Guilty, Until Proven Innnocent

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from The Gray Area:

“Innocent, until proven guilty” used to be a basic principle of the rule of law that this country was based upon. To often today, it is “guilty, until proven innocent”. In the 1987, Ray Donovan, Secretary of Labor under Reagan, and six other defendants were indicted by a Bronx County, New York, grand jury for larceny and fraud in connection with a project to construct a new line for the New York City Subway, through a scheme involving a Genovese crime family associate and a minority-owned subcontractor, the media convicted him by accusation. But, when he left a courtroom after being acquitted of the crimes, he looked angrily at the media surrounding him and said, “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”. A classic example of how mob/media justice, not legal justice rules.

The current horrifying details of the rapes allegedly conducted by comedy legend Bill Cosby is only the latest of this reversal of legal principle. No doubt, 20+ women coming forward to charge Cosby with these terrible actions is overwhelming and certainly creates serious doubt as to his innocence. And with our inability to prove Cosby’s guilt or innocence due to expiration of legal limits of prosecution frustrates us more and leaves us only with the accusations. With the media echo chamber pushing the narrative of this being another generational example of American ‘rape culture’, what else should we believe. One very close associate during this period, Felicia Rashad, has come out in support of Mr Cosby, but she is quickly shouted down by the volume of accusers and the media echo chamber. Is he guilty? We will probalbly never know for sure. But right now the pressure is on him, TV shows are being cancelled, stage shows are cancelled and being demonstrated against. Not becaseu he is guilty, but becaseu he was accused.

Look at just a few recent events. Ferguson, media and mob narrative = policeman guilty of shooting unarmed black teen. Grand Jury review of the evidence and testimony, policeman not indicted in shooting of large, young man who had just robbed a convenience store, was disrupting traffic by walking down the middle of the street, had attacked the police officer, threatened the police office and was returning to presumably make good on this threats. So, innocent, right. No, riots, NFL players, and others display signs of false stories regarding the incident in solidarity with the people of Ferguson. So, guilty, even after being proven innocent. Media narrative continues, police target & kill young black men without reason.

Even after the media over-hyping of the OJ Simpson murder trial in the mid 90s and he was found innocent of killing two people, most white American believed he was guilty. However, only blacks demonstrated, in support of the verdict, because this was vindication of a system that discriminated against black being overturned. The media template was easily available to support this narrative.

NYC, video of police subduing a suspect who is shouting “I can’t breathe”. Sadly, the suspect suffocates during this episode. Again, media narrative, police again target and are overly aggressive with black suspects. No indictment of the police officers involved, riots ensue, tee shirts with”I cant breathe surface on the streets and on TV in solidarity with people of NY against the cops. Lunatic assassinates two NYC cops saying “one of us, two of them” Police are guilty, after being proven innocent, and the sentence is death!

This goes well beyond criminal justice incidents. Take the 2013 firing of Paula Deen at Food Network for a comment she made over 20 years ago, introduced tot he media by a disgruntled former employee. Not only was she guilty of being a racist, simply by being accused of being one by a former employee, without breaking any discrimination laws in her business, or any due process. Her company lets her go because they can’t take the public outcry. Guilty, period. No need for further thought or actual wrongdoing. Pressure being applied by those who wish to forward a political and social agenda and will take down anyone at anytime for any reason, whether true, or real to further their goals.

Where does such pressure come from? How are we able to make a legal conclusion using hearsay, sensationalized information and without real evidence? Our use and understanding of electronic media.

Electronic media seems to most Americans to have been around for ever. We can get anything, at any minute from anywhere in the world – and even from other worlds. I remember the first “satellite” news and sports stories being transmitted in the 1960s. I remember looking at the grainy TV footage from the moon in 1969 and being amazed. My parents saw the introduction of the first televisions and computers. My generation introduced the computer into everyday home and business use, then exploded the application of these technologies with the internet. And, now the combination of computer, telephone and video technology has us craving even more instant gratification. Then satellite navigation systems inn handheld devices and Google Maps make us feel there is nothing we can get access to immediately.

That instantaneous expectation overlaps from technology into every other aspect of our life. Why can’t we see what happened in that police event while it is happening? If we get a video made from our phone, why can’t we just look at that and decide what just happened? Why don’t we just put body cameras on every police officer, then we could all see every single second and clearly understand, instantly what happened? And if everything can be so instantaneously available to us, how can we not have instantaneous guilt or innocence determinations? So what happens to guilty, until proven innocent, in such a high tech world?

In just over two generations, we have gone from broadband radio communication to personal information devices. In one generation, we have gone from waiting for national news to seeing it as it happens. Are we really able to comprehend the impact such an explosion of technology has on our human judgement and our culture as a whole?

In 1450, Guttenberg changed the world with his printing press. A generation later, in 1492, Columbus changed the perception of the world through his voyages to America. Not until the industrial revolution of the late 19th century, 400 years later, did anything more significant impact the daily lives of the people of the earth. Yet in just over 100 years, we have had so much change I contend that we do not yet know how to handle that which we have invented.

But some, who understand and choose to take advantage of this perceptual time warp in which we find ourselves, can drive knee jerk mob reaction instantaneously to any issue they choose. That is why we have guilt, vs innocence by technology.

Now, some m,ay say, wait a minute, what about DNA technology. Hasn’t that been used to help people, particularly those wrongly imprisoned for crime s they did not commit. Yes, that is true. Is that DNA technology as foolproof as we want to believe it is? Probably not. How about carbon dating technology. Another technology we use to date ancient historical items and validate or discredit previous historical timing and events. Is carbon dating that foolproof already? Probably not. These are just further examples of how we take technology and allow it to take over our cultural judgements, simply because we can’t figure out how to use the technology and determine what it tells us at the same instant. Quality judgements from these technologies, like guilt or innocence, take longer.