I kinda like you as an actor; loved The Italian Job, loved Boogie Nights; am still trying to forgive you for The Happening.
But this isn’t about your film career, is about you. I read all the time what a standup guy you are; a staunch supporter of our troops and, more importantly, our veterans when they come home; I read that you’re a doting dad and a loving husband.
But then I also read that you haven’t always been such a good guy. I read that, in 1988, at age sixteen, you were a bit of a thug, into crimes and drugs, and one night you and some friends decided to still some liquor from a convenience store. In the process, the Vietnamese owner of the store caught you, and you beat him, causing him to go blind in one eye, and then you beat another Vietnamese man with a stick.
I, too, was a bit of a rebel at sixteen. I once took my Mom’s car without permission, though, luckily, no one lost an eye. But I digress…
Now I hear that you want the law, and also all of us, to kind of forget about that, and have yourself pardoned for your crime and have your record expunged.
A few stories going around as to why, and why now:
Story #1: as co-owner of Wahlburgers, a hamburger joint, you want to expand the franchise throughout California but this pesky felony conviction will stop you from making any more money; except that you’re doing it anyway.
Story #2: as a huge supporter of the military and veterans — and good on you, as I said, for that — you would like to become a reservist and, again, that pesky felony conviction won’t allow it.
Story #3: you say your past conviction might stop you from working with law enforcement to help at-risk youth to the degree you want, but you do that anyway.
And so you filed an application with the Massachusetts Board of Pardons that read, in part:
“I am deeply sorry for the actions that I took on the night of April 8, 1988, as well as for any lasting damage that I may have caused the victims. Since that time, I have dedicated myself to becoming a better person and citizen so that I can be a role model to my children and others.”
Well, Mark, here’s my take: can that Asian man, whom you blinded over a case of booze, now suddenly see? No. So, every day that man wakes up — and he wasn’t the only person you attacked that night, nor was he the first person you ever beat up — remembering how he used to be able to see and now he can’t because some dickhead who has now become a rich movie star hit him in the face with a stick.
I’m all for forgiveness, and I’m all for growth, and if you want the forgiveness fine; I hope your victims can forgive you. But, if you want to be pardoned — which basically means you never did the crime — because you want to open more burger joints or want to become a part-time military man, well, too bad for you.
When you commit a crime, you take the punishment, and you don’t get the crime expunged because it’s hard on you if you can’t. I still think you need to wake up every day, in your posh Beverly Hills home, remembering what you did. That store owner does not have his sight back and never will, so why should you get a pass?
We might forgive you, but should we forget? And should you, legally, at least, be allowed to act os though this never happened?
But that’s just me.