Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A letter to Yaakov

Dear Yaakov Menken:

If you are going to mischarecterize my sentiments, at least show me the courtesy of mentioning me by name.
As one blogger [DB: ie me] put it, "innocent until proven guilty means we entertain the possibility someone else killed the child." Left unsaid but obvious is that since we know no one else touched the child at the time, the father was the only person who could have murdered him, but we won't say that officially until the trial is over. That was the sum total level of Havei Dan es Kol Adam L'Kaf Zechus, judge everyone favorably - that the commenter thought appropriate.
Yaakov, the hateful bit of nonsense you attributed to me was "left unsaid" because it isn't my position; rather, it is something you made up. As I wrote at the time: "Innocent until proven guilty means we entertain the possibility someone else killed the child. His mother, perhaps, or a sitter or even a home intruder. It does not mean that we spread baseless, and ultimately damaging ideas about the credibility of the police. "

I never objected to competing theories, or to the idea that Valis is innocent. By all means, investigate the mother or the baby sitter if that's where the evidence leads. Track down a home intrude, if forensics suggest that someone unrelated to the child was present when he was thrown against the wall. I support all of those lines of defense, and I encourage Valis and his lawyer to pursue them. If, as you say "no one else touched the child" well, Valis has a problem, and Orthodox Jews do themselves no favors by denying it.

What I objected to (and this is clear from the comment you sneakily neglected to quote in full) was the campaign to discredit the police and medical examiner, a campaign built on lies, hearsay and paranoia, but very little evidence.

Yours sincerely,


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