When you're ten years old, bizarre is just how things are. Later on you remember and realize how absolutely fucked things were.
In 1995 I was a precocious kid on a BBS frequented by a bunch of weird nerds. One of them was a DJ for a local radio station, and he was talking about how he and all the DJs he knew were trying to bust open media silence on a government conspiracy. In the eighties a Pennsylvania politician named Budd Dwyer refused to play ball with mob contractors. The United States Attorney was in league with the mob, so he ironically brought charges of corruption and bribery against Budd. The entire case was based around perjured testimony solicited by the mob-aligned US Attorney and, hilariously, attained through an act of bribery. The man testifying was getting a significant bit of jail time reduced to lie about about Budd and claim he'd taken bribes.
Budd was a man who had dedicated his life to the pursuit of law, so he knew full well that a federal court was a diseased brothel where his chances at justice were nil. He did the only thing he could to try to bring attention to his plight hope that someone would find the truth. He called a press conference and shot himself on live television. Kids at home in Harrisburg watched as the blood bubbled up through Budd's skull. The national news didn't show the blood bubbling, and presented the case as open and shut. A bad guy charged with a crime committed suicide and all is right with the world.
It could have stayed that way too, and nobody of my generation would have ever heard of Budd Dwyer. Instead a very young Internet dug through the evidence a decade later and figured out the Dwyer case didn't pass the smell test. The realization that the only evidence in the case was perjured testimony spawned a prototype meme for "jet fuel can't melt steel beams." A band called Filter, riding on this wave, released a track about it, "Hey man, nice shot" expressing a desire to be able to meet Budd.
DJs around the country played the track as an act of rebellion because the news wouldn't acknowledge that Budd had been set up. Filter rode their sedition to a platinum album and never made another song that was inspired or relevant ever again. Public pressure eventually made the man who gave the false testimony admit that he had lied at the behest of the federal government and apologize for the harm he did Budd. For a couple years on the BBS's I frequented we'd say "Hey man, nice shot" in response to a sane and rational argument about what a politician should morally do, nodding to the fact that it would probably get them imprisoned or killed.
I stumbled upon this memory because a foreign friend was asking for American music recommendations. They seemed to like the altrock of my youth, so I told them the story of the Filter song. It was only today that I managed to realize how indicative of sickness and rot this song is. The synopsis of this story, "the good guy killed himself in the square and the media wasn't allowed to talk about it so everyone used a code in song..." is like an anecdote from the lives of Bulgakov or Solzhenitsyn living under Stalin. Recounting this to my friend moved this memory from the category of normal everyday memories where it was filed when I was 10 years old to artifacts of a nightmarish dystopia. That I write this on a blogging service owned by the Kremlin because I like and trust them more than Silicon Valley just makes this that much funnier.
There weren't any UGC streaming video services in 1995, so today was the first day I could watch the video of Budd's final seconds.
Budd Dwyer died in hopes that we would find the truth and bring his aggressors to justice. America is a dead nation, and it will not rise as long as the houses of Paul J. Killion and Joseph U. Metz, the attorneys that wronged Budd, remain unpunished. There are other suicides of innocents post-Budd that hit closer to the home of us weird nerds, such as those of Jonathan James and Aaron Swartz caused by US Attorneys Stephen Heymann and Carmen Ortiz, or that of Lance Moore caused by US Attorney Paul J. Fishman. It's probably a federal crime to say what I think should be done to these criminals so I am not going to express my desires, but I think all my supporters all know what needs to be done so I don't have to. If we truly love the spirit of the Constitution, we must plan to bring the tyrants we call federal prosecutors to justice, along with the tyrants we call senators and special agents and judges. If ruin is not brought to their houses, then we have failed to perform our moral obligations as dutiful citizens to punish evildoers. Let us hail the gods of victory and ponder how we can accomplish such a task.