There was some interesting feedback from the haters over the weekend. Some of them seem to think that Professor Bush should sue me for calling him a liar. If he chooses to do so, then I say: bring it on. But I'm guessing he won't.
Calling someone a liar is a serious charge. If someone makes an honest mistake, or is unclear on details, he is not lying: he is just mistaken. If you say someone is a lying, you are saying that he wasn't simply mistaken: that he knew the facts were otherwise, and he deliberately mis-stated them. How can I make this claim about Professor Bush? People are not computers, and their memories are not time-stamped. What right do I have suggest it wasn't just an honest mistake?
This might be a valid argument if I had blind-sided him on the witness stand by asking him out of the blue to recall the time line. No one could then fault him for being a little off. The problem for Professor Bush here is that's not the way it happened. No one asked him how long it was between the phone call and the ringing of the doorbell: it was he who made a specific point of specifying the time interval in his sworn affidavit, and so did his wife. Those affidavits were carefully reviewed by the university's team of lawyers before being signed and sworn. The haters dismiss the importance of this, calling it a trivial detail. But if he was lying about
the time line (and I think I've made out a pretty good case that he was), then he was almost certainly lying about the whole home-invasion
scenario. Because the two lies go hand in hand.
Let's just imagine that Professor Bush had wanted to accuse me of a home invasion without the benefit of that extra ten minutes. He would then have to cram everything into a window of no more than three minutes: the slamming down of the phone, the ringing of the doorbell, the standoff at the front door with his wife, the desperate struggle to hold me at bay, Professor Bush coming up the stairs to find his wife "white and trembling", calming her down and finding out what happened, and finally...making the 911 phone call. He admits he heard the doorbell ring. So he has a problem: why didn't he intervene to protect his wife from this dangerous intruder?
He has two choices: he can admit that he knew what was going on at the front door, but stayed hidden in the basement because he didn't want to give me the chance to serve papers on him. Or, he can claim that he had simply wandered off to a distant part of the house and wasn't aware of the drama taking place just up a short flight of stairs. Option one makes him look like a total jackass: so obviously he has to go with option 2. So what's the problem?
It could have happened inside three minutes. Just barely. He could have slammed down the phone, stormed downstairs to his study, slammed the door behind him and furiously began typing on his computer. The doorbell could have rung seconds later without him knowing it. By the time he realized something was going on, he might have rushed upstairs, dialing 911 as he came, only to find I had just left. It could have all happened in three minutes, and the Bushes, if they were really intent on lying, could have crafted a credible story within that short window.
But they didn't. Because fundamentally they are honest people with honest middle-class values, and a story so full of lies goes against everything they believe about themselves. They are willing to stretch the truth a bit if necessary, as most of us are. But they can't see themselves as outright lying. It's just not who they are.
And that was their downfall. Hitler had the doctrine of the "big lie"...if you're going to lie, don't mess around with small details. Go all the way. But the Bushes hadn't learned this valuable lesson. They thought they didn't need a big lie, just a little wee one. Maybe when the doorbell rang, they didn't connect it with the earlier phone call because of the time lag...yes, that's it. No one can be expected to remember the exact timing of events, especially when there's so much drama taking place in the meantime...
And so they figured out that the simplest way to make their story hang together was just to add a few (or ten) minutes between the slamming down of the phone and the ringing of the doorbell. What is the harm in that? It's not really a lie, it's just a case of uncertain memory.
Right about know, I'm thinking maybe Professor Bush is wishing he had stuck with Option 1. (That's the "jackass option" in case you forgot.)
* * * *
The anonomous haters ask: who do I think the courts are going to believe, a respected educator or a disgruntled middle-aged man with a case of...what was it, "oppositional disorder"? Never mind the courts...if you read between the lines, it's obvious that even the haters believe my version of the story! Why else would they say that I'm the one who did something wrong "by going to their home after being asked to communicate through lawyers"? (That much is undisputed.) If the haters believed the Bush story in its entirety, don't you think they would have found fault with me for doing something more than just "going to their home"?
And who do I think the courts are going to believe? Personally, I'm guessing they're going to believe the phone records.