Witness – How do you separate what you view from how you feel about the people involved? Or can you even?
Most crime happens in your community, maybe even your own school, job, family, relationship… So how do you separate what you think about or feel about the perpetrator and victim from what they did or experienced? From what you saw, know?
It’s hard(er) to tell the truth when you know the consequences someone will face. And what their state of mind and circumstances were just prior to this event happening. Your inclination might be to protect them for their family’s sake as well.
But is it protection when the person is obv past having a bad day and out of control?
What if their next move is to go home and commit other crimes against the people you’re thinking about? Aren’t you enabling their free fall?
And what about the victim(s)? Do you want them to feel invalidated? Do you want them to have to go thru a cold, harsh system to see any justice at all? Do you want them to be called liars and treated accordingly? What would the consequences be that they would face?
It’s a LOT less complex if what you see is strangers engaging, but that isn’t often the case.
I know that people are concerned about approaching and involving the police and courts. But what is the alternative when you have a conflict &/or someone has lost reason and needs to be confined for at min a few hours till they calm down? Or if you know they’re on a downward spiral and need to be redirected?
So far, those are the people you at least like, if not love. Or at least have to carry on some kind of relationship with. At least pass by without conflict. What happens if you hate them? What if you’re a bigot? How do you tell the truth that is needed for a just world, if you blame the person you most don’t identify with rather than tell the truth? Are you willing to take the risk that further negative entanglements follow and someone you do like and want to protect is next in line?
This is something to consider for real life and web entanglements/conflict as well.
Telling a lie or covering for someone means you are responsible for what they do next as well as what this victim feels today.