Putting Victims on Trial
Shannoninmiami submitted the following comment:
That is such an awesome idea- videos of the victim before the killer &co vilify them. but then I remember xena telling me a long time ago, that the victim is not on trial,
they don’t need to defend themselves! isn’t that some BS??@!! because I remember thinking of course, that makes perfect sense or THEY WOULDN’T BE the VICTIM, they’d be the DEFENDANT!
that’s true technically but things have changed. the media & the legal profession seem to be devolving into game show like entertainment sources. the ones who used to respect & speak for the victims aren’t really doing that in certain cases.
victims aren’t treated as victims. but in order for a dead victim to have a fair chance at justice they gotta be the victim.
Maybe we need a sort of special victim’s defense team who can speak out on the victim’s behalf and counter attack the killer’s allegations.
look at cases like Mike Brown & Trayvon where racist character assassination is used as a defense for murder, literally.
it seems anything goes, even fantastic stories of dead teenagers with super human strength and magical powers”
Thank you Shannon, for bringing up this subject. Today, the media and internet have changed things to where many people no longer think logically. In fact, the double-minded man is revealed more today because of the internet, and we see this when people place victims on trial.
I would like to share a portion of how I came to understand that victims are not on trial.
On December 1, 1958, Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago caught fire, killing 93 children and 3 nuns. Some of the children that died were my age. I remember seeing the photographs of those who died on television and in the newspaper that my dad brought home with him from work. So many children.
In my child, inquisitive mind, I asked my Sunday School teacher if the children had done anything wrong to die so young and by fire. My thoughts were somewhat along the lines of Santa Claus giving presents only to children who were good.
The next I remember hearing of massive death came by Richard Speck, who on July 13, 1966, killed 8 nursing students in Chicago. There was talk in the beauty shops and meat market. Rumors were passed about the immorality of the nursing students and some people disagreed that White nursing students should have shared living quarters with nursing students from the Philippines. It left me puzzled. How could those nursing students be responsible for their own deaths and why accuse the lone survivor, who was from the Philippines, of conspiring with Speck?
Later, there was the case of John Wayne Gacy. I was an adult then, but still puzzled about Gacy’s defense. Gacy’s defense was that all of his victims were bad boys; they were either run-a-ways or male prostitutes and none had parents who loved them.
The media did not go about questioning parents and digging up criminal backgrounds on the victims. The public never learned if any of Gacy’s victims failed in school, or robbed a store, or used drugs. The jury did not care about what his victims did before he killed them. They convicted Gacy of murdering 33 young men and boys and sentenced him to death. Some of the recovered bodies have not been identified/claimed to this day. I’ve not heard one person justify Gacy’s murders by denigrating his victims whose bodies were not claimed by family members.
Next were the Atlanta child murders, where 28 Black children and teens were killed over a two-year period. The victims were boys and girls. It was then that I heard people criticize the parents. Parents were accused of not knowing where their children were. However, these were not children that went off on their own without telling their parents where they were going. In some cases, these were children who went to the store, or the bank, at the direction of a parent. One victim went to the swimming pool. The children went missing during the day-time.
We heard that the victims were poor, living in public housing and that is why law enforcement was not concerned. But, we also heard that because the victims were poor children, that they would grow up to be hoodlums or living on public assistance. The media was playing both sides of the fence.
Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and the Jackson’s held benefit concerts to raise money for the victims’ families. Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded ” Forever Yesterday (For The Children)”, a song in memorial of the victims. In accepting his Best Actor Oscar for Raging Bull, Robert DeNiro wore a green ribbon as a sign of solidarity with the children of Atlanta.
Going back to Sunday School days, I remember being taught that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Is there any human being who is perfect? Why was it necessary for people to justify the killing of others by judging them to deserve death? It was not as if death skipped over saints. If the end is the same for the perfect and imperfect, why do some people think that some others deserve death?
In my high school literature class, we read and discussed the book Brave New World. It’s a story about prejudice and perfection where humans are grown in test tubes and programmed to believe in the value of society over the individual. It’s a story of how some humans grown and programmed discovered those naturally born. Actually, I don’t remember too much about the book other than the concept of building castes and brainwashing. I remember more about Lord of the Flies during a study of sociology. There, an older boy promised protection and food to the younger boys. Based on those promises and his provisions to them, they did his bidding causing the death of other children.
