Monday, May 18, 2009

What about Richard Drummond?

While convicted killer Dennis Skillicorn has become the cause du jour for what some would label the left-wing media, you very rarely hear about Skillicorn's victim, Richard Drummond, and that, not Skillicorn's impending execution is the real tragedy.

We have read story after story and heard one news report after another about the miraculous change that has taken place in Skillicorn since he was convicted and placed on death row in 1994 for Drummond's murder. We hear about Skillicorn's prison ministry and how he has selflessly helped others these past 15 years.

Reporters are able to interview Skillicorn and those who know him and put a human face on the death penalty. Meanwhile Mr. Drummond has become an afterthought, casually mentioned as the Good Samaritan who stopped to help Skillicorn and two other men and was murdered...if he is mentioned at all.

This was touched on by Kansas City Star columnist Mike Hendricks Sunday, but only as far as this brief passage is concerned:

His fine points are little mentioned these days. About all we hear of him is that he was a Good Samaritan — an Excelsior Springs businessman who offered to help Skillicorn and two of his druggie pals when their car broke down on Interstate 70 one day in August 1994.

And for that kindness, Drummond, 47, was kidnapped, robbed and marched into the woods near Higginsville, Mo. It was there that one of the men, Allen Nicklasson, fired two bullets into Drummond’s brain.


And that's it. The rest of the column, despite Hendricks; premise, is about Skillicorn.

When the media is making out a man to be a martyr, and that is exactly what the Kansas City Star and other publications have done, it needs to provide a sobering balance to the equation. The crime needs to be explained each time, and the victim needs to be more than just a name. Richard Drummond was a human being with a life, a family, and a job. Why have we never been told about this? He came from Excelsior Springs. Can't just one Kansas City Star reporter pick up a telephone and call people in Excelsior Springs to get a full picture of who Richard Drummond was? Perhaps the people who might have made such calls were the victims of some of the Star's recent firings.

And while we are at it, has anyone from the Star actually read through the court records? In legal briefs, Skillicorn's attorneys claimed their client was victimized by the court's refusal to allow a potential witness to testify. Yet this same potential witness told authorities that Skillicorn, portrayed relentlessly in the media as "a follower" who never dreamed that that Allan Nicklasson would murder Mr. Drummond, was actually a cold, calculating "manipulator" who decided early that he would pin all of the blame on Nicklasson.

I have never been a fan of the death penalty, but I am less of a fan of reporting that attempts to manipulate the facts, excluding many of them, in order to make a political point, in this case, that capital punishment is wrong.

These continued attempts to portray Dennis Skillicorn as some shining knight behind bars, being wrongly sentenced to death for a murder committed by another man, make a mockery out of the truth, and are a slap in the face to those who loved RIchard Drummond.

Between now and 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, we will be inundated with information about the impending death of Dennis Skillicorn. Let's not forget, however, that Skillicorn and his companions have lived 15 years longer than they allowed Richard Drummond to live.

Who is going to speak for this man who can no longer speak for himself.

Sadly, it won't be the Kansas City Star or the rest of the traditional media.

6 comments:

Tracy said...

I am an Excelsior Springs resident as well and have not forgotten about Richard and his family. I was only 16 at the time of his death, but it was definately a sad day. I am glad to have found this post on the web with the mention of how media has glorified the man responsible for taking Richard away from his family, yet no mention of Richard and his life.

Connie Drummond Bingham said...

Richard Drummond was my Uncle, my dad's youngest brother. I have so many fond memories of him especially when I was a little girl. He would put me on his shoulders & walk from my grandparent's farm into town to take my brothers & I to the Dime Store. We never lived very close together but when I did get to see him I remembered it being something special. My uncle served in the Air Force during Vietnam. He had a beautiful wife & 3 beautiful daughters. He was only able to go to the graduation of one of them before his life was tragically taken from him. He is about to miss out on another one of his daughter's weddings. This will make the third one he wasn't allowed to attend. He has 4 grandchildren now that have never met their grandpa. He was loved not only by his family but by everyone that knew him. He was the best there was at his job & anyone that worked with him will tell you the same thing. If there was a problem on a job site, it would be Richard Drummond that they would send in to fix it. The fact that he stopped to help strangers on the side of the road tells you what kind of a man he was. He met me over an hour away from his home when I had left an abusive marriage & was headed back home to Nebraska & was having trouble leaving the people that had treated me right behind. I hadn't seen him for almost 10 years but as soon as he heard my voice he told me everything would be okay & he would help me get through it. He gave me directions on where to meet up with him & then had me follow him home so I could stay a few days & be around people that loved me. My dad & youngest brother came to help me drive the rest of the way home. We left on April 18, 1994. That was the last time we ever saw my uncle. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him & miss him!!

Michael Lear said...

Connie,

I'm a reporter following Allen Nicklasson. I'm interested in talking to a member of Richard Drummond's family about Richard and who he was.

If you or another member of your family would be interested in talking to me, I may be reached at mikelear@missourinet.com.

Thanks for your time,

- Mike

Anonymous said...

Connie...I haven't forgot about Richard Drummond..nor his family. I often wonder how his loved ones are doing and what they feel every time this mans face is plastered all over the news.I pray for them too during these difficult times.
I am the niece of Charlene Babcock.
<3.
Thinking of your family.
Ginny Hartsock

Connie Drummond Bingham said...

Hi Mike,
you can e-mail me at conniebfree2001@gmail.com

Thanks,
Connie

Connie Drummond Bingham said...

Hi Ginny,
Thank you for the thoughts and kind words! I've often wondered about the family of Joseph and Charlene Babcock as their family suffered a tremendous loss as well! I pray that your family has received some peace and closure with the recent execution of Allen Nicklasson. If you ever need someone to talk to please feel free to e-mail me at conniebfree2001@gmail.com

Take care,
Connie Drummond Bingham