Saturday, April 12, 2014

Maybe Nobody's in Charge

Mark Fusco, a former Rensselaer City cop, accepted a plea deal this week, and was sentenced to three to nine years in prison for driving drunk, crashing into a tree, and killing his friend, Sean Murphy, a Union College student at the time. It’s a tragedy and a terrible way for someone’s life to end, but this Fusco kid's no killer. There are killers and there are killers, and Fusco falls into the former category, see what I mean?

How many 22 year olds have gotten behind the wheel and driven drunk at some point? Of course you risk this kind of mess when you do that, but Fusco certainly isn’t the first to commit that faux pas and he won’t be the last. In a weird way I have to blame Murphy as much as I blame Fusco. Does it really matter who lost the coin toss and did the actual driving? One kid went to the crypt and the other’s going to the can, and society can label Fusco a killer. But I defy anyone to look at that doughy face and those sleepy eyes and tell me that kid’s a killer. Am I judging a book by the cover? Of course I am.

“But, Brian, he was a cop, he should’ve known better.” You don’t need to be a cop to understand that drinking and driving could end in disaster. But when you’re eight G&T’s deep, you don’t care, or are incapable of caring. And let’s drop this whole idea that cops are supposed to be these infallible figures in society, who should be held to a higher standard in the eyes of the law. That’s utopian and nothing more. Fusco was a 22 year old getting ripped on a Friday night and he made a horrible decision. I understand he has to lose his job, go to jail, I get that, and all parties involved have played their role properly, but I don’t see what sitting in a cage for five years is going to do for him. Sean Murphy’s dead. It happened. It's a living Hell.

As I listened to Murphy’s mother read her victim impact to Fusco, blaming his heavy foot and bad decision for her son’s death, I totally understood her angle, but it was like watching someone fire bullets into a 270lb puppy dog. Fusco killed her kid but at the same time he didn’t kill anyone. Did you see the file photo of Sean Murphy? The strong jaw, great hair, good smile, he looked like Russell Crowe. I can’t completely excuse Murphy from fault. After the verdict, they asked Murphy’s father if he could ever forgive Fusco for what happened, and he didn’t know if he could forgive. Does it matter?

This Fusco kid isn’t a killer, but he’s going to be playing the part of one for life. Ted Bundy was a killer. Gary Evans was a killer. Not Lumpy Mark Fusco. He was a kid with a powerful father and he became a cop on the Fusco name, and from that his confidence and feeling of acceptance was sourced. Being a cop probably created in him a feeling of superiority. But guys like that can't handle a superior angle on the world. Doesn't he look like the prototypically-soft son of a successful man? I bet his father, the Chief, eats siding nails for breakfast. The Tony Soprano to AJ Soprano syndrome. You see it all the time. Nothing makes soft ice cream better than being the son of a self-made man. There I go again judging the book by its cover.

And now that ice cream cone's going to prison.

I guess this case got me thinking about why things happen the way they do. I try to live by the adage, “Everything happens for a reason.” Maybe that’s true and maybe Darwinism is a real thing too. Was a guy like Fusco just the dopey pawn in a deeper plan? Did God make him incapable of making a better choice at this time for a larger cause? Was he just marked for this from the womb? As for Sean Murphy, the "victim," did the natural order wipe him out, and if it wasn’t this accident would it have been another or another? Why were Fusco and Murphy brought together in this life? I ask this on a Saturday afternoon because ten hours from now thousands of .020 drivers will be on the roads and they’ll all make it home OK. Why didn’t those two?

Did God call his son Sean Murphy home that night, and if that was God’s plan, was the other part of His plan to annihilate Fusco’s life and smear his father’s good name, the chief of the RPD? Why do people so often get wiped out by some bad accident? Fusco made the same choice millions make, a bad-bad choice no doubt, and he’s going to jail for the rest of his twenties while so many others will do it and suffer nothing from it.

Maybe that's it right there. You put your butt in a vulnerable spot just once while others do it nonstop and maybe the universe will reach down and take you out and leave the rest alone. Because at the end of the day Fusco did do this, I'm not saying he didn't, don't get me wrong. 95mph at .020 BAC. Come on. There's dumb and entitled and then there's AJ Soprano-sized dumb and entitled. It's all the same in the end.

Maybe he could've one day been a good cop, if given the chance and the time. The crap I did at 22 revolts 34-year-old me. I'm 100% different now than I was at 22 or 25 or 28. I don't even recognize that guy now. A person's twenties are transitional to say the least. Maybe this bad twist of fate saved Fusco from being shot dead on the job and leaving a wife and kids fatherless. Maybe Sean Murphy would've gone on to commit a terrible crime and the higher powers interceded here and now. Or maybe this was just a plain old accident, and maybe nobody's in charge.

And that's how the story of Mark Fusco and Sean Murphy ends.

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Brian Huba

1 comment:

  1. As someone who knew Sean, this might be the most pointless, ignorant, and pretentious thing I've ever seen on the internet, and that is no easy feat. I hope you've given up your "blogging", and focused on something that actually has a positive contribution to society.