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On the Guilt or Innocence of Captain Thomas Preston Concerning the Boston Massacre After years of political tension in colonial Boston the Boston Massacre was a result of boiling tempers and social unrest The riot-like atmosphere of the scene adds to this idea Surrounded by angry townspeople the soldiers acted out of panic and stress as the colonists would have done if the roles were reversed On the guilt or innocence of Captain Thomas Preston the facts undeniably point to his innocense This conclusion is based on eye witness accounts the mentality of the soldiers and the actions of the crowd In all of the eyewitness accounts it is consistently stated that the crowd was very rowdy and that they were taunting the British soldiers daring them to fire Also from those accounts it is fact that objects such as snowballs and sticks were thrown at the soldiers It is evident too that some members of the angry crowd were armed as seen in Benjamin Burdicks revelation that he returned home to obtain his sword 85 The eyewitnesses who stated that Preston did command his men to fire were the ones standing the farthest from Preston and also the most passionate in their deposition Also another man behind the soldiers is pointed to as the one who commanded the soldiers to fire in several depositions This man is never identified As in modern trials eyewitnesses are the easiest for a jury to believe but the most fallible form of evidence since during moments of passion or anger a person remembers things they want to remember and inaccurately recalls some information Taking into account the time the massacre took place 900 pm and the excited and riotous state of the crowd the eyewitness accounts fingering Preston as the instigator are unreliable as damning testimony The mentality of the soldiers involved in this confrontation has a lot to do with their actions After months
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