“Promising”

The Superficial is a site that specializes in bikini pictures of B-,C-,D- and E-list celebrities, so you’ve been warned that it’s NSFW, but he got this one right:

In case you haven’t seen this video goddamn everywhere, where it should be, above is CNN’s Poppy Harlow literally telling Candy Crowley that it was “emotional” watching two “promising” young men like Steubenville football players Adam Mays and Ma’lik Richmond have their lives ruined because they happened to be convicted of taking photos of themselves raping a 16-year-old girl and brazenly putting them all over Facebook. God, just all that promise of being good at football wasted because everyone had to make a big deal about a rape they clearly felt safe and comfortable advertising without fear of prosecution […]

What’s even more amazing is that Poppy Harlow made those comments after hearing Trent Mays’ “apology” to the victim’s family when common sense and decency would’ve suggested she go a different angle like, oh I dunno, saying, “Fuck the little shits.” Via CNN:

“No pictures should have been sent out, let alone been taken,” he said.

“So, listen, sorry we took pictures of us raping your daughter, that was way over the line. We’ll totally skip that part next time.” – America’s promising future

The two boys were tried as juveniles, Mays got two years and Richmond got one (though both could be in jail until the are 21). Here’s a more SFW version of the CNN video.

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202 replies
  1. 1

    IANAL, but considering how often 16 year olds are tried by prosecutors as adults, I’m guessing they already got special treatment, otherwise they’d be looking at 15 years or more in a men’s correctional facility.

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    Its so disgusting, the coverage I mean, that I just can’t find words. In addition the girl and her family are receiving death threats from people who are comfortable posting death threats on their own twitter feeds with their own photos next to them. The entire community needs a massive influx of psychologists and social workers and the children of these families (the death threats are coming from other teens) need to be given years of psychological counseling and moral retraining. I’d recommend the same thing for the CNN reporters if I thought it would do any good. Reading about the case and about the community is like reading a dystopian novel about the behavioral sink that is a prison camp when the prisoners don’t know they are degenerating into cannibal rats.

  3. 3
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    It’s a shanda, start to finish.

  4. 4
    jl says:

    @aimai: Agreed. These guys could have had it much worse. They will have a second chance, and I hope they can reform themselves and do better in the future. I don’t see any need for any special sympathy, at all.

  5. 5
    Bokonon says:

    CNN … finding the floor, and digging furiously to escavate a new basement.

    What the hell is wrong with that network?

  6. 6
    Joel says:

    Christ.

  7. 7
    Comrade Jake says:

    I can’t believe the parents in this case, naming their daughter Poppy.

  8. 8
    smintheus says:

    The kids were drinking as if they expected to be treated as adults. They should have been tried as adults and been sentenced to serious time.

  9. 9
    Chris says:

    Remember that soldier last year who was convicted of various crimes against Afghan civilians and got his own column saying “I empathize with him more than his victims?” Yeah, that. Same story all over again. “A criminal who looks like me deserves more empathy than a victim who doesn’t.”

  10. 10
    DougJ, Friend of Hamas says:

    The coverage was bizarre. The one kid (Mays) barely apologized at all, he just stood up and made a perfunctory statement. The other kid (Richmond) walked up to the victim’s family and said “I’m sorry” repeatedly while crying. And yet (CNN) they acted like they both apologized in the same way.

    What a disgusting story in any case. I hope the girl is okay and can get on with her life. I’m glad that at least one of the defendants realized what a shitty thing he did.

  11. 11
    Halteclere says:

    I’m considering using this as a teaching opportunity for my kids when they are old enough for it (neither one has reached kindergarten yet!). 1) to understand what can happen to you when you aren’t careful, and 2) to recognize when someone is in serious need for help, including in physical need or to just get someone out of a bad situation.

    Even if this girl was not raped, she was at risk for death if the people around her decided to let her lay on her back to “sleep it off”. Only one person with the maturity to say “this isn’t right” and guts to do something about it could have prevented this sad situation.

  12. 12
    Mrs. WhatsIt says:

    There really aren’t words to describe just how wrong that take is. I try to avoid CNN, but when I do stumble across it, I often am amazed at the inane, superficial “reporting” going on. But this one really takes the cake!

  13. 13
    YellowJournalism says:

    I don’t know if anyone saw her interview with the father of one of the boys. It was especially sickening because he basically insinuated that what his son did was no big deal and that deals were made behind closed doors to cover up for the “real” perpetrators of the crime, which told me that not only was the father’s tearful apology for bad parenting in court was an act but that there may in fact be more people involved who did things they should be prosecuted for. Mays and Richmond were the dumb assholes who probably wrote too much in texts and on Facebook.

    Oh, and their attorneys are appealing the decision.

  14. 14
    maya says:

    It was all just a small lapse during the Fog of Partying.

  15. 15
    The Moar You Know says:

    The problem nobody’s talking about: they don’t think they did anything wrong.

    They will do it again.

  16. 16
    scav says:

    @DougJ, Friend of Hamas: And yet we’ve heard such contrition desctibed as “sincere” and as something that should count in their favor in lightening their sentence. It’s almost as though they’re CEOs by popular acclimation.

  17. 17
    Joey Maloney says:

    @aimai:

    moral retraining. I’d recommend the same thing for the CNN reporters if I thought it would do any good.

    If by “moral retraining” you mean “repeated, high-voltage electrical shocks to the genitals” I agree completely.

  18. 18
    jl says:

    @Halteclere:

    ” Only one person with the maturity to say “this isn’t right” and guts to do something about it could have prevented this sad situation. ”

    That is the sad thing. A lot people there that night who could have done something, anything, and did nothing. Those folks weren’t put on trial, but I hope they have trouble living with themselves and will, maybe, put themselves on trial and think about what they did not do but should have. Though, sadly, looks like many in the community are too eager to make excuses.

    Fewer would be making excuses if it had been a dog. Think about that. Frightening.

  19. 19
    Ben Franklin says:

    they clearly felt safe and comfortable advertising without fear of prosecution […]

    A sense of accountability is growing rarer by the day. You see it in numerous personalities both public and private.

    We wonder how it happens but we enable this behavior by making excuses for it. ‘Boys will be boys’ and somesuch.

    Lindsey Lohan comes to mind. The Court itself has assisted in her ridiculous antics.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    @smintheus: /obligatory rape-is-bad statement goes here.

