Saturday, September 9, 2006

Personal Asides: Ryan Should Have Had a Life and Should Have Gotten Life…Society of St. Vincent de Paul Marks 149 Years


If there was ever any lingering regret for George Ryan’s troubles, it was snuffed out early in his trial. When one session ended and the former governor was gathering his things into a briefcase, ready to depart, he was approached by the Rev. Duane Willis, the father of the six children who were burned to death after a car accident caused by a part falling off a truck driven by a illegal immigrant who got his commercial license by bribing one of Ryan’s driving examiners. Rev. Willis, a gentleman, approached the defendant and asked Ryan to at least express remorse for his part in the accident. Ryan growled—as only he could—“why don’t you get a life?”

That enormous cruelty puts Ryan on par with a number of miscreants who have utterly no redeeming social value—on the same level as a shark who assaults people out of blindest instinct. And still there are wimpy liberals who like to fancy that in his nature there are, as there are with most other human beings, a mixture of goodness and venality. First, that mixture doesn’t always test out. You can’t make that observation for Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler or William Heirens. You don’t say that H. H. Holmes, the villain who married and butchered young women in the true story “The Devil and the White City” was good to his mother or turned to sniffles when he saw a beautiful sunset. Yet there a contemporary liberals who like to point out that these humanitarian ingredients exist in the snout-faced pig who snuffled up as much slop as he could ingest from the trough.

They point out that he freed prisoners on death row in one collective gulp, that he went to Cuba to protest the embargo against Castro, that he turned overnight from a pro-lifer to a governor who vetoed a pro-life bill because he was converted overnight to women’s “reproductive rights.” John Kass’ article about the blunderbuss who chortled after the trial in the Men’s Room about what Dan Webb would tell the media…who stooped to see if anyone was in the stalls…was sufficient. To them I repeat Ryan’s unutterably callous and unfeeling statement to Rev. Willis: “why don’t you get a life?”

George Ryan was a man in whom no earthly light of beneficence has shown. Liberals who are touched by his overnight accommodation of their prime views either know or are too naïve to realize that he did it—as he has done everything else in his public life—to beat the rap, following the disclosure of his insufferably rotten public life. Nor was he the spectacle of an innocent twisted by the old Kankakee Republican machine. He did it in accord with the human condition. Evil isn’t so much a problem for us as a great marvel—a marvel springing from God’s mysterious reverence for the natures He created, a marvel that does not detract from His goodness, a marvel that requires for the perfection of the universe that some people be indefectible, others allowed to change with their nature and still others to remain unregenerate. Theologians say that God permits evil so that He may bring good out of it i.e. that if evil were to vanish, Providence could not reconstitute and replenish the integrity of things. There are some human examples that reject reconstitution to serve to us as an object lesson that man was created free and that God will not interfere with this freedom even when it is used contrary to God’s will. While none of us can ever know in the fullest of others, the unregenerate, non-penitent Ryan is an example of baseness that afflicts some who are obsessed with self to the detriment of others.

The man who cruelly said “get a life” to the father of six who lost their lives due to his malfeasance should himself have gotten a life—and should have gotten life, Madam Judge. That he didn’t is a crass reverse tribute to a lawyer retained by the head of a law firm—one who slavishly represented the non-ideals of his ultra-pragmatic boss: a revolving set of flexible non-principles as the defendant in the dock…and who was justifiably ordered to sacrifice the law firms’ chairmanship by his colleagues who had had enough.

Even if certain elements of the liberal media have not.

St. Vincent de Paul.

In contrast to the venality of the above subject, let’s end this weekday on a happier note: the fact that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the city’s non-profit charity, is marking its 149th year of helping the unfortunate, homeless and poverty-stricken in this area. In 2005 the Society helped out 700,000 Chicagoans with $1.9 million in assistance and dedicated 43,000 volunteer hours to personal assistance. On September 9th the Society will be collecting donations from pedestrians at over 40 locations across the city. To donate or volunteer, please call Phil Malfese at (773) 927=1090 at Grainger-Terry which is assisting the Society to reach out for the poor.


  1. I was dissatisfied with the short length of Ryan's sentence. However, I have the consolation of a believer knowing that if he does not repent that he will someday have to give a straight answer to God for all he's done in his life.

  2. I have yet to see anything analysis whether driving with a purchased license is dangerous or not. Do we or did we ever have a safety problem with purchased licenses, or is the entire licensing process so corrupt that people that need driving credentials have the obvious moral hazard to participate in a corrupt licensing scheme worthy of the third-world.


  3. Tom, I'm not up on sentencing procedures in political corruption cases, but did George Ryan hop on Ricardo Guzman's semi, tear off that part, then throw it at the Willis van in a manner that would cause the most death and carnage? If he had, I'd understand all of the anger directed at Pallmeyer for sentencing Ryan to anything less than life.

    One more question, but first imagine that the tragic accident was not the indirect result of political corruption, but the result of cost-cutting by a manufacturer. Imagine that Guzman passed all exams and inspections; that no bribery was involved, and that a faulty part was intentionally left on Guzman's vehicle as a result of cost-benefit analysis. I wonder, would you and so many Chicago area op-ed writers express the same outrage when the injured family brought suit against the manufacturer, or would you be crying for limits on liability?

  4. The media loved him for becoming suddenly fanatically pro-abortion and anti-death penalty and dutifuly gave his "case" much more favorable treatment following his fake conversion just as he hoped they would. He counted on them being such complete ideologues and so absolutely divorced from any concept of authentic journalism that they would serve his purposes quite nicely and not bring up embarassing questions about the timing of his transformation into a liberal's liberal, something he had shown little tendency to be in the past. To the sane, of course, the ersatz conversion is just one more example of Ryan's complete lack of ethics. He's apparantly willing to hold any opinion if it serves his political ambitions at a given time and then switch violently to a completely opposite view when political circumstances change. Rather than putting him in a more favorable light as regards the charges against him his pandering to the media in this way further shows him to be the amoral political animal the prosecution charged him with being. This being said, and if it is true that he knows things about Jim Thompson that would ruin Thompson if they were revealed, it must make Big Jim very, very nervous.

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