Colorado, It is time to put Media Aside when Judging Each Other

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Absurd Billboards hurt America's PerceptionsAs I was driving through Colorado from Denver to Pueblo, I couldn’t help but notice the “fear inducing” billboards on the side of the road.  These ranged from threats such as:

  • “You Left your car Unlocked. He left with Your Car.”; or
  • “You Drink, You Drive, You Lose”; or
  • “No One Thinks You Will Lose Your Virginity Here.  Meth Will Change that.” (with a picture of a restroom).

These “Public Service Announcements” are quite shocking and I imagine that they are having a negative effect on the ability of defendants to be seen as innocent.  The reason why they may be hurting a defendant’s innocence is that they put it in people’s minds that crimes are constantly happening.  More importantly, they put jurors in a State of Fear.  Rather than seeing fellow citizens as upstanding individuals, these advertisements make everyone seem like a criminal.

It is certainly not the billboards alone that are creating a society living in fear.  It is difficult to find a TV show today that doesn’t praise the work of “defenders of justice” or try to delve into the mind of a criminal.

It is sad that our billboards and media cannot support healthy living, smart choices, and a more moderate approach to people.  Do we really need to make people afraid of their neighbors and tell them that they need to lock themselves in solitary confinement to be safe.  There is certainly truth to the idea that cars get stolen (and sometimes by people who are intoxicated or on meth) but these billboards are a huge distortion from the truth.  This form of media focuses on the most extreme scenario and makes it seem common when, in fact, these scenarios are not common at all.

The truth is that most people are decent and hardworking.  Most people do not have meth addictions and do not drive drunk.  Most people are not going to steal your car.  In fact, a great many people will tell you that your keys are in the car if they notice them, in order to help you out, rather than take the opportunity to steal your stuff.

Our society is becoming more and more polarized in its views, not just politically, but in the way people view each other.  Some people see everyone as criminals and hide.  Other people, under the same preconceived notion that everyone is a criminal, imagine themselves as superheroes and take every opportunity to “help protect innocent people from all of those criminals.”  I hope that people will take a step back and start to view others more moderately and honestly.  We do not need to label everyone else before we know them.  If you look around in the courts and everywhere else in our State, you are probably going to notice that the people surrounding you are actually human and probably have a lot in common with you.  And I say this not just as a Colorado Defense Attorney but as a citizen who hopes that everyone will have a fair shot in America.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca