Friday, Nov. 22, will mark the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Many have revisited coverage of that day in American history, and questions about conspiracies surrounding JFK’s death are still being asked.
The Equinox recognizes that the discussion of conspiracy theories can be healthy. Conversely, conspiracy theories are defined in the American English Oxford Dictionary as “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.”
The concept behind many conspiracies can convey different messages. One of those messages is questioning leaders and authority members. Another message is the distrust some show towards these figures.
More importantly, we believe it is beneficial to raise questions and be actively aware of events and what authorities around us are doing, particularly if those event details do not fully add up. We are not suggesting that a person question every single action, but rather keep in mind that questioning and seeking clarification is important.
The Equinox looks to find truth and report accurately. As journalists, our duty is to acknowledge these questions and to gather answers.
The beauty of the United States is that we, as citizens, all have the right to freely form our own opinion and set of beliefs. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights protects this right that is guaranteed to all American citizens.
When something does not make sense in a classroom, work environment or even a personal relationship, it is healthy to ask questions until a better understanding has been reached. The problem occurs when one is in search of an answer that supports only that person’s belief system. Going into any situation with preconceived notions that one already has can cause erroneous perceptions.
Often, conspiracy theories can mislead others trying to interpret events, such as when the theory disputes factual reasoning. There is a difference between skepticism and cynicism. Skepticism is the root to asking questions, cynicism is the opposite and will provide no solution in the long run.
We all understand things differently. Conspiracy theories can be a healthy exchange of dialogue. However, this also means that when evidence points to our perceptions as wrong, we need to change our perceptions to match the evidence, not look for evidence which only matches our perceptions.
If we want to know the truth, we must be willing to ask the hard-hitting questions.
That is what our First Amendment stands for and proclaims. Acceptance allows for the freedom of different thoughts and ideas that have the power to create a stronger community.