On Framing people

The idea of framing people, that is, creating evidence that will make it look like they did something bad, occurs to the most unlikely people.

Shannon Richardson
Shannon Richardson

For instance, take this nice looking lady:
Shannon Richardson had been married to her husband less than two years when she went to authorities and told them her suspicions: He was the one who had mailed ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg threatening violence against gun-control advocates.
When investigators looked closer, they reached a different conclusion: It was the 35-year-old pregnant actress who had sent the letters, and she tried to frame her estranged husband in a bizarre case of marital conflict.

Or another example: My twin brother was framed not once, but twice, first by a friend, and then by a love-interest. I’ll call the friend Ravi (he was from India) and he had lost his job, so my brother, as a friend, gave him free rent in his rental property, but did ask him to do some chores in that property. Ravi did not take this well, which I can understand to some extent, and he was going mad anyway, and so he did something terrible. My brother works in MRI research, and Ravi sent letters in his name to MRI outfits all over the country. These were crazy letters. One MRI outfit asked my brother about the letter, and when my brother explained he had not sent any letters, the fellow at the MRI outfit said “know this – your name is MUD all over the country now.”

As if that was not enough, then my brother got romantically interested in a woman who had problems. She had been convinced by her therapist that her father had abused her as a child. This was part of the false-memory period in American psychotherapy – therapists would convince women that their problems were due to experiences they could not remember, but these experiences, with enough drugs and talk, supposedly could be elicited. Indeed, the patients eventually remembered what the therapist tried to elicit, but their brains were playing tricks on them. In a sense, the therapists were framing the parents. But it gets worse:
My twin eventually realized the story was an example of false-memory, contacted the woman’s parents, and perhaps in revenge, she went to his place of work and accused him of all sorts of awful things. So this woman could have cost him his job, and his friend Ravi could have shut out all alternative jobs.

Occasionally you can read of other framing cases. One I read about was of a Jewish woman (I forget whether she was in Russia, Ukraine, or Eastern Europe) who found a bloody fetus in her stove. She realized she was being set-up, and managed to hide it somewhere. Then a knock came on the door. It was a policeman. He had been told by a nearby neighboring Christian woman that the Jews were engaging in blood sacrifice. He didn’t find anything, and left with a sullen remark about “dirty Jews”.
But think about this. The “blood libel” was believed by many Christians in that illiterate period, but some of those Christians weren’t above lying – or creating a lie – to perpetuate it.

Where did this blood libel come from? There was a murder (so the evidence wasn’t created for the purpose of a frame) but it was a false accusation:

In England in 1144 Jews of Norwich were accused of ritual murder after a boy, William of Norwich, was found dead with stab wounds in the woods. William’s hagiographer, Thomas of Monmouth,

William of Norwich
William of Norwich

claimed that every year there is an international council of Jews at which they choose the country in which a child will be killed during Easter, because (he claimed) of a Jewish prophecy that states that the killing of a Christian child each year will ensure that the Jews will be restored to the Holy Land. In 1144 England was chosen, and the leaders of the Jewish community delegated the Jews of Norwich to perform the killing. They then abducted and crucified William. The legend was turned into a cult, with William acquiring the status of martyr and pilgrims bringing offerings to the local church. This was followed by similar accusations in Gloucester (1168), Bury St Edmunds (1181) and Bristol (1183). In 1189, the Jewish deputation attending the coronation of Richard the Lionheart was attacked by the crowd. Massacres of Jews at London and York soon followed. In 1190 on March 16, 150 Jews were attacked in York and then massacred when they took refuge in the royal castle, where Clifford’s Tower now stands, with some committing suicide rather than being taken by the mob.

I do wonder about Thomas of Monmouth – did he make this stuff up because of a deeper hatred of Jews for reasons that he knew would not convince the masses, or did he believe his own story?

Framing probably goes undetected sometimes. For instance, one young man who was turned down for a job would never have known the reason, except that an interviewer called him back saying something like “I don’t understand why you rejected our offer, we thought you were a perfect applicant.”. It turned out the young man really wanted the job, but his girlfriend (I don’t want to malign girlfriends in general here) used his email to send off a rejection letter. But suppose the interviewer had not called back – nobody would have known.

I guess one lesson from all this is that we really should check any bad accusation, even when there is evidence (such as a letter supposedly written by my brother), or even video evidence. that’s why our court system lets anyone accused of a crime know the evidence against him, and lets him face and cross-examine his accusers.

Another question is why? The above is all rather disgusting behavior. Its shows lack of respect for the people you lie to, and also malice toward the person being lied about.
Laura Schlessinger wrote a book a while back where she talked about some of the less-nice people who called her talk show, and she said:

…it comes down to one main factor: life should be all about “me”; what makes me happy, what makes me look good, what gets me what I want, what besides me explains my failures, how I can make others hurt like I hurt, how I can take from others what ought to be mine, how I can seem more important and powerful It is all about the “me.” And the universal “you” just becomes a means to the end: “me.”

People gave her the most ridiculous excuses for engaging in bad behavior, and they believed their excuses.

And framing can have very serious consequences. The blood libel itself caused many Jews to be murdered, and I think history itself can be changed by a lie that goes unchallenged.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_libel (blood libel)
The Jews have been framed several times, there was the Dreyfus case, which led to mobs in France shouting “death to the Jews”, and there was the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, which framed a whole people, and is still believed – I saw an interview with young blacks in Brooklyn, and one of them cited it.


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