Imagine walking in Knox’s shoes

Imagine yourself in Italy.

You’re a 21-year-old girl (or boy, if need be), in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You’ve been here for almost the entire semester, and you have to say: It’s been one of the best semesters of your life.

Then, imagine, when it’s almost time to go home, you’re accused of killing your flat mate, because you’re connected closely to her, and you’re kind of strange, and sexually promiscuous and whatnot. You’re given 26 years. In a foreign prison, nonetheless.

And then after a few years, the verdict gets overturned. You get to go back to America. You don’t even care that some people still cry for your years in prison, because there’s no better feeling then coming home.

In case you haven’t heard, this isn’t a story I just decided to make up on the spot; it’s the real-life story of Amanda Knox, study-abroader turned accused murderer. And I didn’t put it in first-person just because I have time on my hands. This is the scenario I replayed in my head when I asked myself: Am I sympathetic towards Knox? Should she be in America right now?

When I start to humanize the situation, I find it hard for myself to not root for the now 24-year-old girl to come back to Seattle. Even though it’s completely hypothetical and illogical, it was easier to side with Knox when I realized that anything could happen to me if I studied abroad. I’m sure it’s unlikely. But did Knox think that too?

The thing that makes the story even scarier, however, is that this is a topic that some of us can identify. Not many of us, I don’t think, have had friends accused of murder. But many of us have friends that are oversees right now. Right now, I have two friends in Spain and two in Sweden, and it’s chilling to think that they could possibly stay there longer than intended due to unfortunate circumstances.

I think it also has to do with the fact that I’m not sure I find her guilty, or that I even did to begin with. Obviously, a good chunk of the world disagrees with me. But I don’t see any hard evidence that points to her. Being a bit strange makes you strange, not a murderer. Possibly starting a foursome makes you a sexpot, not a murderer. When there’s minimal amounts of evidence on the murder weapon (and yours isn’t the only one there), you have to wonder: How likely is it the person is the killer?

Let’s even assume that Knox is later found guilty. I’m still glad she came home, because wouldn’t it be better if she were here to get any psychological treatment she needs? Maybe this view is stemmed from the fact that I can identify more easily with a girl around my age, and it makes my skin crawl to think of rotting away in prison away from home.

In light of incidents, such as the Troy Davis or the Casey Anthony trials, it’s hard to trust the courts — any court — in decisions anymore. Who is really guilty? Who is really innocent? What is the appropriate way to determine, or overturn that decision, and what is the correct way to punish anyone the judicial system deems guilty?

I don’t have the answers to any of those questions. In fact, I don’t know if anyone does. We all see facts differently, we all believe different things, and the legal system isn’t black and white.

But, at least for this case, we as students should, if not receive Knox back to American soil with open arms, then at least stop and think. We’re young 20-something-year-olds. We study abroad. And though a murderer is a murderer is a murderer, what if (and I truly believe this) she’s innocent? What if it were us, or our friends, flying home? How would we feel?

All you have to do is imagine.

_Tolu is a junior in Media._