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My Soapbox

May 16, 2007

I was going to write a wonderful post about the delight that is 50% off day at our local patisserie, but that will have to wait. I’m dizzy with anger and I’ve got to say something.

4 year old Madeleine McCann was stolen from her room in Portugal nearly two weeks ago. This is a tragedy, but that’s not what I’m angry about. I don’t know how much press this case is getting in the States, but here in Europe it’s a very big story.

Two days ago, the English news media announced that there was an official suspect. I certainly hope this man is guilty, as his life is never going to be the same again. His name, face, family and personal history has been broadcast all over the news.

The sewer rats that are ‘the press’ have proceeded to dig up his history, interview anyone who’s ever had contact with him, and ruin his reputation. Everything he’s said in his own defense is printed in quotation marks to ensure the impression that he’s guilty as sin. It makes me sick.

It feels good to believe that police around the world will only name a suspect if there’s a good reason. It feels good to think that innocent people won’t be accused of crimes if there isn’t reasonable suspicion. It is decidedly uncomfortable to believe that completely innocent people can be named in criminal cases without any good reason. If we admit to ourselves that this can happen, that means it can happen to us, and we don’t want that.

The end result is that this man has been convicted by public opinion, despite the fact that the police say openly that they don’t have enough evidence to gain a court approved charge against him.

“But,” you might say, “they must have good evidence or they wouldn’t have named him a suspect.” You aren’t alone, this is something I’ve heard (or read) on more than one occasion about this crime and others. It’s the excuse people give in order to feel safe in their environment.

The Portuguese police might indeed have such evidence, but if they do, they aren’t saying anything. And I take it as a given that innocent, completely innocent, people are arrested all over the world all the time. If you have any doubt about that, have a look here.

That site, FTA, only talks about the lucky few who are fortunate enough to find and make contact with them. The rest are dangling in the winds, subject to the whims and political maneuverings of the corrupted (or inept) individuals that comprise many of the world’s justice systems.

There are many reasons why the police might have taken this step. One is that they actually have some reason to believe that he’s involved in Madeleine McCann’s abduction. They also might have felt desperate to take some action in a case with no leads growing increasingly cold. They might have decided to take the first person who was close to the case. They might be bumbling idiots.

I don’t know. For me that’s key. The teeming masses don’t know either, but they think they do; they want to think they do. It’s a scary world when not only can our police not solve crimes, but also can destroy innocent people without any reason.

I’ve got news: we live in that scary world.

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One comment

  1. You go GRRL.



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