When the sun came out last week, I was sifting through several interesting news stories for a topic. Let’s just say I got distracted. Now that I’m somewhat back on track, let’s take a look at a few.
Early in the week we learned that an Italian court had ordered Amanda Knox’ murder case reopened (Trib 3/26). Though not unexpected, the judicial quicksand into which Knox stepped after being implicated in the death of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, continues to tug on her. More than anything, the court’s recent decision highlights two major differences between our system of justice and the European one currently stringing Knox along.
- Speedy trial: The four long years Knox withered away in prison while awaiting her “final” judgment are an affront to our notion of liberty.
- Double jeopardy: An Italian judge’s authority to override an equittal, used in this case to order Knox’ retrial, means that the accused never truly is finished defending him or herself.
As metaphors, these respective concepts are little more than 1) a state of limbo and 2) the dangling Sword of Damocles. Neither has any place in a legal system.
Another incident that garnered regional attention was the shooting death of three men in an Auburn bar shortly after closing time last Saturday (Trib 4/1).
Fueled by booze and testosterone, and urged on by jealous women, a group of young alpha males took their disagreement outside where at least two of them decided to prove the point that, “the only way to defeat gun violence is by arming yourself.” In a scene reminiscent of a spaghetti western, gunshots rang out in the midst of the large crowd, and three men in their 20’s were gunned down.
Given the current status of the gun debate in this country, a violently nostalgic scene such as this will continue to be recycled well into the foreseeable future. What else is there left to say about a shooting in a bar?
Another type of crime which has survived the millenia, child prostitution, was documented in a series of articles by The Toronto Star (and republished by The Trib 3/31).
According to the paper, Cuba has made a name for itself as a destination for sex tourists, especially for Canadian (and Spanish) travellers whose sexual depravities require child prostitutes. While Canada does not restrict its citizens from travelling to Cuba, the article calls out the Canadian government for failing to halt sex offenders from visiting Cuba, where their crimes go largely unnoticed by both countries.
This is a real black eye for Canada, a country with a crime rate a mere fraction of our own and a tendency to editorialize on that point. Unlike the U.S., where convicted sex offenders must comply with innumerable restrictions on their movements, the Canadian government has failed in its obligation to keep children – whether at home or abroad – safe from the clutches of its own monsters.
With all due respect to Canada, it’s time to take a page from America’s book.
On a completely different, more positive note, the new Mariners roster was just released. Not sure if it’s the sunny weather, or the smiling faces on the guys who made the cut, but the thought of a fresh season of baseball sounds pretty good right about now.