Today is the second anniversary of the day my best friend, Bill Owen, was killed by a Dearborn parking ordinance officer with delusions of grandeur. The officer’s name was Agron “Gary” Seiko and he was charged with manslaughter with a possible maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. He ended up plea bargaining the charge down to negligent homicide in exchange for a guilty plea reducing the maximum possible sentence to two years in the process. In the end Seiko got two years probation. Not too shabby considering he killed someone I’d been friends with for over 20 years by being a completely reckless macho dumbass. Within another month or so Seiko’s probation will have come to an end, assuming he’s kept his nose clean for the past two years. Meanwhile the lawsuit Bill’s family filed against the city of Dearborn for $250 million is still lingering in court with the city’s lawyers having whittled that impressive sum down to a possible $6 million, if the family is lucky, with no settlement anywhere in site. By the time the family’s lawyers collect their fees there won’t be a whole lot left.
Somehow that just doesn’t seem right.
Naturally as this day has come closer over the past week my mind has been dwelling on it more than usual. I have this odd mix of emotions where it seems like these events happened decades ago and yet at the same time happened just last week. There aren’t many days that Bill doesn’t cross my mind, but the grief has lessened enough that usually this prompts a smile at recalling a good time we had shared. Time has done much to heal this wound, but it wouldn’t take much picking at the scab to open it back up if I’m not careful.
This is a good day to remind you folks of friends and family you hold dear, but perhaps haven’t seen or heard from in awhile. Pick up the phone or drop by unexpectedly and give them a good solid hug. Grab that digital camera you spent too much money on and make sure you get a few pictures of you as a group, together, smiling and enjoying each other’s company. That’s something I didn’t do enough with Bill and I regret the missed opportunities now. They’re here today, but they might not be tomorrow and that’s all the excuse you need to touch base and remind them of how much you love them.