90 Miles From Tyranny : When Facts Are Obsolete

Sunday, January 11, 2015

When Facts Are Obsolete




Juries in Ferguson and elsewhere could not ignore them — unlike mobs and the media.
By Thomas Sowell

Some of us, who are old enough to remember the old television police series Dragnet may remember Sergeant Joe Friday saying, “Just the facts, ma’am.” But that would be completely out of place today. Facts are becoming obsolete, as recent events have demonstrated.

What matters today is how well you can concoct a story that fits people’s preconceptions and arouses their emotions. Politicians like New York mayor Bill de Blasio, professional demagogues like Al Sharpton, and innumerable irresponsible people in the media have shown that they have great talent in promoting a lynch-mob atmosphere toward the police.

Grand juries that examine hard facts live in a different world from mobs who listen to rhetoric and politicians who cater to the mobs.

During the controversy over the death of Trayvon Martin, for example, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus said that George Zimmerman had tracked Trayvon Martin down and shot him like a dog. The fact is that Zimmerman did not have to track down Trayvon Martin, who was sitting right on top of him, punching him till his face was bloody.
After the death of Michael Brown, members of the Congressional Black Caucus stood up in Congress, with their hands held up, saying, “Don’t shoot.” Although there were some who claimed that this is what Michael Brown said and did, there were other witnesses — all black, by the way — who said that Brown was charging toward the policeman when he was shot.

What was decisive was not what either set of witnesses said but what the autopsy revealed, an...
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