The right to a trial and due process are considered basic human rights, but they are much more than that. Requiring due process is also about epistemology. To truly know and understand what has transpired in the course of some event, criminal or otherwise, one needs to conduct an investigation, bringing all manner of empirical and rational data to bear on the case. Without conducting that investigation in an honest and unbiased way, one simply cannot discover the truth. And without the truth, how can one arrive at a just verdict?

Furthermore, it is not enough for a third party to give you an account of the evidence. How can you be sure that that third party relayed the information accurately? No, you have to see the evidence yourself and draw your conclusions accordingly. That is why in the court of law, the prosecution and defense are there to check each other, to make sure the jury is not manipulated. Both sides present the facts of the case to the jury in full detail, everything from photos of the crime scene, to the coroner’s images of the deceased, to financial statements, and so on. Anything and everything that is related to the case and will help the jury reach a conclusion is laid bare for investigation; everything is closely examined and cross-examined, leaving no stone unturned. It is then assumed that the jurors will rationally weigh all the data and come to a conclusion about what has and has not transpired and make their verdict on that basis. That is the rational way to approach a criminal case and all moral systems, past and present, recognize this.

But, unfortunately, when it comes to acts of terror and subsequent public opinion, all that goes out the window. In these cases, all the evidence is left to said third parties, namely federal agencies and the mainstream news outlets. No evidence is publicly available for scrutiny. All the public gets to see are snippets here and there, grainy cell phone footage, anonymous sources, unreachable family contacts, vague statements that transform from speculation to fact at the speed of Twitter — basically anything the powers that be decide is ok for you to consume. In other words, there is no public scrutiny of the evidence. Neither are there any checks and balances on how the limited amount of information that does trickle down is presented to the public, a public which, in times of terror, is not in the right state of mind to digest that information in the first place.

So, when I express skepticism about the mainstream media’s convenient narrative… when I, in the age of Laquan McDonald and the Chicago Police Department, show lack of trust in what comes out of the FBI’s mouth… when I flat out say, “This account of how the San Bernardino shooting happened makes absolutely no sense”… don’t call me a “conspiracy theorist.” I’m just being consistent. ‪#‎TruthforSanBernardino‬