As a teen in high school and young adult in college, we had not lived to see or experience the theories. Now, I can see where the theories written in those classic books are those behind the theory of putting victims on trial, and it all can be summarized as believing that some humans are inferior, imperfect and have no individuality in society. When people are brainwashed into believing that they are better than others, there is nothing good that can be presented to them about victims that will change their mind.
There is a hypocritical judgment principle when people believe that killing is okay as long as it’s someone who is of a lower caste, or too individualized, (understand that to be people who are different than ourselves), or who don’t live, speak, walk, talk, dress according to standards we set for them. It is hypocritical because death does not discriminate.
If people are going to judge others believing that some deserve to be killed, then they have better have a darn good substitute to death for themselves.
The cemeteries are filled with the bones of people of all ages, races, genders and nationalities and in fact, some who never took one breath out of the womb.
People are calling death good when done to those they deem are evil. But, those same people believe that death is bad when it happens to someone they know and love. In the alternative, if they believe that death is a natural occurrence, then it’s not anything they should use to judge those whose lives are taken by others.
What if there was a special victim’s defense team like Shannon suggests?
Those defending victims should keep in mind that they had no capability of defending themselves against objects of death.
Weapons are power.
Trayvon Martin, neither Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, James Boyd, Richard Ramirez, nor Patricia Cook, had control over the guns and fingers on triggers that released the bullet or bullets that killed them, anymore than the children at Our Lady of Angels School had over the raging flames that trapped them in their classrooms. None of the victims had anything available to defend themselves.
James Anderson had no more control over the steering wheel driving the truck running him over, than Tamir Rice had over Tim Loehmann’s split second decision to shoot the 12-year old. They had nothing in which to defend themselves.
“I thought …” “And I thought he was going to …” “And if he did then he would kill me.”
The defendant’s thoughts are on trial because it is their thoughts that led to their actions.
Did Darren Wilson really believe that Michael Brown would have killed him in the middle of street in broad daylight with eyewitnesses? Wilson killed Michael in the middle of the street in broad daylight with eyewitnesses, and avoided punishment because he had the weapon and a municipality’s authority to use it. Michael had nothing in which to defend himself.
Did George Zimmerman really believe that Trayvon would have killed him after knowing that a neighbor came outside, saw them, and was calling the police? George pulled the trigger, and he did so at a time and in a manner where no one saw him fire his gun. His attorney, Mark O’Mara, said that concrete is a weapon. The prosecution did not remind the jury that Zimmerman said he had removed his head from the concrete, and that is what allegedly exposed his gun. According to Zimmerman, he restrained Trayvon’s arms then drew his gun, took time to aim, and then fired a bullet into Trayvon’s heart. Trayvon had nothing to use as a defense.
We hear the words, “It could have been your son.” What about, “It could have been you”? The nation has been told that unless people are perfect, they can be killed and a ten-year old parking ticket will be used to justify that they were a bad person who deserved to be shot down.
The jury in Ted Wafer’s case found him guilty of murdering Renisha McBride because Wafer’s thoughts were not reasonable.
In like manner, the jury in Michael Dunn’s case found him guilty of murder because his thoughts were not reasonable. He testified what he thought that not only led to him shooting into the vehicle as it drove away, but also why he thought he could leave the scene, and then leave the town.
In my opinion, prosecutor Juan Martinez sets a good example for avoiding putting the victim on trial. He did it in the Jodi Arias murder trial by getting into Jodi’s thoughts.
Jodi tried justifying her brutal murder of Travis Alexander by telling the jury what a horrible person he was. She even painted him as a religious hypocrite. She claimed self-defense. Her defense was character assassination against Travis.
Attorney Martinez didn’t take time to tell the jury that Travis was the perfect guy. Rather, he spoke about Jodi’s actions. The video of his closing is more than 3 hours, but I ask if you don’t have time to watch it all, please do watch the first 5 minutes. Prosecutor Martinez understood the importance of telling the jury what type of person Jodi Arias IS – not what type of person Travis Alexander WAS. Attorney Martinez told the jury what Travis suffered because of what Jodi thought. If you’re interested in watching that part, it starts in the video around 1:49:13.
Posted on 01/20/2015, in Justice For Trayvon, Michael Brown - Ferguson, Potpourri, Trials & Cases and tagged defending, Juan Martinez, killers, Michael Brown, self defense, thoughts, Travis Alexander, Trayvon Martin, victims. Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.