Murder in Italy, a real life witch hunt.

Exchange student Amanda Knox is young, well-off, and pretty. She has won life’s lottery. Unfortunately, at this particular time and place, (2007 Perugia, Italy) she doesn’t fit in. The hippie from Seattle is one of only a few American immigrants in Perugia at this time, making her a minority even among the foreigner population. The global perception of the United States is still tainted by the legacy of Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and Americans are not popular. Carefree and smoking pot frequently, Amanda also has habits such as randomly singing in public which maker her seem eccentric to her flat mates. Perhaps in this social environment her beauty only hurts her, making her appear threatening to other women and thus giving them extra motivation to roast and ostracize her.

Amanda’s roommate Meredith Kercher’s bad luck, however, is truly of astronomical outlier proportions. Within months of her arrival she is randomly murdered by sociopath Rudy Guede. Another immigrant from the Ivory Coast who spends his time going to clubs, doing drugs, and playing basketball on the courts near Amanda and Meredith’s flat.

At the start Rudy Guede is unknown as a suspect, and because of some coincidences and circumstantial evidence, Amanda and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito are arrested instead. What follows is a years long trial and legal ordeal full of bias and illogic, in which the police, prosecutors, and judges seem too invested in already pinning the guilt on Knox to admit their mistake. The court proceedings remind me of war trial, done as a show only with the verdict already decided on.

Here are some takaways I have from this:

  1. Nobody really seems to care that Mereditch Kercher was brutally murdered except her immediate family and best friend. Everyone else, even author Candace Dempsey, only sort of cares, but not really. More proof of game theory and that people are only out for themselves. It’s not like people don’t wish it didn’t happen or sympathize, they just have other priorities and it isn’t the end of the world to them.

2. When something random and horrific happens, we quickly seek something to point to as the culprit. Once we have decided who or what that culprit was, it’s then very hard for us to change our minds. Not only do we face a “confirmation bias” at that point but also could suffer a drop in career or social standing if we take responsibility for perpetuating a dumb mistake.

3. College students even of prestigious universities are spending much their time going to clubs and restaurants, drinking, and lazing around fucking each other. Universities serve primarily as gatekeepers of social class / profit generators and only secondarily as institutions of learning because otherwise there’s no way students would be able to structure their lives this way.

4. The fact that Rudy Guede escapes attention for so long after a spur of the moment burglary/murder in which he leaves evidence everywhere indicates that people are so wrapped up in eating, fucking, and their own problems that anyone stands a good chance of getting away with anything.

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