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Why I didn't want to be part of 'If I Did It'

Van Zandt:  I don't think Nicole Brown-Simpson's children deserve to continually have this whole mess served up in their faces.  After all, they deserve a life without having to constantly contemplate the mother they lost, and the man most believe responsible for their mother's death.

After being acquitted for the 1994 brutal stabbing murder of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, O.J. Simpson would tell others that he would spend the rest of his life looking for his ex's killer.  It's now 13 years later and the double murder has still managed to elude the former Buffalo Bills running back.

Many feel that the Simpson murder trial was lost because the prosecution team simply did not present an appropriate case in court.  Others suggest that Simpson's dream team of attorneys was able to turn the murder trial of a celebrity accused of a double homicide into a "get even" trial between the races.  If true, the prosecution's case was doomed from the start. Yet O.J. was subsequently found liable in a wrongful death civil suit, a case that did not break down into a black vs. white issue, and one in which the former football and movie star was found responsible to pay millions of still to date unpaid dollars, to include $33 million to the family of Ron Goldman and $24 million to the family of Nicole Brown. 

O.J. Simpson has remained a magnetic public figure and social icon since the murder of the mother of his two children has not shied away from public attention.  In fact, he has continued to seek it since that night in 1994 when the two murders were committed at Brown-Simpson's residence.  Last year it was announced that O.J., with the aid of a ghost writer, had written a book entitled "If I Did It," one touted to "almost" be a confession on the part of Simpson.  Most saw the writing of this book as an attempt by Simpson to further capitalize on the media attention surrounding the tragic deaths of two people and murders that a significant percent of the population continue to believe were done by O.J.'s own hands.  Simpson's publisher at that time finally caved in to the overwhelming public pressure created by the Brown and Goldman families to kill the book. With that, the book and O.J.'s murder-like biographical seemed to slowly fade away until the Goldman family was awarded the rights to the book by the civil court judge.  Now the Goldman family who will receive 90 percent of any book sales related to "If I Did It," has turned around to champion the publication of it, allegedly wanting to rename it "Confessions of a Double Murderer," or something to that effect.

The book was going to receive a rewrite though, and that's where I came in.  I was contacted by a literary agent representing the Goldman family who inquired if I would write a commentary for the re-issuing of the book "If I Did It," further indicating she and the Goldman family wanted a former FBI profiler to "break down the ‘language' of a ‘sociopathic narcissistic murderer' and provide insight in the way of an essay or chapter that can be included in this reissuance of the book." 

It took me a few minutes to wrap my psychological arms around her proposal.  She was offering me the chance to write an introductory chapter to a book that had the chance to sell millions of copies to readers who just can't get enough of this stuff.  Money and public recognition would surely follow anyone who had the seized the brass ring of telling what most people already believed: that should O.J. Simpson actually committed these murders (as the book would seem to suggest), and that he was "a sociopathic narcissistic murderer."  It took me about two minutes to come to my decision, "No, thank you." 

From the evidence introduced in the two trials and the media statements of many involved in the original investigation, it is easy to see O.J. as someone who developed an overly large sense of entitlement over the years. Some people simply come to believe that they are the sun and we are the planets and stars circling around them.  The laws of the land, and perhaps nature, do not apply to them; they can take what they want and should they sustain some kind of narcissistic injury, they believe themselves fully justified in striking out at others to restore their sense of balance. With this, you could be a political figure who took a bribe from a phony Arab Sheik, or a representative whose believed bribes were "cold cash" hidden in his home freezer.  You could also be a junk bond king or the owner of a tech company who milked money from investors and employees while living a lavish life (despite permanently damaging other lives).Or you could be a priest and take terrible advantage of the lives of young people who looked up to you like they would God, or even a career federal agent entrusted with your nation's secrets and that then you sold off to the Russians because you felt you were never fully appreciated and recognized by your agency.

Somewhere along the way, people like this believe they are above the law; that the laws are made for the ordinary citizen, but obviously not for them.  As the late hotel billionairess Leona Helmsley was alleged to have stated, "Only little people pay taxes," this before she went to jail for tax evasion.  O.J., in Helmsely-like fashion, may have come to believe that rules, regulations and laws were likewise only for the little people, something his criminal trial for murder seemed to many to confirm. 

A narcissistic injury can be suffered by someone with an over inflated sense of personal entitlement; someone who has come to believe that others should recognize and treat him special, and who then experiences a significant disappointment or socially embarrassing slight.  Such an emotionally "injured" individual could, potentially, overreact and not only harm, but even attempt to destroy the person responsible for what he perceived as an intentional personal attack.  The actions of a person like this are many times similar to what a stalker does to his victim, to include wanting to discomfort or harm someone he had once been close to.  The gratification and sense of power that is obtained from this form of "persecution" is the food that feeds, but may not soothe the narcissistic hurt and wounded ego.

When we consider someone who could kill another human being, especially with a knife, a weapon that requires you to get up close and personal, we many times must consider such a killer to have an antisocial personality disorder, to be a sociopath, or even a psychopath.  To stab someone with a knife, one has to look into the eyes of the person one is killing from mere inches away. Often, the stabbing happens in a frenzied rage.

A sociopathic person, 4 percent of our population, is either missing his conscience entirely or has been able to short circuit it to fulfill his own self centered, selfish needs.  Remember, he is the sun and we circle around him.  His lack of conscience, his aggressiveness to a fault, his risk taking actions, his deprecating attitude toward women, his boasting, impulsiveness and callousness; his manipulating, charismatic, egocentric personality, coupled with his inability to resist temptation, combine an individual fully capable of flying into a rage and attacking what he thought was his to possess, and anyone else that got in his way.

So were O.J. to have been the murderer that he still purports to seek, he would be someone who still craved the attention that such a book would afford him. A book would allow him to reopen the wounds suffered by his original victims and would revictimize society by reminding us, through this book, of how he got away with murder. 

I didn't want any part of this, any part of providing a possible sociopath with a platform to hint at what he did and what he may have gotten away with.  I'm also sure that the literary agent will find someone willing, perhaps for their own good reasons to write the chapter, to suggest the personality that could have gotten away with a double murder. 

In the meantime, though, if a killer has somehow managed to elude the criminal justice system, like a running back eludes tacklers on the football field, I don't think we should go out of our way to give him the sharp stick to plunge into our eye. 

Finally, I don't think Nicole Brown-Simpson's children deserve to continually have this whole mess served up in their faces.  After all, they deserve a life without having to constantly contemplate the mother they lost, and without knowing more about the man most believe is responsible for their mother's death.

Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI Agent, behavioral profiler and hostage negotiator as well as an MSNBC Analyst. His web site provides readers with security related information.