The Washington Post has published its annual list of the “biggest Pinocchios of the year” for 2015. 

The list is almost entirely composed of politicians of all stripes telling whoppers. No surprise there. What was surprising was the inclusion of the phrase “Hands up, don’t shoot” which was spawned after Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO was shot by a police officer. Here’s how The Washington Post describes its development and use:

“This phrase became a rallying cry for protests after the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Witness accounts spread after the shooting that Michael Brown had his hands raised in surrender, mouthing the words ‘Don’t shoot’ as his last words before being shot execution-style. Democratic lawmakers raised their hands in solidarity on the House floor. But various investigations concluded this did not happen — and that Wilson acted out of self-defense and was justified in killing Brown.”

The pervasiveness of the “rallying cry” before the facts were known was incredible. Protesters, academics, media, politicians, Hollywood and sports stars, etc. all used it to demand justice. 

But in the end, the rush to judge and the assumption of guilt was found to be foolish. As The Washington Post admits, “various investigations concluded this did not happen…” How many lives were ruined, how much property was destroyed, because of a rush to judge? And how complicit was the media in driving much of that destruction?

We truly should be appalled by the unwillingness to wait for justice which has been repeatedly displayed at so many levels of our society. It reveals a lack of trust in fellow Americans as well as prejudice against police and, often, whites in leadership. If we cannot trust each other, our society unravels. When we abandon justice, we give ourselves over to the mob.