I never want to get political here, because this is a science fiction blog not a blog about politics, and yet, in this case I feel I have too.
Late last month Author Peter Watts who had been convicted on a felony conviction charge in a border crossing incident was sentenced and thankfully given no jail time! Luckily the judge was able to see past the half-truths and out-right lies – even if the jurors could not – and allow Watts to go home to his wife and kids a free man. But the story doesn’t end there. During the sentencing Judge Adair, the man who held the fate of Peter Watts in his hands, made some, well, disturbing and frightening comments (in my opinion). While the quotes I am about to describe are not vertabtim, they are taken from a source who was in the courtroom at the time of the sentencing. In Short, the judge stressed that all men and women serving in the police force are under an incredible amount of stress and pressure, and have no idea when or how they will meet their end, whether it be of natural causing many, many years down the road, or starring down the barrel of a robbers gun when they are on duty. He went on. He went on to applaud the jury and their decision to convict despite the fact that the police officer in question claimed that Watts tried to choke him, a claim that was put to rest when the passengers in Watts’ car came forward and testified that no such struggle ever happened.
And while I applaud the judges ruling to let a clearly innocent man free, I criticize the fact that he stuck up for the cop who beat him and left his face bloody and bruised and then made false claim after false claim about it afterwards and would have been content to see Watts rot in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit. Yes, our brave men and women in uniform do put their lives on the line every night to make our streets safer and a better place for all, but that in no way (and let me make this very clear), ever!, gives them or anybody the right to use excessive force when excessive force is not warranted, which in this case it clearly wasn’t.
The frightening part about this story isn’t the things that the judge had to say and who he defended, it’s not even the knowledge that a police officer would make such false claims just to see a man – a family man, a husband, a father, a writer – go to jail; what’s really frightening is that this could happen to anyone of us. X-files said it best when it would flash Trust no one up on the T.V. screen before each show. Trust no one.
Congrats Peter Watts, score one for the side of good and justice.