I don’t think, until recently, I had ever heard of Sarah Braasch. It’s not that I don’t pay attention to the news, I just can’t recall ever hearing about her before. It seems that I must be the only person on the planet that hasn’t. A friend on Twitter began retweeting some of her tweets and of course what I read appears strange because I had no context as to what was actually being discussed. then, the same friend, recommended me to her on Twitter, as well as a few others, because we were good skeptics and wouldn’t judge Sarah based on what we’d heard, but on the facts. Sarah immediately followed me.
I followed back of course, then I decided that I needed to know what was going on so I did a search on her name, I wanted to know what my friend was evening communicating with Sarah? Is she a victim of abuse? Was she possibly wrongly convicted of a crime at some point and now was looking for justice? As it turns out, in my search, both of those questions turned out to be true.
Yes, Sarah is a victim of abuse, but not in the way we’d normally characterize abuse. And yes, via a Kangaroo Court, she was convicted of a crime and is now seeking justice. When I viewed Sarah’s [Twitter profile], I discovered that she is a lawyer, licensed to practice in New York, and a civil and human rights activist as well as a PhD candidate at Yale, in Philosophy. So how is this, an accomplished woman, suddenly someone that has become despised and hated, to the point of receiving death threats that has caused her to go into hiding?
My Internet search, just on her name, turned up a lot of articles and blog posts. I only went through the first two pages, and only perused a few of those, but I discovered she was being portrayed as a racist, even a white supremacist , as well as mentally unstable, in every one that I read. Did I make a mistake? Was my friend deluded in advocating for her? I needed more information.
What I found curious in the few posts or articles I had read was that there wasn’t a single one that supported Sarah. Even worse, none had ever attempted to contact her to get her side of the story. They just assumed, as a mob does, that she was guilty. That’s the Kangaroo Court.
I won’t go into the details here of what happened and why, but my readers can find an excellent summary from my friend, Gretchen, over at her blog, SkepticReview, here. A lot of questions come up about the incident that was widely reported, even in The New York Times!
So of course, my skeptic antenni went up when I couldn’t find a single story in her support. I started, via Twitter, a dialogue with Sarah to be able to take the temperature of the incident.and to hear Sarah directly,. I told her that if I caught her in a deception, I would drop her like a hot rock. I don’t like being deceived by anyone, and in general as an old curmudgeon, I have over time become a cynic, especially about stories like Sarah’s.
The main evidence against Sarah is a video, which when I viewed it, and I am not an expert in video at all, was easily discernible as being heavily edited. It showed only the the side of the accuser. I thought it strange that no other outlet picked up on this. The verdict was in: Sarah’s a mentally unstable racist. The other piece of evidence often cited is a decade old blog post where she described racists, white nationalists, as silly. Of course this must mean that Sarah, supports their rank ideology. Maybe that was a poor choice in wording, maybe she could’ve used stupid, or something else, but she didn’t. Now, using that word indicates to some, many?, that she too is one of them. What can I say? That’s silly.
I’ve spent hours in dialogue on Twitter with Sarah over several days, I cannot find that anything that she has told me is either deceptive, or an out-and-out lie. Of course, I have nothing to compare what she says about the incident, since there is nothing in any media at all to corroborate her side or not. At this point, this is a she said – she said story. But in all fairness, wouldn’t it be incumbent on media sources to present both sides before coming to a conclusion?
I think I would find it terrifying if I were portrayed as Sarah has been in the media. A blog post that I wrote years ago, where someone would pull a word, or a phrase, out of context, to label me as something I am not, Sarah’s not the first, nor will she be the last to have to endure the outrage of the mob. It could happen to any of us, at any time, based on a tweet from years ago, or a video we produced that did not conform to the level of political correctness in which we’re all supposed to conform,.
Before any of us other another person, it’s right for us to take into account that what me may perceived based on media reports, are in fact wrong. We can no longer assume that because The New York Times reports something that what they are writing about is in fact true, We all need to be skeptics about what we read, especially when that story may ruin the reputation, and place that person’s life in peril.
Sarah has decided to fight back, not just on Twitter, but she has a YouTube site now where, over time, in short videos, will defend her reputation. She’s already cut at least two videos as of this writing. I would ask my readers, even if you are doubtful of her story, to listen to what she has to say. They’ll be short, as she says in her initial videos, 4-5 minutes each, I would also like you to subscribe to her site.
Something like what Sarah is currently going through could happen to any of us, at anytime,. /just look at the recent history where people have been mobbed because of old tweets. Jobs lost, reputations in ruin. What’s worse, in my opinion is when the same happens to someone that has actually done nothing wrong. It’s time for we, the people to say enough, If we don’t stand up now, for people like Sarah, one of us may be next.