Once upon a time, I pretty much was a law-and-order Republican. True, I had some libertarian tendencies, but when it came down to the vote, I generally went for the GOP. I bought into the "tough on crime" politicians, and I remember when I heard that there had been no convictions in the McMartin case, I thought the jury had made a big mistake.
In other words, I pretty much bought into what the authorities were telling me. If children were being sexually molested in droves, well, the law needed to get tough.
Then one night I watched an episode of PBS's show "Frontline," which dealt with the accusations of child molestation in the Little Rascals case in Edenton, North Carolina. At that point, the whole thing hit me: this was a farce, a total farce. I began to follow the case, including Bob Kelly's trial, and in the end he was convicted when three holdout jurors decided to vote "guilty," something that all three later admitted that they wish they had not done.
At the time, I was doing freelance writing for the Christian publication, World Magazine, and I asked publisher Joel Belz if I could go to Edenton to do an investigation. He turned me down, saying he did not want to be seen as "supporting child molesters." I have not written for World since, and Mr. Belz and I have had a strained relationship at best.
(It got worse after World in 2001 awarded then-Attorney General John Ashcroft with its "Daniel of the Year" award. Ashcroft presided over unwarranted federal expansion into our lives in a way that no AG, not even Janet Reno, had done, and his enthusiasm for state-sponsored executions left me cold. Ashcroft's penchant for expanding the reaches of federal criminal law also has convinced me that he was and is the enemy of individual liberty, and his harshness in going after people who really were not guilty of what historically could be called real crimes demonstrates his utter contempt for decent people. World's uncritical support for him pretty much cemented my break with the publication.)
During my grad school years at Auburn, I moved from Republican to outright libertarianism, and my association with the Ludwig von Mises Institute began in those years, and it continues. I received both an economic AND a political education there, and I keep on learning.
Because World was not interested in my taking a hard look at what clearly was an injustice, I had no forum from which to write. The Internet and Lew Rockwell's site (Lewrockwell.com) would change that when Crystal Mangum falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her at a party, I believed it was obvious from the start that she was lying.
Most of the mainstream media believed Mangum, but Lew let me go with my own instincts and go with it I did, writing nearly 70 articles on the case and coming to understand the power of the blogosphere. I was not the only "citizen-journalist" to jump on this, as historian and college professor K.C. Johnson with his Durham-in-Wonderland blog skewered prosecutor Michael Nifong's case and played a major role in the charges being dropped and Nifong being disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar.
In the spring of 2009, I started this blog, but it tended to be very unfocused, as it reflected my own interests and thoughts. Let me say, however, that Tonya's case really did help me focus this blog on something about which I am passionate: the increasing abuse of the law and of innocent people by the authorities. (My other blog, Krugman-in-Wonderland, focuses on economic analysis and policies and contrasts the viewpoints of modern statism and Keynesianism with Austrian Economics.)
There seems to be no shortage of such abuse in my old home judicial district where I lived off and on for more than 30 years. When I lived there, I was not aware of the utter abuse of innocent people by prosecutors, and the way that police and prosecution witnesses regularly lie under oath. (In other words, the law-and-order Republican in me could not see then what now has been obvious to me: the LMJC has been "captured" by the "bad guys.")
While Tonya has been acquitted, nonetheless other cases remain (along with Tonya's custody fight to gain back her children). There is the injustice done to Brad Wade, there is the Eric Echols case, and there are others as well, just in the LMJC. Furthermore, I won't concentrate just on the LMJC (although one could do that full-time, given the lawlessness of those entrusted with "protecting" the law in that district), as there are people all over this country being wrongfully accused and convicted.
In other words, there is work to be done. Thanks to all readers of this blog who have contributed and who have helped make this venture worthwhile.