Amendment V: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Quite a number of years ago, there was a doctor named Sam. Though his reputation was spotless, he was accused of murdering his wife. There was no evidence to that effect, other than his discovery of her corpse. However, the newspapers in his district of residence were determined to make him stand trial for the crime. It became a widely celebrated case of “trial by newspaper:” the use of private media to pre-convict an innocent man. (The case also helped to catapult F. Lee Bailey to stardom as the preeminent defense attorney in the United States.)
The political Establishment was watching. While Sam Sheppard’s conviction for murder was overturned on appeal and he was acquitted at his retrial, the value of the media in establishing a public conviction of the guilt of an accused man was plain. The federal government has used it more than once. But then, when Washington wants to get you, it is going to get you, and be damned to niceties like individual rights.
…Sheriffs are posting people’s names and pictures on television to tell the world that those people are criminals, even when they aren’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against being tough on crime, but there is a process for that. We don’t allow police in this country to punish lawbreakers. There is a process for that, and it doesn’t include destroying people’s lives because you are trying to garner a few votes.
We may not want the police – or the media – to exercise the power to punish, but these days they do it quite a lot. However, I have another infamy in mind at the moment. It’s interrelated with one of our contemporary fears. It goes by the name of domestic terrorism.
Consider our attitude toward terrorists. What do they deserve from us? The most common opinion is a quick death, though some would opt for torture beforehand. Now consider: how often do we hear public officials refer to persons they dislike as “domestic terrorists?” That includes persons who, however the public may view them, have not (yet) been convicted of any crime. If that isn’t an attempt to pre-convict the accused through the manipulation of public opinion, what would you call it?
The most egregious case, of course, involves the gaggle of January 6 protestors. The great majority of them did nothing more heinous than walk into the Capitol Building. Yet Joe Biden and the Democrats’ media handmaidens swiftly labeled them “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists.” And the great majority of those so labeled have been involuntarily imprisoned for two years, their access to counsel impeded if granted at all, and a speedy trial most certainly denied, under that label.
It was a blatant attempt by a politician to punish his political adversaries through the power of the media. And it worked horrifyingly well: well enough that the “COVIDian evangelists” were unhesitating in applying the same technique to their adversaries.
Anyone who dared to dissent from the lockdowns, reject the masking and “social distancing” decrees, or refuse the highly experimental (and ultimately both ineffective and dangerous) mRNA-based vaccines was swiftly and unapologetically labeled a “domestic terrorist.” Well, why not? Winning the battle for public opinion was what mattered, not truth or justice. The Harry Reid stratagem had already proved its efficacy, despite being an obvious lie. Mitt Romney didn’t get elected, did he?
If any Gentle Reader needs further evidence for my claim that America as founded is only a memory, please tell me what would satisfy you.
America the High-Trust Society is no longer. I’ve ranted about it before. I doubt that there are many who would argue the point with me. But it’s important to understand the tactics that have caused our demise. While I doubt we’ll see a restoration of the old Republic while I live, I profoundly hope that future generations will study the methods used to destroy it and learn to counter them. This one is of no use to men of good will, only to power-lusting villains.