It's hard to NOT be aware of the story out of Shiner, Texas, however. A farmer supposedly caught a man molesting his 4-year-old daughter. In his apparent rage/attempt to stop the alleged molestation, he beat the man to death.
Without question, this story has received far more coverage than the murders of Gary Blanton and Jerry Ray, even though there were five children in total who lost their fathers in a particularly cold-blooded manner. And most of the stories discussing Gary and Jerry seemed to almost condone the killings, in the information that was released and what was not. Very little press coverage was devoted to the families of the victims. The local news station declined to air a brief piece on where people could send donations to the Blanton family for funeral and burial costs.
The rancher from Texas, however, has become a country-wide hero in a matter of days. Even so-called "Christian" blogs and forums have heralded the murder and declared it some sort of "victory for children." The murdered man is being referred to as a pedophile, a child molester, and even a child rapist - not just by the public, but in articles across the country. No one seems to care that a medical evaluation of the 4-year-old alleged victim revealed no sign whatsoever of a sexual or physical assault. It was noted that she was distraught emotionally - which likely was at least partly due to her witnessing a brutal murder at the hand of her father.
I will be the first to admit that if I saw someone harming a person I love, I would seek to put a stop to it immediately and effectively. I would be an emotionally-charged, adrenaline-fueled superhuman and I am sure my capacity for logic would be compromised at least initially. If this story is true, I certainly don't blame the farmer for his reaction. I don't condone murder, but I overwhelmingly support and understand the desire and need to protect a loved one.
"If this story is true" seems to be of little interest to virtually anyone, and that is what I find disturbing on so many levels. There is no evidence that any molestation or attempted molestation actually took place, but the murdered man - who obviously cannot defend himself - has already been found guilty. The farmer is already a hero. Not one of the people loudly protesting their support seems to realize that their blind acceptance of the farmer's story makes them fair game. Oh, sorry officer, I didn't mean to kill my neighbor/mailman/pastor/brother-in-law/son/father but they were molesting this child over here. I promise it won't happen again.
If a nondescript ranch hand from a small town in Texas with no criminal history can launch from unknown to evil villain overnight, who of us is safe? If we do not DEMAND that the justice system prove the murdered man's guilt, who will demand that for us or our families?