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What Amanda Knox Tells Us About Justice

So who is the real Amanda Knox? The trial of 'Foxy Knoxy' highlighted the gulf between the legal systems and social values of Italy and the US, and a defendant who refused to conform. With her glossy hair and unplucked eyebrows Amanda Knox was reminiscent of a young Brooke Shields Outside the courtroom in Perugia on Monday night, Italians booed and heckled, shouting "Give us Amanda!", shaking their fists and threatening rough justice. – UK Telegraph

Dominant Social Theme: Justice grinds on and Amanda Knox is a big part of the story. We can see that Western style state justice is essentially fair and just, or at least gets the job done.

Free-Market Analysis: We've been following the Amanda Knox story with a kind of resigned fascination. Someone murdered Meredith Kercher in Italy, and in fact, that "someone" is now jail in Britain – convicted by DNA evidence – but the Italian prosecutors' blood lust was not slaked. Thus Amanda Knox remained on trial.

The reason for her trial and retrial is the insistence of Italian prosecutors that someone held down Amanda Knox when she was murdered. In other words, without any further evidence, or any evidence at all, the prosecution made up a story in which two people had to be involved in the murder. It wasn't enough to jail a grifter – evidently guilty of her murder – for 16 years in Britain. Amanda Knox had to be taken down too.

All the sad flaws of modern Western-style state justice are on display in the Amanda Knox trial. The unlimited money available to prosecutors means that they can pursue their loony formulations without an economic calculation. If they want to spend millions on a trial and retrial of an evidently innocent person, then there is nothing to stop them within the context of the current state justice mechanism.

It's a dominant social theme, of course – a fundamental one. The state passes laws, supports the judicial system, the prosecutors, the judge and even sometimes defense lawyers. The state pays for police, investigators and even for the penal system and felons' incarceration. This is supposed to make justice "impartial." In fact, the system is anything but impartial.

As we have pointed out in a number of articles, what is needed to rationalize the current legal system is PRIVATE justice. What occurs today all over the world is PUBLIC justice, in which the state is involved at every level. What is necessary is a return to age-old tribal and clan justice in which people, families and extended families took justice into their own hands.

Duels, vendettas and other forms of familial justice worked well for thousands, maybe tens of thousands of years. The current insanity of modern justice, with its endless, numbing incarceration of tens of millions around the world for nonsensical crimes (for victimless "crimes" like smoking marijuana) would finally subside if a private justice paradigm were to be applied.

The Amanda Knox trial is a great example of state justice run amuck. Even after jailing the murderer, the Italian prosecutors wouldn't let the case go. They had publicly stated that Knox was guilty, and they would make her so, even if the evidence wasn't there. And who was to stop them? Italy is broke, but the judicial system apparently has access to endless streams of money. Here's some more from the article:

A few paces away, a gaggle of airbrushed American television reporters excitedly broke the news to their audiences back home: "Amanda Knox is cleared of murder!" Not since O J Simpson was tried for the murder of his wife Nicole has a court case gripped two continents in this way.

Office staff in the US, where it was mid-afternoon, were allowed to stand by television sets and await the verdict from Perugia. But it was not only the cliff-hanger finale that drew everyone to this extraordinary courtroom drama. So who is the real Amanda Knox?

Throughout, the case had ignited passions among those who saw this as a clash of cultures: the American legal system pitted against Italian justice; Italy's conservative mores (soiled but not erased by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's antics) confronting the more liberal Anglo-Saxon mindset.

And at the centre of it was not the victim, Meredith Kercher, but the well-brought-up girl from Seattle who stood accused of a murder that, the prosecution invited us to think, echoed a ritual sacrifice in its barbaric horror.

Every murder is one too many. And poor Ms. Kercher died a horrible death. But there is something very sad about the Kercher family attending the Italian trials with the hope that Knox will be convicted. There is certainly circumstantial evidence that Knox was involved but increasing there is no convincing, unimpeachable evidence. Meanwhile, the accusation and trial has cost her years of her life.

In a different time and place the Kerchers would have had different ways of dealing with the Knox murder. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, for instance, the US regularly pays money to families whose loved ones have accidently been blow up by US bombs. This blood payment is a normal and accepted part (and culturally logical outcome) of capital crimes. In the past, society has had many different ways to deal with perceived injury, either financial or physical.

Not so today. The Kercher family waits for "justice." They will not receive a monetary settlement from the Knox's that would in a different cultural context ease their pain, or at least recognize it. They are not in control of the process of justice and thus their pain, in fact, is magnified. As for Knox, the same can be said for her. Perhaps she had something to do with the murder, perhaps not. But the process that she has been subjected to is regrettable. She obviously didn't COMMIT the murder and the rest seems to be hearsay, or something approaching it.

The State, of course, makes a great hullaballoo over murder. The US, for instance, is involved in something like five wars now, formally and informally, that have literally killed or poisoned millions (via depleted uranium weapons). Soldiers and taxpayers alike are morally culpable for these misguided and undeclared "wars on terror," or so it could be argued. Yet it is civilian murder in the West that attracts the most attention.

This is of course because murder, and the punishment of crime, is a power elite meme. The State is basically an instrument of power and enforces its laws by force. Spectacles such as what Knox has been put through are supposed to show us that the State for all its abuses is fundamentally focused on fairness and justice. One could view these cases as advertisements for the efficacy and fundamental rightness of state power.

This is, in fact, how the case has been covered. We are to be focused on the crime, not the stupidity of its prosecution. It is true, the Italian system has been contrasted with the "Anglo-Saxon" system of justice – but only in the Anglosphere in order to trumpet the rightness of the Anglo-Saxon approach. Actually, both are endlessly wasteful of time, money and energy, and there is little fundamental difference between them. The cost of human suffering is untold and profound.


Regardless of Knox's ultimate guilt or innocence (we've used her as an example of the irrationality of modern justice) the system will stagger on until it finally runs out of money. Hopefully, as Money Power itself loses traction, that will happen sooner rather than later.

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