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What if?

     The other day in our speech class at King’s, I asked students if they ever had the courage to talk about controversial or unpopular issues with their friends.
     I’ve come to discover that getting people of any age to stand tall in the saddle on certain issues makes them a bit squeamish. It might be that they don’t feel informed enough to discuss certain issues. Discussions on stem cell research, gun control, illegal immigration can be tricky, and today’s generation seems reserved when offering opinions on these topics. They want to keep the peace and not upset anyone. This, of course, can change once they find their voices.
   The death penalty is also a stickler. We talked about it briefly the other day and one student, to my surprise, was quick to offer an opinion.
    “Whatever they did to someone else,  the same should be done to them,” she stated with great conviction. We also discussed if this should extend to crimes like stealing, where a hand can be the cost in other countries.
     “How do we know for sure they’re guilty?” I asked, referring to the Innocence Project. According to their website, the Innocence Project has exonerated 266 individuals the system determined as guilty. The question of guilt or innocence in some cases seems cut and dried, but is it always as it seems? 
     Many have formed an opinion about R. Budd Dwyer, Pennsylvania’s former treasurer. The image that most people have of Dwyer is a black and white photo taken on Jan. 22, 1987 at a press conference. The day before his sentencing on a conviction of taking illegal campaign donations from a vendor, Dwyer called the media together, handed out a envelopes, spoke briefly, pulled a .357 out of a paper bag and committed suicide as the cameras rolled. He was facing a 55-year prison sentence and a $300,000 fine.
     I remember the day vividly. It was snowing here and students from King’s I knew were out of class and watching television in Senunas’ Bar. Even then, the whole situation seemed surreal, but many concluded that Dwyer's drastic action was a sign of his guilt, and his shocking death became a media sensation. According to an email I received from a listener, “Days of Our Lives” was even interrupted with a bulletin about Dwyer. I never considered him anything but guilty.
     James Dirschberger, a California filmmaker, grew up in Buffalo and began following the Dwyer story. Curious about the case, he began asking questions about the politician, who grew up on a farm, became a teacher and seemed to pursue a career in public service for all the right reasons. So, what went wrong? Dirschberger appeared on WILK on Monday to discuss his film, “Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer” and offer his opinion on the case. He called Dwyer’s conviction “a perfect storm” of unfortunate circumstances. Dirschberger pointed to the failings of the jury. He offered that Dwyer’s attorney never put a witness on the stand in the case, believing that the prosecution hadn’t proven theirs. He said the government had deep pockets and Dwyer’s appeal would have cost him $30,000 or better out of his own. He said Dwyer’s conviction meant the loss of his pension. After his suicide, his wife did collect Dwyer’s pension, leading some to believe this was the reason for his decision.
    Dirschberger believes Dwyer was indeed an honest man who became a victim of circumstance, including overzealous prosecution, a lousy jury, terrible legal representation and a daunting prison sentencing staring him the face. Unfortunately, that image will never overcome the photograph of a desperate man with an unstable look on his face holding a gun.
     In retrospect, this makes “eye for an eye” justice a little blind at times. It also shines a light on the fact that not all cases are handled properly. The jury remains out in the minds of some about the case of R. Budd Dwyer.
The audio of the interview with James Dirschberger can be heard on

Tags :  
Locations : BuffaloCaliforniaPennsylvania
People : James DirschbergerR. Budd Dwyer

