The 72-hour Rule

Should we wait before we comment? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes in the world of major news networks and the internet where everyone is wanting to break the story first, we can rush to conclusions. This is especially the case in the age of iPhones when everyone practically has a video camera with them. There can be details that come out later that change a story.

A few months or so ago here in Atlanta, there was a news story about an Uber Eats driver that shot and killed a customer. When I first heard the story, my initial reaction was murder. Then I found out that this driver had the customer near him and the customer was reaching for his pockets and making a threat about what he was going to do to the driver. The driver then shot and drove off. He also turned himself into the police later.

Now I understand that Uber Eats drivers aren’t supposed to carry guns, but I honestly don’t blame the guy. If I was going to see strangers regularly, I might want to carry some form of protection as well. We also can say we don’t know what this guy would do, but the police follow the same procedure. That’s why when I get pulled over for something like speeding, I always tell the police, “I’m just getting my wallet.” They don’t know.

Over the weekend, we also had such a story break out about a Catholic boy and a Native American veteran. Based on a short clip when the story broke, the boy was immediately being condemned as a villain for going after this Native American. No doubt, there were panels being formed on news stations discussing what we could do about problems like racism today and how the youth of our nation are and probably some digs at Catholicism.

Then more of the video came out.

Whoops! I understand that even CNN has said they got this one wrong. Everyone rushed to judgment and not all the facts were in. We all had to say something immediately. Now, there’s nothing wrong with forming an opinion, but make it a tentative opinion.

I even had a friend on Facebook last night who had apparently bought into the idea of the ten-second clip and yet so many good people were trying to explain the reality of the whole story. It wasn’t helping at all. Later on, when I made a comment, I got unfriended as did another friend. My position was one that I have said before. If evidence will not change a person’s mind, their opinion is not based on evidence.

This is especially so in our political climate. I don’t care if you’re someone who thinks Obama was the best thing since sliced bread or if you think Trump is. If I saw people sharing false stories about Obama, I called them out for it despite how much I did not care for the guy. If we want to take down our opponents, let’s do it in truth and not in lies.

The idea of the 72-hour rule was one I saw someone else share, but I think it’s a good principle. Before you come down hard on an issue, wait 72 hours at least. See what unknown facts could come out. Let the case be examined better. Rush judgments can leave egg on your face.

Not only that, this boy and his family have received death threats because of a rush to judgment, One would hope that we would all agree that that is uncalled for, but today, I am not sure. Either way, this boy has received attacks he never should have because of hasty judgments.

Those of us in apologetics need to remember that we are always supposed to be people of truth in everything. We are supposed to be diligent researchers and seeking to find out what is true. We can have opinions, but let’s not make them rock solid. Give things time and then you can speak and have less chance of egg on your face.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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