GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT?
I was preparing to write a post about the breakaway civilization (which I will do next week), when the news that is the subject of this post broke. I hesitated to write this because of the sensitive nature of the subject. I’m still not convinced it’s a good idea to write about it, so against my better judgement, here goes.
On July 3, MUFON Executive Director Jan Harzan was arrested on charges of soliciting sex from a minor. The minor was a Huntington Beach detective posing as a 13 year-old girl. According to the police report, “The suspect solicited the minor for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity, and when the suspect agreed to meet the supposed minor, detectives were there to take him into custody.” The report went on to say, “… Harzan (was) arrested for multiple felonies and transported to the Huntington Beach Jail. (The suspect in this case was) specifically targeting minor females online.”
The backlash was swift. MUFON issued a statement to its members (I’m one of them) that Mr. Harzan would be immediately removed from his position as head of the organization. Social media began spawning remarks that were less than cordial – I won’t repeat them here because I don’t want to validate the remarks or those who wrote them. Needless to say, in the “blink of an eye,” Mr. Harzan went from being a respected leader in the UFO research community to (according to the internet trolls) the lowest form of life.
Before I continue, I want to make something perfectly clear. It’s my opinion that such behavior is reprehensible. The idea of adults preying on children is repulsive to say the least, and such behavior makes my blood boil with anger. Over 800,000 children go missing in the United States each year. I’ll do the math for you – that’s 2,192 children a day. Authorities estimate that most of these abducted children end up as child sex slaves, sold to the likes of Jeffrey Epstein and his ilk, or end up in prostitution rings from Estonia to Bangladesh, and even closer to home, like the now famous “Pizzagate.” Such thoughts make my skin crawl.
Don’t get me wrong – if Mr. Hrazan is guilty, then he deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law. But therein lies the problem. Mr. Harzan has only been charged, yet he’s already suffered “trial by social media,” and people from all over the world have sat in judgement from the comfort of their computer consoles and convicted him, then vilified him as a monster. The damage is done. Even if there was some mistake (and I’m not implying there was), Mr. Harzan will be branded with this for the remainder of his life. Chances are about 99% that he is guilty – he was caught in the act by an undercover detective. However, there is the possibility that he was set up. Such cases are actually commonplace among the UFO research community, but that is a topic for another day.
The point I want to make is this – according to the American legal system, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Social media has tossed that fact of jurisprudence on its head. Word goes out across cyberspace that someone like Mr. Harzan has been arrested, or someone simply voices their opinion on a matter that goes against the opinion of others (usually the radical left) and there is a hue and cry for them to be fired from their job and for much worse to be done to them that I won’t mention here. This is the dark side of social media, and I wish it would stop.
If the facts of the case prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Harzan is guilty, then he’s a very troubled man who needs help. But he should also be sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed under the law. Jesus has a very special place in his heart for children, and anyone who victimizes them does so at their own peril (see Matthew 18:6).
I just wish that people who find themselves under the scrutiny of the social media monster could be offered the benefit of the doubt until the legal process has had the opportunity to run its course. If it’s discovered that Mr. Harzan was set up, and that he is innocent, his life will never be the same. He will be branded with this stigma for the rest of his life. And what about his wife? His children? The social media monster is a cruel beast – it will not spare them, either. There’s always fallout in these circumstances, and it’s always the innocent who suffer the most.
Time will tell how this all plays out.
I’m still not sure that I should have written on this subject. Don’t be surprised if I have a change of heart and remove this post sometime in the near future.