by Andy Weddington
Saturday, 30 September 2017
People who jump to conclusions rarely alight on them. Philip Guedalla
Trending yesterday on social media was a little more than five minutes video of Lieutenant General Jay Silveria, U. S. Air Force, Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, addressing cadets, faculty, and staff.
The three-star passionately spoke to racial slurs scrawled outside the dorm rooms of five black students at the Academy Prep School.
His message, rightly, was one of intolerance thereof. Well, of course.
Last evening Bret Baier, on his Fox News Channel program Special Report, had a brief segment about the matter. His concluding comment - the Air Force is investigating.
Last night came an email about the matter from a retired Marine. Some included commentary troubled me.
Watching and listening to the General what first came to mind was the Duke University men's lacrosse team incident of about 10 years ago. If not familiar, look it up.
In short, race and rape was at the heart. A black female (stripper) alleged a few white athletes (lacrosse players) raped her. The investigation (completed) proved the allegations false. It never happened.
But, due process be damned.
Those young men (pleading innocent from the beginning) were publicly vilified, tried, and convicted.
What lingers in memory ...
Who was out front leading the hanging?
Duke University leadership.
And other recent incidents in the news of the "wronged" infusing race but investigative work proved them concocted come to mind.
Because nothing sparks individual and mob outrage and overwhelms emotion faster than the word "racism."
Too often, anymore, it is the calculated word and charge of choice when facts, truths, and rational and logical argument are not on the side of the (believed) aggrieved.
And it is one of the few things that triggers premature "corrective" action(s); even from the sane who know better.
In analogy and contrast to sound marksmanship - it's fire, ready, aim (vice ready, aim, fire).
Just as errant rounds (negligent discharges) cannot be again chambered, retractions (of false accusations) do not endure like first impressions; however wrong and false first impressions prove to be.
Questions after listening to the General and hearing an investigation is ongoing ...
"Is the General absolutely certain one or more of the five 'targeted' students did not have a hand in scrawling the slurs?"
"If one or more of the five students did partake, will the General be as quick to amass his troops and again address the matter? Will he alight?"
To close ...
Once a command inspector, and having conducted and supervised many an investigation, never do I recall an investigation concluding in complete alignment with the initial complaint/allegation. Never.
Mature leadership speaks to investigated matters.
The General's message not so much in question.
Timing, assumptions, and tone certainly.
And certainly some in the lectured audience were, rightfully so, offended.
Yes, racism is intolerable. It's not the American way.
But critical is the discipline of due process investigative work and marksmanship ...
Ready. Aim. Fire!
To jump the gun is to "kill" and kill innocents. Nor is that the American way.
Remember, innocent until proved guilty; even in matters involving allegations of racism.
That, countrymen, is the American way!