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What is truth?
Why do we say things about each other that are not completely true? I mean, the gain I suppose is we draw attention to ourselves as the crier of breaking news, but if the news is untruthful or worse, untruthful and still believed, we may just ruin someone's reputation or life as they know it.
Today. at my work, I was summoned to appear at the field HQ . Unknown to myself was the reason for this request, I became somewhat anxious and apprehensive. When finally my turn had come to enter the office, I knew this was an interview conducted for the purpose of information gathering. The persons occupying the office were the compliance officer (a lawyer) and his assistant (probably another lawyer) and they seemed antsy as well.
I was told there was no reason for my being edgy as this was not about me, yet here I was and to be questioned about what I may have seen or heard about someone else doing something illegal on the job. I was told that it is my duty as an employee and within the law to come forth with any information regarding this accusation being made against any employee breaking the law. Within reason, I would most likely cooperate with these authorities investigating claims of illegal activity, but if you base part of your investigation on rumors and it appears they would, then you must count me out.
Rumors can ruin anyone when enough is said by two or more, they may have heard similar stories from only ONE source, but when a story such as a 'rumor' circulates it can almost certainly be perceived as a truth or at least having a certain element of truth when it persist. Recall the old saying "Where there is smoke, there is fire."
Suppose someone were to test you or a co-worker, a friend, a family member even, by starting a rumor just to see how far it would go and to see what effect it might have on those involved. Of course this would be upsetting to us in being duped, but it could even be worse for those at which the reaction from such rumors are intended to harm.
How many wars may have started based on rumor, how many deaths have occurred because of false witness? So then, an investigation that accepts hearsay as noteworthy is an obvious ruse, perhaps with an intent only to close that investigation and without regard for truth at all. This is my opinion on the matter and hopefully I am wrong, but bad news travels faster and carries more validity than its worth all too many times.
There is also the thought about "what if," what if the rumor were directed towards me and I now had to fight back against false claims and accusations, establishing alibis and/or witnesses to refute claims, woe is me.
Burn baby, burn
When ancient Rome caught fire way back in A.D. 64; the emperor Nero was rumored to have played a major part in the demise of his city. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2853
Whether or not Nero had any part in the burning of Rome, he or another of his staff, indeed began a rumor implicating a small religious sect of Jews, known as followers of the Way, Christians. These unsuspecting and falsely accused Christians were rounded up and used to satisfy the appetite of a growing mob looking for justice. They would become scapegoats, unsuspecting sheep deemed ripe for slaughter, all because of rumor.