Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Presumption of Innocence

  Good Afternoon all those bored enough to come to my blog. ;)  I've had a thought bouncing about in my mind for some time now, and while not fully formed it still seems time to get it out.  I hope you all can follow this ramble...

  It wasn't all that long ago that I was a kid, oddly enough in the very same neighborhood in which I still live.  It was an exceedingly safe neighborhood then, and in my experience it still is.  And yet, there are some who are afraid to have their children ride their bikes unsupervised on the same streets I ran carefree.  In fact, it could be argued that things are safer in this neighborhood now than ever; there are now no less than five police officers taking up residence here and at least 4 teachers - I would presume more of each.  Yet, parents are afraid.  Why?  Crime rates are similar if not less than when I was a kid.  All crime rates - ok, not the "cyber-crimes".  Computers where not "desk top" then, much less "lap top".  
  It has been argued in the past by many people that our news agencies thrive on an attitude of fear.  "If it bleeds, it leads".  People thousands of miles away from a violent crime are frightened, yet it is completely inconceivable that any part of that particular crime could touch them.  Why?  Fear sells, of course.  But, what does it cost?  Big question there:  what is the cost of fear?
  I've never been considered the bright one in the room - and let's face it, if I am found to be the bright one in any particular room, that is one troubled room!!  But, slowly I've realized that people are fearful and negative all too often, myself included.  The stranger on the road is not one who looks to be hurt, hungry, needing a place to rest and a cool drink; he is the violent ax murderer, the burgler casing the joint, the sex fiend stalking the wife, kids and dogs, the psycho just itching to lose his mind all over someone's family.... etc.  
   What ever happened to that basic concept of expecting the best of people?  Whatever happened to presuming that someone is not out to rape, rob or murder someone?  We used to have this legal concept of "presumed innocence" where the state had to prove that someone had committed a crime.  We can't go on "it could happen", or "he did it once and even though he paid the price for it we believe he'd do it again in a moment", or even "I gotta carry my gun everywhere I go because any minute now someone could go flipping insane!!!!".  

  I don't know; I don't know where to go with this thought.  Maybe you all have the next step??  Comment away.....