August 17, 2006

Instant justice

With the rather stunning news that a suspect has been arrested in Thailand in the 1996 murder of Jon-Benet Ramsey, it's of course touched off a circus of media speculation and opinion.

Details were slow to emerge, but the guy has reportedly confessed to "elements" of the crime, and has said he was there when Ramsey died, and suggested her death was an accident. Given that the cause of death was a crushing blow to the head and strangulation using a paint brush handle to tighten a cord around the girl's neck, I'd be curious where this "accident" came into the picture.

It's also reported that Ramsey's father can not recall if he knew the suspect.

At any rate, the initial story line focused on what a shame it was that Mrs. Ramsey, who died from ovarian cancer recently, wasn't around to experience this. Many commenters mentioned how horrible it was that so much suspicion was focused on the parents and implied that this had cleared them of all suspicion.

Robert Shapiro, one of O.J. Simpson's original "Dream Team" before he was pushed aside by Johnny Cochran, was dug up and put on the phone by MSNBC for an initial reaction.

Shapiro went on and on about how horrible it was that the Ramseys were accused by the press of having something to do with the murder or their child, and saying how good this was that they were finally cleared of all suspicion and what a shame it was that Patsy Ramsey wasn't around to see it.

It was horrible, just horrible, the way the press suspected the Ramseys, he said, ignoring the fact that it was the officials who were suspecting them and the evidence certainly pointed in their direction, not to mention their rather strange behavior in the press as well.

Shapiro decried all this saying that the presumption of innocence needs to be adhered to and that the media often tries to convict people in the press. The presumption of innocence is the bedrock upon which justice is built, Shapiro went on, and should never be violated.

But does anyone see the weirdness and dishonesty in Shapiro's statements?

This interview occurred only hours after the first sketchy information was reported that someone had been arrested in Thailand in relation to the case. Nothing was known at the time other than that fact.

While railing about how the poor Ramsey's were crucified and wrongly suspected and put through hell and how people forgot about the sacrosanct presumption of innocence in their case, Shapiro was clearing the Ramsey's of all guilt. This of course, means that he was assuming that whoever had been arrested WAS GUILTY. So much for the precious presumption of innocence.

Kind of odd to hear a famous and wealthy attorney bitterly denouncing the press and public for daring to suspect the Ramseys and not holding to the all-important presumption of innocence, and then simultaneously speaking with the assumption that the suspect was guilty as sin.

This same logical disconnect ran through much of the early coverage.

And even now, what's to say whether this guy isn't some fruit-loop who's confessing out of some twisted desire for notoriety or attention?

It will be very interested to try to see what connection, if any, this guy had to the Ramsey's as well. The fact that Jon-Benet was obviously a very cute little girl, and the fact that Mrs. Ramsey tarted her up and trotted her around as some strange idealized image of an adult woman, complete with full makeup and teaching her how to appear and move in an alluring manner not natural at all to a child that age, might have contributed to attracting a pervert like the suspect is never mentioned.

Obviously, nothing whatsoever could ever excuse such a heinous and inexplicable crime. But I will be interested in seeing what connection Mr. Ramsey had with this guy.

The suspect was asked about that directly and replied "no comment", this despite the fact that he was willing to admit he was there when Jon-Benet died.

When John Ramsey was asked if he knew the guy, he too said he wasn't sure and didn't want to comment.

Add to that the fact that the odd amount of money demanded in the ransom note was exactly the amount of John Ramsey's bonus that year, apparently, further suggesting some sort of weird connection there.

The Ramsey attorneys are being oddly fair and generous to this guy in their statements, reiterating several times that the suspect should be given the presumption of innocence. That's laudable, of course, but a bit odd in this situation.

And in all the condemnation of the press et. al. for reflecting suspicion on the Ramsey's, it's not mentioned how IMMEDIATELY after the murder, they hired a team of lawyers, a publicist, and a public relations firm and then refused to speak to the police.

I'm not familiar with all the details of the investigation, but I do recall that there were apparently no footprints in the snow around the home, and several other odd bits of evidence which lead many to find the theory of an intruder hard to swallow.

But at any rate, if this guy is guilty, he deserves whatever they give him. But the process and the trial will be interesting, to say the least.


At 8/17/2006 7:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a spectator and not the kid's father, this is a tragic crime that happened a long time ago, and I'm just not interested in hearing re-conjured half-truths for months on end.

I'll know to keep Larry King and Nancy Grace off my TV for a LONG time.

I'll wait to read the true crime book on it when this is all said and done. I have a feeling it will be a long book.

I just want to know when I can take my Starbucks back on the plane with me.

At 8/17/2006 5:01 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

If I had to guess I'd say that John used any life insurance money he got from his wife's death to convince somebody to confess to the crime.

I studied the ransom note in school, and there are so many things that point at the parents that its hard to argue with. Check out for some of it. Things like the letter saying they represent a small foreign faction. Nobody thinks of themselves as foriegn, and most "factions" claim to be vast, not small. Little stuff like that, and the fact that the handwriting improves throughout the letter, as though it was written left handed to disguise the handwriting. Its interesting stuff.

At 8/17/2006 5:17 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

This is why this story has gotten my interest. I usually avoid anything that's even close to tabloid fodder like the plague.

But though this story is vastly over-reported and the level of sheer stupidity and uninformed baloney put out on it is amazing, the fact is that it's a very mysterious case with a whole lot of obvious, and completely unanswered questions.

There's something not quite right about the entire thing, which makes it compelling and fascinating.

More often than not, a a cigar is just a cigar, so to speak. I'm all in favor of resisting the impulse to leap to conclusions or assume scandal or guilt.

But the facts in this case, from the behavior of the parents, to the ineptitude of the cops, to the bizarre media campaign by the family, to this suspect, who couldn't get much stranger, and his cryptic responses so far.....

I don't know. All that can be said is that it will definitely be interesting, and I sincerely hope that the truth, or something very close to it, will eventually be learned.

At 8/17/2006 6:37 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

The one thing I am not clear on is why they did not find her body until the next day - in the basement.

I guess it just smelled rotten from the start and I am curious to see what we can learn about this new person whom the Media has already tried and convicted of the crime.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home