Innocent

A cornerstone of American law is that an accused person is “innocent until proven guilty.” Like much of the rest of our quaint judicial system, this should probably be scrapped.

In much of our lives we are rightly considered guilty until we prove innocence. My parents believed I ate the cookie or broke the dish unless I could prove it was done by a sibling. My boss thought it was definitely my fault if a project was late or incomplete.

With modern police tools of DNA, electronic surveillance, and other marvels we usually know who did what. With modern media and communications we know it right away. Much though we fear the omnipresent state, it is already here.

Yes, mostly we should (with reasonable precautions) be guilty until we prove otherwise. Most trial now involves arguments as to why something was done or if breaking a law was justified. Or perhaps if a law (such as a speed limit) was reasonable in the first place.

Yes, it is too easy to slide into lazily assigning a scapegoat based on prejudice of previous behavior. Yet the fact is that someone who has lied to me or cheated me in the past will probably do so again.

I’ve given up on assuming innocence. The lawyers who nominally run the country will never do so since it is so lucrative. Or, at least, not give it up until enough pitchforks are outside the courthouses.

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