NOTE: Yes, there is an audio issue in the introduction. It goes away at the end of the intro. Sorry, Dave refused to wear headphones tonight… – Producer Henri.
In a world where people still believe that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a real thing, where SNOPES “fact checks” the Babylon Bee, where Saints fans still believe that it was all a plot against them, the whole Jussie Smollett story has been labeled as “weird” by the local news personality.
It is a huge conversational buffalo, so big in fact that I am not even sure where to start chewing. The weeping and gnashing of teeth by the celebrities left who will admit that the supported Smollet in the beginning might be a good place. But even I don’t have the appetite it would take to consume all of that.
No, for me there is an unexpected concern here.
Back in 1773, some Lobster Backs were put on trial for murder in Boston. They were accused of shooting Colonials, but it was their defense that really caused a commotion. Their attorney decided to stand up for the rights of the accused, not to join the baying crowd calling for their blood.
Up stepped John Adams. Yes… THAT John Adams…
He defended the soldiers and while it was surprising at the time, calmer heads understood what the mob did not – that vengeance is not justice and that the accused have rights. Adams won the trial and the Soldiers went free. As they should have.
What I watched this morning, along with millions of my fellow countrymen, appalled me.
Because a very sick person tried to manipulate half of America by playing on perceived hatred and stereotypes because he was mad about his salary?
I was appalled that what I watched was nothing more than a return to the values and practices of a tyrannical government. Whether you or I think that Jussie Smollet did it or not, how is it okay with us that the government – in the form of a Police Chief – stood in front of the camera broadcasting to the world and indicted, arraigned, tried, judged and all but sentenced a man for crime before his booking photo was dry?
It may make me unpopular, but as my Dad always said, that puts me in good company. The accused have rights, and I was appalled at how the government just rolled right over them this morning.
Of course, there are bigger problems in this country. But they aren’t what we keep being told that they are. And when you break it down, it’s not any different from the day that some Lobster Backs were sent into a volatile powder keg with a crowd yelling “Fire! Fire!” and in an attempt to quell one problem, created two…
Many years ago, back in the 1970’s, you could, on rare occasions, actually learn something watching a TV crime drama. And so it was that way back when, Dave watched an episode of Quincy, M.E., during which he learned a fact about how Jury trials can work that he retains even today. That single fact is helpful when we recall the purpose of the Jury is to serve as a mighty bulwark against government. To make certain that government isn’t allowed to just run roughshod over accused citizens.
At the same time, that simple fact also makes certain that a person who is guilty can’t hide behind confusion and misdirection.
Back in 2012, a man stood accused of hacking into PriceWaterhouse and stealing the Romney’s tax returns, which he threatened to release to the highest bidder if he didn’t get paid $1Million in digital currency. The self-named “Dr. Evil,” was about as competent as his nom de guerre, and ended up in the custody of the US Secret Service, who take a dim view of people threatening potential Presidents with blackmail. He denied being involved, of course, and eventually found himself sitting in front of a Jury as the Secret Service laid out their digital case against him.
It was extremely complicated, and for people who aren’t computer experts, somewhat confusing. To make sure that the Jury understood the case, the Judge allowed the same thing that Dave learned watching Quincy, M.E., all those years ago to happen…
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed… 8th Amendment
In recent days, members of the California State Senate and Assembly have made the reformation of the Bail system a “Legislative Priority” in the State. Their reasoning is that on any given day, 63% of the people held in the States Jails have not been convicted of any crime. They are simply awaiting trial and cannot – for a variety of reasons – make bail. Read the rest of this entry