Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Facts and Evidence and Hearsay

In this country, the law is all about facts and evidence.  You need those things to convict someone of a crime.  The evidence can even be circumstantial, but there needs to be a preponderance of it when all you've got is circumstantial.

Hearsay is flat out.  Opinions, too.

You cannot walk into a court room and say 'I heard someone say that the defendant committed the crime', anymore than you can walk in and say 'I think the defendant committed the crime' - unless you have evidence and facts to back up your assertions.

Seems to me that these days, people are using hearsay and opinions in place of facts and evidence.  Not in a real court, mind you, but in the court of public opinion.  You are tried and convicted without a shred of actual evidence.

"So and so said the person is a murderer, so it must be so."  "I heard someone say this person is a thief, so they are."  "Everyone knows he did what they say he did."  Ask about evidence and facts to prove the assertions and you may find yourself under their guns.

Oh, there's been a lot of hullabaloo about fake news.  If you don't try and convict someone without evidence, then fake news is about as damaging as a plastic spoon.  If you don't treat the media as a reliable witness, nothing they say can cause harm.  If you don't rely on the masses to tell you what is fact and what is fiction, then there's nothing to worry about.  And if you don't think celebrity equals authority, then you might be okay.

Except in this culture today, the news isn't questioned.  The media is truth.  If a whole bunch of people think something, then it must be fact.  And celebrities are gods.

Umm, yeah.

So, when you're out there reading and listening and deciding how to proceed, take a moment to figure out what reality is.  It might take some effort.  It might take you not believing a goddamn thing until actual facts are presented somewhere, somehow.  It takes work.

But it's worth it.

Try every case in the court of your own opinion and base those opinions on verifiable facts.  Demand evidence.  Ignore hearsay. 

Or continue on as you have done, thrashing around and waving your arms and huddling in the fear someone hopes you'll have because when you're afraid, you're easier to control.

Personally, I like knowing stuff and being certain for myself.  But that's me.

1 comment:

  1. I agree 100% but that will come as no surprise to you.

    As to hearsay evidence in a court of law...there are special circumstances where it IS allowed and there is a special jury instruction concerning it. It's a very fine line. In the broader world? Yeah...not only crossed but they play hopscotch with the truth and evidence.