    I think our criminal justice system is fucked up and there’s really no benefit to stuffing people in a cell for 15 years. At a certain point, the punishment isn’t any kind of deterrent or recompense to the victim, its just a political pile-on.

    That said, 1-2 years for this kind of crime is about as fluffy a sentence as you can ask for from a rape conviction, especially in the hang’em-high US justice system. What’s sickening here isn’t the punishment, but the contention by CNN asshats that anyone should feel sorry for a pair of violent thugs.

  21. 21

    I’ve been astonished at the sadz people are having for rapists. And not just the two convicted, what about the ones who thought it was so funny to watch it all happen? The guys joking about it and laughing, “she is SO raped right now!” Har har so fucking funny. Let’s see how funny it is when it happens to you.

    But it’s not a surprise. This is a culture which has decided only “certain people” should pay for their wrongdoing. Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld killed and maimed tens of thousands with their lies, but look away … look away … they are Important People and by virtue of their status they shouldn’t have to suffer any consequences.

    Promising young football players, look away … look away. Boys will be boys!

    Sickening.

  22. 22
    aimai says:

    @Halteclere:

    Yes. But its not that this girl “wasn’t careful.” We really don’t say that when I walk into a restaurant for dinner I “wasn’t careful” to avoid being shot to death by some guy at the table next to me who is pissed off at his date. She was drugged by people she considered her friends and rendered incapable of fighting off rape-assault–kidnapping and her friends *urinating on her.*

    I had to have this talk with my daughter and explain to her that if she were ever at a party with friends she should make sure that no one ever gave her a drink (alcoholic or non alcoholic) or touched her drink–that she has to live in a state of heightened suspicion and awareness and consider even people she thinks are “friends” as possible attackers and betrayers.

  23. 23
    El Cid says:

    I guess I’m on one level relieved that I just so rarely encounter the 24-hour cable news cycle any more so as not to have seen this attitude / warped perspective.

  24. 24
    WereBear says:

    This is not the first time the lid on Small Town Football Culture has been lifted; but each time, it’s still disgusting.

    The players are raised in an atmosphere where they can do whatever they want… as long as they are winners. If injured or implicated in a crime which cannot be covered up, they are thrown away.

    The parents are so enamored of the potential money and possible fame they forget how to be good parents.

    The coaches and administrators keep the spoiling and the coverups running full blast because this keeps the alumni happy.

    Typically, alumni who are rolling in dough didn’t get it from intellectual pursuits, so they do not fund such.

    Rewind and repeat.

  25. 25
    YellowJournalism says:

    @jl: The girl and her family are getting death threats from people in the community, mostly from teens who have no problem making these threats next to their real names and photos on Twitter and Facebook.

    My question is, after all the media attention regarding the role of social media in the convictions, why would anyone from that community be posting such things or allowing their kids to post them? (Let alone why these people seem to have no decency or empathy to keep them from posting or saying such things at all.)

  26. 26
    Punchy says:

    You cant have a party omlette without breaking a few hymens…

  27. 27
    Comrade Jake says:

    Of course, The Onion anticipated all of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....LJZw9Ws-g#!

  28. 28
    WereBear says:

    @YellowJournalism: Because, in a great many people, the section of the brain devoted to How Things Work has been left empty since birth. What does fall in there is broken and half-formed. And nothing is ever deleted.

    And so, unthinking people do things which shock and horrify thinking people. And the unthinking people still don’t get it.

  29. 29
    Raven says:

    That’s right, this is about football because we are all so fucking enthralled with alcohol here aren’t we?

  30. 30
    Ecks says:

    The ironic thing is that this coverage would have been praiseworthy if this is this were the NORMAL way that we treated people when they are convicted of crimes. It really IS a tragedy when people have their lives ruined because they face punishment for a crime. We have to do it, because justice is important, and the alternatives are all worse… but it really is terrible that our means of correction/retribution is so life destroying.

    It’s the double standard that burns. If these guys had knocked off a liquor store, the coverage would have been about “couple punks got was coming to them, streets are safer, ra ra ra”. But if you’re a football player on a popular team, and you violate a young girl, hey, y’know, shit happens, mistakes were made.

    Also, without knowing any of these guys personally, they did what they did under the influence of a heavily rape enabling sub-culture. Without that they would probably still be going to classes and cussing out their parents like normal kids… The social psychology research is clear that group influence can lead many more of us to do terrible things than we would ever admit to when on our sober own (think Milgram, Zimbardo for all his faults, etc). Yet a sex offender label will follow them for the rest of their lives, long after they’ve graduated past the life stage of being around this big risk factor. But we only have a one-size-fits-all label here to use. In a better world there would probably be a better way.

  31. 31
    jayjaybear says:

    In re: “people just stood around and didn’t help her”…the word is that at least one of the stops these guys made with the unconscious girl in tow was a party at the house of an assistant coach, who “didn’t like the look of what they were doing” and “asked them to leave”. Asked them to leave! Not “why don’t you let me make sure she’s okay” or even “why don’t you let me drive her home” or anything like that. Just “don’t do that crap in my house”.

    Supposedly, another stop was the county assistant prosecutor’s house (her son was on the football team), where another similar party was being held. The AP denies this, though, and I have no personal knowledge of whether it’s true or not.

  32. 32
    Cassidy says:

    They should feel lucky that the sentences are so light, especially the AA one. In the South, there seems to be an automatic 10 years added to anything just for being a blah person.

  33. 33
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Who provided the house where this party took place? Where did the kids get the booze? No doubt that the perps should go to jail, but what about their enablers?

    EDIT: jayjaybear cleared up one question. that raises a second one: why is that assistant coach still employed?

  34. 34
    Gex says:

    It seems like we absolutely must arm our girls with those straws that will turn colors if their drink is drugged.

    It is a sad commentary on our culture when that is the case. But it is equally sad that the drugging of women to rape them is not as uncommon as you’d like to think it is.

    What I’ve never understood in our Christian-tinged patriarchy is that the men at the top (in religion and conservative politics) both say that women are necessary to civilize men and keep them from fucking anything that moves, then they go on to act as though women are to blame when they get raped and that women should not be in charge.

    If you are barely civilized animals as you proclaim, step down from power please. Let women and civilized men take the reins.

  35. 35
    Raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Football is the issue here, wise up.

  36. 36
    Cassidy says:

    @Ecks:

    But we only have a one-size-fits-all label here to use. In a better world there would probably be a better way.

