There is no happiness in these situations. Just resignation, just long deep breaths and surrender.
Justice is relative. Some will believe the two men who beat Bryan Stow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on opening day in 2011, leaving him with permanent brain damage, deserved much more than the eight-year and four-year prison terms they received after pleading guilty Thursday. Some may wish there had been no plea bargain and that the case had gone to trial. And a few may believe sympathy directed at the victim overlooks his initial involvement.
But this was the justice served, and whether it brings slight closure to the Stow family or does or doesn’t make you feel the least bit safer at the ballpark, it is the justice of the day.
The whole sad, prolonged course after the savage beating has always had this uncomfortable fusion of emotions. There was an outpouring of compassion for Stow and his family, if borne partially out of the unspoken fear: “That could have been me.”
There is the initial botched arrest of the wrong man. Learning that the Dodgers had been without a head of security since the previous December. The attorney for Frank McCourt’s Dodgers claiming Stow held some responsibility because he was legally intoxicated.
No good news ever emerged, just more sullied bits and pieces from this dark afternoon in Dodgers history. The Dodgers, too, seemed uncertain Thursday how to react as a franchise. Now under new ownership, which inherited the situation and the civil lawsuit filed by the Stow family against McCourt and his numerous entities, the Dodgers released only a non-attributed generic statement:
“We are pleased that the culpable parties have finally accepted responsibility for their actions and have been sentenced for their crimes.”
But really, what else could they say? Something horrific happened. Stow was left with permanent brain damage. And now two men are going to prison.
There is precious little resolution, just resignation that almost two years later we have arrived at this moment, to this small, weak step forward.