So everyone's (least) favorite misinformation profiteer Alex Jones got handed a $49.3M verdict
in one of several cases against him for his blatant slander and defamation against the parents of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. Sounds like a good thing, right? Well, a couple things have left a bitter taste in my mouth.
The first of which is, thanks to a loophole in Texas law, the actual amount of damages Jones will have to pay is capped to a far smaller amount (here's a video that explains it;
the creator, a lawyer practicing in, I believe, South Carolina, believes that the actual amount paid will be less than $1M). $1M is a slap on the wrist for Jones; he's made many, many times that amount pushing poisonous rhetoric like the lies that landed him in court in the first place. Even the full $49.3M verdict pales in comparison to the amount of money his network brings in pushing divisive reactionary toxicity. In addition, it seems the verdict allows Jones to stall the other pending trials brought against him in other states.
The second of which is Jones's egregious conduct throughout the entire trial. Because I have nothing better to do at the moment I've been watching recordings of the trials, and on more occasions than I can keep track of Jones and his lawyer have flagrantly done things that would get most people, at the very least, a contempt of court charge. Everything from blatantly lying under oath (and being called out on it by the judge on at least two occasions) to refusing to produce evidence demanded by discovery. Apparently anti-perjury laws only apply to us plebs who don't have multi-million dollar media empires at our disposal.
While, on the surface, this verdict seems like a win, the reality is it's just an empty show victory. The average person sees a $49.3M verdict and thinks he got what he deserves, while legal loopholes designed to protect rich capitalists soften the blow to a slap on the wrist. This man destroyed the lives of people who were already left in a vulnerable state by a horrific tragedy beyond most people's comprehension. With his lies and the army of rabid followers who lap them up like dogs, he did incalculable damage to their mental well-being at a time when they were already compromised. They faced death threats and vitriol like nobody deserves, least of all someone who just lost their kid in a school shooting. Jones deserves prison time for knowingly peddling false information that lead to the harm of these parents. No dollar amount will fix this, especially when there's so many protections in place that will prevent him from ever paying the full amount anyways.
We'll see what comes of Jones's other pending trials, but I don't think we'll see true justice unless the man ends up in prison, and I somewhat doubt that will happen.