    What exactly are you looking for here? I don’t think there is much distinction in “Hey, I’m your new neighborhood sexual offender. I only raped a girl who was drugged and defenseless, but I don’t fuck children.”

  37. 37
    Cassidy says:

    @Raven: Seriously dude?

  38. 38
    aimai says:

    @Ecks:

    I don’t get the breast beating over their having to identify themselves as a “sex offender.” They are, in fact, sex offenders. The chances that this was or will be a single offense are quite low–do they show sincere remorse? Have they reached out to family and friends and asked them to stop harrassing and threatening their victim? Did they turn themselves in? Did they not insist that they were entitled to do what they did because she was “too drunk to consent?” There is literally nothing in this case that indicates that these guys have a hope of ever turning their lives around and becoming model moral citizens. If anything I expect that if they continue to be coddled by society, football, and their families they will get out and rape again when and if the opportunity presents itself to them. Society and the women they encounter at their future schools and jobs would be well served if we burned a scarlett letter “R” for rapist into their foreheads. Why should the rest of us spend our lives guessing which of our co-workers and friends are violent rapists? Why should schools and hospitals not know that they are in a class of offender who are quite likely to reoffend?

  39. 39
    ruemara says:

    There’s a strong amount of injustice in this ruling. I know they were convicted, but if those were two black guys who were not football stars and were not part of the “good” guys in the community, they’d have been tried as adults with much stiffer resultant sentences. I dunno. A friend’s son was stopped under NYC’s “Stop & Frisk” law for absolutely no reason beyond dropping off a friend. They’re up in arms and contacting lawyers (he was not arrested, just searched illegally) and it struck me that people who are always convinced that others who get stopped or that welfare recipients should be drug tested and various other examples of the neofascist police state, suddenly discover that civil liberties are important and we need controls on the police-when it’s their ass.

  40. 40
    shortstop says:

    @Chris: Except that the victim here, who was female, DID look like Poppy, who nevertheless reserved her sympathy for the male perps.

  41. 41
    Ecks says:

    @Comrade Jake: The Onion blurs with reality as ever.

    ETA, we should probably stop making fun of people when they confuse it with real news.

  42. 42
    Raven says:

    @Cassidy: I’m just reading the comments.

  43. 43
    LanceThruster says:

    Maybe the athletic department needs to require a course on the law. Then thye could learn such tidbits such as paying for sex is a crime, unless you film it (as long as everyone is over 18).

  44. 44
    Raven says:

    @aimai: Why not just kill them?

  45. 45
    scav says:

    @Raven: The football and the small-town mythos is probably driving the bulk of the deny reality (?) behavior. I doubt it’s really about the kids. But the idealized role of Sportz! and Small-Town Values! and Chevy! . . . umm, whoops, backtrack one advertising/movie icon, must be preserved.

  46. 46
    aimai says:

    @Gex:

    I said it on the other thread:

    Alcohol and drunkenness decrease the responsibility society assigns to men/boys and increases the responsibility it assigns to women.
    Just look at the coverage of this case and the commentary? When men are drunk their behavior is considered beyond their control and they are excused real “intent” while when women are raped when they are drunk they are held responsible for tempting or being unable to defend themselves against their rapist. The death threat tweets aimed at the victim all basically argue that she had it coming to her because she is an “alcoholic” or was perceived to be drunk at the time. Very few of the boy’s defenders argue that they didn’t do it–their defense was that a person who is too drunk to function essentially gives consent to anything anyone around her may wish to do.

  47. 47
    Chyron HR says:

    @Raven:

    Ha ha, it’s funny because the only logical course of action is to kill the victim.

    Or so the football alcohol fans at their school obviously believe.

  48. 48
    Raven says:

    @scav:

    ” I doubt it’s really about the kids”.

    I’ll be darned.

  49. 49
    aimai says:

    @Raven:

    I oppose the death penalty, actually, and our current system of lifelong parole for people who have served their time/received punishment. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that some kinds of crimes and criminals are, basically, lifelong threats to society. Registering these guys as sex offenders seems a perfectly reasonable midway point between locking them up and throwing away the key (which is not going to happen) and taking no notice of the fact that they are, in fact, a danger to women.

  50. 50
    Raven says:

    @Chyron HR: Plenty of morons to go around it seems.

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @Gex:

    What I’ve never understood in our Christian-tinged patriarchy is that the men at the top (in religion and conservative politics) both say that women are necessary to civilize men and keep them from fucking anything that moves, then they go on to act as though women are to blame when they get raped and that women should not be in charge.

    As various people have said, our society is awash in double standards wherein the “low” are seen as responsible for their predicament no matter what and the “high” as above reproach. (Too many examples to cite).

    The role of loud and proud Christianity (or Judaism or Islam as the case may be) in legitimizing those double standards and subsequently the un-Christian behavior of the people seen as Most Highly Valued under the system probably requires several books to fully do justice to it rather than a thread.

  52. 52
    handsmile says:

    This Gawker story is the most trenchant I’ve read on the staggering moral vacuity expressed by CNN reporter Poppy Harlow and legal commenter Paul Callan when the Steubenville verdict was issued yesterday. An excerpt:

    “For readers interested in learning more about how not to be labeled as registered sex offenders, a good first step is not to rape unconscious women, no matter how good your grades are. Regardless of the strength of your GPA (weighted or unweighted), if you commit rape, there is a possibility you may someday be convicted of a sex crime. This is because of your decision to commit a sex crime instead of going for a walk, or reading a book by Cormac McCarthy. Your ability to perform calculus or play football is generally not taken into consideration in a court of law. Should you prefer to be known as “Good student and excellent football player Trent Mays” rather than “Convicted sex offender Trent Mays,” try stressing the studying and tackling and giving the sex crimes a miss altogether.”

    http://gawker.com/5991003/cnn-.....d-students

    Of note, Katharine “Poppy” Harlow, aged 30, is a PBK magna cum laude graduate of Columbia University.

  53. 53
    WereBear says:

    And are their lives ruined?

    It’s a juvenile class of offense. They are serving light sentences. I know of no barrier that has been raised that would stop them from resuming a football career.

    There are many convicted felons in the NFL.

  54. 54
    scav says:

    @Raven: stunning, isn’t it? Better still, TV’s found a way to eliminate yet another cost center, reality show writers. Real ‘mercans are scripting the stuff for themselves.

  55. 55
    Pococurante says:

    @Raven: Personally I’m ok with that. But I have two daughters.

