James "Whitey" Bulger and Aaron Hernandez have a lot in common. They are both charged with murder and they are both talented and gifted individuals. Both could have lead very productive lives that contributed to the betterment of others. If they are both convicted, they will be two more examples of individuals who chose to squander their good fortunes.
In the great lottery that is our DNA, Whitey and Hernandez hit the jackpot. Hernandez was given athletic ability, while Bulger received intellect. Both men exploited their gifts to make millions, Hernandez in the NFL and Whitey in the underworld. Whitey's money was dirty, but Hernandez made his the legitimate way. Whitey, the reputed mobster, fancied himself as a Robin Hood type. Hernandez, the NFL star, allegedly dabbled in the gangster lifestyle.
Both of these men had problems in their younger years, but they built themselves up to the top of their respective pursuits. They are a warped example of the opportunity our country still offers to individuals who combine their gifts and talents with hard work. Now they represent another great American tragedy. Imagine if Whitey had applied his intellect to research, teaching or another profession that helps his fellow man. Too bad Hernandez didn't stay out of trouble and become a real role model for kids instead of an example of what not to do with your life.
If a jury of their peers agrees with prosecutors, they will both spend the rest of their lives behind bars. That won't be enough time for Whitey to pay for his sins because he's already 83 years old. That will be plenty of time for 23-year-old Hernandez to think about how he threw his life away.