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01/25/2011 8:35PM
What if?
Please Enter Your Comments Below
01/31/2011 7:44AM
Keep banning free speech, WILK and Sue Henry?
None of the left weeners on WILK allow free speech posts on their blogs. Way to follow in lock step, Sue Henry. Shame on you. Keep up on all that pop-culture garbage...seems about right...
01/31/2011 11:50AM
look at nancy's blog
Nancy kan't spell or punktuate...public edukation in aktion...
02/01/2011 6:41AM
Just imagine if Corbett went after Carney like he is with lou and Marino
Lou and Marino have been in office for one month. Corbett you are like a big zit that won't pop. Go away. Corbett, you are a joke.
02/01/2011 7:35AM
Corbett gave Chris Carney a pass on everything.
But then again, Corbett gives all things liberal a free pass. So why is anybody surprised? Corbett also gives all things mooooslimb a free pass. Hey Corbett, you like how moooslimbs treat women? Why the free pas on the women beating moooslimb man? You fraud.
02/03/2011 1:54PM
I appreciate
I appreciate your allowing of comments, even though it is not in regards to you directly. Love your show and Thanks
02/03/2011 4:07PM
Journalist, News Guy?? Endless rants about bedbugs. Great Radio WILK! Keep advertising here, waste your money on this goof's show. Your time has come Stevie. Not even a bedbug would go near a SCAB!
02/04/2011 11:54PM
WILK, you are disgusting. Rob Mericle did wrong, but to allow that PIG to call him a scum, what is wrong with you. How is that Talk Radio, normal people see this for what it is, National Enquirer, you should be ashamed! There is not a more disgusting person in this State than Corbett, I will NEVER patronize ANYONE hat advertises on your disgusting station. Report the news, don't allow that SCUM to talk on your airwaves! Please, someome sue this SCUM Corbett.
02/05/2011 9:16PM
Corbett's "Show" got 1 phone call in the 1st hour on Friday.
Corbett jumped from bedbugs to U.S. Rep. Marino to U.S. Rep. Barletta throwing in insults along the way. Next, Corbett was off to agitating about the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick's Dinner. Corbett does anything to stir the pot, agitate, insult christianity, insult harmless local tradition all while bowing to the Almighty ACLU. How proud I was when all Corbett could stir up was one call in 70 min of broadcasting. Pretty lame, Corbett. Corbett's seems to stir up the most calls when it deals with bedbugs. Maybe those bedbugs will live in that freaky hair or in that scraggly beard. Remember Corbett, those little creatures have rights. What gives you the right to smoosh them? Maybe one of Corbett's mooselimb- wife- beating friends could guide him on that itchy subject.
02/06/2011 11:56AM
Man of the People
Hey phony, tell us the truth. How long did daddy drive for Big Russ.Come on now, we have a right to know Scabby Steve!
02/06/2011 11:34PM
National Enqiirer
If WILK is anything even resembling a real Radi Ponytail Scum must be chomping at the bit tonight. He can agitate tommorow at the Trial of The Century! WILK must be counting their money! What homeless person will Scummy Scab Steveie interview outside the Courthouse tommorow. Because anyone with a brain would not talk to the SCAB. When the Trial is over, the scum Statiopn will let the mouth go.WILK is SHAMELESS. If you really believe that SCUM is talk radio, you are morer disgusting than he is.
02/07/2011 7:20AM
"Deep Thoughts with Steve Corbette".
can't wait for the deep thoughts and observations of the Almighty "reporter" Corbett. I'm sure he'll tell of his time today locking eyes with the judge, asking "oh, so important questions that ony corbette could ask, and then share his deep thoughts about his important work at the courthouse today. How would NEPA survive without this gas bag? i just don't know. Corbett does anything for his act. Maybe Corbett will get more than 3 callers in an hour and a half of lame talk?
02/10/2011 9:44PM
News Guy
Not only are you an agitator, a bigmouth gasbag and a joke of a "news guy" , you are God awful homely!I can't wait to hear how you "lock eyes " with someone tommorow! You are our hero! WILK, great "News Radio" from 5:10 to 5:30 today, bigmouth and his lapdog, Rusty slippery fingers Fender rambling on for 20 minutes about ???? Great news show, keep advertising Computer Shop!!LOL
02/13/2011 7:51AM
Corbett's a trouble maker
Corbett staring people down in the courtroom and ratting out a lawyer (for using his cell phone) to a US Marshall? Are you kidding me? Our ponytailed, bedbug infested, redwine drinking, aclu loving, self proclaimed structured soshallist ( certain words blocked sorry for typo), christian bashing, mooselimb loving Corbett is causing that much trouble? Once an agitator always an agitator. Corbett's days at WILK are numbered- hardly any phone calls anymore.
02/13/2011 7:54AM
Corbett loves the mooselimb brothahood and on the other hand...
Corbett bashes the Tea Party. This is a "informed" WILK "reporter" in action.
02/13/2011 4:43PM
Hey Corbett! why no tearing into the mooselimb culture for degrading women?
You are a fraud, Corbett. You blame America first for everything. Why not a few shows on the mooselimb man beating his wife under the "moral umbrella" of sharia law> You are a absolute idiot, Corbett. "You better listen"...ha! listen to this!
02/14/2011 9:34PM
C'mon Corbett. Talk about your towel head buddies.
Go ahead Corbett. Talk about your suicide bomber buddies and why they beat up women. I dare you.
03/21/2011 9:54PM
death penalty
I'd abolish the death penalty the same day they abolish murder...DEF
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