It seems as if we have another great American past time that is being practiced by many citizens in this country. I am referring to, as the title implies, the sport of jumping to conclusions. This is practiced by so many that it ought to be included as an Olympic event. and if it is, Americans are sure to take the gold each and every time. Jumping to conclusions (JTC), also known as an inference observation conclusion occurs when one takes a limited and incomplete set of facts and uses this information to draw an emotional based conclusion that is in no way actually related to the complete set of facts often found at the end of a full investigation. This is jumping from point A to point D without stopping by points B and C to see what they have to offer. Allow me to give a few recent examples.
JTC#1: Sam Dubose was killed because he did not have a front license plate. Anyone making this observation is operating under the delusion that Sam Dubose was happily driving down the highway when suddenly he was stopped by a murderous police officer with the intent that Dubose must die because he did not have a front license plate on his car. In this case, point A is that a police officer observed an automobile being operated with disregard to the legally mandated requirement that one must display a front and rear license plate on vehicles registered in Ohio. Point D is that the officer, after observing this violation, executed Sam Dubose for the violation. JTC would require one to make the leap from the traffic stop to the fatal shot as a straight line with no considering or examination of the facts in between point A and point D. Of course, what happened between Points A and D are the salient facts that makes a lot more sense out of what happened in the end. When the fatal shot was fired, that there was no license plate on the front of the vehicle had probably fallen off the radar of the police officer.
JTC#2: Two recent events, but occurring on the same day, and only a few hours apart, have caused a marathon of jumping to conclusions. The facts are that two people engaged the police in incidents whereby the officers felt threatened by what, in both cases appeared to be a real pistol and what, in both cases, turned out to be a replica pistol. In one case, the person with the replica was shot and killed by police and in the other case this person was taken into custody without incident. To add fuel to the fire of the conclusion jump, one was black and one was white. The black person was shot and killed by the police and the white person was not. The conclusion jump is that the black person was killed, not because he had a gun, and not because he was a threat to police, but because he was black. The opposite conclusion being drawn in the other incident, that the individual was not shot solely based on the fact that he is white. I am making a guess that most, if not all, of the conclusion jumpers in this event were not present at the scene of either one of the incidents, and I will freely admit that neither was I. Consequently neither I, nor the conclusion jumpers, are in possession of the facts that the police officers had at their disposal at the moment the shoot or don’t shoot decisions were made.
Knowing the state of mind of the officers in all three events is critical. It was critical at the time of the event and it will be critical as each officer will be called upon, either in court or during multiple investigations to clearly speak to their state of mind when they made the shoot/don’t shoot decision. Again, I was not their for any of the three cited events, but I can state, based on personal experience, that race was not even remotely a factor in the decision-making process. It is difficult to say how all the actions of the officers will be judged following many hours of extensive and critical review by the investigating authorities. I would hope that the investigations will be fair, impartial, and not tainted by conclusions or remarks made by public people who many presume to be “in the know”.
I know that many will read this article and accuse me of being biased because I am pro police. I freely admit that I am pro police. Being pro police does not mean I am anti black. Being pro police does not mean I jump to a conclusion that the police are right and the others are wrong. Being pro police does not really mean anything other than I am pro police. I will not, as a police advocate, jump to any conclusions about the actions of the officers. That would make me a conclusion jumper, a sport in which I refuse to participate. I will not assume that the cops are rights simply because they are cops. I will wait for all the facts before I make up my mind and I would hope that others will do the same. I am publicly calling for a moratorium on conclusion jumping and judgment rushing. I am calling for a new wave of fair and impartial examination of all the facts before making up one’s mind. I can only ask that you honestly consider all the facts before drawing a conclusion. Won’t you, please?
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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