I’m always worried about what I don’t know I don’t know.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld died today at age 88. The internet is a crapshow, as you can imagine.
I’ve written before about Rumsfeld’s most famous statement.
It’s a statement I’ve incorporated into my teaching because it lays out how to approach a case, interviewing witnesses, gathering evidence, and evaluating a case. Rumsfeld didn’t make the statement for legal purposes, but it’s applicable.
“[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”
Most people focus on the “known known” wording. I focus on the “unknown unkowns,” the nagging fear that something important has been missed. The question you didn’t even think to ask, the thing so crazy it never entered your mind. The thing you didn’t see coming.
That’s what I obsess about, including at Legal Insurrection. I’m always worried about what I don’t know I don’t know. That’s why we are much more cautious than many outlets, and rarely win the race to hit the “publish” button.
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