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07:44 pm: trial and tribulation
Apparently some woman who was tried for killing her daughter was found mostly not guilty and some folks are all upset.

That's so sad. As far as I can tell, almost none followed the trial, except for what they heard/saw/read in the news. None (that I've read) was a juror. None has read trial transcripts ('cause they're not available yet). So who are they to judge? Who are the media to judge?

We have a system of judgment. It's trial by jury. And if you're not on that jury, you don't get to judge. (And anyone who's been on a jury will tell you how hard it is and how seriously they take it. I know I sure did - and it was violation of a restraining order between two people who'd since repaired their relationship.)

Of course it's deeply tragic that a little girl died. I can't even go there. Can't even think about it. Don't want to know the details.

But someone was accused, tried, and found not guilty. Presumably the evidence did not support the accusations of which she was found not guilty.

If you weren't on the jury, weren't the judge on the case, weren't involved in the case, aren't even a frickin' lawyer (almost no one I've read is - those who are all seem to agree with the verdict), you don't get to judge.


I spent way too much time studying the Sam Sheppard trial not to be deeply, deeply disturbed at this whole thing. It's even easier now than it was 1954 to get all caught up in media representations (professional and amateur media alike) that are incomplete, misleading, and often overwhelmingly not disinterested* parties. Those media channels? They're selling commercials/ads/clicks. The vast majority are not trying to provide even-handed coverage of a complex, difficult issue. They're just trying to get people to watch/listen/read.

And people believe them. They go to the same sources they always watch/listen to/read. With the filter bubble, they may not even be aware that there's another point of view.

Well shit.

I don't know. I don't know if that woman killed her child. I don't know if her father did. But I know that the former was found not guilty and the latter has not been tried. And that's all I know.

* In the original sense: unbiased, not just uninterested.

* * * * *

Edited to add: I'm well aware that this post could itself be construed as judgmental, though I don't mean it to be. I have no more right to be disappointed in others than they do to judge the outcome of a trial in which they did not participate and for which they don't have the facts. (Getting sorta Screwtape Letters in here.)

But I am disappointed. And this particular issue - trial by media - is one that's influenced me a great deal, so I wanted to capture some of my response. I hope Teddy and I get to talk a lot about this kind of stuff when he's older.

Current Location: Longmeadow
Current Mood: sadsad


[User Picture]
Date:July 8th, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. I saw so many angry posts on facebook the day of and after the verdict. And all that you said here applies to what I think. There was an excellent commentary about this on NPR the day after. The judicial system did its job. It did not prosecute because they could not prove without a reasonable doubt that that woman murdered her child. It makes me sad that people will just judge without the facts. And the reactions of the parties involved to the missing child and the not guilty verdict... a lot of people don't understand (and again thinks that proves guilt as well). I'm not saying I understand either. But as some very good reporters have pointed out. How are we to know how someone will/should react to something if we haven't lived their life in their shoes. I know what it means to numb out and I can see how someone who has had to REALLY numb out might react in a way that is strange/inappropriate to many. So glad you feel the same about this (not right for us to judge).
[User Picture]
Date:July 8th, 2011 12:47 pm (UTC)

thank you!

Sometimes I feel as if I'm kinda dangling out there alone on the subject (ref. OJ, Michael Jackson, et al.). It's a relief to hear from like minds.

I'll have to look up the NPR commentary. Thank you!
[User Picture]
Date:July 8th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)

Re: thank you!

I know what you mean about feeling alone. I've spoken out on some other topics where I feel like people are reacting emotionally or are not considering all of the facts and usually it makes people mad at me. Recently I had a real life "friend?", from church no-less (the church we just left), de-friend me on facebook over something. He had posted a story by Christian media about how some companies (I think Pepsi? was one) are using a company to test their product using cells derived from "ABORTED BABIES". As I looked deeper into this, I found that they were using an immortalized cell line that has been around for decades. It was derived from one aborted fetus. I don't know why the fetus was aborted. I assume it wasn't purely for scietific purposes. I, myself, am pro-life, but this story was totally misrepresenting the truth. And it turns out I worked with that very cell line when I was doing research. It was very good for transfecting genes and getting good expression. We used it to express channels and receptors for testing compounds against various drug targets (instead of killing lots of animals over time to harvest their cells which expressed the desired drug target). It has been used for many years in scientific research and is available for purchase through a company that sells cell lines and media (cell food) products. Anyway, the point is, fine if you want to boycott a company for using a company who uses a cell line derived from an fetus aborted in the early '70s, but call it was it is. Don't act like millions of babies are being sacraficed for fresh cells to do the testing. I think if people are going to call themselves Christians, they should represent the full truth. Otherwise, they are not being very Christ-like, are they? And how are people supposed to believe anything these people say in the future. OK, that was just one example - but like I said, I lost at least one friend over it, apparently.
[User Picture]
Date:July 9th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)

that's an unfortunately good example

...and it hits on one of the things that's most bothersome to me about this whole thing: the judgmental behavior of professed Christians.

I'm the *last* person to be any authority on the subject, but I do recall something about "judge not lest ye be judged."

As long as people are consistent with their beliefs, I figure they're entitled (if they're not hurting other people). But hypocrisy? Makes me NUTS. I knew a guy who believed he got a good deal on a refrigerator because he'd been re-baptized the weekend before, which just seemed crazy to me (I sure hope any deities out there have more important things to work on than someone's appliances, y'know?). Then he was convicted of embezzling from the company a year or so later. So much for his convictions leading him down the righteous path. Ugh.

Thank you for your willingness to continue to engage with Difficult People* about Difficult Subjects. The world needs folks like you!!

* me definitely included
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