  56. 56
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Raven: Of course the alcohol was the problem. But if you can think of an effective way to keep 16-year-olds in a no-hope town in East Nowhere from spending summer weekends getting stupid drunk, share it.

    Me personally, I think the 21 legal age does more harm than good. All they see on TV are the beer ads with attractive people having a great time, and they know it’s another five fucking years before they can legally do that. Not being able to sit in a restaurant like normal people, with a pizza and a pitcher of beer, until you’r practically done with college, is unhealthy. There’s no conditioning to normal behavior patterns — since any time you come across booze is an event, it’s natural to binge.

    I know your views differ. Have at it.

    (Bad day for my choice of nym, I guess)

  57. 57
    Chyron HR says:

    @Raven:

    No, dude, I’m on your side. I mean, just look at all the alcohol fans who show up to protest when someone is convicted of drunk driving. It’s shameful that America has built up this culture of hero-worship around alcoholics.

  58. 58
    Cassidy says:

    @Raven: Yup, small town culture and the huge emphasis of sports, especially football, have nothing to do with any of this. Not a thing. Nothing to see here.

    You know better than that. This kind of sports related hero worship that goes on in small towns directly results in shit like this. I would bet money that for every single small town champion sports team, there is at least one alcohol/ party fueled rape to go with it, probably per season.

  59. 59
    Ecks says:

    @Cassidy: &
    @aimai:

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear. These guys absolutely are sex offenders, and labeling them as such is clearly and unambiguously the right move. The only thing I’m wondering about is duration. If you jump forward 30 years in time to when these guys are 50, with jobs and mortgages and suchlike, and nobody remembers they ever knew how to throw a football, are they still at particularly high risk of rape? Your Geoffrey Dahmer type sure is, so you keep him locked up forever. But guys like this? I don’t know anything about them, maybe they really are genuinely sick fucks, but I suspect probably not. I suspect you could let their sex offender status sunset in five or 10 years, and you wouldn’t be putting anyone at any further risk.

    I’m just glad I don’t have to be the one making that call, because it’s letting people out on probation – if they do anything wrong again it is officially your damn fault now.

    I guess I like to think that there can be allowances for eventual redemption, at least in cases where it’s rationally reasonable to expect such.

  60. 60
    Gian says:

    Handled as juveniles… anyone who knows ohio rules? I’m thinking can they seal the record ? Will they actually have to register ?
    I don’t want to give CNN a click. Is there an Ohio paper that covered those issues?

  61. 61
    Raven says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I think alcohol was part of the problem and the other elements that have been brought up are as well. Race, class, preferential treatment of certain groups, the legal system and all kinds of other shit.

  62. 62
    Chris says:

    @aimai:

    Very few of the boy’s defenders argue that they didn’t do it–their defense was that a person who is too drunk to function essentially gives consent to anything anyone around her may wish to do.

    A little shit named Alex Knepper wrote essentially exactly that in the college paper the year after I left AU. (“Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry “date rape” after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.”)

    AU being a fairly liberal and feminist place, the firestorm he caused finally had him fucking fired, which was two years overdue, but better late than never.

  63. 63
    scav says:

    Oh, and everyone remember the group nostalgia of dumb teenage years trainwreck in John’s thread a few night ago? Alcohol’s not exactly a new factor, nor is stupidity.

  64. 64
    LAC says:

    @Southern Beale: Amen to that! Fucking creeps – my daughter went back to college yesterday and this weighed heavy on my mind.

    And CNN – seriously, can go fuck themselves. I cannot watch that station. There are monkeys flinging poo that provide a more satisfactory news experience.

  65. 65
    Raven says:

    @Chris: That was a faculty member?

  66. 66
    Svensker says:

    @aimai:

    I had an argument with a male friend (who is generally what I’d consider a feminist and quite sensitive to women’s issues) about this — he basically said if she were drunk, she kinda had it coming, and guys do crazy things when they’re drunk. I was shocked. When I pointed out that while SHE was drunk she didn’t hurt anyone, but when THEY were drunk they did, he was a bit startled. Then conceded the point.

    Apparently there is a fair cultural bias that way — I was quite surprised to find it in an enlightened guy.

  67. 67
    aimai says:

    @Ecks:

    I guess I don’t know whether these guys are still going to be “sex offenders” when they are in their fifties. Their choice now, to do what they did, will have some effect on their lives going forward–not much considering that they were tried as juveniles and will basically serve just a year. Its not much punishment. Maybe they won’t be able to pull out of the spiral of being shoved into Juvie? Maybe being treated as heroes to their sex for being good at football will protect them from the worst of Juvie but prevent them from ever accepting responsibility for their actions? Perhaps what they will take away from this is an even more deep seated antipathy towards helpless girls and an even greater desire to fit in and use sex and alcohol and violence to secure their social position?

    The girl, meanwhile, and her entire family will probably need to move out of town, suffer loss of wages/security/friendships–the girl has already endured both the assault and the public loss of friendship and “face” that has accompanied being blamed for the “suffering” of her assailants. Do you think when she’s 50 she might consider that their crime has been expiated?

  68. 68
    The Dangerman says:

    Between Steubenville and Jodi Arias, it’s nice to see the MSM focusing on the important stuff.

    LOOK, Lindsey Lohan!

  69. 69
    Chris says:

    @Raven:

    No, a student. The Eagle had columns written by students and he was hired in the fall of 2008 to write for the Republican point of view. This column was written in the spring of 2010. The outrage reached the point where the Eagle’s offices were vandalized, I believe. He was either fired or “you can’t fire me! I QUIT!” don’t remember the exact details, right after that.

    ETA: actually, pretty much all the writing was done by students, now that I think about it.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    @aimai:

    There is literally nothing in this case that indicates that these guys have a hope of ever turning their lives around and becoming model moral citizens.

    They are young enough that, if they get the right attention and therapy, it’s entirely possible that they would never offend again. The problem, of course, is that there are enough people defending them and blaming the victim that it’s going to be very difficult to get them to that point of remorse and understanding where they understand that what they did was wrong.

    And I think that some other people here are right — the group dynamics really drove this crime, which was essentially a gang rape (IIRC, in most gang rapes the group tends to hang back and watch more than they actively participate). It’s going to be really hard to reform these guys if the same group that enabled the crime continues to support them.

  71. 71
    scav says:

    Poll! how often has everyone heard this?

    The accuser is an honors student and a proficient athlete at school, . . .

  72. 72
    Raven says:

    @Cassidy: Yep, that’s exactly what I said.

