Thursday, August 17, 2006

I Was Wrong, And I Apologize

There is a classic Happy Days episode in which The Fonz (or maybe by then he was called Fonzie, the softened up nickname he was given when he became part of the Cunningham family) tries to admit a mistake, and apologize for being wrong. And try as he might, he can't get it out.

"I was wrrrr... I was wrrrooo... I was wrrroouuugh..."

It was a funny episode. And sort of true to human nature, in many ways. The only thing we hate more than admitting mistakes to ourselves is admitting them publicly. Just ask The Fonz. Or Bill Clinton. Or the current Commander In Chief.

Yesterday, when John Karr admitted he killed JonBenet Ramsey ten years ago, I realized I have been wrong. For a decade.

And I apologize.

Like many folks, I had my doubts that an intruder murdered JonBenet. I suspected a family member, to be honest. And I made this judgment based on little more than the media reports of the event, the family's odd and quirky behavior and the opinions of some talking heads who are too often passed off as credible journalist.

We do that in America these days, don't we? Make judgments too quickly, and based on too few facts. Sometimes that suspicion is right (read Scott Peterson), which reinforces our skepticism and suspicion, and lets us feel comfortable drawing quick conclusions in subsequent cases or circumstance.

It's wrong. And we are wrong as a society every time we do it.

I've never been as cool as The Fonz. In fact, I'm a bit more like Potsie. But Potsie could more easily admit his mistakes, and ask for forgiveness. I'm certain the Ramsey family doesn't read the electronic ramblings of some goof who likes movies and pop culture, so I won't pretend to be apologizing to them. But I regret that I allowed myself to form conclusions about such a tragedy without being fully informed.

I am sorry. I was wrong.


JDB said...

Don't beat yourself up too bad, FG. The more this guy's story is examined, the more it's not holding up. He may be messed in the head and trying to be a part of the notoriety of the case. It's far from over.

Which, nevertheless, just goes to show that the presumption of innocence ain't such a bad thing!

The Film Geek said...

JDB: Yep, it does look a bit cloudy. It's interesting, though, how our perceptions are formed so often by these 24-hour "news" channels, though. We get so much so fast, it becomes almost natural to make a quick presumption. And it's just plain wrong.

I'll be interesting to see how this one develops.

Stitching Barbie Girl said...

He's a little creepy. I think the whole thing is odd.

But, I'm in the category of feeling bad when I heard this because all these years I too assumed the family was involved.

It's still so sad.

jedi jawa said...

JDB can speak more to this than I can, but I believe that the media wants you to draw that quick conclusion because it makes the story more compelling and it gives everyone comfort that the police are on the case and protecting the citizens. I heard some very interesting Jury voir dire where the question was asked how many people tend to believe that the police "got their man" or say "they caught the guy who did that thing" when the news reports an arrest? The State has such an amazing amount of power in those circumstances that the burden of proof is so much more important than the average citizen realizes until he or she is the one in the hot seat. However, I'm sure that Nancy Grace would not approve.

Off Route 75 said...

When her body was autopsied, didn't the medical examiner(s) also say it looked as if she had been sexually active for some time?

....I don't know if the whole "vagina of a 40 year old" is the correct phrasing the M.E. used or not, but if it was....this guy couldn't have done it.

Don't feel bad, though, I jumped on the Mark Karr train and was thinking about the book deals and the Lifetime movie that would be out in three months.