The administrators objected to having to enforce the principle of zero tolerance on the grounds that they would have to go in with a police escort, even on the basis of a sliver of a rumour about a picture you don't like. Defenders of the policy reply that it indicates a greater willingness to take such complaints seriously.
This type of policy of reversing the burden of proof is a species of argumentum ad ignorantiam of the following form: if you can't prove that you are not guilty, then it is presumed that you are guilty. Normally, the burden is on the accuser to provide evidence or corroboration of the charge. Admittedly, where an event took place privately between two people, with no physical evidence of harm, it is generally hard to prove such objective corroboration. The solution advocated by the zero tolerance principle is to shift the burden of disproof of the charge onto the side of the accused party. If he can't furnish such evidence, the conclusion we should draw by the ad ignorantiam argument is that he is guilty.
Is this a reasonable or fallacious use of the argument from ignorance This is a hotly disputed question at the moment. Defenders of zero tolerance argue that the application of the argument from ignorance, as a reasonable argument in this instance, is justified by argument from consequences: namely, those women are at present suffering from abuse to such a degree that anyone who opposes zero tolerance is causing the deaths of women. Opponents of the principle also base their opposition on the argument from consequences. They argue that the policy of zero tolerance is producing many innocent victims of false charges of abuse, and having a disastrous effect on families.
Opponents of the policy also argue that the advocates of zero tolerance are focusing only on the consequences as they affect one group, and ignoring the impact on anyone who is not a member of this group. They see this as a form of self-interested bargaining or advocacy dialogue taking the place of a more rational and objective type of deliberation or critical discussion that takes all points of view into account.
At any rate, on this controversial issue, the central question directly relates to the argumentum ad ignorantiam as a type of argument. Is it reasonable or fallacious in this case And what are the grounds for justifying one opinion or the other
Significantly, zero tolerance policing, with its more assertive and control oriented message, seems to have struck a chord in recent years.
An increasing number of public-initiated police contacts are crime-related, especially in inner-city areas and in a time of stretched resources many have argued that police duties should be more closely restricted to crime-work. This was the dominant message behind the setting up inquiry into core policing tasks, which, despite denials, was envisaged as clearing the way towards the privatization of alleged 'peripheral' police-work. While the conclusions of the