18 September 2010
I suspect everyone, and no one!
I loathe the way that police officials and journalists will use the word
suspect as if it means perpetrator, as in
When the register was opened, the suspect partially jumped over the counter and thrust both hands into the cash drawer, police spokesman Joel DeSpain said.
A suspect is one suspected — that is to say surmised — to have done something. To baldly declare that a person did something is to speak with far more than suspicion.
One can have multiple suspects even knowing that an act was committed by just one perpetrator. And one can have no suspects despite knowing that some person or persons must have acted; the use of
suspect for perpetrator becomes utterly absurd when virtually nothing is known about the perpetrator. Here
An unknown suspect (or suspects) allegedly entered the garage during the previous night and removed a Cannondale bicycle valued at $500.the police don't even know how many perpetrators there were. On whom does suspicion fall? Here