Justice and Jodi Arias

Image:by Glenn Fairman   2/12/14
“The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” — MLK  •  Rarely do I take “two bites of the apple” on a news story (see “Beautiful Sociopath” in American Thinker), but the murder trial of Jodi Arias has been going on for so long that it has a good chance for syndicated re-run status on TBN: nestled between Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory. The trial, even now spilling into its fifth month, has had something for everyone: X-rated conversations and e-mails, a sociopathic femme fatale, a relentless tough-as-nails prosecutor, and a victim who has been maniacally slaughtered in the most gruesome manner. If you think this is hyperbole: just ask the giddy owners and staff at HLN (The Hysterical Ladies Network) — the station whose motto could have been: “All Jodi – All of the Time.” For them, this trial has been the stuff that fortunes are made of.

Whether we want to admit it or not, there is something in the human heart that craves justice. It is Justice, and not freedom or equality, that the City ultimately strives towards; and even a little child knows an injustice when he sees it. Before the verdict of “guilty” was announced in that Arizona courtroom, those present reported that time seemed to stand still and that silence itself was so conspicuous that it appeared itself to be a sound. In retrospect, one could not help but be moved to tears by the responses of friends and family members who had waited five excruciating years for their own measure of justice. Indeed, there is something about the very nature of justice that reassures us when people receive what they truly deserve.

A few wags have held that it is some species of Schadenfreude: a pleasure derived from watching the unfolding misfortunes of others, that has driven the public’s interest in the Arias’ case – but this ultimately is not a satisfying theory. Minutes after her verdict was read, the convicted murderess gave a cool account of herself to an Arizona Fox reporter while explaining to him that: “a psychologist once explained to me that society has this need to persecute people. They get some sort of gratification from it.” This, however, is the standard hackneyed boilerplate of the convicted felon-narcissist who sees herself as the Ptolemaic Center of the Cosmos. Jodi has taken Justice on a wild ride since she was first called in for questioning in 2008. And while her lies and slanders have indeed delayed and at times hobbled justice, the gavel swinging down upon her that morning was as inexorable as a sun-filled spring day in Tucson.

Perhaps what is most emblematic about those who manifest sociopathic or certain personality disorders (what used to be termed evil or moral defects before the Age of Therapeutic Apologia) are the layers of masks combined with the veneer of charm that they utilize – almost as a trap – to snare the unsuspecting. With Arias, I have little doubt that her obsession with Travis Alexander drove her to formulate a plan with two possible outcomes. Either she would use her body as a means to bore her way back into his heart or he would come to ruin. When “Plan A” failed and he would not relent to Jodi’s will by substituting her as his romantic consort on that Mexican cruise, the shriek that had been echoing in her soul gave permission to her second calculated option. Wet, naked and unaware of what would soon befall him in the shower, Arias readily proved Kipling’s lyric wisdom that so often “the female of the species is more deadly than the male.”

For a brief moment after the verdict was read, a wrinkle in Jodi’s mask appeared before she caught herself and the consummate actress once again took hold. With the words “guilty of murder in the first degree” slapping her mind, she could no longer hold back the reality that her life was now the equivalent of “a tower thrown down.” Any persistent dream she might have harbored in her reptile head of — vindication, a hung jury or an attenuated sentence — in fact punctured and bled out of her for that brief eternity of time. Scant minutes later during her interview, the Jodi of Olde was back: casting aspersions on her victim, his family, her adversaries, and the society which would dare hold her responsible for the act of extracting her own form of justice on a man she could not live without and who would not live without her. In death’s great finale they will always be joined – at least filtered through her calculating madness.

