January 14, 2016

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Because of the Esquire piece, and the book that Smith wrote with Buckley’s help, people began doing exactly what some of you are doing after watching Making a Murderer: writing letters, lobbying congressmen, and generally being a nuisance in any way possible. Edgar Smith went from death-row inmate to free man. Yep, he was released, and he rewarded Buckley and the society of easily swayed busybodies who freed him by kidnapping and stabbing a 33-year-old mother of three. Sadly for exonerated Fonzie, the young woman managed to leap from Smith’s car, the butcher knife still protruding from her diaphragm (it had punctured her lung). As the victim screamed for help, Smith panicked and swerved into a ditch.

Game over, Kenickie.

Before being sentenced to life for kidnapping and attempted murder, Smith copped to the crime that started it all. Of course he had pureed that little girl’s skull. The prosecutors”€™ “€œinherently implausible”€ case was not just totally plausible but 100% solid. No planted evidence, no coerced confessions. Smith did it, and he was proud and unapologetic. He even copped to a previously unknown sex crime against an 11-year-old, mocking his defenders and “€œthe system”€ for having been so gullible as to let him go.

Now, before some of you fire up the angry-comments generator, I”€™m not suggesting that just because Smith turned out to be guilty, Avery is too. What I”€™m merely trying to point out is that the metaphysical certitude some people have regarding Avery’s innocence is illusory. The advocates who lobbied for Smith’s release felt just as certain, and someone”€”a young mother of three”€”nearly died as a result.

Steven Avery may very well be the victim of vengeful cops and a crooked system. If so, he would not be the first man to find himself in that situation. But if the Buckley/Smith farce can teach us anything, it’s that we love a good story, and the “€œrebel bad-boy stepped on by “€˜the man”€™”€ is an evergreen favorite, so enticing that it even snagged a law-and-order establishment guy like Buckley. So perhaps the pro-Avery mouth-foamers might want to dial it back a bit and look at all the evidence, not just what the Netflix fangirls decided to present. At the very least, there’s value in viewing Buckley’s folly as a cautionary tale about what happens when people”€”even undeniably intelligent people”€”allow self-righteous zeal to blind them to the potential consequences should they be wrong.


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