09 May 2013

Jodi Arias, Nancy Grace and the Talking Heads; Bring in The Clowns

I got in late last night. As I was prepping for today, I flipped on CNN. 

One Jodi Arias, a 20-something woman, just has been convicted of capital murder in a trial court in Arizona.

This case is vital to her. It is vital to the friends and families of the deceased victim. Also, it has garnered a great deal of press attention.

However, as murder cases go, the facts are really rather ordinary. I can think of three cases I’ve done and at least a dozen done by friends which have more interesting and more challenging facts.

The boredom within this case did not keep Nancy Grace & The Talking Heads – what amounts to a low class rap group – from assaulting viewers with a splash of appallingly arrogant and ignorant bullshit.  These people opening their mouths for money are like… No, I won’t go there.

A jury of Arizona citizens found Arias guilty of “premeditated murder” which, in Arizona, makes her eligible for the death penalty. As I understand it, the next step will be the “penalty phase,” where the jury decides between life in prison without parole and execution by lethal injection.

All of this strikes me as terribly unfortunate, but not unfair. I cannot make an intelligent comment about the verdict. In fact, nobody who did not attend the entire trial can INTELLIGENTLY comment on the verdict.

The issue was not whether the defendant shot and stabbed the victim, a boyfriend.  The issue was whether the killing was justified. Despite all of the lurid TV and movie depictions of self-defense, when you have a dead body lying there, the person still standing needs to have a pretty good story with proof to back it up. Arias told a lot of lies at the beginning, which always makes a self-defense claim dubious at best.

Penitentiaries are awful places. Perhaps I’ll blog a bit about that sometime. A popular assertion is that the criminal should live in misery, squalor, fear and the reality or equivalence of torture. To those who adhere to that view, I say drop by Sears, Roebuck – they’re having a sale on humanity. Read a little bit of your Bible. Try the red letters. 

Prisons are there to isolate criminals from other citizens. That isolation is a very negative consequence of criminal actions. Often, it promotes the safety of other citizens. Sometimes, penitentiaries help offenders reform. In my experience, that’s mostly been by separating those most likely to reform from drugs and gangs and giving them the opportunity honestly to reflect about their lives.  But reformation is not the way to bet.

So Jodi Arias will have her entire remaining life to reflect. The only question is, will it be long and possibly ended by old age or short and ended by lethal injection? She gave a short interview after the verdict where she said she preferred death to a life sentence.

But that’s not enough for Nancy Grace & The Talking Heads. Arias has not suffered enough. They know that she has no emotions, no pure thoughts.  “Oh, puh-LEASE,” huffs the oddly-named Grace.  A “well-qualified psychologist” adds that “obviously, she is a contrarian, and will say the exact opposite of what she wants.” She adds that Arias is incapable of emotion. Another voice chimes in, “She is using reverse psychology!”

Are we really so shallow that we are buying this bullshit? Who are these people to say – let alone declare with some supposed authority – what this defendant is thinking? They spout nonsense to satiate a prurient public desire for blood, sex and revenge.

After all, don’t we want reassured that no matter how negative our lives might be, no matter what sins we might commit, we are the blessed ones because we are not like that black-hearted Jodi Arias? 

Nancy Grace has reassured us – hasn’t she?

The whole thing is just pathetic.

It doesn’t bother me that Arias was convicted. It doesn’t really bother me that she faces a long or short incarceration. That’s our law.  That is our social compact. 

But I don’t know how she feels.  And it doesn’t matter. The result will be the same no matter how she feels or what she thinks.  I hope she makes peace with her God.  I can’t control that nor know whether she does.

We cannot turn the end of a great tragedy into a great triumph of justice by hate or arrogance. A wise choice for a mature society is to move forward, accepting that we must do the very unpleasant work of cleaning up murder scenes with all that entails, years into the future.

Anybody who exults over that is an idiot.

1 comment:

Cindy Rollert said...

It's interesting to me that Nancy
"Grace" saves her worst vituperation for women defendants. I hate that woman.