November 29, 2015

“Suspected”? Really?

I have been eagerly awaiting news reports about the motives of the man who attacked a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs Friday. It was a fair bet that Robert Lewis Dear Jr. had some deep-seated antipathy toward Planned Parenthood, but evidence for that was technically only circumstantial.

Robert Lewis Dear Jr.
Robert Lewis Dear Jr.
Citing “a law enforcement official,” The Washington Post reported last night that Dear, used the phrase “no more body parts” in explaining the intrusion during which he killed three people. Well, what did people expect?

But, the Post story begins: “The gunman suspected of storming a Planned Parenthood clinic … .” Really? Was Dear only “suspected” of shooting up the clinic? With so many witnesses and TV cameras, are we really incapable of saying definitively that Dear was the shooter?

We live in a country—thanks be to God—in which people accused of a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty. Dear, of course, is not yet guilty in a legal sense; legally, he is a suspect. But certain facts are beyond dispute. Assuming that Dear was not employing alien technology that distorts reality, it is as certain that he stormed the Planned Parenthood clinic as it is that Kansas City won the World Series.

In saying that Dear is only “suspected” of attacking Planned Parenthood, The Washington Post is doing what the press often does to avoid seeming to assume legal culpability. Such behavior is understandable, but it is disingenuous. Dear may be a suspect, but his actions are not merely suspected.

Mayor of Colorado Springs John Suthers offered a more forthright way of speaking of Mr. Dear. He is quoted in The New York Times as saying that ”[t]he perpetrator is in custody.”

1 comment:

  1. In our litigious galaxy, it is notable that you are not advised to refer to Sue-z as, "the suspected blogger's alleged spouse." :::sigh:::

    Obviously, Mr. Dear is the shooter. But equally obviously, he is entitled to the full set of legal proceedings before he is consigned to oblivion as either a life or death sentence is applied. I think Colorado has a death penalty but almost never executes anyone. So the sentences are roughly equivalent.

    FWIW

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