Editors note: This is a submission from one of our Pride

In today’s modern and technologically advanced times, it is hard to imagine not being more well-informed than we've ever been.  With the internet and social media taking over all other forms of media as our primary source of news, we should all be in the know.  News is still investigated, written and relayed to us by human beings, so can we trust the media not to be biased? 

With regard to the events in Boston, and after digesting content from both vantage points, I’ve found that I rarely come across a popular news story that dares to ask the question “Is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty?”.  Sure, they still refer to him as the “suspect”, which brings me some small relief but is it really fair to write an article about ‘is he going to get the death penalty or life in prison?’ without viewing all the facts first?  Where is the demand for evidence?  What happened to America that led many of us to pre-convict suspects prior to making it to trial?  I'm reminded of cases such as Casey Anthony vs. Florida or Jodi Arias vs.  Arizona, but did we ever once question if they should even have a trial or even be allowed an attorney like we have Dzhokhar?
When the Tsarnaev brothers were released to the public as persons of interest, it seemed that everyone had already decided they were guilty from the start.  Even the media ran with it and posed round table discussions on their reasoning for the bombings, their ties to terrorism and what turns normal people into monsters.  It, at least to me, appeared all very one-sided.  No one ever seems to stop and ask important and thought provoking questions anymore.  Who are these “sources” that are giving up information?  Are we going to be allowed to view the insurmountable evidence to suggest that they are in fact the bombers?

So many new tools are available to us and the nature of fair trials is swiftly changing. The earth seemed to stand still that day.  Millions of people tuned in and watched as they captured Dzhokhar. So many people were interconnected and exchanging opinions that we may have missed the importance of fact checking.

It’s quite daunting to witness this mob mentality from our own countrymen.  It’s possible he IS guilty, but it’s also possible he is NOT.  Is the mass media coverage painting him in a bad light going to even afford him the right to a fair trial?  How can we possibly find a jury of peers at this point that wouldn't want to see him dead right off the bat?  Why do we let the media influence our once rational thinking so much?  When did innocent until proven guilty become a thing of the past?

These are the questions I'm no longer afraid to ask. What about you?
Audi alteram pa
5/8/2013 04:36:34 pm

From my perspective, as a member of the Virginia Tech community, this unfortunate trend is only growing, however; my community seems steadfast in fair and positive unity. I am fortunate.

The suspect of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech who killed 32 and wounded many more, took his own life. Though hurting, the VT community was respectful as this young man had a family mourning as well. His name was seldom mentioned on campus throughout the following days and weeks.

The media still needed their "pound of flesh" and in the absence of a suspect to try in the court of public opinion (as he was deceased), suspects were created and they became University officials.

By all EXPERT accounts, the University acted in the best way possible without the benefit of hind-site.

Unity is strength at Virginia Tech so when media outlets descended on our small community and tried to drawn a line between the students and university officials, the students asked the media to leave. They roared!

Although the VT tragedy was clear cut compared to the Boston incident; in both cases the media and the country needs a head to roll, regardless of who's head it is. They are hungry for their pound of flesh because flesh equates to ratings for the media and perhaps security (albeit a false sense of security) for the county.

I, however; believe in truth, justice, and transparency.

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Prudence
5/8/2013 10:39:16 pm

I remember that well. If only people could offer that level of respect in every horrible situation. I believe the world would be a little better.

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Audi alteram pa
5/10/2013 06:56:40 am

With the media presenting opinion as fact, trying, and convicting defendants; the possibility of a fair trial diminishes, even more so in cases with International implications.

Defendants are no longer safe pleading not guilty and being allowed defend especially in death penalty cases where the stakes are higher. They are left with few options: risk their life by pleading not guilty where the opportunity of a fair trail is basically non-existent; or cut a deal to save their lives by admitting to false guilt.

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Señor Neruda
5/10/2013 01:52:14 pm

The thing is that so many #freejaharists are demanding "smoking gun" evidence or are claiming a frame job because evidence is being withheld. But it's to try and give a defendant a fair trial why evidence is kept out of public view.

Imagine trying to pick a jury where everybody has seen a video of Dzhokar dropping the backpack and walking away?

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Audi alteram pa
5/10/2013 04:24:44 pm

You make an excellent point but to that end, do you think it was necessary for the investigators to release information obtained during the initial interrogation, especially the alleged confession? I can't help but wonder if this was not to sway public opinion. My reference to his inability to receive a fair trial lies primarily on the shoulders of the media and secondarily on the shoulders of the officials who are releasing evidentiary information.

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Prudence
5/11/2013 12:25:02 am

Agreed. The accused has been continuously splashed across the media as a radical jihadist in the days since the bombing. Is that really the case or is it pure speculation? It seems, to me at least, that is media hype. Every single person that knew him refuses to believe that he was like that. Should we believe the media or people who were close to him? Hopefully when it goes to trial, we'll get a better understanding of who he is and what is going on.

maret
5/12/2013 02:35:57 pm

If the FBI had that video at hand, they would have showed it already. They, possibly, trying to threaten Dzhokhar into agreeing into making one of those videos, that is one scenario. The second is, Dzhokhar is already dead, killed by the FBI, as Tamerlan is, but for some reason, "they" are taking time until May 30.

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Prudence
5/13/2013 12:25:19 am

Well, I doubt he's dead. They wouldn't have appointed such a high profile defense team if he was dead, I don't think. You're just asking people to take notice by assigning him a team that specializes in death penalty cases and widely hated suspects.

Señor Neruda
5/13/2013 01:15:56 am

"If the FBI had that video at hand, they would have showed it already"

Trust me id love to see it but why would they do that? Releasing it puts it in the hands of the legal defense team and they're not at the point in the proceedingss where they need to do thatt. Above all they are trying to prosecute a crime.

Another possibility is that the defense has seen the tape and has requested it not be made public as not to influence a possible jury. How is he supposed to get an impartial jury if everybody and their mothers have seen him basically commit the crime.

Simone
5/13/2013 03:57:04 pm

Prudence makes a good point "The accused has been continuously splashed across the media as a radical jihadist in the days since the bombing".

I think that most people don't understand what it means to be a jihadist, how one becomes one and the process it takes to become one. The media and the authorities have made it out to be some frivolous overnight occurrence when it is in fact a long process which requires intense indoctrination, with indoctrination itself being a process. When you add "radical" to the equation, then it takes on an even more intense method.

Based on what I know so far of Dzhokhar, I just can't imagine how this could have happened, and I base this on his personality-cool, mellow, stress-free, witty, sweet (so I've heard) and his lifestyle-typical adolescent-he went to class, partied a lot and was always surrounded by friends who we all know are not "radicalised jihadists".
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/everything-youve-been-told-about-radicalization-is-wrong-20130506

I hope that there will be experts on indoctrination and jihad at the trial who can clear up this whole misinformation regarding Muslims and Jihad; or I wish that folks could just pick up a book once in awhile and read. He is also White, he is also American and under 21 and as we all know from past happenings, this has got nothing to do with "terrorism".

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Prudence
5/13/2013 10:43:38 pm

I couldn't have said it better myself. Very well put. Thank you.

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