Monday, December 01, 2014

The Court of Public Opinion

Justice has become little more than headlines.  We simply do not know, and many do not care, what the truth actually is.  In the special edition of the Goshen Gazette, remembering the assassination of President Kennedy, a somber fact persists all these years later.  A great many people simply aren't sure we believe the official record.  Lee Harvey Oswald was literally tried, judged, and executed in "the court of public opinion" in less than 48 hours.  Although, only one man pulled the trigger in that Dallas Police Department taking, Oswald's life, that was basically the end of the investigation.  There was no jury, no trial, and no official judgment; but a simple presumption of guilt and the case was closed by the verdict of Warren Commission.

By the time O. J. Simpson was standing trial for a double murder, courtroom drama was already a part of television programming.  Considering O.J. had been big in sports, even movies and advertising, it seemed almost "natural" that his trial would be televised.  What we seemed to overlook in the publicity of this televised trial is the fact that the public had already determined his guilt or innocence, based not upon facts and evidence, but rather race and fame.  I didn't want O.J. to have committed that horrendous act.  I wanted justice, not legal technicalities.  I remembered having such a schoolgirl crush on the Heisman trophy winner back in 1968.  I wanted to believe that O.J. was simply incapable of doing such a thing.  Although he was acquitted, there was still much more than a lingering doubt in regard to his innocence, but he also had been tried by the court of public opinion.

Scott Peterson was clearly tried by the court of public opinion, in that there was a movie made about the case before he even went to trial.  I do have many doubts about this conviction, right down to the fact Laci's disappearance made national news within hours.  A woman presumedly takes her dog for a walk while her husband is fishing, and she's not home when he gets back.  Within just a few hours, a police report is made, the search is organized, and by morning, it's national news.  There's no argument that Scott Peterson is a cad.  He's an adulterous jerk, but that doesn't necessarily make him a murderer.  I've always had a few questions about the massage therapist.  As a former funeral director who worked with several county coroners, the condition and separation of the bodies seemed questionable. Sentencing a man to death, based upon circumstantial evidence seems presumptuous and irresponsible.  The only "evidence" was a single strand of hair thought to be Laci's, in a pair of pliers on Scott's boat.  As a woman with long hair, strands of hair can appear in many unlikely places.  I certainly do not view Scott Peterson as a truthful human being of integrity, it's just hard to believe someone could commit a murder and leave absolutely no evidence, whatsoever.  

Moving on to a more recent event, this past week the grand jury determined there was not enough evidence to bring charges against Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.  This situation was not only racially, but very, very politically divided and basically appeared to be orchestrated to ramp up tension and deeply divide the people.  There have been many incidents of police brutality, but the man had just stolen merchandise and had gotten a bit physical with the clerk, so there were enough variables to sort through without the racial issue and certainly without the Washington politicians getting involved.  It would appear to this journalist that the powers that be do recognize much is determined by the court of public opinion, and this is one more way to further divide the people.

But YHWH said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for YHWH seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but YHWH looketh on the heart.  History of Holy Scripture
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