Pop quiz. Who should decide the fate of the grandmother charged with making her 9-year-old granddaughter forced to run until she died? Facebook or a jury? If you're think justice for Savannah Hardin would be best served inside a courthouse, my apologies. It seems the web thinks they own the rights to determine how things should play out for the women police think are responsible for a 9-year-old dying.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The public weighing in on criminal cases from that of Hardin to George Zimmerman (the man charged in the death of Trayvon Martin) have judges concerned that the idea of a "fair trial" is dead. But what did they expect?
People have always talked about issues in the news. Only thanks to social media, we now have a forum that's seen 'round the world to express our views. It may not have been what our forefathers anticipated when they wrote the freedom of speech into our Constitution, but its what came of it.
And there is benefit to having your say on Facebook or Twitter or whatever form of social media you choose. It means you're getting involved. Finally! People are engaged in the justice system!
We live in a society where serving on a jury is technically a civic duty, but one we begrudge. Being involved makes too many people groan. And yet, people have opinions. And the more they voice them, especially in forums where they are heard, the more powerful they feel, the more empowered, perhaps to get off of their butts, shut down the computer and go and do something.
Agree to join a jury in a horrific case like the death of a poor 9-year-old forced to run until she collapse. Vote against an amendment that would cost same-sex couples the right to marry. Whatever it is, social media may not make prosecutors and judges happy because of the complications it causes, but at least it's empowering people to feel like they have a voice.
How has social media gotten you more involved in an important case like Savannah Hardin's?
Image via Facebook