“The Agitators” : Social Media and the American Justice System.


The devastating outcome in Ferguson, MO peels away any remaining layer of denial: our justice system has been abused for too long by too many for a multitude of self-serving reasons. It is, at the very least, culpable. And, in the words of Atty Benjamin Crump, indicted.

But, why? Whence the cause?

The phenomenon of world-wide social media has created a dialogue between strangers often miles removed in proximity from both each other and world events.

And, Don Lemon is saying as I write this: “Bloggers have been named  ‘The Agitators’ “.

Free speech has stepped down from the podium and muted the airwaves – finding a home, right here, on the screens of those who witness everything from the privacy of their laptops and pads.

But, wait. “Privacy”? Might we need to re-define that term, anymore?

And, beyond free speech, what of the system in place to fairly, impartially, and objectively address serious crime?  How “private”-ly  can that system fairly function, when everybody has access to any and all information, both accurate and devised, both false and deliberately distorted?

I’ve been called for jury duty, several times. I know the process. Of note are the attorneys’ intense interest in selecting jury members who “qualify”. In a town like ours, impartiality is nigh impossible; we either think we know somebody, or know somebody who does or, worse, we’ve heard something about somebody already. And, whatever we think we know, we now talk about. In public, in something called the News Feed. When this reality involves a defendant and a plaintiff, we’re pretty much cooked – unless we can serve the interests of either the prosecutor or the defense. Yes; I said that.

I live alone, on a corner, in the heart of the west side. But, nothing I do is hidden. Not from anybody. Ever.

We can’t continue like this, without oversight, without stewardship, without honor to the law. There are far too many fragile, tenuous, and potentially explosive issues hovering in the air around us all. And, now, we know too much.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo

11/25/14 1:35pm

all rights. Really. ?

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