[TT] We Are All Criminals.

I decided against blogging about the Boston Marathon bombing because the information is widely available and I feel the event has garnered enough attention. Every conversation I have gotten into in the month of April, whether it be with a stranger or a friend, has always seemed to revolve around the Boston Marathon and the subsequent after-math.

This blog entry was inspired by the events following the Boston Marathon bombing. I refer to the public and their efforts to search throughout the web and to provide witness testimony after it was released that the bombs were transported in black backpacks. Many people were suspected of committing this heinous act. However, even after the suspects were found, many had already suffered from the scrutiny caused by mis-identification. Here is a story of one those cases: My Innocent Brother Was Made Into a Bombing Suspect: Sunil Tripathi's Sister Speaks.

Image courtesy of PositScience

During a very hearty meal out, Simon and I were discussing the interviews with friends and family members of the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing. We came to the conclusion that there were only really two types of reactions that came from these interviews: The first being the "he/she would never hurt a fly! i'm so shocked!" or the second being the "i always knew there was something wrong with him/her" approach.

This led to how each of us would be perceived if we ever were suspected of committing a crime. The media always seem so eager to twist any story into one that fits an image of a scary criminal, but how much of it is actually true? Or could have somehow been perceived as a "sign" of being a criminal? I have narrowed down three ways that the media could possibly twist a person's image to isolate the framework for a demonic and "justifiable" criminal.

1) Every photograph ever taken of you, will be used against you. How often have we seen the media release initial pictures of the suspect looking like this?

But when taken in another shot, perhaps they are not so scary looking:

Sandy Hook shooter (left), Karla Homolka (right)

How easily a candid shot or merely a shot taken on a bad day can be used against you. Simon has a photograph of himself wielding a knife against himself (picture merging effect) in hopes of motivating him to write an essay. Who knows if that shot will one day be taken out of context and be used against him as a knife-wielding maniac?

2) Your tweets/statuses/blog posts/communications will be taken out of context. If you are a suspect to any case, the public, the media, as well as the authorities will be using any method they can to find a motive or to gain understanding into why this crime has been committed. Needless to say, social media is the best easily accessible source when it comes to finding this sort of information. Here is a personal example to illustrate my point: Say I killed a group of people and investigators were looking for a motive for me doing so. Here's a tweet I had posted on the 20th of April:

Could this little rant of mine be used against me in plotting against people who simply didn't think the way I did? Perhaps it seems a little far-fetched to some of you, but that's because my example may be a little weak. Regardless, I'm sure if any of your friends got arrested, you'd be looking through their social media accounts too and everything will seem to be some sort of clue.

3) Everything you have done in your life up to this point is a lead up to you committing a crime. Alongside searching your social media accounts for answers, investigators and the media will rummage through the span of your life on earth and twist it into a story leading up to the commission of a crime. This is particularly funny to me because, as a Criminology student, I get adults and peers joking about how I'm learning to become a criminal. This will surely not go unnoticed in a court of law, I tell you. But I'm not the only one. Have you ever, as a kid, burnt ants under the sun with a magnifying glass? Have you ever gotten in trouble with the authority, whether it be with a school principal, a teacher, or a police officer giving you a speeding ticket? Well, my friends...your history will be twisted to fit the stereotypical criminal model. You will be surprised how your "kids just being kids" stories will somehow become a sign that you are capable of criminal thoughts and have finally manifested them into action.

This concludes my Thought Thursday entry for the week. I hope you all enjoyed it and feel free to leave me responses regarding this topic or my blog in the comment section below.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to you, this article would be certainly used against me when I eventually go on a knife-wielding spree.

    To RCMP / CSIS / FBI / CIA / Secret Service / Chinese government / Big Brother / Starsky and Hutch / FOX News: I joke, I joke.