Jussie Smollett: All charges dropped, yet is he guilty?

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.
By Maramis

Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune.

Breaking news today! All charges against Jussie Smollett dropped. That was the report. Is the report true? Yes, charges have been dropped. We’ve heard it from several sources, but the question remains: WHY have they been dropped?
If you or I were falsely accused of what Jussie claimed to have been unjustly accused of, would we not want our day in court to clear our name? Why would he not have wanted to go that extra step to clear his name? It is curious. And if we ever find out why that may be a clue as to any guilt he may bear.
It appears that rather than finding Smollett innocent or not guilty — or at the least, finding that there was not sufficient evidence on which to make a judgment (which there was)—the charges were simply dropped. Jussie agreed to forfeit his bond of $10,000 and also volunteered to perform some community service (which helps one lean toward the original charges against him, since the innocent would not likely volunteer to lose their bond or perform community service because of something they didn’t do). Those charges linger not only in the air but in the minds of all those who followed the case and saw and heard the evidence against him. It would appear that it is no longer a case of believing him or not — since he steadfastly holds to his statement that he is not guilty and has always cooperated with the police and has told the truth right from the start — but a case of why the facts that have been uncovered were not acted upon Jussie made what sounded to me like a very sad statement if indeed he is not innocent. He said, “I have been truthful and consistent on
every single level since day one.” (Compounding his lie, if indeed he has not been telling the truth as it appears from the investigations that have been made, and digging himself deeper into a pit from which it will be almost impossible to climb out.) Then he went on to bring his mother into his declaration of truth: “I would not be my mother’s son if I was capable of one drop of what I’ve been accused of.” Oh,how I would like to believe him, yet it seems that the facts that have been uncovered through the investigation tell a tale far different from the one Jussie has been telling. Can you imagine the sadness and pain that will be in his mother’s heart if it is somehow ever proven to her that he is guilty? Can you imagine how he will feel when he has to face his public and those who still believe in him if he really has not been telling the truth, as the mayor of Chicago and the chief of police — who stood side by side during their press conference regarding the charges against him being dropped — both seem to believe and expressed themselves along that line in no uncertain words.
It is understandable — but not okay, acceptable nor to be condoned — that those who have created a monstrous lie (especially one that could lead to something worse than just disgrace; something worse than just a gigantic fine; something like maybe spending a good chunk of their life in prison) would continue to lie to “protect” themselves from all the above-stated consequences, to say nothing of wanting to appear innocent to be able to go on with their life as it was prior to the lie, such as resuming their job, which apparently seems to be a sure thing now that those charges have been dismissed.
We must remember that a person’s innocence or truth does not depend on how much we like that person, or what their color is, or anything other than what the truth actually is. Any lie can start out relatively small and insignificant, but we never know how it might start to snowball and leave ripple effects in the lives of others.
While the example I am going to give is not directly related to lies, it is directly related to the ripple effect of what happens following a particular immoral and unethical act by one acting just on his own behalf for his own so-called benefit, as many believe Jussie did.
Consider a bicycle. A young man rides his bicycle to work every day. He has that job because he has a bicycle. That job enables him to get paid enough to pay his rent and to buy food. When a thief steals his bicycle, he is stealing so much more than a physical two-wheeled conveyance. He is stealing the man’s transportation to his job, which means he is also stealing his job — since he can longer get to it and will be fired. And without a job, he will be without a paycheck, which means he will be unable to pay his rent, so the thief is also stealing his home. Without his pay, he will be unable to buy food, and as the
days go by, he will suffer from malnutrition, so the thief is also stealing his health. Yet all the thief thinks he stole is a bicycle.
That is the ripple effect. And so it goes with lies as well. If one presents a lie as the truth, it changes how people view the liar, and it changes the picture — the picture of what is being lied about.
Sometimes it can cause people to lose their reputations or their jobs, and it can eat away at the liar since they will have to perpetuate it as long as they live unless they are willing to finally admit the truth, which at that point would be an even harder thing to do than it would have been in the beginning.
If we can grasp the problem with stealing a bicycle when we see what happens as a result of such an act, we might also be able to see what is so wrong with casting a lie out there that not only creates ripples and changes lives, but costs the city and perhaps individuals time, money, and resources that may well have been spent elsewhere on more worthwhile projects.
If there’s any chance at all that Jussie is telling the truth, may we get to know that such is the case. If, on the other hand, as the police and the mayor of Chicago and most everyone who has followed this case seems to believe, Jussie Smollett is not telling the truth, may he come to admit it before he dies and carries his lie into the next life.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at maramis@lasvegastribune.com.

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