Just Call Him Mike

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Mike Farrell, better known as B.J. Hunnicutt from the mega-hit television show, M*A*S*H, came to Public Counsel today, and I had the chance to shake his hand, hear him speak, get a picture with him, AND get an autographed hardcover copy of his book, Just Call Me Mike. Way cool.

Mike Farrell

It was such an honor to have such an intimate audience with Mr. Farrell. Since his television star days, he has become known as an activist, particularly in his efforts to have the death penalty abolished. He is known as an activist, but as his book title says, he prefers you just call him Mike.

It was fascinating to hear him talk of his father, describing him as a “volcanic” alcoholic of which he was terrified as a child. In fact, Mike went into acting (only after his father died because he would have been too scared to do such a thing otherwise) because he knew actors received attention, and that’s what he thought he wanted in life. Positive attention. Later, he learned that what he was really looking for was love.

In fact, that drives Mr. Farrell (um, I mean “Mike”)’s activism – the realization that what the invisible people of our society (the homeless, the aged, the incarcerated, et al) really need is to be valued as a human being.

He had good news to share in that he believes the death penalty will eventually be abolished in America. The only question is when. Unfortunately, much of this progress is because people are realizing that the death penalty is a huge waste of money instead of learning to value human life. Still, we’ll take it.

He told a fabulous (and at the same time, horrible) story about a woman who was rescued from her death sentence with just two days to spare. “Granny” had experienced horrible, horrible abuse in her life, and had killed on two different occasions in response to her victimization. After being rescued from death, she has used her life sentence to complete a college education and encourage many of her younger fellow inmates (who call her Granny) to pursue an education and create a brighter future.

I’m so glad we didn’t kill her first.

Well, it was a neat afternoon. Not a bad way to end a week of work.

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4 Responses to “Just Call Him Mike”

  1. jazzbumpa Says:

    Wow. That dude’s 70. Looks purdy good, I’d say.

    My father was only a part-time drunk, and also volcanic, so I know where he’s coming from. It really is all about the love.

  2. alsturgeon Says:

    Thanks!

    Yeah, I didn’t even realize he was 70 until today. In fact, he looks more 70 in this pic than he does in person. I couldn’t believe it.

    I’m really looking forward to reading his book. His stories should prove to be quite interesting.

  3. urbino Says:

    I thought you were going to say you were “really looking forward to” being 70.

    The bit about his alcoholic father is interesting, given the constant battle with alcoholism that went on in the Swamp.

    Did you ask him if it was true that B.J. Hunnicutt was named for his mother — Bea Hunnicutt — and his father — Jay Hunnicutt? If you didn’t, what’s wrong with you?

    And as for the abolition of the death penalty, we already did that, right? It just didn’t stick.

  4. alsturgeon Says:

    No, I didn’t ask him that. See, I never can think of the good questions. I’ll blame it on being star struck.

    And I think you’re right on the history.

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