PITTSBURGH — WITH the verdict of the O.J. Simpson murder trial still ringing in their ears, many Americans fired up their computers to complain - about the system, about the power of money, and most of all about race.
''I am appalled and disgusted by the verdict which was rendered in Los Angeles,'' wrote James, a user of CompuServe's on-line service, hours after the jury's decision. ''This verdict virtually tells us that if you are white, and feel like killing a black, just make sure you have a white jury judging you, and the same formula applies for blacks or other racial groups.''
Often, emotions boiled over into an undisguised racism.
''I really hate my thoughts right now,'' wrote one Internet user. ''I try not to hate people, but right now I have a hard time... Right now I hope that those three non-blacks [on the jury] who did not even deliberate are forever ostracized by their community.''
The majority of Americans who went on-line - a largely white and more-affluent-than-average audience - seemed convinced Mr. Simpson was guilty. Less than eight hours after the verdict, nearly 25,000 people had logged their responses to Prodigy's poll on the case: 77 percent disagreed.
Some on-line writers upheld Simpson's innocence. ''The silver lining in this long farce is that mainstream America is forced to look at police corruption, prosecutor dishonesty, and justice-systemic corruption,'' wrote one Internet user. ''We have BIG problems with our justice institutions. Wake up, America.''
Bill, a subscriber to Delphi Internet Services, said: ''I do believe that it is better to acquit a guilty man rather than convict an innocent man, and it seems that is what happened in this case.... Like it or not, agree or disagree, the system has produced a verdict and, based on our judicial system, O.J. Simpson is Not Guilty.''