Imagine you had been picked as a juror for the Derek Chauvin trial. Before you hear a shred of evidence, you very well might make a decision most people would not only admit was the better part of valor, but that harmonized perfectly with prevailing morality.
Your pretrial verdict? Guilty. There had been threats since Chauvin was charged with second and third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter that acquittals would provoke rampaging riots. After the riots last summer, no one could doubt the threats’ credibility. A guilty verdict on all counts could avoid injuries, deaths, and billions of dollars in property damage. Against those consequences, what do the rights or the life of a policeman matter? You’re predetermined verdict is for the greater good.
Even if such considerations never entered your head, you’d need extraordinary courage and independence to impartially hear the evidence and if you thought it warranted, vote for acquittal. You’d have to withstand pressure from your fellow jurors. You’d run the risk that your personal information was leaked by some mainstream or social media scumbag and mostly peaceful thugs showed up at your door. You might be canceled out of a job, your business network, and your social circle. Your privacy would be obliterated and reputation ruined in the wilting glare of nonstop publicity and odium. Politicians and other public figures would denounce you.
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Robert Gore is an author and blogger at Straight Line Logic.