A Lesson in Manipulative Power

Because it was known that I could write shorthand, I was assigned as stenographer for a secret military hearing regarding a young private charged with a crime.

Memory does not tell me the nature of the charge, and clouds the details of the event.

The young man was convicted by the Officers in charge of the hearing. At one point the presiding Officer-Judge verbally misquoted my reading of my notes, in a way which was central to the conviction. I called that to his attention, but was overruled. There I was, a young twenty-year old, with a Corporal rank, facing several Officers, all agreeing that my report of my transcription was an error! I was unable to do anything; my conscience overruled by the power of the Officers, determined to convict the man. Sworn to secrecy, not knowing of any path to correct them, I left the day confused, scared, depressed, angry, but quite unable to “name” the problem. This was the dawning of a realization of a kind of power which was able to manipulate justice to satisfy those in power.

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