Sunday, April 15, 2012

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

In this age of instant communication, it seems that we have completely lost sight of the idea of "Innocent until proven guilty" and "a fair trial by a jury of his/her peers."

In our rush to judgement we have lost sight of the fact that the news media only publishes what they have on hand, and that sometimes people (and institutions) lie, or deliberately hold back facts.  In the case of the police and prosecutors, it is necessary to withhold information from the public in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation and wait for the ultimate completion of a criminal case before stating their opinion.

The recent remarks I've seen on Twitter and Facebook (and not only in the recent Florida case) make me wonder if anyone really knows the meaning of words like racism, prejudice, and hate crimes.

After the Casey Anthony trial, and the OJ Simpson fiasco, have we not learned anything?  Why do we think those cases were lost in court?  Is it possible that maybe we, as citizens, don't need to know every detail of a case before it is decided by a FAIR and IMPARTIAL jury.  And how expensive is it for the taxpayers of a county when a case has to be tried in another county (change of venue) because of the unfair and exaggerated media hype of the case.

Is it more wrong to send a friend request to someone you don't know on Facebook, and less wrong to call for the death of another human being on Twitter.  Is it okay to casually throw around the word racist, or is it just okay if the one being accused is not able to defend themselves in the social media?

I think if the accused, or the victim, were someone in our close family we would feel very differently before casting stones.

Yes, death is a bad thing.  Yes, sometimes the police seem slow to respond, or make an arrest.  But we have a system of doing things in this country of ours.  It didn't develop as quickly as Facebook. It has taken hundreds of years to evolve.

Maybe we should back the train up a little and let the proper authorities do their jobs without the roadside gawking and looking for blood.  Isn't it time that we quit making crime an entertainment event?  Someone's freedom is on the line.  That used to mean something in this country.