Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Real Life Isn’t Forensic Files

Real Life Isn’t Forensic Files


Ronald G. Pittenger

Just for a moment, let’s pretend we are real adults capable of making rational, objective decisions based on facts instead of feelings or beliefs. Based on evidence, in other words. We all remember evidence, it’s what they show on TV in programs like Forensic Files. In court summations, it’s often referred to as “proof.” Feelings are not proof. Neither is belief. Proof is objectively true whether we like the facts proved or not. Without facts, can be no proof.
In many of the currently discussed sexual assault allegations, there is no proof, no conclusive smoking gun to point a finger at and shout “Aha! Gotcha!” Instead, we find a lot of innuendo, endless speculation about how it “might have been,” or “could’ve been.” Speculation is not proof. Speculation is fancied up gossip wearing its nicest dress, purse, heels, and pearls. It isn’t fact unless it can be proven. That’s why the government has to prove a defendant guilty in court rather than the defendant having to prove his/her innocence. Public opinion is less strict, of course.
In some cases, especially those gone stale from the excessive passage of time, the “facts” are no longer knowable. Unfortunately, this leaves us mere mortals with the unsatisfying reality of inconclusive knowledge. Did Person 1 do thus-and-such to Person 2, lo those many decades ago? Is one of them fibbing? Are BOTH of them fibbing? The sad truth is we will never know.
Why can’t we know? Because the person doing the accusing after all that time is the one who–for whatever reason–failed to come forward when it was timely to do so, while the facts were still fresh and easily obtained by authorities. We can speculate endlessly about why the decision to conceal an outrage would happen, but there’s no point. If it happened, it happened so long ago that the truth will now never be known or knowable.
Every day for the rest of their lives, every time the accuser or accused looks in the mirror, one of them will know they’re looking at the face of a monster. But, only they will know for certain which of them is which. Both of their lives will be changed for the worse along with the rest of the American people.
Political confirmations–or impeachments, for that matter–are not exercises in proof or laws. Instead, they are acts of raw politics that have little or nothing to do with facts, provable or not. How sad for us Americans to have reached such a low. No matter which side emerges with the victory, we Americans will all be the losers.

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