Sarcasm is the drug of choice of the Internet, and it’s beloved by vaguely immature bloggers like myself. Usually, more grown-up bloggers like Scott Henson at Grits For Breakfast tend to eschew the stuff in favor of “facts” and “well-sourced opinions” and “probing questions”, however, and that’s cool, too. It’s a big Internet, and there’s room for everything.
But sometimes, you get a story that’s so absurd that even a usually level-head like Henson has no choice but to lampoon it for its on-the-surface absurdity. Such was the case with his post on Forensic Science Commission Chairman John Bradley’s response to Rodger Jones of the Dallas Morning News, when the reporter sent him a series of questions about the Cameron Todd Willingham case. Bradley’s response, incidentally, was that Jones’ questions sounded like they were written by “a New York lawyer*”, and thus he would not deign to answer them. Only people who talk like Real Texans(TM) without legal education are worthy of responses from our public servants about whether or not an innocent man was executed on flimsy evidence, apparently.
Anyway, Grits has the speculative responses that we’re all pretty sure Bradley would have written, had Jones’ language had less of a Yankee lawyer patois to it:
5. Experts say hundreds of arson defendants have been convicted based on similarly outmoded standards. How should the commission or state fire marshal address that claim?
JB: With smirks, sarcasm and derision. As far as I’m concerned, if they were convicted, they’re guilty. Post-conviction exonerations are for pussies.
6. Why did the committee of four commissioners working on the Willingham case meet in private? Shouldn’t the public be aware of factors that members weighed in recommending no negligence?
JB: Duh! Because if we meet in secret we can’t be held accountable for anything we say or do. Are you new?
Yeah, it’s sarcastic and all, but you know what’s really sad? it’s not actually much different from the way that Bradley responded to the very request that he answer questions at all.
I generally don’t subscribe to the notion that, if there’s a refusal to provide information, you can extrapolate that someone is lying and whatever weird conspiracy theory you favor must therefore be true (see: 9/11 Truth, Obama’s birth certificate, etc), but in this case, you can be forgiven for concluding that, if the Forensic Science Commission tasked with finding the truth will refuse questions (sent from a Dallas newspaper) because they’re too New York lawyer-y, they’re probably afraid of what the answers really are.