Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Presumption of Innocence

  Good Afternoon all those bored enough to come to my blog. ;)  I've had a thought bouncing about in my mind for some time now, and while not fully formed it still seems time to get it out.  I hope you all can follow this ramble...

  It wasn't all that long ago that I was a kid, oddly enough in the very same neighborhood in which I still live.  It was an exceedingly safe neighborhood then, and in my experience it still is.  And yet, there are some who are afraid to have their children ride their bikes unsupervised on the same streets I ran carefree.  In fact, it could be argued that things are safer in this neighborhood now than ever; there are now no less than five police officers taking up residence here and at least 4 teachers - I would presume more of each.  Yet, parents are afraid.  Why?  Crime rates are similar if not less than when I was a kid.  All crime rates - ok, not the "cyber-crimes".  Computers where not "desk top" then, much less "lap top".  
  It has been argued in the past by many people that our news agencies thrive on an attitude of fear.  "If it bleeds, it leads".  People thousands of miles away from a violent crime are frightened, yet it is completely inconceivable that any part of that particular crime could touch them.  Why?  Fear sells, of course.  But, what does it cost?  Big question there:  what is the cost of fear?
  I've never been considered the bright one in the room - and let's face it, if I am found to be the bright one in any particular room, that is one troubled room!!  But, slowly I've realized that people are fearful and negative all too often, myself included.  The stranger on the road is not one who looks to be hurt, hungry, needing a place to rest and a cool drink; he is the violent ax murderer, the burgler casing the joint, the sex fiend stalking the wife, kids and dogs, the psycho just itching to lose his mind all over someone's family.... etc.  
   What ever happened to that basic concept of expecting the best of people?  Whatever happened to presuming that someone is not out to rape, rob or murder someone?  We used to have this legal concept of "presumed innocence" where the state had to prove that someone had committed a crime.  We can't go on "it could happen", or "he did it once and even though he paid the price for it we believe he'd do it again in a moment", or even "I gotta carry my gun everywhere I go because any minute now someone could go flipping insane!!!!".  

  I don't know; I don't know where to go with this thought.  Maybe you all have the next step??  Comment away.....



Jay M. said...

All I can say is you are 100% right. Crime is WAY down from the 70's and 80's, but with a 24/7 news cycle that is international in scope (not to mention instant and unrelenting), the "if it bleeds, it leads" credo is in effect for sure. And once EVERY news outlet picks up on something that in our youth would have been a 2 minute soundbite on the 11:00 news, now it seems larger, more important, closer, READY TO LEAP OUT AND AFFECT YOU, TOO!!!! Harness those children to the front porch (or better yet, lock them in their rooms), NEVER let them out of your sight, so put cameras in said rooms. Drives me crazy, and as much as it pains me to say it, is why so many kids need the boy scouts and girl scouts and Indian Guides, and all those other structured "adventure" programs.

Peace <3

Sammy B said...

Hello Randy
The phenomenon, as you and Jay have said, is largely the responsibility of the media, particularly the 'tabloid' end of the market, as far as I'm concerned. If parents read, day after day, that slavering 'paedos' are hiding around every corner, intent on raping and murdering their poor, innocent offspring, they will lock up their sons and daughters, figuratively, at least. And once that mindset is established, it's very difficult to break, because the incarcerated children grow to become parents themselves, hear more stories, and confine their own children even more closely. And so the vicious circle goes on, until we reach a point, already prevalent in this country, where adults say that they would cross the road to avoid coming into contact with an injured or distressed child other than their own, for fear of being branded a 'molester'. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Love & best wishes
Sammy B

Anonymous said...

Hallo Randy - Jay - Sammy
I agree with all of you 100%.
I question though - how did it come to this development. In 70/80 he years, people were everywhere most cosmopolitan and tolerant. The "intellectuals" pretended the topics.
What happened then?
Was it the Vietnam disaster for the U.S.?
Was it the left terror in Germany (RAF - Red Army Faction)?
The Conservatives got the upper hand - and the intellectuals let it happen.
Gruß Nikki