August 19, 2002

CHARLES JOHNSON IS OUTRAGED that the N.E.A.’s teaching suggestions for 9/11’s anniversary tell teachers to be sure not to “suggest any group is responsible.”

I think it was that Family Circus character, Not Me, who did it.

Er, except that Osama bin Laden bragged about it, and Palestinians danced in the streets in celebration. And then there’s the matter of these videotapes. Perhaps teachers should show those in class, so that students have a clear idea of who isn’t responsible. And I suppose that showing this would be out of the question. It might make people angry or something.

UPDATE: Rand Simberg points out that “innocent until proven guilty” is applicable only in court, and that its application here is dubious.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jeff Drummond points out:

Actually, a defendant is just “deemed” innocent until proven guilty; treated as if he were innocent, whether he’s guilty or not. Whether you are innocent or not is a fact, even if only God knows for sure. In fact, a jury never finds anyone “innocent,” just “not guilty,” which simply means that the prosecution didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty.

There’s way too much misuse of the concept. Nobody is “innocent until proven guilty.” If you did the deed and got away with it, you are guilty of it. People may deserve to be “treated as innocent until proven guilty,” and certainly should be when the structure of the state is brought to bear on them. But if they did the deed, it doesn’t matter how many juries acquit them; they’re still guilty.

Indeed. And reader Eric Kolchinsky writes to note that this lesson plan was paid for by Johnson & Johnson. And reader G. Neal Mauldin notes that it’s CAIR-endorsed. Hmm. I wonder who makes Arafat’s baby wipes?

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