Volume 92, Issue 91

Friday, March 19, 1999


OPINIONS

Question political education promises

Don't judge based on appearances

Fight racism

Money can't buy happiness

New views on old book

Even O.J. has rights and freedoms

Ireland's flag?

Find the inner elephant

Even O.J. has rights and freedoms



Guess who's back in the news, but this time he no longer owns a Heisman Trophy.

This past week, it was revealed to the world that Orenthal James Simpson would be making his return to television by appearing in commercials for a "1-800" legal referral service. Some people are making a big deal about it – but it's time to let it go.

By coming back into the media, all the old debates about whether or not he did it are being relived and everyone is taking the opportunity to get their jokes in. With each Simpson murder reference which is made, people pass judgment on O.J. and treat him as if is guilty of committing murder. But guess what – 12 people in California determined he was not guilty of murdering Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

The funny thing in all of this is people always wanted Simpson to be responsible to the laws of their nation, yet, they have not respected his guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms. The idea of "innocent until proven guilty" is extremely important in the judicial system and it is an idea which needs to be respected – regardless of one's own view of the evidence.

This is not the only idea society tends to disrespect. A couple of months ago, a pedophile was released from prison in British Columbia. Another man took it upon himself to make the entire region aware of the pedophile moving into their neighbourhood by posting his picture everywhere possible.

It is understandable that people might be concerned, but they do not have the right to destroy a criminal's life once they have served their time in prison and their debt is paid to society. It is a breach of freedom and privacy. These freedoms are looked upon as our highest laws, which everyone is entitled to.

I would never defend a person's action, especially in the case of murder or sexual assault of a minor, but I am defending their freedoms. Let these people be – our judicial and penal system feel they may walk amongst us, so let these people walk freely.


To Contact The Opinions Department:
gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1999