Tuesday, November 6, 2007

After Innocence

I watched an excellent documentary last night entitled After Innocence. It details the lives of several men who had been wrongly imprisoned — in some cases up to a couple of decades — and then exonerated through DNA testing and the hard work of some lawyers working for nothing. I wouldn’t exactly say that the lawyers worked for “nothing.” The reality is that they were working for justice and seeking the truth. The fact that they didn’t get paid makes their efforts that much more noble. This film ties in with a play that I saw a few years ago entitled The Exonerated, in which the stories of six former death row prisoners, who were released from prison after their convictions were overturned, are told. I also read Mike Farrell’s memoir a few months back. Besides being an actor (most notably as B. J. Hunnicut in M*A*S*H), Mike Farrell is a human rights activist and a life-long opponent of the death penalty.

The idea of someone being innocent until proven guilty is a fallacy in this country. We as human beings are so quick to judge others, whether it be because of their looks, or their beliefs, or their cultural background. Doughy ignorant citizens are happy enough that the “bad guys” are behind bars. Out of sight, out of mind. I’m sure this type of mentality is the reason that the powers-that-be have recently legalized torture (They did this by changing the definition of torture. Now it’s only torture if the subject is at risk of organ failure or death.) and thrown away the valuable tool called habeas corpus. Doughy ignorant Americans are having their civil rights stripped away right before their eyes, but the magic of misdirection and distraction keeps everyone riveted by the latest reality show with cell phones glued to their ears, and iPods grasped in their sweaty palms. Global warming becomes a ploy by Al Gore for publicity. Complicated international relations just becomes a battle between the good guys (us of course!) and the bad guys (everyone who is not with us.) Somehow it’s become more important for people in this country to attempt to save unborn children and vegetables hooked to life support, rather than actual living breathing humans, who have been shunted aside by our cold dispassionate society.

So, a rambling entry spurred on by the watching of the documentary After Innocence. Tonight I took a break from the stresses of conscientiousness by watching four episodes of The Next Iron Chef. Over the past year I’ve come to enjoy Iron Chef America and this new show is a competition to pick a new Iron Chef.

Well, it’s just past two in the morning and even though I get to sleep in tomorrow . . . tomorrow is now today. I best get some rest.

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