I didn't think I would post on this at all, but it's annoyed me.
Before we get too far, I have no judgement on the court case at all, nor even motives, just questions - questions about the system more than the man.
When, in the American judiciary system, did being unaware become a reasonable defence? Okay, it could transmute a murder charge to manslaughter in the UK, but over here you DO get penalised for stupidity.
If you drive without a licence and kill someone, "I didn't mean it" is no excuse, nor is "Sir my client was simply having innocent fun." You are EXPECTED to know the rules, the social implications and the possible fall-out of your actions. The law is there to protect, it exists to save society from disaster.
Go read some of the sites for rape victims. Occasionally you will find one brave soul who actually raped someone once, explaining his horror and remorse but also how he had convinced himself that it was just casual sex where the girl was a bit, erm, distant. What's your gut reaction to that? Fry the bastard?
Paedophilia is different (and no I am not labelling anybody) - children are trusting, their faith can be bought by kind acts and they are infinitely open to suggestion because of that trust - the realisation, self recrimination and nightmares can come later, with the discernment born of age and experience. In fact the effects are worse because of the kick-self element, the horror and shame at their gullibility that can be absorbed as shared guilt - it's a total screw-up.
So maybe they 'only shared a bed'. Maybe the kids were happy at the time. Maybe the mum might come across as not the sort you'd have round for Sunday dinner. So what? Why does that belittle the potential damage to the children, the effect of cringeing realisation? And why does the social ignorance of the perpetrator, his 'not meaning it like that' count as an excuse?
My respect for Uri Geller has gone back up. Standing there, on UK TV the other morning, he stood by his friend, declared Michael's innocence and his own personal relief at the outcome. However, his final comment, his one piece of advice to his friend, was to "Grow up."
Uri, I am with you on that. Sadly, a sheltered upbringing, a bizarre and possibly cruel childhood where social awareness was not developed, is not and should not be an excuse. Even the child who curses and throws things in school is removed from the class - 'knowing no better' may factor in the choice of punishment and/or care, but not at the expense of his classmates. The greater good is taken into account. Recognise and remove the threat, condemn the acts and their effect, then deal with the individual.
In my world, Michael would have received court ordered counselling and re-education at least; therapy, help to develop an awareness of consequences outside of his Neverland. Perhaps his own parents would have been lambasted or even punished for bringing him up with such a damaged/damaging outlook, if it was proved that he was no less capable than his siblings.
My one wish now? That Michael Jackson would openly admit he would swap his entire fortune and career for a dose of normality and normal development back when it was needed most. No, I have two wishes. The second: that when he said that, I could actually believe him. My jury is still out.
I can't help it - I look at his rearranged face, and wonder whether there was a man in his own childhood who had a thing for Diana Ross. Heck, its just one of several possible reasons why a star would pay to look like someone else. Why ever he changed his looks, it was tied up with self image, with approval and validation - thats the only reason anyone does it.
For/against - know more than I do? Different opinion? Leave me a comment, I'd like to know.