Whether she will remain imprisoned for life or eventually succumbs to the State’s needle is now only an abstraction to be wrangled amongst lawyers, since few tread the Green Mile anymore. In truth, a society that largely embraces selective abortion of the weak and voiceless has come to denature the absolute value of life itself and makes common cause with murder. Consequently, Western Civilization is losing its paradoxical understanding that those in authority, as opposed to those living in a violent state of nature, must terminate the barbarous in order to uphold the ultimate sanctity of innocent life. Arias, perhaps as a means to further manipulate public opinion, mental health experts or her captors, is currently espousing the conviction that she would rather choose oblivion than life in the cage – now that the bars of her cell are growing closer and restricting the perimeter of freedom she so desperately covets.

It is axiomatic that the gavel of justice must come down one way or another. If it alights upon us in the here and now, then possibly we can make amends and grow human once more. If not, we risk spinning out centrifugally into the outer darkness: both cursing ourselves and others with weeping and gnashing of teeth. For Ms. Arias, who will soon be a ratings memory huddled in an iron crypt welded together by her own blood-drenched hands, let us hope she avails herself of the mercy she denied to the object of her own star-cursed love.
Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca. He can be reached at arete5000@dslextreme.com. • (4210 views)

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13 Responses to Justice and Jodi Arias

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I do think that people thirst for justice. But it’s not an either/or thing regarding the Schadenfreude aspect. They are often combined. We thirst for justice, but we also harbor in our hearts a mob-like sense of justice wherein all the slings and arrows of our own lives are to be psychologically transferred to the evil-doer.

    It’s not just the need for paid professionals and a steady bureaucracy that we have a criminal justice system. It is because inside the hearts of most humans is that Schadenfreude aspect wherein we wish to secure more than a pound of flesh for eight ounces of crime.

    It’s also said that St. Francis specified that if any tomb or monument was built to his memory that it would be built in that open square in Assisi where criminals were regularly pilloried and otherwise tortured in gruesome and quite public ways.

    But none of that is an argument against justice or the death penalty. But, unfortunately, the one-dimensional brains of the hoopleheads seem not to be able to hold inside their heads complex thoughts — such as that justice must be done, and not overdone, but that crime still does need to meet with penalties, including sometimes the death penalty.

    Perhaps it is true as Glenn said:

    In truth, a society that largely embraces selective abortion of the weak and voiceless has come to denature the absolute value of life itself and makes common cause with murder. Consequently, Western Civilization is losing its paradoxical understanding that those in authority, as opposed to those living in a violent state of nature, must terminate the barbarous in order to uphold the ultimate sanctity of innocent life.

    We have become moral idiots. As is often noted, you face a $10,000 fine or more for destroying an eagle’s egg. But no such penalty exists if you kill an unborn child. The Left tends to make moral idiots of us all.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Justice and truth are closely connected, of course, since one can’t get the former without the latter (or a lot of luck that no one realizes). I can agree that these are important drives based on my reactions to the Fredric Brown novel Here Comes a Candle (which has a sad ending made more painful because the villain/victim is viewed wrongly) and the movie Psycho II (in which again someone who in the end tries unsuccessfully to redeem her errors is viewed wrongly at the end). I think this high valuation of truth and justice contributes to my extreme antipathy for liberalism, which substitutes group “justice” for the real thing.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      This isn’t a put-down of Glenn or anything. I actually appreciate his concise and insightful reporting of this event — an event I wasn’t at all aware of. When we had a serious media (assuming we ever did), it was their job to soberly report on this kind of stuff, eking out the implications and not simply going for titillation.

      But America seems to live vicariously through TV’s villains. And I say “TV’s” villains because I’m not at all sure that they represent a real reality for most people. It seems as if it is simply more “reality TV” entertainment to them. One blends into the other.

  3. Glenn Fairman says:

    chalk it up to guilty pleasures. The same thing happened for me with Casey Anthony and O.J.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I tend toward literary true crime, including large numbers of books on the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations, Jack the Ripper, the Borden murders, Leopold and Loeb (not a large number, but as much as is available), and the Lindbergh kidnapping. Incidentally, I have a book in which J. Neil Schulman (a libertarian SF writer) suggests that Simpson was framed by one of his friends (and makes a good case, as well as I can tell without having followed the case as well as many people did).

