I have avoided spending one minute reading any story during the past few weeks about the JonBenet Ramsey case. Then Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote one. Dorothy is the courageous lady who has brought to light the absurd convictions of sex offenders in
A star television lineup of forensic specialists, lawyers and similar advisers in high-profile cases added their doubts that John Karr could have committed the crime. All told, a tale whose wild improbabilities were obvious--one that seemed to violate the laws of time, space and reason itself--had been, with few exceptions, roundly rejected. A pity--or so some witnessing this bracing display of skepticism must have thought--that so little of that showed itself when Americans by the score were prosecuted, convicted and carted off to do 40 or 60 years, or life in prison, on the basis of child sex abuse testimony far more obviously at odds with reality than anything in John Karr's own bizarre confession…
It was impossible, during the last weeks of the John Karr drama, not to be reminded of the bitterness of this saga--the books written, the libel suits filed and, not least, the unsolved murder. Impossible not to be reminded, too, of what the prosperous and influential Ramseys could achieve, by way of legal protection. Impossible to imagine, either, any one of those scores of accused citizens of modest means, facing investigations of child abuse filed by ambitious prosecutors, doing what the Ramseys could do--namely, refuse to meet with police and submit to questioning other than on their own terms.
It is possible no one will ever know who killed JonBenet Ramsey. We can know, with certainty, as that case among others has proved, how much legal protection enough money can buy.