Thursday, August 28, 2014
Jumping to Conclusions
I am always troubled by the logic of unnecessary extrapolation based on single phenomena. Take the Ferguson shooting. I don’t know whether the police officer, Darren Wilson was a racist. Many thought George Zimmerman was, but there was no evidence for that (in fact if anything Zimmerman had openly opposed racism in his personal life history). What I do know is that Wilson had no prior record of racist activity, he did feel threatened, was injured in the confrontation, shot Brown four times in the right arm and twice in the head. We also know that Brown was not ‘just visiting his grandmother’ but had robbed a convenience store. What we also know is that a 292lb man charging towards you with the intention of attacking you is a fearsome sight. Unarmed attackers can kill especially if they carry with them the full punch of such a weight. Wilson does owe the public and the family an explanation. He is an officer of the law. What he doesn’t deserve is to be convicted and sentenced without a trial and due process consideration of the facts. The great Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said ‘You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts’. Unfortunately too many have forgotten the central theme of common law that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and have condemned Wilson with a visceral response bordering on a modern day lynching.There may or may not be racism involved in this altercation but poisoning the well from the get go does nobody any favours, least of all the necessity for fair and colour blind justice.