Peter Watts was convicted this past Friday of obstructing a border guard. His own post on the matter is so stoic as to verge on the heroic; I seriously doubt were I the one to be punched in the face by a border guard that I’d be as calm and dispassionate as Watts. Worth noting, too, is that he wasn’t convicted of the assault charge, even though the press continues to report it in those terms. Given that members of the jury have written to Watts expressing their dismay at the wording of the statute under which they were forced to convict him, one can only hope that the judge sees reason, lectures the cops from the bench, and hands Watts a suspended sentence.
One thing I find fascinating about how all this has played out is that it’s very much a Rorshasch test for one’s own proclivities. The law n’ order anger-management types out there are crowing about how Watts Got What He Deserved, while those who think Uncle Sam Sucks are damning the “stupid” jury for not engaging in jury nullification while they rant on about how awful and corrupt America has become. I’m certainly not going to claim any special objectivity on this; Watts is a good friend of mine, not to mention the reason I’m in print. But as the man’s noted in his work, we don’t make as many conscious decisions as we might like to think; we simply ratify decisions already made for us by our subconscious/hindbrains. Much of the reaction to his own ordeal is a case in point.