Here across the 49th , and in all civilized democracies that abide by the rule of law, the presumption of innocence is our guarantee against the evils of arbitrary power. From Lord Edward Coke, the venerable English lawyer and advocate who first declared his King to be accountable to the law…and not the other way around: ‘Tis best to have 10 guilty men run free, than an innocent man convicted’. So said Coke, and his American inheritors to the common law tradition have largely obeyed…awkwardness over the indefinite detention doings of the Bushwackers at dear old Guantanamo the most recent aberration. We let that pass.
It is in that spirit that citizens who defend this sainted presumption must examine the gobsmacking, “Hey, I’m on bail, I’m with my teammates, so it’s OK, go stick yourself” insensitivity of one Josh Brent, Dallas Cowboys nose tackle (better than neonatal cardiac surgeon, Nobel Prize laureate, and billionaire benefactor rolled into one in Big D, people). Josh, y’see, is alleged to have been operating his high powered motor vehicle while intoxicated two weeks ago, with a Cowboy riding shotgun, when apparently Josh zigged when he ought to have zagged late at night when the lads were free from their football training labors…and one cowpoke dead, and Josh on a cool $500G bond pending trial….and looking hard at double digits in the nearest Texas state pen.
Fast forward a few days later, Josh on display during a ‘nationally televised game’ – the great American endorsement of any events’ inherent public interest. Josh goes at about 325 lbs, so a hard dude to miss, even amongst the footballer beefcake –silver crucifix prominent, Cowboys colors, and team owner Jerry Jones’ unreserved approval to walk amongst them. Jerry, an allegedly sophisticated biz tycoon, offered these words of comfort when the baying media hounds expressed concern that maybe the optics of Josh, and his vehicular homicide charge, with additional allegations of being hammered to boot, ought to be keeping a lower profile. Jerry, soft and soothing, quieted the crowd with this gem: “I do know that certainly there’s the other side of the coin, but this is the case of the people that he’s arguably the closest to really wanted him around.”
Could be, Jerry…nice lines for the dead fella’s family to ponder. Life …and the NFL show goes on, right? Requiem in pace? Hell, there’s a game on.