ROUND TABLE: After arrest, time to cleanse our moral palates

Thankfully, serious crimes such as a bank robbery do not happen every day.

A buzz emerges in the community whenever a crime, and an arrest, are reported. “Justice” or at least judgment, tastes pretty sweet.

“Did they catch the guy?” was the quick question posed by community members when they encountered one of our news staff last week.

Happily, the authorities did catch a suspect, and they deserve plenty of credit for their quick progress.

Comments such as “he’s probably long gone,” when the initial ground search came up empty, were replaced by statements such as “he robbed the bank and stayed a few blocks away?” when the cuffs were placed on the young man on Monday.

The presumption of guilt filled a gap left by lack of clear information.

Yes, the arrest was made, and now that the police have taken care of the initial investigation and made an arrest, the time has come for the courts to handle matters.

Comical, quizzical and sometimes mean were the readers’ posts on our Facebook page (where the arrest story was broken, thanks in large part to prompt information from Police Chief Neal Holste and his staff).

Few people in the public know who committed the bank robbery on Sept. 12. The case is under adjudication, and in time the truth will out, in court, as must be the case.

We saw with the rapid response to Facebook that social media does have the double-edged effect of greasing the skids of judgment by the average person.

We all enjoy the “in the know” feeling that social media affords us. That the arrest took place during daylight hours in a residential neighborhood, with an audience, adds to the town-square quality of Observing the Arrest.

The suspect played to the crowd, in a way that surprised those of us who have seen this kind of thing happen. It is easy to draw conclusions from a suspect’s smug behavior and choice of attire. (A local winery is getting some free publicity, with a side of smirks.)

When visiting a winery and sampling its wares, a bowl of small crackers is typically provided the imbiber, in order to separate the flavor of one variety from the one to come.

Now that the excitement of the arrest has blown over, it’s time to put a proverbial palate-cleansing cracker in our mouths, and separate the zingy sense of initial rush to judgment from the paler need to let the courts handle it.

Not as exciting a selection, but when it comes to justice, don’t we all want a blind tasting?

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