www.Justodians.org/Modern Witch Hunters

Modern Day Witch Trials
When Lawyers Incite Hysteria In Our Courts

As sophisticated just people of the second millennium, the idea of trying witches seems absolutely insane. All of us are filled with contempt for the judges of old as we contemplate the 40,000 people tried and executed for being "witches" between 1500 and 1600. What were these ignorant savages thinking?

We need to give this question serious consideration because it can shed light on remarkably similar behavior in our courts today. The most important thing to understand about these people is that they did not believe themselves to be ignorant or savage. Witch trials were carried out in courts of law and were given the same serious consideration that trials today are given. Evidence was presented and testimony was heard. Honorable judges would then render a verdict constructed from the information given, the laws of those times, and their basic understand of the world. These judges were more modern than anyone who had ever lived before them. They were the most educated and respected people of their time. So it was given that their current understanding of science and nature was up to date and accurate. One thing that everyone understood at that time was that witches existed and harmed others with magic. Most of the judges who convicted people for practicing witchcraft believed that they were protecting their citizens and acting for the public good. The important thing to understand is that these judges did not see themselves as we see them now. They saw themselves in exactly the same way that judges see themselves now; modern intelligent honorable people acting in the best interests of their citizens. Looking back, it is easy for us to see that these judges were ignorant and hysterical but they had absolutely no idea how crazy and misguided they were.

Moving closer to our time we remember McCarthyism in the 40s and 50s. Here hundreds of people who were suspected of being communist or homosexual were tried and imprisoned. This is classified as a true witch hunt because the courts were used to persecute these people.

So who are the prosecuted now that we will later come to understand were the persecuted?

How about nannies and dish washers and gardeners who are here without papers. We raid their places of work, detain them, and deport these people without any regard for their American children and without any regard for the notion that all men are created equal. It's hard for most of us to imagine that these people should have the same rights we have, but only 100 years ago we didn't believe that black people deserved any rights either. How will we view immigrant workers 100 years in the future? Hopefully we will understand that borders are imaginary but human suffering is real. Why do we prosecute these people? Because we know they are harming us just as surly as olden people knew that witches were harming them.

How about young men. Scary young black men. We put their fathers in prison for minor drug crimes and leave these kids to grow up on their own. And when the kids fall to drugs we put them in jail with their fathers. How will we view these people 100 years from now? I think we will view them as victims of ignorance, hysteria and accidental genocide. I think we will view them as modern day victims of witch hunting.

How about fathers who are falsely accused of domestic violence and child molestation for advantage in divorce proceedings. Judges are very quick deny children access to their fathers when they hear these accusations even if there is no proof. This is because the risk of having even one child abused by a father is just unacceptable. Mothers and lawyers know that judges won't decide with the father so they use this advantage for cash and control. The choice for fathers is paying ransom or never seeing their children. But what about the increased risk that hundreds of thousands of fatherless children face for drug addiction, smoking, murder, dropping out of school, and spending their lives in jail. For every child a judge saves from an abusive father, how many has she sentenced to drop out of school or to die of drugs or to live in jail? In any case, this process is driven by greed and hysteria. Fathers are the witch hunted of our time and their children are the real victims of this practice

When most of us think of witch hunters we imagine people running around with pitch forks carrying off old women and burning them at the stake. But this is not what happened during the witch hunts of the 1600s in Europe and America. Almost all of these 40,000 people were given trials before being burned. The court records still exist. Burning witches was extremely expensive. Huge piles of wood had to be chopped by hand and the trials themselves were expensive too. So where did the money come from to do this? Well the money was acquired by confiscating the property of the defenseless widows being tried and burned. A certain amount was given to the courts for presiding over the harvest, expert witnesses (priests) were paid, and the rest the lawyers got to keep. The eye witnesses were usually people with grudges against the widows and they were the ones that brought the cases to the lawyers. The public supported the whole affair because the lawyers were able to exploit the public's fear and ignorance buy creating hysteria. Does any of this sound familiar? How much has really changed in 400 years?

Lawyers still need money, but everyone now knows that magic isn't real. So lawyers no longer accuse people of being witches. But hey! Dads have money and everyone hates a wife beater. Further more, we all know that wife beaters exist. When a man harms a woman we are all outraged and very quick to help. This is as it should be. But the mere accusation of a man harming a woman also incites outrage and this is what modern day witch hunters are counting on. When people are outraged, two things happen to them; they experience a high level of anxiety and they're capacity for objective thinking is diminished. In this state of mind the likelihood that man will be convicted of these crimes is related more closely with the level of outrage a lawyer is able to incite in judge or jury then with the actual facts presented. This is because outraged people are eager vent their anger and return to a normal relaxed state. Defendants provide that outlet. Find out how the Innocence Project has freed large numbers of innocent men by doing new DNA testing on old evidence.

The point is that all the elements of witch hunting still exist today. Instead of neighbors with grudges, lawyers are hired by unfulfilled wives seeking to cash out of their marriages. Instead of rich widows accused of witchcraft, lawyers now falsely accuse rich men of domestic violence and rape for advantage in divorce. When the woman has wealth, then husbands often bring false charges. Instead of paying priests for expert testimony on the effects of witchcraft, lawyers now pay psychologists to give expert testimony about mental anguish. Some things have not changed. When the relationship between judges and lawyers is adversarial, lawyers are forced to make their proofs, and the legal system generally works. But when judges work closely with lawyers and refuse to examine evidence objectively, a witch trial is the result.