As it turned out, she didn’t have the $9,000 needed to pay. She was on her way to pay two “contractors,” which apparently means drivers working for her trucking company, M & C Gonzalez Trucking, but didn’t have the funds to pay. What’s a woman to do?
[Maria Gonzalez] told Fresno police detectives she’d been driving east at Floradora Avenue and 8th Street when she stopped for two dogs in the roadway, Dyer said.
She claimed two African American males wearing masks, one armed with a handgun, then got into her back seat and ordered her to drive. Gonzalez said she continued to drive for two hours in the Fresno area when she was asked to pull over. She said one of the males got into the driver’s seat and drove, and she was placed into the back seat.
Gonzalez said she then woke up alone in the back seat of the vehicle, with her hands tied behind her back, and gagged with a rag. She’d also said there was a bump on the side of her head from being struck or beaten, and claimed $9,000 was missing from her purse.
This story of theft and sexual abuse could have gone down two paths. One involves the Fresno police arresting, if not shooting because one was “armed with a handgun” so his otherwise innocuous conduct might be misconstrued for a furtive gesture threatening a cop’s life, two random black guys. Maybe they would be convicted. Maybe they would spend 20 years in prison. Maybe not.
Or the other path involved the cops doing their job by ascertaining the facts with sufficient concern that they know what happened by whom and to whom. They chose the path less taken:
“The truth is Maria Gonzalez made up this entire story for the purpose of letting someone know that $9,000 had been stolen from her — $9,000 she was supposed to pay to subcontractors. The reality is she didn’t have the $9,000 to pay the subcontractors, and that’s why she made up the entire story,” Dyer said.
After two hours of questioning, Gonzalez “fessed up” to having lied. She didn’t have the money, so she created a lie to cover up her failure to pay. Detectives said “some of her statements didn’t add up with potential video evidence,” which could just have easily been explained away by the litany of “trauma informed” excuses for not knowing the facts, not getting the facts right or getting the facts very wrong.
But that, according to the narrative, isn’t a sign of a fake victim lying about what happened to her, but a truly traumatized victim who can’t be expected to get facts right. No matter what she says, it proves her victimhood, right, wrong or anywhere in between. And the fact that detectives doubted her story is itself the retraumatization of the victim, first, whatever she claims happened and second, cops treating her like the criminal.
Sometimes, she’s the criminal.
The simplistic slogan, “believe the victim,” begs the question, is there a victim and, if so, is it the person complaining? The first step in an investigation requires rational skepticism. People lie, and by people, that includes women. Yes, it’s argued that they don’t, or at least so very rarely that doubting them is offensive, but that too is false.
It’s also argued “so what?” as proponents of “believe the victim” are willing to sacrifice the innocent in furtherance of their cause. They may be willing to reverse Blackstone’s Ratio, but does the law turn on its head for alleged sex crimes? Does “innocent until proven guilty” flip? Does the burden of proof shift to the accused to prove a negative?
The two paths aren’t parallel, they aren’t alternatives. There is nothing about being sensitive to the suffering of a victim that precludes rational skepticism. It’s not necessary to subject them to the third degree, bright lights shining in their face, threats of beatings if they don’t confess. But at the same time, crimes are based on facts, not feelings.
If a putative victim can’t provide facts, or provides allegations that are disproven and false, it can’t be ignored using the litany of facile excuses for the failure. Somebody is going to get arrested, prosecuted and quite possibly convicted as a result, and if there was no crime, or the person wasn’t the perpetrator of the crime, it still matters. The job of cops isn’t to soothe the fevered brow of every person who shows up at their door, but to exercise their extraordinary power to destroy lives with restraint and based upon facts.
Maria Gonzalez figured there was a way out of her predicament. Fabricate a crime with herself as a victim, and, boom, she gets a free ride on the $9,000 she can’t pay. Mind you, her “contractors” were out their money, which means they didn’t come home that day with money to buy food to feed their kids. But on the bright side, her lies about “two black guys” didn’t go far enough to end up with some innocent person shot dead or imprisoned.
Did she come up with this scheme because she realized that fear of appearing unsympathetic might make the cops “believe” her cockamamie story? Did she figure she could ride the coattails of the “rape” epidemic to beat a $9,000 debt? Did she even know about “trauma informed” policing, making her story above reproach, facts be damned, because it came out of her “survivor” mouth?
The cops don’t need to be harsh and insensitive when hearing the allegations of a female complainant, but they also don’t need to suspend the rational skepticism that enables them to try to distinguish between a real crime and a lie. The con of “trauma informed” policing, however, would require cops to accept the litany of excuses for a putative “victim’s” failure to tell her story, tell a cogent story, tell a factual story, tell an accurate factual story, and act upon whatever story she tells them, no matter how false it may be, because “believe the victim.” Except this con makes the victim everyone but the woman telling the story.