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Tharp case still makes me cry

I initially blogged about this case as it unfolded, then re-titled the blog and condensed my comments. As far as I know, nothing has ever ...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Where was the outrage over Jason Tharp?

Oops. Just when the land of liberty and justice for all had its heart set on another sadistic spectacle of the death penalty, a jury ruins everything by declaring Casey Anthony not guilty.

Enter street protests, threats, a $100,000 lawsuit filed against the exonerated for lying, blabberings on social media websites, heated debates on talk shows, articles by the zillion, petitions for yet another law, and politicians introducing bills. Behavior ushered in by the televised theatrics of Nancy Grace and a mainstream media that followed her lead as soon as they saw her ratings skyrocket. ABC even jumped in with a $200,000 payment to Casey's parents for licensing rights.


So where was the high profile media attention and public outcry over the whitewashed case of Marine recruit Jason Tharp? He was the teenager - known to be a poor swimmer and ill with a respiratory infection - who wanted out of the Marines and then drowned. Ordered to get in the water or be thrown in, Jason was surrounded by Marine swim instructors as he went under up to six times, screamed repeatedly to be let out of the pool, finally succumbed to exhaustion and coughed, gagged, or vomitted before bobbing to the surface unresponsive. At one point, a swim instructor shoved Jason's head deeper into the water. And talk about lying. The Marines initially claimed that Jason entered the water "voluntarily."

Where was mainstream media's blaring of these bloodcurdling facts? Where were the play-by-play howls from someone like Nancy Grace? And where, oh where, was the torn-to-tears, infuriated, obsessed-with-justice American public? I'm not sure which was more abhorrent: the way Jason died, or the cowardly silence after the investigative report was released.

I'm far from convinced that the jury got it right regarding Casey Anthony and the death of Caylee. Folks have been convicted on less evidence, and the whimsical nature of juries is one of many reasons I oppose the death penalty. But I won't be joining the national outrage. Considering a country willing to turn a deaf ear to the screams of Marine recruit Jason Tharp, there's way too much wrong with the picture.