Wednesday, June 30, 2010

justice is like a bowl of cereal...

It was a pretty normal early evening. I sat on the back deck, sipping some ice water through an ice straw, and listened to a man recite to me how many people had been killed by tigers on the Indian subcontinent as of 1900. He told me 300,000, a figure I thought enormously exorbitant. See, prior to that statistic, I had guessed 11, so when he told me it was at least two times that, according to my TI-81, I immediately responded with, "Get it, grr-r-l!" which, of course, I found hilarious. Unfortunately, though, I was the only one to find that hilarious, according to my TI-81...

"You do realize that joke relies entirely on a cartoon tiger, don't you?" asked the man reciting gory death statistics to me as I continued to laugh so hard my ice straw nearly dissolved then bubbled out of my nose.

"GET IT, GRR-R-L!" I repeated before laughing some more. But when I looked up to say, "Do you see what I did there? DO YOU?!?!" my deck companion had gone AWOL. Surely, he was eaten by a tiger.

Or not. Fortunately for us, there aren't many sharp-clawed beasts around DC who wish to eat us alive. Instead, we just have a bunch of suspected murderers justice obstructors who can go about their suspected murder justice obstruction business, knowing that they can fool the system real nice. But I guess that's to be expected when you don't have David Caruso working in your CSI...

Or maybe not. Maybe our suspicions are wrong. Maybe no one obstructed anything; maybe the police did everything right; maybe criminals from time-to-time are just that good, in which case I think I'd rather fear death-by-tiger because at least then we'd know who to blame and how to go about catching the culprit. We'd simply call in CSIs Sigfried & Roy.

Joking aside, however, in cases like that surrounding the brutal slaying of Robert Wone, in which all three defendants were found not guilty of conspiracy yesterday, as well as the hundreds -- if not thousands -- of other unsolved murders in DC, all we know is that, while we may have strong suspicions, we really don't know anything.

However, that doesn't mean we should just sit back, shut up and let justice go unserved. Recognizing that we don't know sh*t could actually lead us to justice because it means we realize there's a lot more sh*t out there for us to learn. Seriously, let's not Woodrow Wilson ourselves here. His stroke-induced anosognosia (the condition of not knowing you don't know sh*t) led his dimwitted wife to make some pretty poor, possibly World War II-causing decisions. Worse yet (well, maybe not, WWII was pretty bad...), let's not become this guy, who didn't have enough knowledge to realize that he didn't have the knowledge to succeed as a bank robber. (That sentences makes sense if you read it twice...) He thought squirting lemon juice on his visage would obscure his face on film.

Now, although I may have some suspicions, I don't know who's guilty or if the police work was shoddy or if the court just made a poor decision in the Wone trial. I do know other things, however. For instance, I know tigers are scary, jokes based on childhood cereal mascots are hilarious and squirting citric acid in your eye is bad, just to name a few. But most importantly, I know that I don't know a lot of things and I can name what a lot of those things are. In other words, I'm not ignorant about my own ignorance and I hope the police department, the prosecutors, the justice system and everyone else isn't either. Armed with the knowledge that we don't know much means we can start filling in these information gaps and serve justice up like a bowl of Frosted Flakes. God, that would be...GRR-...great. (See? I can hold back when necessary.)

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