Tag Archive | "O.J. Simpson"

Shunned!

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The media hype trailing the infamous court trial of Casey Anthony has left many of us almost as outraged as we were with the actual verdict.  Suspected of murdering her innocent two-year-old daughter, and judged by a jury of her peers, Ms. Anthony was awarded an acquittal. While we were indeed angered by this sentence, we did have ample warning.  For as the statue in Washington, DC proclaims, “What is past, is prologue.”   In this instance, “past” is defined as the O.J. Simpson trial, in which Mr. Simpson was acquitted of the charges of brutally murdering his former wife and her friend.


We can examine and find flaws within our legal system, flaws that led to Anthony’s and Simpson’s acquittal. We can therein lay blame for these and other heinous crimes that go unpunished.  But how do we start to fix this imperfect system, which also happens to be the fairest (most just) legal system in the world? I may just have the solution.  But first, let us have a look at those flaws.


Under U.S. law, a person suspected of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  The onus, therefore, rests with the prosecution to craft, from empirical evidence and the sworn statements of eyewitnesses, an airtight case.  Conversely, the sole responsibility of the defense attorney is to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors.  If reasonable doubt can be shown, the accused walks away free.


Add to this the fact that U.S. has no blanket, Federal sentence for the crime of murder.  In some States, homicide is punishable by death.  In other States, the guilty parties live out their sentences behind bars, enjoying three squares a day, learning new trades, and “getting religion,” the latter of which often equates to a shorter sentence, contingent upon the inmate’s demonstration of good behavior (as if a murderer is capable of good behavior).  And, those States that still employ the death sentence have no guarantee that it will remain in place: with changes in the composition of state legislatures, legislators can vote “for” or “against” that death penalty.


In the instances of Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson, the defense won because the prosecution essentially handed them those cases on silver platters.  Both trials were conducted before all the facts were considered, thus creating that reasonable doubt leading to the acquittals.


The other problem, however, is the selection of an impartial jury.  How is it possible to select a jury that is impartial when the media is a.) given or secures access to key  information well in advance of the actual trial, and then b.) makes public that very information, in an effort to drum up ratings or readership?  Rampant, pre-trial media coverage is basically akin to jury tampering, a crime that carries a stiff sentence.  But, by flying under the flag of journalism (the right to free speech and freedom of the press), that crime is rendered null.  And, so is the justice of our justice system!


It has been rumored that broadcast media and newspapers have offered large sums of money to accused parties and their families in exchange for being the first news agency to air the sordid details.  If this is true, we have the accused feeding information that should never be leaked, to a media that, in all civic responsibility, should not leak it!   So, unless potential jurors avoid newspapers, radio, TV, the Internet, and no doubt, cell phones, there can be no fair, impartial jurors!  For as Ben Franklin once stated, “Neither a maidenhead nor a fortress will hold once they begin to parley.”


So, what is the solution?  How do we punish the Casey Anthony’s, the O.J. Simpson’s, and all those who are bound to follow in their footsteps, given the legal loopholes and precedents illustrated above?


The solution may lie, not so ironically, with a simpler and gentler society.  This society is found in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania; they are called The Pennsylvania Dutch (the Amish).  These deeply religious, self-sufficient people live off the land in a self-governing society.  That society lives by the Golden Rule of loving your neighbor as you would yourself.


When an individual in the Amish society breaks the rules, that person is tried fairly.  If found guilty, the individual is shunned by the group; basically, the person is ignored as if he or she has ceased to exist.  In the very elegant and non-violent solution of the wise Amish lies the answer of how to deal with Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson, and their ilk.


Shunning would end the constant media barrage, for without viewers or readers, the case would carry no interest.  With no interest in the case, broadcast media and tabloids would withdraw their lucrative offers, denying accused criminals the benefit of becoming millionaires.  As Father Guido Sarducci would say, “It would make it difficult to pay for her sins.”


