WHY DID YOU WRITE THE BOOK? I wrote the book because, when the civil cases settled and all the criminal cases ended with plea bargains, there were no trials. There would be no denouement. There would be no Perry Mason moment. There would be no cross examination of involved people. And there was a pervasive feeling in Rhode Island of unanswered questions. I knew all the data were out there. It was simply too massive and diffuse to make sense of. But having worked with a lot of it from the civil litigation, I was in a position to try to pull it into an understandable whole and hopefully an engaging narrative.

YOU HAVE PERFORMED AS A MUSICIAN, RIGHT? Over the years, I've performed as a vocalist in a number of genres, from classical [with the Providence Singers], to church music, to a 1940s group that I sing with now. It's called For Sentimental Reasons.

DID YOU BRING ANY OF YOUR MUSIC SENSIBILITY TO THIS BOOK? I became conscious of how it's the responsibility of the performers not to draw the [audience] into dangerous situations. A group like Jack Russell's Great White had an obligation to its fans it absolutely failed in. It was a traveling illegal enterprise setting off illegal pyrotechnics in unsuitable venues around the country.

WAS JUSTICE SERVED, IN EITHER THE CIVIL OR CRIMINAL RESPECT, IN THIS CASE? DOES JUSTICE EVEN EXIST FOR A CATASTROPHE OF THIS SIZE? There's no way of making the victims completely whole. No amount of money can make them whole. And I don't think any resolution in the criminal justice system can give complete satisfaction. One of the problems here is that there's a real dichotomy between the degree of intent required for the criminal charges — that is, manslaughter — and the absolutely unforeseen horrible result: a hundred deaths. And in sentencing the criminal defendants, Judge Darigan explained very eloquently that tension. On the one hand you say, "The punishment must reflect the fact that a hundred people died," but the law really ties punishment to the degree of intent or culpability.

[Still,] it does a disservice to the memory of the victims to suggest that any criminal penalty adequately reflects the value of a hundred lives. Because it doesn't.

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: This Just In , Books, Rhode Island, Perry Mason,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY PHILIP EIL
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   AT LAST, PROVIDENCE GETS A FRINGE  |  July 16, 2014
    What is a Fringe, and other questions answered.
  •   THE FOOD LIFE  |  July 09, 2014
    How to build a menu, the importance of texture, and much more.
  •   BUDDY'S BACK: A READER'S DIGEST  |  July 02, 2014
    There’s no disputing the fact that Providence — and all of Rhode Island, for that matter — has Buddy Fever.
  •   A POLITICAL CARTOON MARKS A NEW LOW ON FOUNTAIN STREET  |  June 25, 2014
    The march of the ProJo ’s opinion pages to greater depths of disgrace continues in plain sight.
  •   WHO ARE THESE GUYS?  |  June 18, 2014
    June 25 marks the deadline for filing paperwork to enter the 2014 Providence mayoral race. And, until then, the big question is, of course, “Will or won’t Buddy Cianci run?”

 See all articles by: PHILIP EIL