The CSI Effect

The video above tells a story that all potential jurors should see.

I LOVE CSI the TV show! Of course, anyone watching it realizes that the testing time is radically condensed. What most of us don’t realize is how uncertain most evidence can be. The show gives me a false sense of justice even though I realize it’s mainly great TV. Crime scene analysis is most useful in ruling out suspects not convicting them. The preponderance of forensic evidence can be useful as only one piece of a greater puzzle. When dealing with a person’s guilt or innocence, there is no room for uncertainty and definitely not for “most likely” conclusions. The popular TV show may have an unfortunate effect upon potential jurors in favor of prosecutors and we should make as many people aware of this as we can.

All that said, the CSI craze has had many great effects as well. A new interest in science has risen. The first time I saw the show, I was sure that the career of Forensic Science would have been my first choice if I were beginning my career quest. Women ,in particular, have been drawn to this field due to the CSI effect. Problem solving and puzzles have become more popular as well.

I’ve always enjoyed those logic puzzles in the puzzle book anthologies. The ruling out of information to find an answer is a wonderful, fun exercise. This way of approaching most any problem has proven valuable to my understanding of many things. Understanding people can benefit from this kind of analysis. For example, if we take just a moment to consider how much we don’t know about where other people are “coming” from, I think automatically we are more tolerant. The cashier at the supermarket who snaps at you for asking a question. Remind yourself that this person did NOT get up that morning just to ruin your day! Seems ridiculous? As much as we deny it, people react quickest from their own perspective. Yes, most of the civilized citizens dismiss this abruptly but I assure you it’s there.

Next, the reasons for the outburst could vary from lack of sleep, poor upbringing, a divorce in progress, who knows? We sure don’t and we really don’t need to know. A calm reframing of the question works best for me. The cashier may come to his/her senses when they realize you aren’t playing in their drama and do not intend to.

Road rage is an example of people reacting from internal stresses upon what appears to be a faceless being. It amazes me the number of people who relax when they are asked, “Do you think that that particular driver really intended to “tick” you off?” 

Life is rushed for sure. Our modern minds are swimming with goals and time schedules. The next time some stranger “ticks” you off, take one brief moment and realize you don’t have the facts and haven’t time to “play”.


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