There’s a long and curious post in the Times‘ Outpost section protesting the innocence of Amanda Knox, a Seattle student in Italy (or, as the author Timothy Egan likes to refer to her, una studentessa di Seattle) who’s been in jail a year awaiting trial on charges of murdering a young British woman during a drug-sex orgy. This automatically makes the charges sound bogus, and having seen the lurid Fox News coverage of the “Co-Ed Slay Trial” we are inclined to think so, too.
But after several hundred words about the “high-spirited student whose life has been nearly ruined by this collision of predatory journalism and slipshod prosecution” and her evil, ignorant Italian tormenters, we begin to feel as if we are being railroaded. We are told that, in the charming but backward country of Italy, trials are “more often about defending personal honor than establishing facts,” and that while enlightened residents of Seattle see the youthful exuberance of Amanda Knox as benign, “in Italy, they see a devil, someone without remorse, inappropriate in her reactions.” Many Times commenters, especially the Italian ones (“and also cite, ‘In Italy, the general assumption is that someone is guilty until proven innocent’… what about… guatanamo?”), find this line of argument less than convincing.
Egan’s daughter Sophie, as Egan mentions in the story, was in Italy when the case blew up and wrote for the Times an assessment of the Italians’ evil-eye attitudes toward Americans, which some Italians did not appreciate.
It’s getting more frightening to leave the country by the day. Report a story in North Korea and wind up with 25 years hard labor; smoke some hash in Italy and wind up prosecuted for devil-worship. Maybe Obama’s trying to make friends with the Muslim world so we’ll have places to go on vacation when the rest of the world turns on us.