The Brett Kavanaugh story up to this point is illustrative of our methods of observation and arriving at conclusions on complex conflicting information. It also indicates how diverse and accepting we are of new information as well as our ability to separate fact from hearsay or emotion.
Let me preface what I’m about to say with this brief statement on whether Brett Kavanaugh is guilty or innocent of assaulting a 15-year-old girl at the age of 17.
I don’t know. Despite your absolute certainty, you don’t know either. Maybe you can’t admit you don’t know, or your emotions have you by the throat. You see there’s this problem you or I should be having up to this point, lack of evidence.
Yes, I know some people, as of this writing are convinced he’s guilty because he’s a privileged white male who drank while under age. Other people claim it’s a put up job by left-wing politicos, and he’s innocent.
Hopefully, that’s about to change.
WASHINGTON (AP) September 28, 2018 — Reversing course, President Donald Trump bowed to Democrats’ demands Friday for a deeper FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after Republican Sen. Jeff Flake balked at voting for confirmation without it — a sudden turn that left Senate approval newly uncertain amid allegations of sexual assault.
Why is this so important?
- Despite our laws based on “innocence until proven guilty”, he doesn’t gain support through a lack of evidence for this type of appointment
- His nomination and support look to be based on the sole support of the GOP
- Neither him or his family would have peace if the GOP pushes his nomination
- Civil unrest likely with possible use of force in extreme situations
- This would play into the hands of those who want anarchy
- Mark Judge, the high school friend of Brett Kavanaugh, “will answer any and all questions posed to him” by the FBI about the sexual assault allegations
Shouldn’t we just believe Christine Blasey Ford, she said she was 100% sure? Why would she lie? She also gave a brief explanation on how traumatic / emotional incidents are embedded into the brain.
Christine Blasey Ford, accused US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982. They both claim they are convinced their recollections of the past are correct.
Could they both be actually telling what they know, truthfully? Is one lying and actually unaware they are?
Elizabeth Loftus, a cognitive psychologist and professor at the University of California, Irvine, says it’s possible that both are entirely sincere.
Loftus has spent decades researching human memory, and how those memories can change based on suggestion and other factors — notably in the legal context. She offered the following thoughts to AFP on the Kavanaugh hearings:
Q: Is it possible that both witnesses are sincere?
A: “Absolutely. Certainly she came across as very credible and sympathetic, with most people wanting to believe her, and she seems to definitely believe what she is saying.
“He came across very angry and belligerent, and that is to be expected by someone who is convinced that he is being falsely accused.”
“If he did do this, and he has no memory of it because it was so long ago, because maybe he was drinking more than usual and he forgot about that, he could honestly believe his denials.”
Q: How commonly can a person incorrectly remember details of a real event?
A: “That would be very common. When you have an experience, especially a very upsetting experience… you often remember the core of the event — you know it was an airplane crash and not a huge fire, and you can remember certain core details, but often many of the peripheral details will suffer.
“And then memory changes over the course of retelling with different audiences – with the exposure to new information, other details can change.
“Changing the details of an actual memory is a relatively easy thing to do. And it can happen spontaneously.”
Q: Does it make a difference if someone says they are 100 percent sure?
– ‘Very, very certain, and wrong’ –
A: DNA evidence, discovery of surveillance camera video, have either altered people’s memories or suddenly made them more or less confident in their testimony.
“So you see in these cases how someone who is now very certain, was once not so certain. In those cases, we need to ask what made them become so certain.”
— A cogent response to the AFP story from which I used quotes —
I was a juror in an aggravated robbery case years ago. The defendant was accused of having robbed a convenience store several months before, and the only witness was the store clerk who swore adamantly under oath that he was the perpetrator. After all, he had stood right in front of her with a gun in her face. Despite misgivings due to several large holes in the prosecution’s case, I was persuaded by the other jurors to return a guilty verdict. I ignored “innocent until proven guilty” and “beyond a reasonable doubt” due to the clerk’s absolute certainty that this was the robber. The defendant went to jail. Many months later the newspaper ran a story about the case. It seems someone else turned himself in for the crime, so the man I had helped convict was released. It is very sobering to realize how easily an eyewitness can be mistaken, and how easy it is to believe that an eyewitness is telling the “truth.” I have never forgotten this incident and it came back to me while watching Ms. Ford swear that she was 100% certain Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her.
What We Must Do
We shouldn’t make judgments based only on someone’s recollection. We base it on the entire history of a person for their character, character witnesses, and evidence. Failing to do so places everyone in jeopardy. History shows the horrors of a society that allows itself to fall prey without methods of evidence and fairness in judgement with appropriate penalties.
Let’s not assume for a moment this investigation and findings aren’t as important as any felony court trial. There are lives of all those involved who have futures that hang in the balance.