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I watched all of 5 minutes of the O.J. coverage. What a circus. Truly a media circus. It was pretty obvious the guy was guilty. But at the end of it all (and I’ll mention no names), a lady who I worked with cried in the office (tears of relief, not of injustice) when she heard the verdict passed down on the radio.

      It was not precisely then that I knew Western Civilization was hanging by a thread. But it certainly added to the perception.

  4. LibertyMark says:

    Let’s not forget that paragon of Leftist fantasy, that hero of Progressive delusion, the Lion of the Senate, Ted Kennedy.

    Liar, traitor, murderer, reckless alcoholic, a man bereft of every moral fiber Americans used to hold dear, he is held up and honored for what he is not and never was, instead of pilloried and reviled for what he was and did.

    WE THE PEOPLE have become a nation bereft, when reality is willfully unseen, and evil is redrawn as heroism.

    And then there is Bill and Hillary Clinton…

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Leftism, in large part, is a pseudo-redemptive religion. The basis of it is that if you support “the cause,” one’s personal conduct doesn’t matter. (Christians can do this as well, reducing the religion to “Jesus magic” and not letting the morals and principles sink deep down, let alone abide by them.) And there are plenty of hippies from the 60’s and modern libertarians who fit this mold and give it gusto.

      What else could the Age of Narcissism do? To be shown that one is in personal moral error is now considered unconscionable. It’s not for me to change. We’re all precious little snowflakes in which all our natural impulses are considered good and right. One need only groupthink with others of the same mind to make it all seem right.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This partly reflects the liberal preference for a leader personality cult, one way in which liberalism resembles fascism more than communism (where such a personality cult is common, but frowned upon to some degree, since they prefer collective leadership). At root, what the Left really favors is a God-king, and they keep looking for one. FDR, JFK, Clinton, and now Obama have all been the recipients of this adulation.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        One of the major paradigm shifts of our age is from the sublime to the mundane, from the philosophical to the merely utilitarian. And all along the way, men’s egos have shriveled in response, unable and unwilling to examine truth and thus to not know wisdom.

        I was reading a bit of John last night and came across this line: “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.”

        “Grace and truth” are not leftwing values or realities. The idea that there is a moral code or reality above political or self-centered concerns is unheard of. And truth itself, as we all should know well by now, is nowhere near a left wing value.

        VDH has an article today at NRO about how we’ve become an Orwellian society. One need not tell Timothy this, for I’m quite sure he was writing about this in his FOSFAX newsletter twenty years ago.

        But we truly are faced with the Orwellian world in which the Left spins their reality according to the limited Cultural Marxist dogma by which they are all victims, always on the side of what is “nice,” and see the world through not a lens but a pinhole.

        These thoughts occurred to me, in part, because I was just listening to about five minutes worth of NPR. Truly, what an alternative and ungrounded (but entirely self-flattering) faux universe these people live in. If you have ever read a few of those letters that have made the rounds on the internet written in postmodern gobbledygook by some pinhead professor, you’ll know what I mean. There is a kind of syntax to their nonsense. It’s still nonsense, but self-deceit is the goal, not truth, so using familiar phrases gives the impression of something that is real.

        The Left is quite literally mad. And let’s suppose that God did become flesh. In a world peopled by liars of all kinds and degrees, what might an expression of the divine be? Well, simple truth would have to be one of those leading values.

        On the right, we should never be afraid of self-examination or a little give-and-take, for if we are ungrounded in truth, we are nothing but the same mindless, self-conceited, self-deluded rabble of the gobbledygook Left. God save us from that.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          My housemate used to listen to an NPR station some years ago during the morning; now she listens to classical music. I particularly noticed their commitment to Gorescam, to the extent that they had no idea whatsoever of the scientific evidence against it (and once discussed it in FOSFAX). So I give their name as National Putrid Radio.

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