BREAKING THE BONDS OF BIAS
I will be rewarded for creating this blog when I am sitting at home following the appeal trial on Twitter and CNN and I read and simultaneously hear reported the words “We, the jury, do find the defendant not guilty… not guilty… not guilty… not guilty …” and the judge turns to Dzhokhar and says “Young man, you are free to go.”
Ortiz may turn pale, alone in his chambers, O’Toole may gasp, but my heart will rejoice. My poor efforts will have been worth it. That is when I will receive my payment in full: when I read that Dzhokhar is now smiling, crying in the arms of those by whom he has always been loved.
And if someday the Lord allows Dzhokhar and I to meet on this earth that will just be a bonus.
If my words appear in a legal brief, if they are said as part of opening or closing statements at the next trial, if they are translated to other languages or if someone with a great speaking voice decides to create You Tube videos of the individual posts thereby allowing those for whom sight is gone from the eyes but vision remains strong in the heart to have access to my blog …
I give my permission now for any of these things to occur. The point of Writing the Wrong for Jahar is not to make a name for myself but to help Dzhokhar in any (legal) way that I can. I would be honored if the posts in this blog can be used for any of those purposes.
Judge O’Toole most inappropriately and most definitely said to the jurors “We are in this together” thus strengthening the bonds of bias. All who support and are working for justice for Dzhokhar are most appropriately in this together, whether we are journalists, attorneys, bloggers, activists or prayer warriors. We are all needed.
So let us all do our part, whatever we believe that part to be, out of love for a young man who right now probably thinks he has been forgotten.
A friend recently offered a possible reason to explain why it “helped” that a police officer was murdered before Dzhokhar’s capture. I offer it here as I too believe it is very likely the sick logic that resulted in the death of MIT Officer Sean Collier:
The discovery of the murder of Officer Collier would have increased and focused the anger of law enforcement and that anger would increase the chances of the suspects not being taken into custody alive.
That plan nearly worked.
I have been thinking about a few things lately regarding the death of Sean Collier:
1. When an officer is suddenly confronted with a life-or-death situation, their instinct, their training would cause them to reach for their weapon.
2. According to the detailed report I found of his injuries, Sean Collier was shot in the right hand three times. I believe those would have been the first three shots fired as the assailant needed to keep Sean from defending himself.
3. If so, this would indicate that Sean looked up and saw the shooter. It would also indicate some steady nerves on the part of the shooter would it not?
If, you are used to situations like this, if you have training yourself, say, as an FBI agent (which we know from reports agents were all over MIT campus on an “unrelated matter” that same night) you would be able to remain relatively in control and shoot Collier three times in the hand to stop him from pulling his gun. After he reacted to being shot three times in the hand and let go of his revolver you could proceed as planned and put two bullets in the side of his head and one between his eyes like professional hit men do.
But if you are a scared and panicky amateur whose training came from a couple recent visits to the firing range and you are on the run from the feds because your picture and that of your brother has been splashed all over the news and you have no plan you would probably go for shooting another larger and more accessible part of the body like the head or the chest to finish the job quicker.
Since Sean’s right hand, not his left, was shot three times, the person would have had to lean in to shoot accurately that much smaller (and probably moving) part of the body since Sean’s left hand would have been the one next to the door of the cruiser. I think the brothers would just have gone for the head or chest to be done with it then tried to grab the weapon.
So try this on for size: I think it is possible the FBI agent who killed Collier WANTED him to pull his weapon, wanted the weapon free so it could be removed from the vehicle and said that the brothers were both armed. It could be said then that the brothers stole his weapon to make Dzhokhar as culpable as they claimed Tamerlan to be.
Maybe Collier was faster, his reaction time better than they expected so they ended up having to shoot him in the hand three times, making Collier unable to finish drawing his revolver before they shot him in the head.
This may be speculation but I believe it is possible and believable speculation. The burden of proof is on the government, not the defense. They do not have to prove Dzhokhar’s innocence. The government has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt his guilt.
