (at most) were nearly as nasty and (at least) were easy suckers for
peer pressure. And the fact that Dick came out of it willing to testify
about what he suffered marks him, in my eyes, as a brave man--especially
given how much harder it was in 1978 for *any* man to be willing to step
forward and describe himself as a victim of a crime intended as a
gay-bashing.

And, for that, *my* hat is off to *him*.
--
Trudi

"He's lean, he's elegant, he's quick, he's ethereal
He makes grown men cry in their cereal."
--Rex Thomas's couplet about Johnny Weir


20 Apr 2004 02:10:38
John Smith
Re: The Dick Button 1978 bashing...as the New York Times reported it (complete...warning, it is LONG)

This is a recent article about Dick Button and his head trauma. It doesn't
mention the 1978 incident, but does mention his nasty fall while skating a
few years ago. I'm sure the 1978 incident played a part in the severity of
his injuries here.

It sounds pretty bad. He apparently had to be put into a straight-jacket
for five days because of violent outbursts.

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/legislature/8444346.htm

Button, 74, spent months in rehabilitation to learn to walk and function
normally again. He said recovery is a great deal like skating or any other
skill a person wants to master. "They're all filled with difficult
obstacles," he said. "It's really a matter of how you deal with it."
It took time for him to come back to reality -- right after his injury, he
was so violent that he was put in a straitjacket for five days. Button said
his injury was rare for figure skating; other sports have more likelihood of
head injury, he noted.

He has no memory of the accident, but he thinks he might have taken a spill
while attempting a jump.





20 Apr 2004 07:30:14
Trudi Marrapodi
Re: The Dick Button 1978 bashing...as the New York Times reported it (complete...warning, it is LONG)

In article <B23hc.9039$S42.8208@lakeread03 >, "John Smith"
<nospamo@nospam.com > wrote:

> This is a recent article about Dick Button and his head trauma. It doesn't
> mention the 1978 incident, but does mention his nasty fall while skating a
> few years ago. I'm sure the 1978 incident played a part in the severity of
> his injuries here.
>
> It sounds pretty bad. He apparently had to be put into a straight-jacket
> for five days because of violent outbursts.
>
> http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/legislature/8444346.htm

Whew...I wasn't aware of that.

> Button, 74, spent months in rehabilitation to learn to walk and function
> normally again. He said recovery is a great deal like skating or any other
> skill a person wants to master. "They're all filled with difficult
> obstacles," he said. "It's really a matter of how you deal with it."
> It took time for him to come back to reality -- right after his injury, he
> was so violent that he was put in a straitjacket for five days. Button said
> his injury was rare for figure skating; other sports have more likelihood of
> head injury, he noted.
>
> He has no memory of the accident, but he thinks he might have taken a spill
> while attempting a jump.

I guess Dick is fortunate in that he was well acquainted with discipline
and how to exercise it in skating, so he was able to apply it in his
rehabilitation in both these cases. But any injury done to the brain is
always a chancy thing. And it certainly can affect behavior, or
personality.

Not long ago, the actor Spalding Gray was found to have committed suicide.
Word has it that lingering effects of a car accident years ago played a
role in the depression that led up to his suicide. Sad.

Some people are able to recover from such traumas, and some aren't. It's
never the fault of the person involved. But some, fortunately, do make it.
--
Trudi

"He's lean, he's elegant, he's quick, he's ethereal
He makes grown men cry in their cereal."
--Rex Thomas's couplet about Johnny Weir


20 Apr 2004 17:59:27
CurtAdams
Re: The Dick Button 1978 bashing...as the New York Times reported it (complete...warning, it is LONG)

trudi writes:

<snip a lot of research >

Very impressive, Trudi.

>Isn't it pathetic that the justice system
>(at least in this case) seemed
>to care more about people's money than
>their lives? Give me the choice of
>being robbed or having my skull bashed in,
>and I know which I'd pick.

I agree. I completely don't understand that.
Leaving somebody with a serious permanent
injury is not comparable at all to theft,
either in effect on the victim, or - perhaps
more importantly - in intent. The motivation
to steal is far more excusable, and less frightening,
than the motivation to maim or kill.

