The charge that is often made, that the innocent are sometimes lynched, has little foundation. The rage of a mob is not directed against the innocent, but against the guilty; and its fury would not be satisfied with any other sacrifice than the death of the real criminal. Nor does the criminal merit any consideration, however terrible the punishment. The real injury is to the perpetrators of the crime of destroying the law, and to the community in which the law is slain.
Of course! Only guilty people are lynched, because being lynched is a sure evidence of guilt. Hence, all blacks who were lynched were guilty of raping white women, or some other atrocity, merely by virtue of the fact that they were lynched.
The parallels between this and the modern belief that anyone accused of a crime is guilty (a la Edwin Meese) or that anyone in Guantanamo must be an American-hating terrorist are disturbing.