I’ve been listening to a lot of Broadway showtunes lately, and I couldn’t help but make a connection between what’s going on in “justice” systems and a song from the musical Chicago. The song is called Razzle Dazzle and in case you aren’t familiar with it, it’s about a lawyer named Billy Flynn who tells his client she has nothing to worry about because the courtroom is just a big three ring circus and he is the biggest star there is- then he proceeds to tell her that if the story is presented well enough, the truth doesn’t matter at all, and they’ll get the outcome they want because he’s able to draw attention away from the truth.
Sounds familiar, no? Doesn’t matter what the truth is, it only matters what story they can get you to believe, what razzle dazzle they can use to distract from what is actually going on. Such as what they print in the paper, or what lies they tell, or convictions secured by confessions given under threat.
If a confession is given while the subject is being tortured, can that confession be believed? Can it really be something that we can bank on when the person likely just said what the torturer wanted to hear so the pain would stop? Absolutely not. That concept is clear, but the next step down (the voltage switch just next to this one, to borrow from a previous blog) seems to be less clear, though I don’t know why.
If a person is told that their family or other loved ones will suffer in some way (whether physically or on the front page of the paper in a slanderous article) unless they plead guilty, is that not also a “confession” that ought not to be trusted because it was only given in order to avoid pain? And yet, this style of threat is the go-to for the system in my town.
Take a look at how many people go through these steps: Plead innocent, plead innocent, plead innocent, suddenly change their plea to guilty… Why? From personal experience it’s because they are told that they better plead guilty or their loved ones will suffer. Why are the judges, lawyers, and cops afraid of actually going through the process of finding TRUTH? Is it laziness or something more sinister? Heaven forbid we actually do some detective work and find evidence instead of simply counting on a guilty plea garnered through the old faithful threat! Why change into something real and actually JUST when the three ring circus is working?
After all, as Billy Flynn would say: “Give 'em the old flim flam flummox, Fool and fracture 'em, How can they hear the truth above the roar?”
More to come…