Begging His Pardon
Huh. Crist and other grubby opportunists are not fit to even say his name. Will WE pardon THEM, that's the real question. And I think you can hear me already: Not in this life or any other. Like a character in one of my Keltiad novels, I do not forgive and I do not forget.
For those of you unfamiliar with the details, Jim was alleged to have exposed himself onstage at Miami's Dinner Key Auditorium during an even rowdier than usual Doors concert. He was not interfered with onstage (as at New Haven in 1967), nor was he busted when he came offstage. In fact, he was allowed to leave Florida unhassled by minions of the law.
Several days later, the then-DA reconsidered and issued a warrant for his arrest; he turned himself in shortly thereafter. The charges were a felony count of lewd and lascivious behavior, and assorted misdemeanors (including the infamous exposure rap).
He went on trial in August 1970 (I was with him for a week of it), and was convicted of all but the felony (I think maybe an inciting to riot misdemeanor might have been tossed, too).
So he did expose himself, according to a jury, but he didn't do it lewdly or lasciviously. This despite the fact that in an audience of over TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE, most of whom had cameras, there was NOT ONE photo of him doing anything of the sort.
The trial, woefully under-reported by even the rock press, was a farce. Presided over by a judge later convicted himself of child molestation, with a prosecuting DA who asked Jim to sign autographs and records for him and his kids, and with a jury of stolid rednecks with a collective IQ not half Jim's own who had no idea they were even breathing.
Community standards were disallowed. Exonerating evidence was denied. All KINDS of blatantly unlawful stuff. I was there! I know! I saw it!
It was a sham trial, a cynical, venal, politically opportunistic bust of the "counterculture" in the person of Jim, and it is my belief to this day that what happened to him in Miami contributed directly to his death.
Jim knew he was convicted even before he set foot in the courtroom. You can read the transcript of his testimony; it's online somewhere.
And what you will see there is Jim showing wit and courage in the face of people who would have liked to see him executed, not merely prosecuted. He talks about how he couldn't have gotten the fly-less pants off if he'd wanted to, how a Doors roadie grabbed him...they even asked him if he was circumcised. (He was, in case you were wondering...) Anything and everything they could ask or do or say to make him look like the idiot and monster they wanted him to look like.
You have no idea what it was like, being there with him, watching him be so brave in the face of doom, knowing every hand was against him, knowing you couldn't do a thing to help him, knowing the creatures who sat in judgment on him and the rest of us weren't morally fit to judge a mud-wrestling match.
(Not to mention the fact that he and I had our own domestic tragedy going on, part of the reason I was with him in Miami, which only exacerbated our pain; you can read about it all at length in my memoir "Strange Days", if you feel so inclined.)
It doesn't stop there, either: a couple of years ago, someone came across a Florida State University recruiting film, starring young Jim as a student worried he might not be able to afford college because no one gave him any financial or scholarship advice. He's adorable in it, clearly already himself---his first starring role.
When the film was found, both the university and the then Lt. Governor instantly began capitalizing on it, using it as a selling tool. The screaming irony that Florida tried to put Jim away for six months of hard labor in the Dade County slammer (the ultimate sentence decided on) but now they're only too happy to use him for their purposes seems to have been lost on them. (I sent the Lt. Gov, a very stupid-sounding woman, a Krakatoa of an email, of course...)
So, no, I won't be pardoning the fucking State of Florida for what it did to the man I love (and how that affected my own life---if he hadn't been on trial, things might have worked out very differently for Jim and Patricia Morrison).
In fact, I would very much like to sink it like Atlantis into the blue oceanic hell-depths. And it did not escape my notice that Hurricane Andrew (Jim's brother's name) trashed Dade County the very year my book came out. Coincidence? I think not!
In the end, though a clean slate might be nice, it's largely immaterial whether this politically motivated lube job to clean up Florida's act goes through. That state is itself guiltier than sin of far worse crimes than Jim was ever accused of, so dirty and corrupt and vile even Hercules couldn't clean it out with a handy diverted river. Then or now.
Yeah, Atlantis is looking better and better...