Editor's Note: Suzanne Murphy is a Stonehill College student from Swampscott and wrote regularly for her local Patch over the summer.
PERUGIA, Italy — As I was anxiously awaiting the verdict of the trial, I couldn’t help but think Amanda Knox was a girl not too long ago.
Four years ago, Amanda Knox walked the streets of Perugia, ate at the same gelato shops or drank cappuccinos at the same places that I do now.
A part of me couldn’t believe that I was standing outside of the courthouse waiting to see how the rest of her life would unfold.
Is the United States judicial system better than Italy’s? Should she have been innocent until proven guilty?
These were all questions that ran through my mind as I, along with hundreds, waited for Knox’s fate to be determined.
A few minutes before the verdict was announced, an eerie feeling lingered in the air.
At this moment, I knew that this evening was not going to have a happy ending one way or another.
The verdict: Amanda Knox is now a free woman.
I was certainly not surprised when people began running around and shouting “Verona, verona!” or “Shame, shame!”
I was, however, a bit thrown off guard when some of the Italian civilians began cussing and directed derogatory phrases towards us as we pushed through the crowd.
Fear was never an emotion that washed over me at any point during the protests but I did not feel comfortable enough to stay.
It was clear that the Americans were no longer welcome.
If roles were reversed and this happened in the United States, would American citizens have acted the same way?
Would we have treated Italians in the same hostile manner that some Italian civilians treated us?
I would hope that this would not be the case, but in circumstances like this, who can ever really know?
After living in Perugia for a month, the aggressive behavior of some Italian people is not the norm. I have been welcomed and treated with respect since the moment I arrived here.
Yet, the Amanda Knox trial helped me realize just how easily something like this can change.