Anyone who has not heard of Cyntoia Brown, lately, is probably not active on any of the social media, but who needs justice, law and order, when the will of the mob will be a much more liked substitute?
I use Facebook. Yesterday, the trickle of Facebook notifications clamoring to have Cyntoia Brown treated lightly, that I had been receiving during the last few days, increased to a flood. A lot of people wanted to get my attention that I had been doing my best not to give.
I knew nothing about Cyntoia Brown, decided this morning to check out what the tsunami of publicity was all about and found that, if anything, the mainstream media were not a good source of information on the case. CNN and ABC published a few articles on the case, but those were far from being objectively informative. From there the quality of the media sources deteriorated, to sources that I don’t usually use as sources of reliable information, and worse.
The renewed wave of public awareness and concern about the case made me curious. What was so special about this case of murder, that the level of public awareness and concern about it, a single case, would demand half and more of all the attention that the public was willing to direct to close to 20,000 murder cases a year in the US?
If the usual media sources fail to provide objective and complete information that lives up to journalistic standards, why not bypass them all and go directly to a reliable source of politically correct information, that will point to sources, Wikipedia?
What I learned from a good number of sources
There is a wide range of opinions. Some maintain that Cyntoia Brown,
- Is an innnocent victim of circumstances involving, amongst others, being sex-trafficked as a minor;
- Had to defend herself against being raped and – in fear for her life – felt forced to kill her rapist;
- Took her victim’s money – not knowing what she was doing, whereupon she
- Was unjustly tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison (which, in Tennessee, results in a minimum term of 51 years).
Given that I have no access to court transcripts or witness reports in her case, I have to make do with what Wikipedia has on offer regarding the case. A different picture emerged: Cyntoia Brown,
- Was born of an unknown father to a mother who consumed alcohol while pregnant and was a crack addict while she raised her daughter;
- Was given up for adoption at age 16;
- Ran away from her adoptive mother at age 16;
- Decided to choose a job as an adult, in the time-honoured profession of a prostitute;
- Contracted for a night of sex (at the price of US$150) with her victim-to-be;
- Shot her victim in the back of the head, while he was sleeping, using a handgun she happened to carry in her purse;
- Took another US$172 of her victim’s money;
- Took her victim’s money, firearms and a vehicle, as well as a Ford F150 pick-up truck, all of which she then took back to her pimp;
- Was arrested, indicted, tried as an adult for murder in the 1st degree and sentenced to life, whereupon
- She had, ten years later, a parole hearing, with the members of the parole board split three ways.
Fanning public awareness
It now appears that pop-media figures, notably Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, wish to use the case of Cyntoia Brown to bolster their flagging public appeal, by generating public awareness and sympathy for Cyntoia Brown’s case. Google Trends gives a fairly good indication of how well that social-media campaign is working out, which leaves innocent bystanders with a puzzle.
Mob justice or law and order
Why does anyone think that fanning a massive media campaign that appears to be once more gathering momentum will serve justice by substituting mob appeal and public pressure for equitable justice? Will self-appointed, non-elected arbiters be reasonably good substitutes for elected and respected judges and state governors? If that is the case, then why not work to abolish law and order, to substitute a system of mob justice administered through trials by social media, so as to put the administration of justice directly into the hands of the people?
Who needs justice, law and order, when the will of the mob will do – triggered and steered by people who make profitable careers out of attention seeking?