Saturday, June 22, 2013

AARON HERNANDEZ AND THE RUSH TO JUDGEMENT


If you read the Boston papers over the past week, you probably think that Aaron Hernandez
is the anti-Christ. Nearly every article painted him as a bad guy who attracts trouble like Kim
Kardashian garners attention. Druggie, hood, thug, criminal were put in print, everything
else but the word "murderer" was added for emphasis.

And to think, the guy hasn't even been arrested.

The dirty spotlight shined on Hernandez after an "associate" of his was found dead less than
a mile from his home near a rental car registered in the name of the Patriots tight end. In this
Twitter-obsessed, be first, rush-to-judgment world, Hernandez was guilty in taking part of
the execution-style murder of 27-year Odin Lloyd.


As soon as news of the homicide broke, local and national news stations were camped outside
of the home of Hernandez in North Attleboro, MA. Helicopters followed him to Gillette
stadium, then reporters ambushed him while he was getting gas. Hernandez refused to answer
any questions, which to most airheads, represented his guilt.. As Hernandez made his way to
Boston in his white Audi SUV, comparisons to OJ's white Bronco chase emerged almost two
decades after Simpson was accused of double-murder.

Hernandez didn't help his part in our "perception is reality" society. He had the audacity to
wear a black-knit hat on a summer-like day along with a black hooded-sweatshirt. By golly,
he just LOOKS guilty a lot of people would say.



Has Hernandez even been charged with anything yet? I don't think so.

I'm not defending Hernandez or saying that he's innocent. But one thing is for sure, he's
already been convicted in the court of public opinion.

The public reads an article or hears a report on television and they surmise that he must be
guilty, because after all, (insert sarcasm here) if it's in the papers, on Twitter, or television, it
must be true.

We all thought that after John King of CNN told us the bombing suspect in Boston had
been arrested and he was a "light-skinned black male," didn't we?

We all thought that when news anchors told us the Newtown shooter was Ryan Lanza, who
killed his Dad in New Jersey, then travelled to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he
kill his mother who was a substitute teacher at the school. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again.
It was Adam Lanza, who didn't kill his father, and his mother wasn't a substitute teacher at
the school.


On Thursday, media reports, citing the always popular "sources", said Hernandez would
be arrested for obstruction of justice because he, not even allegedly, smashed his cell
phone to pieces, destroyed the home surveillance system, and had a team of cleaners come
in to "scrub down" the house. On Friday, one news organizations reported that yes,
Hernandez would definitely be arrested. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Friday came and went and
that didn't happen. Saturday came and went, and is still didn't happen. Darn, I hate when
those sources are wrong.

Investigators brought dogs, crow bars, and a bunch of baggies to search the home and
cars of Hernandez on Saturday. This was going to be the big day that Hernandez would be
taken down and everybody would rejoice. Investigators left near dinner time, but Hernandez 
wasn't in handcuffs for his perp walk.


Most of  those watching or reading at home were incredulous. How could they not have
arrested Hernandez, at least for obstruction of justice charges? I mean, he destroyed evidence,
didn't he? All those CSI fans believed that alone is worth up to 10 years in prison.

Perhaps, investigators don't have as much evidence as the public thought they had to make
an arrest. Maybe, all those media reports with their "sources" were wrong. I've covered
police blotters daily in a rough section, as well as crime scenes and investigations. That's
in a small town. I can tell you this: the police dislike the media and won't screw up an
investigation just so they have something for the evening news. Especially when all of
New England and much of the country is watching. Their is usually one voice for the police
department and one voice only. Whoever else talks, jeopardizes their career, and most
wouldn't do it  just so bubble-headed bleach blonde has something for her live shot.

The truth is, none of us, not you, me, or the media knows exactly what is going on. We
don't know if Hernandez pulled the trigger, told somebody else to pull the trigger, or
drove the trigger man back to his place for milk and cookies. Nobody knows outside
of the police and they probably don't even know at this stage. They could be trying to
squeeze Hernandez with all these searches or whatever.


The media and much of the public wants an execution, not an investigation. It seems as
if they want nothing more to say than, "I knew it. I told you so. He's a thug." They want
to see Hernandez in prison probably so they can be there and cover the story when he
gets out.

He may never go in, and he may never get out. But it's not for the public to decide,
especially when they don't have all the facts. Just because a man looks incredibly guilty
doesn't mean he is.

There have been plenty of men falsely accused and convicted, spending more than 20
years behind bars. A few of them have been released, and you can look it up, because
there was a rush to judgment and the facts were presented in an unfair way. They were
made to look guilty when they never were.

Slow down, everybody, we don't need to see another rush to judgment here. Let the
facts come out and go from there, but to convict Aaron Hernandez so quickly is just
wrong.

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