A LESSON IN NOT JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS

Ken Berwitz

Remember that rash of church burnings in St. Louis a few weeks ago?  A half dozen or so of them – all predominantly Black congregations, and all in the general area near Ferguson?

How many of us assumed that this was the work of White racists, possibly exacting vengeance for protests in Ferguson over the death of Michael Brown?   The left certainly did.  Here\’s just one example among many.  Black media certainly did.  Here\’s an example of that as well, among many others)

Well, they\’ve found a suspect.  Here is his picture….

….and here are key excerpts from the accompanying article, provided by CBS News:

St. Louis police have arrested a man suspected in several church fires considered arson.

Davis Lopez Jackson was taken into custody Thursday. He has been charged with arson in connection with two of seven recent St. Louis-area fires under investigation by police.

Investigators say Lopez Jackson\’s car was seen on surveillance footage from the New Life Missionary Baptist Church, which had a fire on Oct. 17. Police say he was linked to an Oct. 18 fire at the Ebenezer Lutheran Church through forensic evidence.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Jackson\’s criminal record dates back to 1998, when he was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a weapon. He has also previously been charged with domestic assault, burglary, drug-related crimes, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Do we know for a fact that Jackson is guilty of setting the church fires?  Though there certainly appears to be significant evidence that he is, the answer is no, we do not. 

The reason we do not is that, at this stage, it is still just an accusation, therefore we would be foolish to jump to conclusions.  Just as the “rush to judgment” mob was foolish to jump to conclusions and ascribe these church burnings to White racism before we had any evidence of any kind.

There\’s our lesson in not jumping to conclusions.  I hope it helps everyone who does so.

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