I, and many others, have long considered geeks to be quite different from the general populace. One of the ways this manifests itself, or so I thought, was in our ability to look at a situation objectively and divorce ourselves from pesky human emotions. I call this “geek exceptionalism” – that some things which apply to others simply don’t apply to us. We laughed at many a convicted felon’s family and friends who defended said convict’s innocence because, in our view, they simply weren’t able to look at the situation from a distance. We, or at least *I*, knew that I wouldn’t make that same mistake.
Unfortunately, the Reiser case has brought to the fore the fact that, at least in some ways, we’re really just like all the other numbskull humans on the planet, subject to the same emotions and biased points-of-view as everyone else. It’s painful to conclude that we’re really not all that exceptional, but as I recall those of us who defended Reiser and accused the jury of convicting someone without the necessary evidence, my main takeaway is that we really cannot place a higher value on our judgment over anyone else’s. Speaking only for myself, I didn’t think it was possible for someone as nerdy as Hans to harm anyone. The few times I met Hans, “prone to physical violence” was not a characteristic that came to mind.
With the apparent location and retrieval of Nina Reiser’s remains, mine and many others fears have been confirmed: Nina was in fact murdered, and it was at the hands of Hans. So whenever we need to make a judgment about something to which we have a personal attachment, we would do well to take into account the opinions of those who can truly provide an independent, unbiased point-of-view… even if they’re not a geek :)
Today, my thoughts go out to Nina’s children and other family members. May they find health and happiness in the future.