Sunday, April 26, 2009

Julissa Brisman. Do You Recognize Her Name? By Anthony McCarthy

How many times have you heard her name? How many times have you heard the name Philip Markoff?

I’m not going to discuss this in terms of Markoff’s guilt or innocence. No one should jeopardize the right of the accused and, as is always forgotten, The People’s, right to a trial that is unbiased and fair. The People have the right to have only the guilty convicted, after all.

But in the blanket coverage of the “Craigslist killing” the name of the murdered woman is eclipsed by the accused killer’s. Julissa Brisman’s name also seems to be less often mentioned than “Craig” insofar as Craig Newmark is an actual person and perhaps even Jim Buckmaster, the CEO of the company. Checking just now, I’ve found Wikipedia listings for the three men. You could understand Newmark and Buckmaster having one for reasons not directly related to this crime but Philip Markoff would be unknown if not for it.

A person was murdered. We know with certainty that Julissa Brisman was brutally killed, we might know the name of the person who killed her, we might know the name of a company whose services were used to entrap his prey*. In these kinds of cases the cabloids and tabloids and even real news sources will focus on the life of the accused. He will turn into a complete character in our minds. Unless we studiously avoid the case, we will be compelled to construct a picture of him out of defense PR, prosecutorial PR, investigative reporting, the casual and irresponsible speculation of the kinds of irresponsible people the media increasingly depends on to speculate on him. It might be a distorted picture but someone named Philip Markoff will be a fully filled out form.

Based on what has happened in just about any case like this one, The murderer will be the only person who is focused on. If there is a conviction, cable TV programs will be made that will lovingly detail and depict the most minute aspects of his life and crime. Julissa Brisman will probably remain what we have already been told about her. And that is mostly about how she made her living. She’s already been judged by many based on that. Reading letters to the editor this morning and hearing some of the more repugnant media and soap box pundits she’s already been found guilty of her own murder. She has already been widely judged guilty of her own death due to either foolishly working in a dangerous industry and/or immorality. Where is her defense team?

I’ll have more to say on this subject later.

* With the list of violent and other crimes associated with Craigslist and the erotic services they have insisted on listing under various slogans of freedom and service, you wonder why it isn’t at least as hated as the now gladly defunct “Juicy Campus”.