  73. 73
    Raven says:

    @Chris: Whew.

  74. 74
    Cassidy says:

    @Ecks: I remeber a story form the 90’s about a drunk driver who was sentenced to pay $1 a week to the family. A google search brings up a couple of instances, so I’m not sure which one, but I remember that a TV movie was made about it. The movie mostly shows the young and selfish boy/ man as he slowly comes to grips with the consequences of his actions. At first he didn’t pay and blew it off, then he tried to pay it all at once and the judge said no, every week. Eventually he comes to terms with it and later in life, he’s got a job and whatnot, and at the end of the week, he writes a check for $1 and drops it in the mail.

    Point is, these boys, and they are boys, have grown up in a culture that valued their athleticism over their worth as people. And that translated into them not viewing the worth of a young girl. So as sad as it may seem, these boys are going to have to have a reminder that they cannot view people not in the club as disposable things.

  75. 75
    aimai says:

    @Svensker:

    I’m not at all surprised. This has nothing to do with enlightenment or education. Its an incredibly deep seated cultural notion about women and sexuality and men and sexuality–women have a responsibility to demonstrate their untouchability or to guard their sex. If they don’t? They are given less pity than a jeweler who leaves a diamond ring outside a jewelry case. Despite the fact that people are as greedy for things as they are for sex “it was just lying there unattended” is not, in fact, a defense to appropriating someone else’s property.

    People are responsible for their acts when they are drunk or drugged. If you can’t manage to be responsible for your acts–of commission, not omission–then you have a duty to yourself and society not to get drunk or stoned. Despite the nostalgic drunk thread below there are many people who manage to survive their entire teenage years either not getting drunk/stoned or not raping or assaulting anyone while they do it.

    I’d like to also point out, as anyone who works with alcoholics might have noticed–its not that people do things when they are drunk that they wouldn’t do otherwise. Its that they get drunk in order to avoid accepting responsibility for doing the things they are going to do when drunk. In the case of rape, as has famously been said, “men don’t rape because they can’t get the kind of sex they want. Rape is the kind of sex they want.” In this case these kids (and all their friends) wanted to publicly abuse this (and other) girls. That’s the part they really enjoyed. Maybe they had to get drunk in order to fully enable the act but drunkenness, like partying, were just the way they permitted themselves to do what when they were sober they merely thought about doing.

  76. 76
    Fair Economist says:

    I doubt alcohol is the sole chemical factor here. Supposedly she drank a half of a fifth of vodka – enough to make somebody quite drunk, but not normally unconscious, amnesiac, or nonresponsive even to highly noxious stimuli like being urinated on and sodomized. I suspect there was some kind of amnesiac drug as well, which puts this way beyond misbehaving drunk teenagers into a premeditated rape conspiracy. The boys got off super-easy, and probably other conspirators got off scot-free.

    I do think it’s sad the boys did this, even if they clearly deserved both the convictions and a tougher sentence. It’s sad they hadn’t been taught this was wrong, and it’s sad that none of the dozens of other people who saw this didn’t stop them (those two problems are obviously related).

  77. 77
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @aimai:

    She was drugged by people she considered her friends

    Links?

    Seriously, aimai, and I mean, you do it all the time here, but you really can’t just make shit up as your evidence.

  78. 78
    cmorenc says:

    Well, it IS indeed tragic that the two perps’ lives were ruined from the incident, but the tragedy isn’t that it justly resulted in their conviction for rape, but rather how their upbringing in that community, that school, that football team resulted in the kind of moral and empathetic obliviousness and predatory callousness with which they treated their 15-year old female victim. It is tragic that their awakening to the horribleness of the situation they’d created for themselves didn’t fully come until the moment the judge announced the verdict and sentence, and also tragic that they’ve discovered there are some things so seriously wrong that they can’t be taken back even if you do eventually realize you really fucked up and were very wrong to do them.

    But the female victim is also going to have a very tough time getting her life back on a stable, constructive track after being dragged through this kind of incident in a small-town area. That too is tragic, and what I fault CNN the most for is focusing on the downfall for the boys rather than also focusing on how great a downfall the whole thing was for the girl too. SHE’S THE VICTIM, not them, except in the sense that they are victims of their own heinously culpable actions.

  79. 79
    Cassidy says:

    @Raven: Good copy. Read you Lima Charlie.

  80. 80
    cckids says:

    @aimai: You’ve put this very well. I realize that at 16 & 17 you don’t always make great decisions, but your basic personality is pretty much set. Someone who is decent & empathetic would not ever commit these acts – and I include all the people who watched, filmed & commented in that condemnation.

    Drinking too much & driving is a “poor decision” that could be explained away by being a teenager. Raping, molesting, dehumanizing a person for hours, then excusing it away as her fault? There is something deeply wrong with you as a human being.

  81. 81
    aimai says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Do your own research.

  82. 82
    aimai says:

    @cckids:

    I have a 16 year old and a 14 year old. People will do a lot in a group that they won’t do on their own but the parent and the coaches in this case are very much at fault in not having seen the necessity of raising strong children who can make strong moral choices in the face of peer pressure. I actually think that is true not despite the fact that these guys are on a socially important team but because of it. You have to address with your children the fact that people around them may do things that are stupid, dangerous, immoral, or criminal and you have to work to help your child pull out before they get sucked in. In highly valued team sports a lot of that parenting stuff is sometimes assumed to be taken over by the coach but what if the coach’s goal is to preserve the team, to create a winning team, and not to create and foster strongly individualized moral actors?

  83. 83
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @aimai:

    You’re a serial liar here. You made the statement, support it. But you can’t because your assertion was not supported by court evidence.

    But you don’t need no steenkin’ ev-ee-dence, do you?

  84. 84
    burnspbesq says:

    I’d be interested in taking a harder look at the prosecution’s decision not to try these defendants as adults.

  85. 85
    👽 Martin says:

    Asteroid. Nao.

  86. 86
    scav says:

    Speaking for myself, and only at the most practical level, the most troubling and thus to be teased apart thing about the case is the widespread defense of the boys and being drunk doesn’t enter there (unless drunken broadcasting is a trend I’ve missed –possible). There have been rapes before, there has been drunken kids before and there have been covered up rapes before. But would they have been so publicly defended and excused by so many? That’s a hard one. Privately, I’ve no doubt. But on national TV?

  87. 87
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Justice will not have been done until these young men are raped, tortured and stoned to death in the public square.

