Walter Mencken 9:27 a.m., Feb. 27
If Not Justice, We Have the Prospect of Justice
I’m sure all hands appreciate the traditions and history of SEC football. Likewise, all are familiar with the stirring pigskin competition between Auburn University and the University of Alabama. Tigers vs. Crimson Tide, if you will.
Now, bring to mind Toomer’s Corner. It is there, on the corner of College Street and Magnolia Avenue, where the Bodega Café, Toomer’s Drug, Compass Bank, and Auburn University come together to anchor a sacred grove of oak trees. Since the 1960s, give or take, Auburn students have rallied ‘round the Toomer’s Corner Oak Trees in raucous celebration after winning a big game of semipro football, especially if the loser of said game is Alabama. They gather, a congregation of like-minded souls, and throw toilet paper on sacred oak tree branches.
You’ll never forget what happened last December, but in case you did, an Alabama enthusiast poisoned Toomer’s Corner Oak Trees with a deadly herbicide. Believe it.
However, the murderer didn’t see it that way, calling a Birmingham sports radio show in January claiming to be Al from Dadeville. The man said, “The weekend after the Iron Bowl, (December 4 and 5, 2010), I went to Auburn, because I live 30 miles away, and I poisoned the two Toomer's trees, put Spike 80Df in them.” The host asked if the trees died. The murderer replied, “They're not dead yet, but they definitely will die.” And then the man signed off with a “Roll Damn Tide.”
You can imagine the sense of relief Sportsworld experienced when Harvey Updyke, aka Al from Dadeville, was arrested on February 17 and charged with criminal mischief.
I know there are cynics among us. There are people who said the charges would be dropped, nothing would happen, Harvey would be back on the streets by sunset.
Harvey Updyke Jr. has been indicted on four felony charges and two misdemeanors by way of a Lee County grand jury. He faces two felony counts of first-degree criminal mischief, two felony counts for unlawful damage, vandalism, or theft of property from a farm animal or crop facility, and two misdemeanor counts of desecrating a venerated object. Let us praise the unlawful-damage-vandalism-or-theft-of-property-from-a-farm-animal-or-crop-facility law. And yes, praise for the desecrating-a- venerated-object law as well.
Updyke is scheduled for arraignment on May 26 in Lee County Circuit Court. Trial is scheduled for June 20.
The tree-killing beast is looking at 10 years for each felony count, and 1 year for each misdemeanor count, making a total of 42 years in prison if the criminal justice system does the right thing. Updyke is 62 years-old, and if the State of Alabama does not go soft on crime, he’ll be 106 years-old in 2053. But a free man.
This has been hard on everyone. Some more than others. Follows is what Adolf Hitler had to say about Updyke:
Roll Damn Tide!
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