Monday, December 14, 2009

Amanda Knox: Guilty or Not Guilty

“It is better ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished" - Thomas Jefferson

Consider this: perception is reality. If we take this axiom seriously, we must examine these perceptions and take into account the biases at play. When we focus on the limitations of our ability to understand the world, the truth of reality becomes more and more like a trivial abstraction. Our understanding of perception becomes the new reality.

This week's stranger (vol. 19 no. 14) comes with two articles concerning the Amanda Knox story. One is a fictionalized account of the murder, portraying Knox as guilty, meticulously cited from the prosecutor's notes. The other is a plea from an ex-roommate, Madison Paxton.

Charles Mudede's story
reads like a Quentin Tarantino script. How Mudede feels about the case is irrelevant. The genius of this article is how it pieces together the perceptions of the prosecuting team in a way we have not seen until now.

Criticism at the foot of the article strike me funny. I also read this article about how Mudede came to America from Zimbabwe and lived on the streets of Seattle. I suspect that Mudede is suspicious of cops and the legal system but he does not use this opportunity to expound upon his personal beliefs. I respect his style because he allows his subject to speak for itself.

The Madison Paxton plea and response seems to have been removed. The fault of the defense is, I have yet to see an alibi account of what happened on the night of murder. If Knox and Sollecito were not raping and killing Kercher, then where were they? Smoking pot and having sex?

Although not as dramatized and sensational as Mudede's fictionalized account, Paxton presents the logic of the defense in a succinct linear manner. Like a true college student, she begs us to walk away with three strong points. There are no recordings of the police interrogations of Knox. There is no evidence directly linking Knox and Sollecito to the scene of the crime. There is no logical motive, indicating Knox and Sollecito to rape and murder.

Analysis of the media maelstrom is to miss the point. At this time, the guilt or innocence of Knox is equally irrelevant. More important to society is, how believable is the prosecuting story? How pure and untainted is the due process?

After all, if perception is reality then our world is pretty hazy. Lets try to get a clear picture before we sentence someone to prison for murder.

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