Curt Adams (curtadams@aol.com)
"It is better to be wrong than to be vague" - Freeman Dyson


20 Apr 2004 22:27:13
Rex Thomas
Re: The Dick Button 1978 bashing...as the New York Times reported it (complete...warning, it is LONG)

trudee@clarityconnect.competent (Trudi Marrapodi) wrote in message news:<trudee-2004040116160001@cci-209150248030.clarityconnect.net >...

Thanks for all of your research, Trudles, you cleared a lot of things
up. The only thing I can think of to say is: I am glad Dick Button
survived the attack, regardless of why he was there in the first
place. He survived it, and if he had not, figure skating would never
be the same.

It is difficult for me to have sympathy for the criminals, regardless
of who they are. I myself come from humble beginnings, and not once,
not once, have I ever thought of hurting and stealing from other
people based upon something they can't change about themselves (being
gay or white or black or Latino). These criminals sound like garbage.
Clearly they are proof that some women can get pregnant through anal
sex (sorry).


21 Apr 2004 19:11:34
Trudi Marrapodi
Re: The Dick Button 1978 bashing...as the New York Times reported it (complete...warning, it is LONG)

In article <d3f532b6.0404202127.1521835a@posting.google.com >,
Oberon1911@comcast.net (Rex Thomas) wrote:

> trudee@clarityconnect.competent (Trudi Marrapodi) wrote in message
news:<trudee-2004040116160001@cci-209150248030.clarityconnect.net >...
>
> Thanks for all of your research, Trudles, you cleared a lot of things
> up. The only thing I can think of to say is: I am glad Dick Button
> survived the attack, regardless of why he was there in the first
> place. He survived it, and if he had not, figure skating would never
> be the same.
>
> It is difficult for me to have sympathy for the criminals, regardless
> of who they are. I myself come from humble beginnings, and not once,
> not once, have I ever thought of hurting and stealing from other
> people based upon something they can't change about themselves (being
> gay or white or black or Latino). These criminals sound like garbage.
> Clearly they are proof that some women can get pregnant through anal
> sex (sorry).

You're welcome for the thanks. I look at it like this: these guys probably
deserve a better deal than they're getting by having me not mention their
names here. If I did, everyone who knew what to look for would probably be
able to Google their names for all eternity from the comfort of their own
home computer--whereas now, if you want to know their names, you have to
actually go to the library and look up the information (unless you feel
like requesting it directly from the Times, and even that is probably
going to cost you more time and money than going to the library).

In case anyone is wondering, I have tried coughing up info on this crime
on the Web and had no luck. When you plug, say, "Dick Button" and
"assault" into a search engine, what you tend to get is a lot of
references to the Nancy Kerrigan attack. (Not that Dick was responsible,
but oftentimes his name is included somewhere on a Web site referencing
the attack on her.) Maybe I'm not taking the correct approach, but I
eventually decided I wanted to read the articles for myself anyway and
draw my own conclusions, rather than read someone else's summary of
them--and the fastest, easiest, cheapest way to do that was the
old-fashioned way...go to the microfilm.

Anyway...these guys went through the justice system. "The People" had
their way with them for this crime. By now they've all served their time,
however long it was, for what they did. So they've paid their debt to
society.

I don't know whether any of these guys ever repented of his sins and
turned his life around. Maybe some did. Maybe some didn't, and got in more
trouble, and are now languishing in prison for that. Maybe some aren't
even alive anymore, for whatever reason (Bad Boy #1 certainly did sound
like the kind of kid who was probably going to come to a bad end one way
or another, and sooner rather than later.) But if there's even one who
ended up turning himself around, and doing a good job of it...well then,
hurray for him.
--
Trudi

"Boy, there sure is a lot of tension around here tonight. It's like a Joan Crawford movie."


23 Apr 2004 07:26:36
Trudi Marrapodi
Re: The Dick Button 1978 bashing...as the New York Times reported it (complete...warning, it is LONG)

Agh! What was I thinking yesterday...I meant "these guys probably
are getting a better deal than they deserve by having me not mention their
names here."

Whew.
--
Trudi

"Boy, there sure is a lot of tension around here tonight. It's like a Joan Crawford movie."