Friday, August 26, 2005

The Matter With Kansas, Indeed 

As the Kansas City Star is still, I believe, registration, I post this in near-entirety:

A Kansas City municipal judge on Thursday dismissed a disorderly conduct case against a Vietnam veteran who spit tobacco juice on Jane Fonda’s face four months ago.

Police cited Michael Dean Smith, 54, of Gladstone after the April 19 incident at Unity Temple on the Plaza, where the actress was signing copies of her memoir.

Smith, who served as a Marine in Vietnam in 1970, said he was expressing his anger at Fonda for her actions opposing the war, particularly a 1972 visit to North Vietnam, where she was photographed at an anti-aircraft battery.

Once the judge dismissed the charge, it became a closed record, prohibiting prosecutors and court officials from commenting on why the case was thrown out. Smith’s attorney also declined to comment Thursday.

Smith said he had planned to plead guilty.

“I did it, and I was going to pay for it,” he said Thursday.

But at a court appearance last month, a judge “took the case under advisement” and told Smith he would dismiss the charge in one month if Smith stayed out of trouble.

Smith stood before the judge for less than a minute Thursday as the charge was dismissed. Smith then filled out paperwork to get his $100 bond back.

“It’s over and that’s that,” Smith said afterward.

One day after the incident, Fonda told police she didn’t want to press charges.

Police charged Smith anyway because an off-duty officer working at the event witnessed the disorderly conduct. The officer chased Smith outside and arrested him on the sidewalk.

The spitting tapped a vein of deep emotion across the country. News of the incident sparked national media coverage. The Star received hundreds of e-mails, with supporters outnumbering those who condemned Smith’s actions about 3 to 1.

Smith was one of 900 people at the April event organized by Rainy Day Books. He purchased Fonda’s book, stood in line about 90 minutes and presented her the copy. At book signings, Rainy Day has patrons write their names on sticky notes to give to the authors.

On Smith’s note, he wrote Jodie. Fonda looked up, smiled and asked, “Are you Jodie?”

Smith faced Fonda as she signed his book. He spat at her, spraying tobacco juice on the right side of her face, neck and blouse. He then jumped off the stage and ran.

Smith said Thursday he still had no regrets.

“I still feel it was the right thing to do,” he said. “If I didn’t think it was the right thing to do, I wouldn’t have done it.”
So somebody who spent more time in Vietnam than George W. Bush ever did, really did get spit on upon her return. And the guy who did it, while believing it was "the right thing to do," still ran away afterwards. And the judge let him the fuck off any charge whatsoever.

Please note though, that they counted the emails they got in response to the original story. They might just count the ones they get after this one too.

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