90 Miles From Tyranny : Richard Jewell and Donald Trump: Both Victims of a Corrupt Media, Academia, and FBI

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Richard Jewell and Donald Trump: Both Victims of a Corrupt Media, Academia, and FBI

By Trevor Thomas
I still vividly recall watching the live announcement in September of 1990 by the International Olympic Committee awarding the Centennial Olympic Games (held in the summer of 1996) to the city of Atlanta. As the boisterous cheers after the initial announcement demonstrated, much of the whole state of Georgia was giddy with excitement. From Gainesville to Savannah, Olympic venues were built or otherwise prepared all over the state, and Georgia comedian Jeff Foxworthy promised the world that the Georgia Olympics would have its own distinct Southern flavor.

I’m not much of a fan of the Olympics, so I didn’t get caught up in the hoopla. Instead of hosting the Olympics, I would’ve much preferred to see the 1990s Atlanta Braves win the World Series. I didn’t attend one Olympic event, and I did my best to avoid the Olympic crowds and traffic. Instead of the games, like many other Americans, what I most recall from that summer was the Olympic Park bombing and the ugly efforts of the media, law enforcement, et al that followed.

Just after 1 a.m., on July 27, 1996, an ALICE pack stuffed with three pipe bombs and numerous three-inch masonry nails—the total weight being more than 40 pounds—exploded. The blast killed one person and injured more than one hundred. The casualties would’ve been much worse if not for the efforts of AT&T security guard, Richard Jewell.

If you had forgotten about or were never very familiar with Jewell’s story, with the publicity surrounding Clint Eastwood’s film Richard Jewell, you probably now recall at least something about one of the ugliest events in modern American history. Eastwood’s film is based on the Vanity Fair piece published in February of 1997, American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell.

As the Vanity Fair piece and Richard Jewell both reveal, while on duty just after midnight on July 27, 1996, Jewell noticed several raucous drunks littering the area he was guarding. While dealing with the drunks, Jewell noticed the ALICE pack and alerted the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) in the area. At first, Jewell was nonchalant about the suspicious pack. Joking with GBI officer Tom Davis, Jewell asked, “Well, are you going to open it?”

Both thought the pack belonged to someone in the area. After Davis asked around and told Jewell that no one claimed it, Jewell told Vanity Fair, “[T]hat is when the little hairs on the back of my head began to stand up. I thought, Uh-oh. This is not good.” Davis, Jewell, and other security guards proceeded to...

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