I am in no way inclined to defend the criminal justice system. It is clearly broken and dysfunctional on so many levels. From shooting and tasering of the mentally incompetent and innocent to trials that take decades and seem to be unduly influenced by expensive lawyers. From systemic gender and racial bias to flagrant injustices against the poor and uneducated, it has been shown time and time again that it fails to adhere even to it’s own fundamental principles. It seems, at times, that the law doesn’t even obey the law! We are simply NOT all equal before the law. We can’t rail against what is our so-called criminal justice system enough.
Having said that, it is all we have. If we judge, condemn and sentence people without due process – however flawed that process – we have no justice system at all! We have kangaroo courts prosecuted by allegations and gossip and the accused is unfairly sentenced to personal ruin and humiliation. And what a jump that social kangaroo is taking with Bill Cosby! What is happening to Bill Cosby is a travesty if not a crime.
But it is worse than just an unjust attack on a single person. THAT kind of injustice happens all the time. This public skewering is, in effect, also a widespread repudiation of the entire legal system by the media and the drooling public and, it seems, the consequences of that be damned!
Of all the places for society to revolt against the system, they choose this sordid incident with which to do it! What the hell?
Don’t get me wrong. I tend to think that Cosby was a bit sleazy at the very least. But it makes no difference what I think. The man is innocent until PROVEN guilty. Evidence has to be presented and testimony has to be delivered under oath and subject to cross examination. Anything less is third-world and barbaric.
Defending Cosby is hard to do mostly because the slander and libel and salacious media reporting is the only information being offered. So, I won’t. Instead read this as defending the legal system (and that makes me gag). Here is a man accused of a crime by numerous people. Charges may have been laid, I don’t know. Makes no difference to me. Charges are not convictions. So far, there is nothing that warrants the ruination of a person’s life, career and family that has been proven. But that is what is happening to Cosby.
THAT is a crime, whether he is eventually proven guilty of one or not.
What about Jian?! Well, he is a self-admitted sadist. Not nice at all. And he has been officially accused of ‘going too far’ and subsequently charged. How that plays out will be interesting for some but, at the very least, the system is engaged in that accusation. They may, as is too often the case, screw it up but at least both sides of the allegation will get their day in court. But consider this: UNLESS Jian is proven 100% innocent on every charge and the pope publicly forgives him, he is still ruined. The public has already ruled. His sentence has been levied already and any legal process is really just a salvage operation as far as he is concerned.
To me this is socially scary, illogical and self-defeating. Already the system can accuse, try and convict (to death) a person on the street by the use of too-liberal force by the police. Peaceful protesters can get arrested just for demonstrating and now require permits to do so. Hearings, Commissions and Review panels are restricted into impotence by their operating mandates. The voice of the people is being stifled everywhere and the life of the people is being threatened too often.
We don’t like that.
But are we not protesting the rot in the system by simply attacking one of our own? Is this what we do to protest unfair laws and the application of them…..we simply abandon justice when we find someone we don’t like anymore? Isn’t this just another lynching conducted by millions of vigilantes?
Maybe we should be blaming ourselves (and definitely the media) for perverting the course of justice?