    After that, the football stadium must be burned to the ground.

    Then all the parents of any kids at the party who did not assist the girl must be flogged until the flesh hangs from their backs in bloody strips.

    The football coach must be castrated, his genitals fed to crows.

    All teenagers at the party must be labeled for life as Sex Offender Enabler/Assistants.

    Perhaps then there can be closure.

    Meanwhile, Bush and Cheney walk free after murdering many thousand and thousands and thousands of people. But there is nothing to see there and letting that slide sets no tone for the rest of the nation and law enforcement, no none whatsoever. Look forward not back.

  88. 88
    Fair Economist says:

    @cckids:

    Someone who is decent & empathetic would not ever commit these acts – and I include all the people who watched, filmed & commented in that condemnation.

    This. Alcohol does not impair judgement, especially moral judgement, nearly as much as a lot of people pretend it does. It’s often used as an excuse to do something the actor wants to do but is not willing to admit to. This is not always for nefarious purposes – sometimes people really get do get drunk to give themselves an excuse for sex.

  89. 89
    burnspbesq says:

    And T&H weighs in on the side of convicted sex offenders. This is so surprising.

  90. 90
    aimai says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Are you under the impression that you have some kind of relationship with me? This is an internet forum in which you participate sporadically and with nothing interesting to say. If you need someone to play with you I suggest you walk away from the computer and attempt to generate some real life friends. If you can.

  91. 91
    Cassidy says:

    It’s nice to know that some dickbag is still predictable and thinks it’s Obama’s fault.

  92. 92
    Amir Khalid says:

    All this does feel like way more sympathy than those two young rapists deserve, doesn’t it? Whatever their personal circumstances, it was they, nobody else, who brought a world of grief down on themselves. It was they who threw away their own future in football and in life. It was upon them to restrain their urges and not rape that girl, before it was upon anyone else to restrain them.

    It’s shameful to live in a society where any woman is raped, let alone a teenage girl by drunken teenage boys. It’s unseemly of CNN to focus on the consequences for the rapists, and yet give short shrift to what they did to deserve such.

    Should the rapists have been tried as adults, and more harshly punished? Out of sheer moral outrage, I too want to believe that; but I simply don’t know enough about the law or the case to second-guess the judge. Nor, Joey Maloney #17, do I hold with advocating violent retaliation against journalists for insensitivity, even as hyperbole.

  93. 93
    Gian says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Juvi case tried to judge … want to pick a jury of football fans?

  94. 94
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @aimai: @aimai:

    If you need someone to play with you I suggest you walk away from the computer and attempt to generate some real life friends.

    Says the loser who posts in almost every thread.

    Evidence for your drug lie?

  95. 95
    Cassidy says:

    @burnspbesq: He does have a hbait of doing so. Makes you wonder if he has to inform his new neighbors when he moves in. Sympathy pains?

  96. 96
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    It’s unseemly of CNN to focus on the consequences for the rapists, and yet give short shrift to what they did to deserve such.

    Is it your position that in weeks and weeks of coverage, CNN has given “short shrift” to the charges against these boys?

    Liar.

  97. 97
    Chris says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Water still wet, Pope still Catholic, bears still performing their bodily functions where there’s lots of trees around. Everything is in its proper place.

  98. 98
    burnspbesq says:

    @Gian:

    ORC 2901.12(K):

    (K) Notwithstanding any other requirement for the place of trial, venue may be changed, upon motion of the prosecution, the defense, or the court, to any court having jurisdiction of the subject matter outside the county in which trial otherwise would be held, when it appears that a fair and impartial trial cannot be held in the jurisdiction in which trial otherwise would be held, or when it appears that trial should be held in another jurisdiction for the convenience of the parties and in the interests of justice. (emphasis added)

  99. 99
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I really, really hope you didn’t have much to do with raising your daughters other than an occasional child support payment, because I can just hear your conversation with them if something like this had happened:

    Well, honey, you shouldn’t have gone drinking with those nice boys if you didn’t want them to sodomize you and post the photos on Facebook for all of your friends to see. Now call them up and apologize to them for letting them assault you.

  100. 100
    👽 Martin says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Dude, it was in the trial testimony from a witness. That’s evidence. You may not like it, but most of the evidence in cases like this is from witnesses.

  101. 101
    Chris says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    I admit I’ve never understood the rules according to which it’s decided whether or not people who are minors are tried “as adults;” seems like if there’s a separate justice system for people under 18 it must be for a reason.

    I too would like to hope that they can straighten their lives out during the sentence assigned, but as others have said, it’s going to be difficult to count on them doing that when there are so many people around committed to telling them that they’re the victims.

  102. 102
    Ecks says:

    @aimai: Well sure, but nothing we can do to these guys will erase her trauma. Sending them to do some time and face social sanction, that might ease it a little bit by helping to let her see the world as a smidge more just… and we’re all down with doing that and even more. Labeling them sex offenders for the next few years so that other people can be suitably careful around them, is just prudent.

    Having the sex offender tag hang on them 20 years later when all they want to do is drop their own kid off at school but nobody will let them near a classroom… If they are genuine risks to keep on re-offending then by all means. But if not, then what is the point? If anything we’re creating unnecessary fear and anxiety in the world because there will be people knowing that they are living near a sex offender, interacting with one, and on and on… when they aren’t. They’re just dealing with someone who was a much worse person in a much worse place a couple of decades back.

    ETA:
    @Cassidy: Yep, I wholeheartedly agree. And if we did something like that to these guys then that would be great. But a sex offender label is a whole different animal than writing a nominal check every week. It is (as it should be) a very extreme stigma that will make a lot of people treat you (as they should do) very very differently. All I’m saying is let the punishment fit the crime. You want something that goes to perpetuity with these guys to teach them better? Great, but if it goes forever, it should probably better be a bit milder, else it breeds resentment more than contrition.

  103. 103
    quannlace says:

    player on a popular team, and you violate a young girl, hey, y’know, shit happens, mistakes were made.

    And there’s this incredible attitude that because the girl was unconcious, she can’t remember what happened to her, so what’s the big deal?

  104. 104
    Comrade Jake says:

    I didn’t read T&H’s post as defending the rapists. Rather, he seems to be saying that this incident is small potatoes and that what we really should be talking about is why Obama hasn’t prosecuted Cheney for war crimes.

    IOW, he is doing what he always does here: trolling. Don’t feed the trolls people.

  105. 105
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You’re an idiot.