The aftermath of the Casey Anthony case has stirred up a hornet’s nest of hostility.  Despite stern warnings from high-ranking officials, the death threats to both Casey’s family and the jurors continue.  It is time for cooler heads to prevail.  It is time to turn to the logical, non-violent ways of the Amish as a means of dealing with criminals who slip through the legal cracks.


Related Post:


Beyond the Casey Anthony Case

Broken Lives

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Murder Victim

“Marriage is an institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”

 

The old joke aside, I am astounded that marriage continues as a custom of our society.  Even if a husband and wife hail from the same cultural background and the same generation, their differences must far outweigh their similarities.  They will have been raised in disparate households, under different circumstances.  Each will follow their own politics; each will have their own tastes in music, art, sports, cuisine, and so much more.  Couples who remain together, and moreover, remain happy together, overcome tremendous challenges.

 

But what of the couples who don’t?  What happens when it all goes wrong, causing a husband to bring his entire family to a tragic end?

 

For purposes of this article, I will refer to the violent half of the couple as “he” or “him.”  Although there are a number of cases on record of cold-blooded and mentally unstable mothers murdering their children, a much larger body of statistical data illustrates that men perpetrate the majority of violent crimes, including those against their spouses and their own flesh and blood.  If you, dear reader, have neither the time nor the inclination to examine the research, take a glance at the media.  Teeming with stories of such violence, the TV, the Internet, the radio, or the newspapers should convince you of the truth of these terrible statistics.

 

What does cause an otherwise sane man to turn into a Scott Peterson, a Robert Blake, or an O.J. Simpson?  The reasons swing from financial difficulties, “temporary insanity,” substance/steroid abuse, and adultery, including the notion that the man simply cannot live without his significant other.  The other factor is the triple-X chromosome, a genetic abnormality that affects only the male gender and results invariably and inevitably in violent behavior, including murder-suicide.

 

If a husband/father takes his own life, his choice will undoubtedly impact his wife and children.  But the man who commits murder-suicide within his own home robs his family of their own choices; indeed, he deprives them of their most basic right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”   The Bible tells us that it is wrong to murder someone, but I feel a personal need to qualify this Commandment.   A bigger sin is murdering an innocent child who has had nothing to do with creating a volatile home situation.  I cannot conceive of how it is possible to snuff out the life of a child you have brought into this world, a child whose tears you have dried, tucked into bed, and taught to ride a bicycle.  And in Scott Peterson’s case, a child you would not even allow to emerge from his mother’s womb.  To be killed by someone you once loved and may still love is a most horrible fate.

 

In cases such as O.J.’s (verdict notwithstanding), where the husband becomes enraged that his wife — or former wife! — has taken up with another man, I simply don’t understand the husband’s mindset.  If you love someone who was not happy with you, would you not gain some measure of peace in allowing her to be free?  Letting her go peacefully, without rage or animosity, would enable you to remain friends and mitigate the impact upon the children whose custody you may share.

 

I also question the sanity of men who assume that their souls will be reunited, on the other side, with those of their murdered wives.  Do these men possess crystal balls to know what lies beyond death of the body?  And if they view their wives as soul mates, as cherished partners, how then can they remove those women from this life and do it in so heinous a manner?

 

Perhaps, but for the matter of the triple X chromosome, it boils down to weakness of character.  Some men are unable to accept responsibility, financial and emotional, for the families they have created.   Some men obligate their women to validate their very existence.  And some men just never grow up. 

 

If you find yourself in a precarious situation, contemplating destroying your loved ones and taking your own life, I cannot urge you enough to think about the consequences, should you put your fears into action.  I also strongly suggest that you try another route.  Trusted counseling is available from many sources: licensed therapists, social service networks, your local church, a suicide hotline, or close friend.  Many health insurance companies pay for therapeutic counseling, and many therapists accept insurance.  You can use the Internet to locate a credentialed therapist whose experience and approach seems right for you.  If you do not have insurance and cannot afford such services, reach out to non-profit organizations such as Catholic Charities; they will connect you with appropriate resources.   You will get the help that you need, and the family that you love or once loved will be safe. 

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