Tuesday, December 8, 2015

HEADLINES: Going Deeper


We've all heard the saying "the Large print giveth the small print taketh away"

And as a principal of contract law, that is pretty accurate.

But there's another thing that takes away and that is the largest print: The headline.

Let me give you an example. John DeLorean is known for his pioneering style in creating the DeLorean DMC 12 automobile. While underpowered, it's stainless steel construction in going doors made it unique among all automobiles.

Unfortunately, he was arrested and tried and was unable to see success as a car manufacturer. He was actually exonerated in the trial from what I understand; however he was convicted in the court of public opinion. His car company did not survive.

It goes the other way as well. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of killing his wife and a young man with her. However in my mind and I think the mind of most thinking individuals, he is guilty as sin. One doesn't have to look very far to realize that it takes an act of utter rage to stab people through their skulls. Clearly that was not a robbery. It was spurned love turned to rage.

Oddly, in the civil trial he was found responsible for the killings. But either way he was so burdened by public opinion he was never able to do a lot more with his persona. That is until he was actually arrested and convicted of a messy attempt at gaining back some of his memorabilia that had been lost.

There's a saying in journalism that says something like the assertion is on the front page and the retraction is on page 4. And that is what is so sad about public opinion. There are narratives (like climate change) and if an act seems to fit into a narrative, it just gets swept up in that.

My favorite example is the McDonald's hot coffee case. Everyone sees that term and rolls their eyes collectively at the ridiculous amount that this woman who was dialing the wheel of jackpot justice just got awarded. But they don't look at the facts underneath the case. They may or may not ever agree with the case, but they haven't done enough fact checking to even make an opinion about it in my opinion.

It is not an educated man's position to simply parrot what other people say without checking it out. That is what sheep do. They follow the leader. Educated people are designed to be the leaders, the leaders in thought and action.

If you look further into the facts of Miss Stella Liebeck's case against McDonald's, you may determine that actually she didn't receive much of anything and there was a grave injustice to her by the people at McDonald's who were putting profits ahead of people. It wasn't as simple as one might think. So that brings up the idea of thinking. An educated person must look at the facts underneath an assertion and determine whether or not they hold up. But that takes mental effort. I'm afraid as an American consumer, we are used to other people doing the thinking for us. It's so easy to Google it or check Wikipedia that we don't make a lot of our own findings.

You can see that very clearly with the gun-control debate. Every time there is a mass shooting that fits the narrative, it is trumpeted as another failure of gun control and the need of many more restrictions upon law-abiding people. If you look underneath that, you might find that if there were guns in the gun free zone more shootings would be stopped in two seconds. After all that's why the police arrive there with their guns, to stop the shooter. Wouldn't it make sense if there were someone already there with the guns to stop a shooter?  Since you can't get rid of all guns it makes a lot more sense to stop gun free zones so that criminals cannot pick off defenseless victims like ducks at a shooting gallery.

The French have really strong gun control. SWAT teams were able to get into that theater thirty-one minutes after people were being executed. It reminds me of the old saying "when you need help in seconds police are only minutes away".

I challenge you, my loyal reader, to make decisions only after you've looked into the assertions and the foundations that underlie them.

Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.