The thought that probably went through everyone’s mind when the media announced that they had a suspect in custody was, “They got the guy!” The person in custody is a suspect. Every person who is charged with a crime is presumed innocent unless they are proven guilty. In order for someone to be convicted of a crime in the United States, the government must prove that they are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I’m not talking about a minor technicality. This is the foundation upon which our justice system rests. This is one of the things that separates us from other nations. This is the very essence of our freedom.
The evidence against this person may rise to the level of probable cause which is enough for the FBI to have taken him into custody. But at this point, there is certainly not evidence to prove that this is the person who set the bomb beyond a reasonable doubt. In fact, if you watch the video that they are playing over and over and over on the news, you will see at least 5 people walking with knapsacks or other bags in the same direction and manner as the suspects. Are they all suspects? I don’t think so. Just because someone is walking away from a crime scene does not prove that they are responsible. They may be. But again, it has not been proven yet.
What I’m getting at is the knee-jerk reaction we all have, myself included, when the media reports on a story like this. We immediately jump to the conclusion that this is the guy and it’s over. We have such high regard for law enforcement that we can’t imagine they would get it wrong. But it happens all the time! They are not infallible. They are only doing the best they can with the information they have. They are human.
So let’s all take a step back and not convict these suspects before they have their day in court. We don’t have all the information. We have a wounded nation that wants justice. So let’s give the justice system a chance to play itself out.