I've read and heard so many things about today's incident in Connecticut. I've had several ask me of my opinion or tell me that they didn't understand how this could have happened. Most people are trying to understand, trying to make sense of the situation. Don't bother. You are wasting your time. How can you possibly expect to make sense of such a senseless and irrational act? If you can make sense of it, you should be afraid. Afraid because maybe you aren't as rational as you thought you were.
The recent murder at the Oregon Shopping Mall has bombarded the airwaves. Each news broadcast has a continuing story of the incident, giving great attention to the killer. In other words, this nut-jobs 15 minutes of fame. I will not refer to this "shooter" by name and I will refrain to the best of my ability from calling him a "man". This guy, for whatever reason, puts on a "Halloween" type hockey mask and arms himself with a semi-automatic rifle and several magazines of ammunition, and walks into the Mall on a busy shopping night and begins firing randomly into the crowd.
Have people forgotten the past events that claimed the lives of over 900 American citizens in Jonestown, Guyana? Maybe I've just missed it but I haven't seen a single story on the news this week concerning these tragic events that took place 34 years ago.
Thirty four years ago, I was a 20 year old Sailor in the U.S. Navy stationed at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, assigned to the Air Terminal. My job function then was the loading and unloading of all types of military aircraft. This past Sunday, November 18, 1978, was a normal day off for me as the Air Terminal was usually closed on Sundays. However, on that day, at the compound of The People's Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, it was far from typical. I had no idea what the evening of the 18th., or the following 11 days would bring. I would find out very soon.
I do my best to keep abreast of cases nationwide, especially those "high profile" cases. One case in particular that has had me curious for many years is that case coined "The West Memphis 3". For the majority of my adult life, I've worked in the Criminal Justice System. I've had the benefit of working for both the Police (prosecution) and the Defense (Public Defenders Office) and now as a private consultant for both sides of the system. This has given me an even greater knowledge and understanding of our Judicial System. Although I've always believed in fairness, and that you are considered "innocent until proven guilty", I have had several experiences that this just didn't ring true. The case in West Memphis is such a case, in my opinion. It's filled with poor investigating and corruption. I was planning on writing a piece today on that case, but soon realized that I could not do it "justice". For that reason, I decided to add a couple of links so that anyone interested could read about the case for your self. Believe me, there is plenty of information out there about this case and I'm sure you will find the story of the case intriguing. Enjoy.
We've all heard the expression "the glass is half empty" or "the glass is half full". This is a common expression, "used rhetorically to indicate that a particular situation could be a cause for optimism (half full) or pessimism (half empty); or as a general litmus test to simply determine an individual's worldview. The purpose of the question is to demonstrate that the situation may be seen in different ways depending on one's point of view and that there may be opportunity in the situation as well as trouble".
Perception is defined as "the process by which an organism detects and interprets information from the external world by means of the sensory receptors". Of course, everyone has the ability to see things, or perceive things, differently than others.
The CSI Effect is defined as "any of several ways in which the exaggerated portrayal of forensic science on crime television shows influences public perception". Shows like CSI (enter your favorite city here), NCIS and Criminal Minds have brought forensic science to an all time high as far as popularity among the general public. This is evidenced by the increased interest among students who desire to enter this field and the number of courses now offered by many schools. The term "CSI Effect" usually refers to the belief that jurors expect more forensic science evidence in criminal trials.
Forensic Science is unbiased and neither for the prosecution nor the defense.
Forensic science is defined as the application of science to the law. In criminal cases, Crime Scene Investigators and Forensic Scientists are often involved in the search for and the examination of physical evidence which might be useful to implicate or exclude a subject suspected to be involved in a crime. Such evidence commonly include, among others, blood and other body fluids, hairs, fibers from clothing etc, materials used in buildings such as paint and glass, footwear, tool and tire marks. Proper examination of the evidence and the reconstruction of the crime scene is vital in both the prosecution and the defense of the suspect(s) involved.
From a defense standpoint, the evidence must be reviewed by an analyst to determine if the findings coincide with that of the prosecution. I've often been told something such as "they found a fingerprint and it matched my client". When I asked how they were certain, I've heard replies like "because they said it matched". A second opinion by an outside source can assist the attorney in determining the best course of action for their client. That opinion may differ from the findings of the person who initially collected and/or analyzed the evidence as much is based on individual perspective. An independent analysis could also assist to confirm or refute the statements of witnesses and suspects, as well as the facts of the case.
It's up to everyone to insure that those who are charged with a crime receive a fair trial. Just as much emphasis needs to be put on their defense as it is their prosecution.