I've written about the Hillsborough Disaster a couple times here, on the anniversary of it. I've stated how as an American and a relative newcomer to the Liverpool support, it's awkward to discuss it and find your relationship with it. As a Liverpool supporter, it's part of the heritage and you take it on and try and remember it. But so removed as I am by geography and age, it's still hard to wrap my mind around. And no one selectively chooses to be in grief if they don't have to, and I think if I was around in 1989 it would be overwhelming grief.
Among the apologies from David Cameron today, and the half-hearted one from the former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie, there's just one thing I can't ignore or dismiss as political posturing or just put away because it's easier to not think about. It's the finding that 164 statements from officials there that day were altered to keep the Yorkshire police from looking like the incompetent man-slaughter culprits that they in fact are.
It's shakes your belief in human decency when you get to see the amount of ass-covering that takes place when people die in preventable circumstances. When the pain's the most, when the problems are biggest, when the answers are hardest, and when the punishment would be at its worst and the need to do the right thing is the highest, everyone scrambles to get a shield over their head before the arrows fall.
96 people died at a football match. 96. And instead of trying to get to a real answer, the efforts went into making the victims look like monsters because hey, they can't defend themselves now, right? When the entire country and football world needed someone to step up and take responsibility, and from there some real solutions could have been found a lot quicker, no one came even close.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I've seen it before, countless times in this country. People will say the publication of this report will bring some closure to the families of the victims. Somehow I doubt that. How could it ever? Even seeing the people responsible thrown in jail (or chucked in a dark pit) probably won't do it. Too often people think you can bring closure or close wounds in someone. You can't. I've lost a close family member. I know. It's a wound you just learn to live with and manage. And I didn't have her stolen from me because a police force couldn't manage a crowd. I doubt I'd ever get over that.
They got to cover their ass for over 20 years. Better late than never, I guess. Doesn't feel that way today though, does it?
If you haven't read Football365's account from the Liverpool players of that day, you should. Brings it home.