That “rush to judgment” syndrome has been responsible for a lot of people, including many innocent men and women, being vilified publicly, and then later found to have been wronged.
You ever notice how quickly people spread bad news and gossip about someone or something, without knowing all or any of the facts surrounding the situation or before having any solid information or evidence?
I mean, it seems as if most people have an insatiable appetite to share more bad news than good news, with no concern with how it can or will affect the suspect.
You know I’m right. Most people are eager to jump on the bandwagon of sharing juicy gossip about someone or something, whether they know it’s true or not. Why is that actually?
Is it something on the inside of human beings, whereby they inherently love to listen to gossip, spread rumors or believe the worst about other people?
There are literally tons of people out there who get off on reading gossip magazines, listening to talk radio shows, surfing the Internet for online blogs, social media postings, watching TMZ, viewing other tabloid TV shows, and seeking out any other form of interactive entertainment mechanism where they can satisfy their craving for gossip and interesting narratives.
They hunger for it. They thirst for it. They can never get enough of it. For many, it is a part of their mental and internal DNA. As I frequent the social media space, I tend to see it a lot.
Many people live vicariously through the lives of other people, as if they are really concerned about those people and as if they truly give a damn about what happens to their lives.
I see it happen with athletes, entertainers, politicians, ministers and just plain ole’ regular people.
Take the Josue Flores and Che Calhoun case for example.
Flores is the 11-year-old sixth grade boy who was stabbed to death in Houston. Calhoun is the 31-year-old man who was originally accused of the murder of Flores.
It all happened so fast. Calhoun wasn’t even brought into custody yet, when before you knew it, Calhoun found himself charged with the fatal stabbing murder of Flores, based on the eyewitness testimony of a few people. Everyone began to chime in and pile on Calhoun, as if he was guilty.
Not only had Calhoun been charged with murders, based on the botched and sloppy investigative work of the Houston Police Department, he had also already been found guilty in the court of public opinion. Almost every mainstream media outlet had plastered Calhoun’s picture all over the TV, Internet and across social media. Social media users and Internet sites began to share Calhoun’s picture, which caused many vile comments concerning his guilt to be spewed all over the place. Calhoun was arrested the day after Flores’ deadly stabbing and was taken in for questioning. It was there that investigators had to eat crow, along with all the “rush to judgment” folks who followed suit with their vile comments and ill-thoughts, when they discovered that both eyewitness testimony and physical evidence cleared Calhoun of the Flores murder.
Say what? Yes! According to good ole’ reliable surveillance video and other key evidence, Calhoun had those murder charges dropped against him because it showed that he was in Pearland at the time Flores was being stabbed to death.
Calhoun spent a whole day behind bars and got released, but the damage had already been done.
Even Calhoun knows that although he’s no longer a suspect in the death of Flores, he has been vilified all over the world and no one has issued him an apology because of these “rush to judgment” zealots.
“I’m plastered all across Houston,” said Calhoun. “This is global right now. A lot of people in Detroit, Chicago, everybody.”
The sad reality is that Flores’ killer is still out there and may never be found. But, these “rush to judgment” zealots don’t care about finding Flores’ killer, because it doesn’t satisfy their craving.
These folk are almost like the “paparazzi.” You often hear celebrities talk about the nuisance, known as the “paparazzi,” but in reality, celebrities aren’t the only “paparazzi” victims.
“Paparazzi” is an Italian term used to describe photojournalists who specialize in candid photography of celebrities, politicians, and other prominent people. They tend to be an independent contractor, which means they are unaffiliated with any mainstream media organization. You always see the “paparazzi” everywhere these prominent people are. They always seek to get the compromising photo, the juicy story or the breaking news. For the most part, they’ll do anything or say anything to accomplish their number one goal – being the first to share the story.
Think about that for a second and ask yourself, are you a part of the “rush to judgment paparazzi” and are you successful at what you do?
Truth is…if you’re going to play the role of the “paparazzi” on social media and on the Internet, you might as well get paid for it. Some of you “rush to judgment” folks might get a hefty paycheck while you’re at it.
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and has a daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney. He is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.