YOUNG GUNS

These young killers are cold, quick to kill, ruthless and brutal. They never think of the consequences of their acts. These two who killed James Jordan are brothers, under the skin, of the two teens from Agua Fria High School who shot nine victims in the Buddhist temple massacre two years ago.

They will kill without passion. They strike at anyone. There is always more urgency to get their hands on quick cash than there is to plan or to weigh the consequences. The decision to strike is made, and the killing becomes justified as a means to cover their tracks.

Here in Arizona, just two years ago this month, Johnathan Doody told his companion, Alex Garcia: "No witnesses."

And then Doody pumped bullets from a rifle into the head of every person lying face down on the floor before him. Neither Doody nor Garcia showed any emotion, either then or since.

So we can safely assume it was no different with the two 18-year-olds who killed James Jordan.

This is the frightening part. None of it was personal. Like the Buddhist monks, James Jordan just happened to be in the wrong place.

With this in mind, consider that this is something quite similar to the way the killing of James Jordan went down:

"Is he dead?"
"Yeah . . . about as dead as he's ever gonna get."
"Check him out. See how much he's carrying."
"Uh-oh . . . you know who this is? The license says James Jordan. Damn, I bet it's Michael Jordan's father! Look, right here on the driver's license, it says James Jordan."
"We should have known it right away. Look at the license plates. UNC0023. That's Michael Jordan's playing number. And UNC is for the University of North Carolina, where he played in college. Everybody in the world knows that number."
"Yeah, and now we killed his father. We've got to get rid of this body and get far away from it."
"Damn, he died so easy. I just squeezed the trigger. There was no sound at all as the bullet went into his chest."
"And look at him now. He looks surprised. He never thought when he was dancing around Chicago Stadium with Michael that something like this could happen to him."
"Damn! That's really Michael Jordan's daddy!"
"We'll take him over the state line to that swamp in South Carolina. We'll dump him there. No one will find him for a long time, if ever."
"And they'll never find us, either. We'll hide this car so far from here there'll be no connection."
"This is such a fine car. In a way, it's Michael's fault for giving him such a nice car."
"Damn! We really offed Michael Jordan's father! Isn't that something? Don't that beat all?"
"Let's quit talking and get out of here. This is something they better never catch us for."
@rule:
@body:But, of course, this pair was untutored in the ways of big-city crime. They drove around in the car for four days, parking it in the trailer court, where it was duly noted.

They even used the cellular telephone inside the car, unaware that every phone number they called could later be traced by the police.

@rule:
@body:Perhaps the most surprising outcome of the story is the attitude taken by many sportswriters around the country. It showed that there is a growing resentment toward Michael Jordan. His success has taken its toll.

Instead of sympathizing with Michael, the sportswriters went after him. They cited his excessive gambling and the gambling debts he has reportedly refused to pay.

Here is Scot Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle:
"The leading theory was that James Jordan was murdered because of unpaid debts, either his or his son's. We know what happens to guys who welsh on million-dollar bets.

"In a sad way, it's almost a relief the murder was a random crime . . . but the thing was a hanging curve ball at which most of us had to take a cut."
Here is Bob Verdi in the Chicago Tribune:
"How is it possible that any person, high-profile or not, could be missing three weeks without family members taking every imaginable measure in concert with authorities to secure information?

"Michael Jordan's life hasn't been private for years, and James Jordan's death won't be, either. . . . Your gut fear that seemingly innocent trips to Atlantic City or accusations of unpaid golf bets had something to do with this tragedy won't go away until and unless investigations make them go away."
Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune, who wrote the best-selling book The Jordan Rules, wrote:

"Prosperity, it seemed, was making Michael Jordan a monster, an arrogant, selfish superstar who pursued his own agenda."
Then Smith listed the basketball player's problems:
"There were accusations in a book that he'd lost more than $1 million gambling and then refused to pay his debt, more gambling questions when he went to Atlantic City to gamble before a key game in the playoffs and a self-imposed boycott of the media for two weeks during the playoffs."
There wasn't a day that went by that the stories about James Jordan's "missing status" didn't also contain the information that he had pleaded guilty to a felony and been placed on probation several years back for embezzling $7,000 from his employer. There were also repeated references to the fact that he had been sued many times for failure to pay debts.

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