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First, if you are getting this blog via e mail, you may want to go to www.gretawire.com today and see the pictures I have posted today. I have also videostreamed on the website the video of the woman who was arrested at the Atlanta airport. The police say her arrest was appropriate, she said it was inappropriate and excessive force. You should watch and decide.
Yesterday was an extremely tough day in court — it is not easy to watch people suffer or describe how they are suffering. I have been in many courtrooms over the years, and listened to many people describe suffering but it never gets any easier. When Sharon Rocha took the stand, a hush came over the courtroom. When she started sobbing, we all felt powerless. No one should have to go through what she has gone through.
Of course Sharon is not the only one who suffers but was the most visible yesterday. When I went to the restroom before the hearing started, I ran into Jackie Peterson and Scott's sister. I politely and automatically said, "hi, how are you?" Jackie responded, "you are looking at two hollow people." I just stood there for a second, and then admitted, "I just don't know what to say. Not sure if there is anything I can say...." I then asked, and not as an automatic social exchange, "how is Lee?" Jackie said, "not good."
Words really can't describe the immense suffering of these two families. Likewise, the words can't describe the responsibility this jury faces. I carefully watched the jury walk into the courtroom before the hearing started and each looked very grim - and none looked towards Scott Peterson. The jury actually has to walk right in front of the defense table to reach the jury box so the jurors come within inches of Peterson and not one even glanced to the right to look at him. While I don't profess to be an expert in body language (and think none exists), the juror behavior sent a signal to me. That signal is that they know how serious their job is.
I have asked many California lawyers if this sentencing hearing is really a death penalty hearing. When I step back from the raw emotion, I remind myself that there are more than 600 on California's death row....that only 10 have been executed in 25 years. That means to me that this hearing, in the end, may not really be a death penalty hearing but a sentencing "placement" hearing. By this I mean that the jurors' verdict will simply decide whether Peterson does his time (life) on California's death row or a different prison.
And now for a little fun ....and to provide that behind the scenes I have promised.....
I took this video about 40 minutes before our show last night. I want you to know that I offered it to Jim Hammer for a substantial sum of money so that it did not make gretawire... ..he declined my price (it was steep) and so now I am sharing it with you..... (click above video box to view!)
Here are some emails from viewers (randomly selected....by the way, I did a quick search and could not find an e mail supporting the police officer in the video we showed last night and which is on our website today....it does not mean none exists but simply that I could not find one in a quick search.)
E-mail # 1
(this one relates to the video of the woman at the Atlanta airport.....we showed it last night....it is videostreamed on our webpage.)
I was very interested in your report on the incident at the Atlanta airport. I wish you had spent more time on the story because I feel that there is really more to the story than what just happened in Atlanta. In my personal and professional life I have visited many airports to pick up friends,family and business associates. I have seen airport police range from non-existent to squads of machine gun carrying officers patrolling the airport. The incident in Atlanta is a perfect example of how airport police in this post 9/11 society have turned into squads of over zealous police Nazis. Most airport police from what I have seen feel they have the power to speak and behave as they see fit. Having lived in Atlanta I visited the airport many times both pre and post 9/11. Since 9/11 the police at Atlanta have to be the worst officers I have seen thus far. I have witnessed officers there threaten people, verbally abusive and down right ass holes. Very seldom have I ever seen an officer in Atlanta be concerned about passenger safety.They are more worried about a car dropping off a passenger and making them move from their standing post while they collect $35 and hour. Many times you can find them sitting in their units reading the paper or talking on a cell phone. Today in our society I don't think we have to worry about a female driving a SUV full of her children coming to the airport terminal to pick up a husband, family or friends and exploding a hidden bomb. Nor do we need to worry about a person driving a $150000 Mercedes up to the terminal and exploding a bomb. Even now there is not a damn thing that can be done to prevent a terrorist from driving up in a van laden with explosives. The only way to stop the threat is to close all terminals to all traffic and make people walk. But that is never going to happen. An airport terminal hit by a car bomb does not appeal to terrorists post 9/11. They are looking for high mortality targets. Yes a car bomb at an airport will kill innocent civilians but blowing up a stadium or 50 story building full of people is a more likely target. The targets at the airports are the planes. Plain and simple. Even today terrorists would be able to hijack a plane if they so desired. The lack of competent airport screeners is more a threat than any. I have accidentally taken a box cutter onto a plane that I totally forgot about in my medicine bag and it was never found. I know that it is a terrible thing to profile people and lay blame to an entire race for the actions of a few. But this is a action that authorities should be doing. Put simply, the terrorists that caused 9/11 were not
Americans,Japanese,Africans,Chinese,Germans,Russians,white or black. They were Arabs. Unfortunately not all Arabs are terrorists. I have several Arab friends myself. The fact is that the current enemy of the United States are Arabs. We deserve to live in our country in peace. Close the borders and do not allow potential Arab terrorists into the country.
E-mail # 2
Been watching you since you worked with Roger C. (We '72 graduates have to stick together.)
Glad you showed the video of the berserk cop at Hartsfield Airport. All last week, Neal Boortz was saying, on his show, that something bad was bound to happen any day now at the airport. Complaints continually pour in about belligerent cops policing the drop off/pick up lanes in front
of the terminal. Neal said that the situation threatened to ruin the goodwill Atlanta had built up since the '96 Olympics. He said that, according to local talk, police working that beat are the "problem children" of the force, who are sent there when they've messed up. So,
they're already a little crazy, and now they're angrier still at being sent to the "dumping ground."
With the Thanksgiving rush at the airport, it was inevitable that something nasty would happen - and it did.
Please make as big a stink about this as you wish! The airport is where many of your *best* cops should be!
BTW, did you notice the sling on the officer's arm at court? Nice touch.
Thanx for your time,
E-mail # 3
I was wondering if you can tell me or anyone on the panel about after Scott is sentenced, will gerages still be his attorney so he can file for an appeal, how does this work for Scott, or does he have to be given a state lawyer for these appeals or what, can garages still help in this to get Scott out and this being over turned. I'm not to familiar with the appeals process after a conviction or after the verdict can you elaborate... I still believe SCOTT TO BE INNOCENT ....
E-mail # 4
We at the CT SCHL of Broadcasting use Gretta as an example of what a host should not be. She has a very poor personal appearance, very poor and her voice is high pitched and very piercing. How Fox ever hired her is beyond belief. We went back and looked at her interview of OJ and it was just pitiful. But she is an inspiration to many students as they think that they have hope. Fox is on the other hand very wrong with this person.
Watch "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" weeknights at 10 p.m. ET