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Richard Jewell dead at 44

Richard Jewell, the hero who saved many lives at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 only to become a suspect in the bombing, has died at age 44, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:

Jewell was initially lauded as a hero after a bomb went off on July 27, 1996, during an Olympic celebration in Atlanta. He called attention to the suspicious knapsack that held a bomb and helped evacuate the area.

Days later, he became the FBI's chief suspect, as The Atlanta Journal Constitution and other media outlets reported. The FBI cleared Jewell of any wrongdoing. He was never charged with a crime.

Eric Robert Rudolph pleaded guilty to the bombing in 2005 and is serving life in prison for it and other attacks.

After he was cleared, Jewell sued the AJC and other media outlets for libel, arguing that their reports defamed him. Several news organizations settled, including NBC and CNN.

The Journal-Constitution did not settle.

Read it all at the link above. Ironic that his death is reported by AJC, the newspaper which became one of his main tormentors during the days and weeks following the bombing. His case became the classic example of a media feeding frenzy which destroyed an innocent man.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Jewell. My thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.


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Comments (10)

Well, he was as fat as a wh... (Below threshold)

Well, he was as fat as a whale, riven with health problems. This is hardly a shock.

Yet the fact does remain he saved many people from a terrorist attack, which makes him a hero, especially considering this was well before the standard fear of "terrorism" was in the public mind, or the republican political playbook as a replacement for genuine policy and good governance.

Someone remind me again who... (Below threshold)

Someone remind me again whose out of control FBI Director and U.S. AG (damn, where have I heard that before?) dogged this man incessantly?

R.I.P Mr. Jewel.

The Atlanta Olympics are ge... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

The Atlanta Olympics are generally considered one of the worst ever. It's leader, Billy Payne, was only concerned about money and beating the LA record for excess funds. The streets were so clogged with vendors, one could barely walk down them.

At the conclusion of any Olympics the head of the IOC always says the following words: "This has been the best Olympics ever", or similar. Except of course, after Atlanta.

By way of explanation, here is a quick story.

Guest athletes were housed mostly in student dormitory housing. Accommodations in any Olympic Village are never plush but in Atlanta they were particularly Spartan. Some teams were assigned to a cluster of rooms with a common area.

Such was the case for the Romanian team, which had Rowing, Gymnastics, Table Tennis and other sports housed around the same common area. The problem was that the rowers had to wake at 4:00 AM to catch the bus to Tennessee or someplace where their river was. Gymnastics competed until midnight, after which was drug testing and a meal.

Right, the common area was going 24/7 and nobody got any sleep.

The athlete buses never ran well, but for the first few days the situation was impossible. Athletes had to leave hours early to be sure to be at their venue in time. All athletes have a set schedule for eating, warm-up and whatever. This is vital, but they could not do it right in Atlanta because of the bus thing. AGOC was quickly renamed ACLOG.

Then there was the famous scene on the first night. The USA girl's gymnastics team won the team event - ankle sprain girl in coach's arms - ratings bonanza - tears all around.

But the thing was that the USA team stayed in a house next to the venue with catered meals. They didn't have to worry about buses, or sleep, or eating or warm-up.

Right, we cooked the books and everyone knew the Romanians were the best, then Russia, then the US. We were supposed to act like a gracious host, not a scheming super power. Yuk.

This is the story of the ugly American that should have been printed, not Richard Jewell.

...or the republican pol... (Below threshold)

...or the republican political playbook as a replacement for genuine policy and good governance.

Another reason why I have flashes of thought hoping the Democratics win the Presidency. Only then might they take the fight against our enemy seriously. It's a fleeting thought because even then they wouldn't become serious. Instead we would return to the weak policy demonstrated by Clinton and Carter.

Reno's FBI leaked his name ... (Below threshold)

Reno's FBI leaked his name to the press and tried to portray him as some right-wing militia type. They tried to trick him into confessing without his having legal representation, because Reno wanted a quick arrest and conviction, so as to salvage some of her reputation.

The media had a good time with Jewell as well. I recall Geraldo Rivera, I believe he was on MSNBC at the time, hold up pictures of Jewell dressed in camoflage hunting gear, suggesting he was one of these 'dangerous' militiamen.

The media produced their 'experts' who 'analyzed' Jewell and came to the conclusion that he was one of these dangerus loners. Jewell's living with his mother was used as a way to ridicule him and prop up their preconceived notions about him.

None of these 'experts' ever apologized to Jewell about their part in damaging his life and reputation.

If the pen truly is mightie... (Below threshold)

If the pen truly is mightier than the sword, then Geraldo is the more dangerous of the two. I have had enough of his tortured logic.

Mr. Jewel seemed like a ver... (Below threshold)

Mr. Jewel seemed like a very loyal and decent man, although not too bright. I was one of the first to defend him back in 1996, as I felt that federal authorities were entirely wrong to make him an investigation target instead of some political extremist which seemed far more likely to meet the criminal profile of a bomber or terrorist. God rest his soul.

Oh yes the ATLANTA URINAL C... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Oh yes the ATLANTA URINAL COSTITPATION and SLIME and other liberals practicly had him throwing the bomb right to the area but at least he cleared his name RIP

Fat as a whale huh? Hmmm..... (Below threshold)

Fat as a whale huh? Hmmm... One could only hope that teddy the hut is rambling down the same health trail...

"fat as a whale"--this note... (Below threshold)

"fat as a whale"--this note is to "reagan" From your comments, you must be of the "thinner variety." I pray that God would allow you to remain "thin and proper" instead of struggling with a weight issue. You must never struggle. I spoke to Mr. Jewell once and he seemed an "o.k" guy. I pray for his family and loved ones. Cheap shots are just that -cheap.






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