One year ago, Enrique Pearce was all but forgotten. His court appearances were listlessly covered by the media as he gradually descended into anonymity and prepared to escape any accountability for his horrendous crimes. Then two people on Twitter began tossing around his name and nudging him back into public consciousness. Others took note, favorited/liked/retweeted and began spreading the story on their own. I created this website and wrote a series of blog posts on Pearce because I was tired of local media ignoring his case and others like it.
In the meanwhile, public interest in Pearce’s case has skyrocketed. My blog posts have been increasingly shared on social media and I receive steady traffic from Google searches of Pearce. I would imagine local media has noticed this increased interest in Pearce as they turned out in force to cover his latest court appearance and even managed to express a modicum of outrage over it. Unfortunately, this most likely means Pearce’s walking papers have been signed, sealed and delivered, so the state’s media accomplices are now free to say whatever now that it will have no effect on the case’s outcome.
While Pearce will still walk with the flimsiest of punishments, the late surge of public interest in the case did make the state, Pearce and his team work a little harder to keep up appearances. Had such public (and media) interest been present from the beginning and throughout Pearce’s case, perhaps he would actually be facing some approximation of justice instead of being allowed to pilot his own bespoke course to freedom.
Media coverage is important; it absolutely is. But so is word of mouth and social-media sharing; both are often an editor’s boss when assigning coverage. The more reluctant media are to cover a story, as they have been with Enrique Pearce’s case, the louder that word of mouth and sharing have to be. It may (or may not) be too late for public pressure to greatly affect the outcome of Pearce’s case, but there are still others like Pearce facing serious charges while the media allows them to further fade into anonymity. Christopher Kohrs. Jason Lai and Curtis Liu. So many others. Keep their names and offenses ringing out on social media, whether through liking/retweeting articles, writing Facebook posts or blogging. The more noise there is around a case, the harder it is for the state to sweep it under the rug. They still absolutely can and will, but why roll out the red carpet and make it easy for them?