In the New York Herald, November 26, year 1911, there is an account of the hanging of three men. They died for the murder of Sir Edmund William Godfrey, Husband, Father, Pharmacist and all around gentle-man resident of Greenberry Hill, London. He was murdered by three vagrants whose motive was simple robbery. They were identified as: Joseph Green, Stanley Berry and Daniel Hill. Green, Berry, Hill. And I Would Like To Think This Was Only A Matter Of Chance.
As reported in the Reno Gazzette, June of 1983, there is the story of a fire,the water that it took to contain the fire and a scuba diver named Delmer Darion. Employee of the Nugget Hotel and Casino, Reno, Nevada. Engaged as a blackjack dealer, well liked and well regarded as a physical, recreational and sporting sort, Delmer’s true passion was for the lake. As reported by the coroner, Delmer died of a heart attack somewhere between the lake and the tree. But most curious side note is the suicide the next day of Craig Hansen volunteer firefighter, estranged father of four and a poor tendency to drink, Mr. Hansen was the pilot of the plane that quite accidentally lifted Delmer Darion out of the water. Added to this, Mr. Hansen’s tortured life met before with Delmer Darion just two nights previous. The weight of the guilt and the measure of coincidence so large, Craig Hansen took his life. And I Am Trying To Think This Was All Only A Matter Of Chance.
The tale told at a 1961 awards dinner for the American Association Of Forensic Science by Dr. John Harper, president of the association, began with a simple suicide attempt. Seventeen year old Sydney Barringer. In the city of Los Angeles on March 23, 1958. The coroner ruled that the unsuccessful suicide had suddenly become a successful homicide. To explain: The suicide was confirmed by a note in the right hip pocket of Sydney Barringer. At the same time young Sydney stood on the ledge of this nine story building, an argument swelled three stories below. The neighbors heard, as they usually did, the arguing of the tenants. And it was not uncommon for them to threaten each other with a shotgun or one of the many handguns kept in the house. And when the shotgun accidentally went off, Sydney just happened to pass. Added to this, the two tenants turned out to be: Fay and Arthur Barringer. Sydney’s mother and Sydney’s father. When confronted with the charge, which took some figuring out for the officers on the scene of the crime, Fay Barringer swore that she did not know the gun was loaded.
A young boy who lived in the building, sometimes a visitor and friend to Sydney Barringer said that he had seen, six days prior the loading of the shotgun. It seems that all the arguing and the fighting and all of the violence was far too much for Sydney Barringer and knowing his mother and father’s tendency to fight, he decided to do something. Sydney Barringer jumps from the ninth floor rooftop. His parents argue three stories below. Her accidental shotgun blast hits Sydney in the stomach as he passes the arguing sixth floor window. He is killed instantly but continues to fall, only to find, five stories below, a safety net installed three days prior for a set of window washers that would have broken his fall and saved his life if not for the hole in his stomach.
So Fay Barringer was charged with the murder of her son and Sydney Barringer noted as an accomplice in his own death and it is in the humble opinion of this narrator that this is not just “Something That Happened.” This cannot be “One of those things…” This, please, cannot be that. And for what I would like to say, I can’t. This Was Not Just A Matter Of Chance. Ohhhh. These strange things happen all the time.
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