    I talk to my daughters almost every day. The oldest just spent a week with me. We are very close and they are awesome young women.

    I won’t address the latter part of your comment because it’s just stupid.

    You are all about projection, not reality. This thread is for your echo chamber pleasure and you resent differing opinions.

  106. 106
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    If you jump forward 30 years in time to when these guys are 50, with jobs and mortgages and suchlike, and nobody remembers they ever knew how to throw a football, are they still at particularly high risk of rape?

    Sorry, but I’m having a lack of sympathy on this one. 16-year olds who act like they did are either sociopaths or clinically deficient in empathy. And likely they’ll be the same way when they’re 40.

  107. 107
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    But seriously, why is it ok to let off war criminals at the highest levels? What kind of example does that set?

    How many rapes in Iraq were enabled by Bush’s war?

    Look forward, not back!

  108. 108
    ricky says:

    Oh the beauty of blog commentary on news coverage of a criminal trial. Kinda like Nancy Grace callers without the annoying nasal toned accents.

  109. 109
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    what we really should be talking about is why Obama hasn’t prosecuted Cheney for war crimes.

    Yes we shouldn’t be wasting bandwidth on issues other than cultural flagellation/huzzahs.

    Nothing could trump that importance.

  110. 110
    shortstop says:

    What would happen if we could ever let an interesting thread unfold without catering to the pathological need for attention of the significantly mentally ill guy?

  111. 111
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @shortstop:

    I am pretty sure Aimai in a woman.

  112. 112
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Ecks:
    It would take a judge (or other official) who was either very brave or very sure of themselves to say, “It is now safe to take Mr. So-and-so off the Sex Offenders List.” If a delisted sex offender later committed another rape, I would not want to be that official.

  113. 113
    Cassidy says:

    @Ecks: Honestly? I don’t know. This is one of those scenarios, where it’s hard not to empathize with young boys who were raised by adults who told them they could do know wrong as long as they played ball. Ultimately, the boys have to bear responsibility for their actions, but you can’t help but wonder how many times in the course of their lives did an adult fail them and not teach them responsibility and a good ethical foundation. HOw many males have been in their lives, collectively raising them , yet failed to teach them how a man should act?

    But, the purpose of sexual offender labeling is so that those who are/ are going to be repeat offenders can’t sneak under the radar. This does lead to another issue where they are all concentrated in one place. In the South, this translates to trailer parks full of sex offenders.

    I don’t know.

  114. 114
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Read “THE SLOG” website today and someone suggested that CNN is just doing this to generate controversy and eyeballs. I wonder if that’s true since nothing CNN does is relevant at this point. They’re at rock bottom in the ratings and this probably gins up their ratings a bit (at least temporarily).

    At any rate, Harlow and Crowley need to apologize for their callousness and insensitivity.

  115. 115
    Ecks says:

    @quannlace: UNLESS of course, she was the same (I’m assuming) white girl, and it was a couple of black janitors that raped her. In that case PURITY RAWR, HOW DARE THEY, WHAT IS OUR CIVILIZATION COMING TO.

    It’s totally an “If-by-whisky” reaction.

  116. 116
    aimai says:

    @Ecks:

    I’m interested in the idea that the punishment in this ase has to either “make the girl whole” (erase her suffering) or it isn’t a good idea. I’m not sure I agree or rather I’m not sure why the rules in this case should be different from the rules in other kinds of cases. Do you think that because they are juveniles? I can see the argument: crimes committed when you are young shouldn’t hang over your head for a lifetime. Redemption. etc… I don’t disagree.

    On the other hand there are other crimes where you are either barred from certain priviliges for life, or have to petition to have your rights restored. Why should a massive crime like a rape/assault be different? Some crimes (felonies) result in the felon losing voting rights. (I’m opposed to this, by the way, and am familiar with the historic use of these laws to disenfranchise an entire population). In some states a domestic violence conviction might prevent you from owning a weapon (the NY Times today has a story about how rare it is for weapons to be removed from the home of someone involved in a domestic violence dispute prior to adjudication). Drunk driving can result in you losing your lisence. Why should a rape conviction not have a serious component like the sex offender registry or even a duty to disclose the conviction prior to engaging in a contract like marriage or custody arrangements for young children?

    As a society we are incredibly unforgiving towards people who have commmitted violent crimes against property or against hierarchy/authority and incredibly forgiving of white collar crime and (some) crimes of male violence. While I’d like to see a whole lot less punishing of people for property crimes and a less punitive attitude all round I don’t see why we should start with these boys just because they “had so much promise.”

    Again: there’s something weird about this entire discussion. The rest of the time the country can’t wait to throw away the key on teenage/non white males who commit minor infractions–look at the stories coming out from Mississippi and some other states about the school to jail pipeline which have police coming to school and handcuffing children as young as seven, jailing children for the offense of wearing the wrong socks or farting or talking back in class.

    What is there about this case that makes otherwise rather cynical people suddenly feel all sad for two rapists in a gang-rape in a community that entirely supports them regardless of what they have done?

  117. 117
    shortstop says:

    @Amir Khalid: Without advocating for delisting sex offenders: I was surprised to learn that recidivism for SOs is actually pretty low — under 5 percent, as I recall, compared to 70-something percent for robberies and burglaries. I had always been under the impression that it was higher. No doubt at least some of that has to do with low reporting rates from victims and the difficulty of obtaining convictions.

    Of course, the exception is sex crimes against children; up to half of pedophiles are convicted of these crimes again.

  118. 118
    shortstop says:

    Ouch. Too true.

  119. 119
    Ecks says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger:

    Sorry, but I’m having a lack of sympathy on this one. 16-year olds who act like they did are either sociopaths or clinically deficient in empathy. And likely they’ll be the same way when they’re 40.

    Disagree. Go read up on the Milgram experiment. Before they did the study they asked a bunch of psychologists how many people would go all the way to the end, and they made the same prediction you did: “1% – just the psychopaths.” They were dramatically and demonstrably wrong. If you ask people, there is pretty much NOBODY who says that they would go all the way to the end. Yet in this study about 2/3rds of them did. People have replicated these results recently – they still mostly hold.

    When people are placed in enabling or demanding social situations quite a lot of us are capable of doing things that would shock our conscience in normal times.

    This crime is likely a mix of things: A toxic culture, alcohol (which enables horrible scripts from that toxic culture), an enabling crowd, youth, and, yes, some degree of character – some of us are able to turn away in these situations and not do the bad thing… but it’s not nearly as many of us as you would like to think.

