Thursday, August 2, 2012

Intellectualizing the Aurora Shooter

Aurora Shooter James Holmes
Yummy. . . yum.  The American public is about to be entertained with the fencing and parrying of lawyers in the case of a young man, who shot 70 people, killing 12 of them in a Colorado movie theater. According to an article in the New York Times:
The prosecution of James E. Holmes for the slaughter in a Colorado movie theater last month differs from most criminal proceedings because there is so little doubt that he is the perpetrator. But that will not make it easier.   Participants in the case, likely to be a drawn-out one, will wrestle with some of the most contested concepts in American law — sanity, an impartial jury and the political pressures for punishment in a deeply wounded community.
But why not forego the buttered popcorn and all that salivating over the legal intricacies of a case in which everyone knows the man is guilty, and focus instead on getting falsely-accused minorities out of jail.   The very notion that legal experts could draw intellectual stimulation  from the so-called complexities of the Aurora case makes me want to vomit.  What if instead they turned their agile  legal minds to equalizing the criminal justice system so that 90% of all prison inmates were not minorities or poor whites?  

Or maybe I'm missing the point.  What is the best way for American society to convince itself that it has a functioning criminal justice system, when the opposite is the case?  It might be to intellectualize the most visible cases, while continuing to do what it does best -- incarcerate shamefully disproportionate numbers of blacks, Hispanics and poor whites.


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