As you probably also recall, just a few days after Major went missing, I published that I had received an email from a fellow with the Birmingham News, whose name I don’t now recall, wanting to know if he could interview me. I found out later he was referred to me by a Bham friend, who even later told me this fellow was an award-winning business journalist. As I recall, what had gotten him interested was the Golden Flake threat letter, which I described again in today’s post.
Anyway, I sent him my phone number and he called me back pretty quick. After about ten minutes, I told him it had only just occurred to me before he called that perhaps Major had killed himself and had tried to make it look like someone else had done it. This was some days before Major’s body was found in the golf course pond. The fellow said chills were running up his spine, he’d had the same thought before he called me. He sent me two or three drafts of his article, to make sure we had right what I had said during the interview. He said it would run the next day, but it didn’t and I didn’t hear from him. So I emailed him, and he said it had been decided higher up to wait.
I felt then that somebody had gotten to the News. I had emailed the family lawyer that I had been interviewed and an article would be forthcoming. Perhaps that somehow was in play. I ain’t exactly the welcome prodigal in my family, as you well know. I had already been in touch with the family lawyer before the interview, we had gone through law school and tax law school together, and I’d had quite a few conversations with him over the years about my relationship with my father, mostly. I had told him about the threat letter and it needing to be gotten to the company board of directors, who apparently didn’t know about it, as one of them I called had not heard of it.
Later, I learned from Major’s first wife, as I recall, the family lawyer already had the threat letter, my sister had taken him the one left in her mailbox. It didn’t seem he had taken it seriously, as it was only later, after I raise the need to alert the directors, that he told me they had been given copies of the letter. Imagine the News contacting them about the letter and they knew nothing about it?
By the time I wound down writing about Major going missing, I was pretty well convinced somebody had gotten to the news and killed the article. My friend, who had sent the award-winning journalist to me, got pretty wound up over my allegation, said it was not possible the News was gotten to. I, having had mucho dealings with newspapers down here, was not persuaded, especially given the News had blocked me out of its blog.
A television station up there, however, seemed to view me as a news source, and they did some interviews and ran parts of them. Then, they did a lengthy interview, which was audio-taped, and the put a link for the entire interview on their website. I reminisced during that interview, stayed away from hot topics. People up there got to see the older brother who had deeply cared for his younger brother despite their estrangement.
It was an assignment from hell, if ever there was one, but if I didn’t do it, it never would have gotten done. Along the way, Major’s son Brooks called me and urged that I come up there and help him found out what happened to his father. I was told in a dream not to go up there, so I took a pass.
My sister’s daughter emailed me, demanding I stop writing about Major, I didn’t live up there and didn’t have to live with all the tongue-wagging. I thanked her for writing and letting me know how she felt, and said, if she was reading what I was writing, she knew I was not running the show, and if her mother wanted to tell me how she felt, she needed to contact me herself. I never heard from Sis the entire time, but our first cousin Bubba Major wrote to me frequently.
Bubba could not accept Major killing himself, but he never got onto me about what I was writing. Hell, Mike, I knew Major better than anyone in the family, except perhaps his first wife. It was interesting, getting a good bit of flack from people up there, who could not have known him like I knew him. You’d have thought they would have stopped and thought more about what I was writing, but they were closed down all the way.
I knew it had to be horrible for Major’s wife and their two small children. And for his wife’s family. But to this day, I am not convinced his wife was taken totally by surprise. I watched a video interview of her done by a Bham TV station. I saw, heard and felt no emotion, no sense of loss, no grieving. She never once called Major by name, only “my husband.” It was surreal. I knew her only somewhat from before the estrangement. I knew her mother and father better from before the estrangement.
I remain convinced what I got early on, it was Major’s time to go because he could not be allowed to live vicariously though his second son in sports the way he had lived through Brooks in sports, overrode everything else. On Major’s law firm website, as you probably recall, was a page devoted to his younger son’s sports achievements. When I read it, I saw Major and Brooks all over again. The cause of the estrangement, because I tried to intervene for Brooks, who truly was gifted in sports, and later would reject sports and have a truly rough row to hoe in life. As if his rudder was lost, his soul aimless, according to what Major and Gayle both told me separately. And there was a very bad beating when Brooks was about twelve, which I learned from Gayle.
With all of that in my thoughts, I wrote, if ever there was anyone who had reason to want Major dead, it was Brooks. I did not mean it literally, but in the soul sense. After learning from Dothan investigative journalist Lori Moore many months later that Brooks had met with Major at the Five Points Starbucks on the fated afternoon (Lori went to the Starbucks and was told this by employees there, who knew Major, who was a regular customer), I became very concerned Brooks would be blamed for Major’s death, and he would blame himself.
I always viewed my role in this, to a great deal, as trying to protect Brooks. But after his mother spoke with him and he said (she told me this) he did not see Major that day, I figured some day I would write about this again, to air it all out. Looks like I figured right.
I didn’t like the Bham News’ reporting of the autopsy report and the Bham PD investigation. Outrageous, given how much front-page coverage the News had provided about Major’s case until and just after his body was found in the pond. It was as if, yeah, the News had been gotten to. I sent the award-winning investigative journalist an email, expressing my sentiments, and asked him to pass it along to his bosses. I heard nothing back. And the FBI, which had gotten very heavily involved, was totally silent.
Perhaps the Freedom of Information Act request I made this past March with the FBI on all and everything it has re Thomas Major Bashinsky will shed some light. I hope the FBI is forthcoming. If they aren’t, the angels will tell me and that will become another saga. If it goes that way, I would wager some coins Judge Allgood will work that one behind the scenes. He presided over all federal criminal trials in the Northern District of Alabama. FBI agents testified in many of the criminal cases he presided over. It won’t surprise me if the FBI is sitting on something they want to keep sitting on, but I don’t imagine it will change the cause of death, which I have rehashed again today. It might change some understanding of the cause of death, though. And it might cause some people to squirm.
I still cannot see someone killing Major somewhere, then taking his body in a vehicle to the golf course, hauling the body out of the car, all trussed up and decorated like it was later found, dragging the body over a fence to the pond edge, in plain fiew of passing traffic, then walking the body out into the middle of the pond. Nor can I see someone trussing and decorating the living Major like that, and forcing him at gun point to walk out into the middle of the pond, and shooting him there, unless it was co-created. And even that is tenuous, for the accomplice would be at serious risk to the shot being heard and getting caught before making a get-away.
Simply not a credible murder scene and surely that occurred to the Coroner and Bham PD. That, and the theater at the scene. Theater it was, and perhaps the full meaning will never be known, although the notion that came to me when I wrote to Lori Moore, that it was a grand skit designed to divert attention away from suicide, makes more sense to me right now than anything else.