Collier’s blood was not found on Dzhokhar. If he had reached across the body attempting to dislodge the gun, his sleeve, the cuff of his hoodie at the least would have come in contact with Collier’s blood that would have already been all over the gun.
HOW CAN ANYONE ACTUALLY BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT’S NARRATIVE?
I found the following information when researching the topic of logical thinking:
It’s called the argumentative theory of reasoning, and it says that humans didn’t learn to ask questions and offer answers in order to find universal truths. We did it as a way to gain authority over others. That’s right — they think that reason itself evolved to help us bully people into getting what we want. Here’s how a proponent puts it:
“‘Reasoning doesn’t have this function of helping us to get better beliefs and make better decisions,’ said Hugo Mercier, who is a co-author of the journal article, with Dan Sperber. ‘It was a purely social phenomenon. It evolved to help us convince others and to be careful when others try to convince us.’ Truth and accuracy were beside the point.”
And as evidence, the researchers point out that after thousands of years of humans sitting around campfires and arguing about issues, these glaring flaws in our logic still exist. Why hasn’t evolution weeded them out? The answer, they say, is that these cognitive flaws are adaptations to a system that’s working perfectly fine, thank you. Our evolutionary compulsion is to triumph, even if it means being totally, illogically, proudly wrong.
It’s called neglect of probability. Our brains are great for doing a lot of things. Calculating probability is not one of them. That flaw colors every argument you’ve ever had, from the tax code down to that time your friend totally cheated you in a coin-flip.
In this experiment involving electrocuting subjects (presumably conducted by Dr. Peter Venkman) scientists found people were willing to pay up to twenty dollars to avoid a ninety-nine percent chance of a painful electric shock. Seems reasonable enough. But the same subjects would also be willing to pay up to seven dollars to avoid a tiny one percent chance of the same shock. It turned out that the subjects had only the vaguest concept of what ninety-nine percent or one percent even means. All they could think about was the shock.
It’s no surprise that we’re bad at this, since the whole concept of measuring probability is a recent invention. Early man didn’t have any concept of what percentage of bear encounters ended in being eaten. He only knew that he didn’t want to be eaten. Our brains are not meant to instinctively understand any equation more complex than this:
Bear = Run Away
That worked fine for a hunter-gatherer trying to avoid being devoured by a bear like his father was. Unfortunately, running a government or an economy is a little more complicated, and we’re still stuck in “Bear = Run Away” mode.
As experts point out, when there is strong emotion tied to the unlikely event, our ability to continue to see it as unlikely goes out the window. Thus, any statement of “It’s very unlikely your child will be eaten by a bear, these bear traps in the yard are unnecessary and keep injuring the neighborhood kids” will always be answered with, “Say that when it’s your child being eaten!”
So During Your Next Argument, Remember …
Again, everybody does it. The only difference is which issue is so charged for us that we’re willing to throw probability out the window.
Does this explain, in part, why some people only have to be told they’ve seen evidence to believe they have, in fact actually seen it?
From Twitter, I learned this about someone who actually knew and liked Dzhokhar and agreed to testify at his trial:
1. They believed before the trial that he was guilty and were willing to testify to help mitigate sentencing but made clear they did not want their testimony to “get him acquitted.” This tells me this person likely has a high degree of trust in the government and in the media.
2. This person later shared on Twitter an experience they had with their family at a mall when the mall-wide fire alarm went off. They saw no evidence of a fire but left anyway, saying that their motto since April 2013 (when the bombing occurred at the marathon) is now to be safe rather than sorry. This tells me the bombing has left them with a level of fear that is, sadly, understandable.
3. This same person also re-tweeted something from the NRA & The Daily Edge that surprised me:
What do we want? Guns! Who do we want them for? Everyone on the terror no fly list! Attn all #NRA members: Call your senators NOW and urge them to vote NO on any and all gun control proposals.
This was a real departure for someone who obviously buys the government narrative about the bombing. I would expect one of us so-called conspiracy theorists to re-tweet that.
People can be an odd mixture of beliefs sometimes. Or maybe it’s just hard to think when you’re running from a bear.