To younger students, one of the reasons it’s nice to keep old people around is we can tell you the origins of things that are common in your world, only how it got here, you may have missed, but which might be relevant in the deeper lessons of life you’re always instructing us in. (Insert Ocasio-Cortez joke here.)
I never thought of this as ancient history, but I was a high school senior, in the school auditorium for a pep rally…state high school championship, and I was the starting left end…when the vice principal walked in and took the podium and quietly said “the President has been shot”.
Just as my parents knew exactly where they were on December 7, 1941 my generation knew exactly where we were when we heard that JFK had been shot, November 22, 1963.
The good news is that 77 years later the whole nation still pauses to remember that awful day in 1941, even better, while no longer blaming any Japanese person living today for it. But November 22nd scarcely gets a second thought, much less a moment of silence, even though most of the young people who were alive then and worshipped JFK most, are still alive today.
This is because the thrill with JFK has long since passed.
A good man nonetheless, today his party gets embarrassed when we remind them that once upon a time their party also had a president who was patriotic, loved America, was a war hero, and a free-market advocate.
But then again, once upon a time, that wasn’t anything special for any American.
So, I’m quite certain that when the last person dies who can remember where he/she was on November 22, 1963, John F Kennedy and the whole Kennedy name will quietly slip below the waves of cultural memory and sink, without any help from historians, media or social commentary. Unlike the last Confederate veteran who died in 1951, there will be no one to plat “Taps” in his memory, or to reflect that even the “woman in black”, who laid flowers at Rudolph Valentino’s grave until she died in 1984, stayed her course longer. Even the eternal flame that a worshipful Nation laid at JFK’s grave in 1967 will eventually go out, then maybe not be relit, since no one will recall why it was lit in the first place.
The Unknown Soldier we knew better.
Democrats are especially good at erasing history, almost as good as Stalin, (and with the same purpose, FYI). But when JFK’s flame flickers and dies, like the Nike brand it will be because there was no there there in the first place.
So, about the title, “Alleged”, JFK did play a role in how that term was introduced into the legal dictionary and journalism, and how it has fared in the fifty-plus years, since.
You see, JFK begat Lee Harvey Oswald who begat Jack Ruby. Jack Ruby shot Lee Oswald dead, live, on national television, three days after JFK was killed. I watched it. So did millions of other Americans. I was 17.
I’m doing this from memory, but I know that Ruby was tried and convicted. After all, everybody saw him do it. But by that time I was in college, and the Vietnam War broke out, and college kids didn’t read newspapers or watch that much television news anyway. It would be 1967 before news of Jack Ruby would reach my eyes again, first, when his murder conviction was overturned, and a new trial ordered. Next, when he died of cancer before they could re-try him, so he died an innocent man. By law.
Then I entered law school in ’68, and one of the things that arose from Jack Ruby’s trials was that some court told the media that they couldn’t go around calling a defendant in a murder trial “a killer” anymore. He could only be called the “alleged killer” and f0r fifty years, now, I’ve smiled when I hear a journalist, or newscaster, or radio announcer have to gag and say that the guy who they just showed on their broadcast holding up a 7-11 still having to refer to him as the “alleged” robber, shooter, or killer, depending on how the next three minutes played out.
It’s a big deal, folks. Really. And somewhere Jack Ruby’s smiling.
There’s part of the old-timey liberal in me cheering knowing that, if for no other purpose than to protect the jury pool, citizens who actually follow the news can still be allowed to serve on juries.
And moreover, that a court of law, because it is a product of the Law, stands miles taller than the court of public opinion, which, as we all know, is the product of rumor, hearsay, even whole cloth, inspired and broadcast by the Press since Hamilton and Jefferson went at it in the campaign of 1800.
People of common sense (who can tell a horse from a mule) have known how to sort through media-mush versus facts since at least that long. At least as long as there was competition in the media. Only who knew affluent people would actually spend extra money to educate their children in not being able to tell the difference between that horse and mule, and in seeing the world through a skewed prism, thus falling into the media’s trap of believing all those people of common sense that have made up the bulk of America since 1770, are heretofore called “inbred hillbillies” and should not be allowed to vote. And when they do vote, their choices, if they win, should be denied office.
We’re seeing the kinks in this alliance being ironed out now.
I know, it’s more complicated than that, but it still leads to the simple conclusion that every citizen of common sense should ask, “Should I get rid of the 7 1/2 birdshot and go for a rifled slug?”
The “Alleged” Rule imposed on the Media by the courts is a kind of humility rule, reminding them that they are smaller than the Law, and that there are things going on in Court that the Media can’t know until it actually shows up as evidence. I’ve always been a stickler for that.
Then and only then do we know if Tyrod, above, the “alleged” robber, shooter, killer, turned out to be a convicted felon or an innocent man.
The same rules apply for that cop who had to shoot Tyrod if he, as about one in a few thousand will try, refuses to lay down his gun when a police officer corners him.
The media loves these scenarios, by the way. So, this humility forced on the media by the courts is a medicine they’ve never liked having to swallow. They’ve always hated it, and always wanted to be first to tell the people whether a person was guilty or not, or a thing didn’t occur the way the cops or prosecutors reported it. And always with their special slant designed to sell papers.
Real media competition started going away in the 60s, when the beatification of JFK enabled his successors to accomplish a lot of things in his name which neither he nor most Americans actually approved of, and which has cost three generations of black Americans irreparable harm.
Remember Ferguson? How many police officers have died because Michael Brown put his hands up and said, “Don’t Shoot” while the dirty cop who did it beat the rap?
That’s right, didn’t happen. But those cops are just as dead.
And because of it, a well-funded criminal enterprise was created, and still storm-trooping, with never a mention of “allegedly” in all those non-events, or the evidence that was presented behind closed doors exonerating Officer Wilson.
This is how the media likes it, to make the myth the fact, outside the reach of a courtroom and judge.
We’ve been watching this evolve for years, a political class and a government class willing to work with the media to protect their status, simply by allowing the Media to feel like they are a part of them.
That legal term “Alleged” has been around over 50 years now, but I swear, of all the “lies”, and “crimes” Donald Trump and his gang is accused of having committed I have yet to hear even one of those crimes referred to as “alleged”.
The bottom line is clear, they don’t intend to use the courts to try and convict Trump & Company of anything, but rather hang them in the court of public opinion, without benefit of legal clergy.
They think they’ve blazed a trail to that end.
I have yet to hear any of the media, even friendly media, refer to these as “alleged crimes”, or being able to legally connect “alleged” hush money to a babe with whom Trump only “allegedly” had an affair, and which was only “allegedly” a violation of campaign finance laws, and which was “allegedly” of such a severe nature to justify criminal charges (while Obama illegally used $12M in 2012).
Hopefully, Judge Sullivan in the Mike Flynn case will extend his reach beyond just nullifying Flynn’s guilty plea, but also extend the long arm of the law to sanction those who conspired to use Flynn as a means to convict Donald Trump in the court of public opinion of “alleged” crimes that never existed.
I know of a few journalists who would be happy to provide Judge Sullivan with a list of worthy candidates.
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