Monday, June 27, 2011

In which I admit defeat

Oy, if anything will ever cure me of my "Something is wrong on the internet"itis, it'll be the Amanda Knox case. If you saw all the comments that came in on my lone post about that case, or even looked through some of them, you might have some idea what I'm talking about. Somehow, this case has spawned some of the craziest internet battles I have ever witnessed. There appears to be a group of people, not necessarily even connected to the victim or each other, who have made it their business to find every website that discusses the case and overwhelm them with comments. Those comments are filled with half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies. And then there are people on the pro-Amanda side and those two groups hate each other. With a passion. And they have this rolling internet battle that ranges all over.

So when the Amanda Knox "guilters" as others have dubbed them started coming to my quiet little blog and were soon followed by the pro-Amanda folks, I got curious. I'd always thought Knox was most likely innocent, that Preston book about the Florence serial killer strengthened that sense, but it's the insane ramblings of the guilters that have absolutely pushed me over the edge. They go around the internet, spreading the same lies, over and over. No matter how many times those lies are debunked. They keep claiming the evidence is more than what it actually is. And I can't correct every one of them. It's kinda driving me nuts.

What's most frustrating is how the lies have seeped so thoroughly into the national subconscious that even educated, well-informed people believe them. My friend, A, lives in Seattle and assumes that Amanda had something to do with it because of all the lies and varying stories she told. Except, she didn't. That's just a misconception that spread through the media. My sister, usually very well-informed on cases like this, seemed shocked when I said it wasn't even possible that Amanda was involved in the murder. Now maybe her shock was that I spoke in an absolute and I (usually) don't speak in absolutes. But I got the sense that it was more than that, that she's heard enough of the misinformation to have doubts.

Reputable news media is still, unfortunately, contributing to the misinformation. As Amanda's appeal heated up this week, I've seen stories on various cable channels and online. While they rightly say that the DNA evidence that allegedly tied Amanda to the crime has become suspect, they also helped perpetuate one of the biggest myths about the case. They said that there were now questions about whether Amanda's DNA really was on the murder weapon. But that knife wasn't the murder weapon. It just flat does not fit the wounds. Or the bloody imprint left by the knife at the crime scene. This random knife pulled from the drawer in Raffaele's kitchen had nothing to do with the murder. It would be nice if the media wouldn't call it the murder weapon when even the Italian prosecutors acknowledge it probably didn't cause the fatal wound.

Also, the BBC still has up and active on its website an article from December of 2007 that proclaims Amanda was lying about her claim that she was at Raffaele's house the night of the murder reading a Harry Potter book in German. The proof being that investigators found a German Harry Potter book at Amanda's house! As if there's only one Harry Potter book in the world... (How many copies do you have, M? I freely admit I have 3 Pride and Prejudices, 2 Emmas, and more Anne of Green Gables than you can shake a stick at. And I also have all of those on both my iPhone and iPad. As well as the Complete Works of Shakespeare. It's not that weird to have multiple copies of a favorite book.) So the BBC, one of the more respected news agencies in the world, still labels Amanda a liar. Except for this one thing: the police recorded it when they searched Raffaele's apartment in the week after the murder. And guess what is clearly visible on the video? A German Harry Potter book! (There are 7 in the series, you know.) So not only was she not lying, the investigators knew it when they released the photo of the HP book from Amanda's house, but still hoped the media would label her a liar anyway.

Now today there has been a lot of online chatter because there was a big witness testifying in her appeal trial today. The guy who actually committed the murder, shockingly, still refused to admit he did it and maintained he saw Amanda and Raffaele there. (Since that got him such a sweet sentence of only 16 years, did anyone really think he would own up now?) And on all of those message boards and comment-enabled cites, more of the same old nonsense is coming up. The footprints Amanda left in Meredith's blood (even though those spots tested negative for both blood and Meredith's DNA). The buying of bleach (didn't happen). The calling police after police had already arrived (except the time on the security camera used to reach that conclusion was off by about 10 minutes). The idea that she was a tramp who slept with 7 men in the 2 months she was in Italy (not true). And on and on and on.

It has reached a point where I have to admit I can't counter all the misinformation. And I know by posting this, I'm going to be inundated with more of it here. But it's driving me crazy. Because something is wrong all over the internet and I WANT TO FIX IT!!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting my frustration into words. I don't have your expertise in criminal law, but the lack of evidence in this case is painfully clear to anybody that looks. I only hope the Italian court will seek justice, and not face-saving.


StacyH said...

After reading your original post, I noticed that the media was calling the knife the murder weapon erroneously. So, you've at least educated one person.

And the media keeps saying how it was allegedly fueled by a "drug induced sex game" and I just think, as with Casey Anthony, it's just making it impossible for her to get a fair shake.

S said...

I guess the ultimate point here is never just trust a headline, especially when dealing with a criminal charge. I hope people who might someday serve on juries can see how wrong the media can get it so they really do need to leave their preconceptions of the case at the door.

The number one thing the guilters all say is, "Read Judge Massei's report!" Implying there is no way anyone can come away from reading that 400 page document being anything other than totally convinced of Amanda's guilt. Well, I've read it. And it's ludicrous. Nonsensical. He has to jump through hoop after hoop and make illogical leap after illogical leap to arrive at Amanda's involvement. Like concluding that the luminol spots that tested negative for blood and Meredith's DNA were nonetheless footprints left in Meredith's blood. And that the break-in was clearly staged because Filomena closed her shutters, even after Filomena said she didn't close here shutters and they didn't latch, anyway.

Honestly, if it takes you 400 pages to arrive at guilt, you are having to work way too hard. And it shows. That report would be laughable, reading like something The Onion would write, if only it hadn't put two innocent young people in prison for a quarter of a century.

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