    It’s easy to say that they are monsters. Maybe they are, I don’t know anything about them. But there is a strong probability that they are not. They’re just regular not-great human beings in a bad situation.

    Yes, they need some harsh punishment. But to read it as an eternal part of their character is probably to make the fundamental attribution error.

  120. 120
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Meanwhile another woman, this time a Swiss tourist is gang raped in India.

  121. 121
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Ecks: I think they will still be at enormous risk for rape, because of the attitude demonstrated throughout in this whole monstrous situation.

    Sex offender is a very extreme stigma that will make a lot of people treat you very very differently… If they are genuine risks to keep on re-offending then by all means. But if not, then what is the point? If anything we’re creating unnecessary fear and anxiety in the world because there will be people knowing that they are living near a sex offender, interacting with one, and on and on… when they aren’t. They’re just dealing with someone who was a much worse person in a much worse place a couple of decades back.

    (run together to fit in blockquote)

    I think you fail to appreciate the idea of sex offender. People who encounter these folks in the future, will be interacting with a sex offender. Those people may not personally be at risk, but that doesn’t mean Mays and Richmond aren’t sex offenders; they are. They truly did not (and do not – if my suspicions are correct) view their behavior as “rape,” or indeed any kind of violation. That’s the problem.

  122. 122
    nemesis says:

    And General Petreaus is an adult so no harm no foul. Tell that to Eliot Spitzer.

    As for CNN, dont expect their schtick to get any better any time soon. I witnessed some of their Iraq War 10 Year Anniversary today. Bloody hell. Ya know folks on both sides died. Such a shame. Sad… In entertainment news….

  123. 123
    aimai says:

    I agree with Ecks about the fact that people will do stuff in groups that they wouldn’t do on their own and that these guys were in a group of like minded individuals who egged them on/participated with them and thus (probably, psychologically speaking) diffused the moral responsibility in such a way that they were less able to stop than an outsider to the group would have been.

    But how you get from that to the notion that they will eventually be better people and less likely to rob or rape again? That I’m not so clear on. They and their social network would have to acknowledge the horror of what they had chosen to do and be sincerely repentant and work to make things right.

    So far the emphasis has been on assuming rehabilitation and forgiveness rather than examining a system which is already failing to punish them severely. I just don’t get that. There is zero evidence available–and most of the reports would indicate otherwise–that either of the two boys consider this more than an unfortunate accident of fate: they were caught, they didn’t turn themselves in. They went through a trial arguing they were not guilty and, in fact, willingly threw the blame on to their victim. They and their families and the entire community are rallying around the boys-as-victims and continuing to attack the girl and her family.

    The prognosis for these kids “learning” from their crime doesn’t seem to be good–especially if the excuse for the crime is that they only “did what everyone else was doing” since “what everyone else is doing” in their social circle is excusing them from responsibility.

    These are very big issues in criminology and social science. Just because the Milgram experiment appears to demonstrate that people will do bad things when they think an authority tells them to do so does not mean that a) everyone will do so (not everyone does), b) that people will do so when a non authority tells them to do so, c) that there aren’t inflection points where people push back against society/authority, d) that the individual doesn’t still have to take responsibility after the fact for the harm that their actions have caused others.

    The criminal justice system is a blunt instrument in every sense–it isn’t meteing out justice and it can’t fix things for the victims and it can’t prevent recidivism or create an epiphany in these kids. But at least it can mark out the behavior as wrong, punish it, and mark out a period of time or a set of circumstances that will lead to an expunging of the record. The sex offender registry is one way of trying to do that. Not the best way. Not the only way. But one of the few that attempts to mark out a criminal behavior as more than a mere one time event.

  124. 124
    Older_Wiser says:

    At the least, they should have been tried as youthful offenders, not juveniles. No one tried to protect this young girl–no one. Not one decent jock or adult in the bunch, since none had the balls to call the cops or do anything about it.

    I mean, WTF is wrong with this country? There’s no War on Women? Bullshit. And we know who is driving it.

    In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders of Protection
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03.....-guns.html

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I talk to my daughters almost every day. The oldest just spent a week with me. We are very close and they are awesome young women.

    Uh-huh. And they have no idea you hold them in absolute contempt for being women and would throw them over in a heartbeat if they came to you and told you they had been raped, do they?

    Let’s hope they never have to find out what an asshole you really are when they come to you hoping for support only to have you tell them that they should have known better and everything that happened was their own fault, so they’d better not ruin the lives of the poor boys that they seduced. I suppose they need to have some illusion that you might not be a complete asshole.

  126. 126
    Ecks says:

    @Amir Khalid: Amen. I don’t want that job either.

    @Cassidy: I don’t either :/

    @aimai: Totally agree about the double standard. As I said in my original post, that’s what burns me. I’d actually be happier if we were more compassionate towards convicts for all crimes (note, compassion does NOT equal get out of jail free).

    I’m in no way religious, but the part I do like about Jesus is that he spent his time hanging out with convicts, prostitutes, and tax collectors, and told his followers to go visit the imprisoned on a regular basis (not that they have a great track record on that one). He had other quirks that I’m not so down with, but that part was cool.

    So anyway, why do we punish? The criminology classes I took a lot of years ago in undergrad said a mixture of rehabilitation, deterrence, restitution, and retribution. The last one gets a bad rap, but how many of us wouldn’t feel basically good about it when Ted Bundy gets shivved?

    I guess you have to set your own personal mixture of those depending on your values, and on what works… is it something where redemption is even possible (no in the case of your psychopaths, yes in the case of your Jean Valjean’s)…

    So for these young punks restitution isn’t really that possible – what could they possibly give that would heal things for the victim? Rehabilitation seems likely to work in the long run… though it’d probably take a while and a bit of work, and, as you say, will be as much about fixing the crappy culture in that little town as it is about the actual perps. Retribution? Sure, they need to spend some time in a facility to restore our sense of justice a bit.

    But a lifetime sex offender label? It doesn’t make sense purely on the level of retribution. It’s too much. If it’s useful for preventing further attacks, then by all means, but if they can be reformed back to the level of regular (i.e., imperfect) people, then I wonder if at some point it stops being productive and maybe even tilts the other way.

  127. 127
    Mayken says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Absolutely agree. I’ve always felt the Western Europeans have it right – let them drink beer and wine at 16 but not drive till they’re 18.

  128. 128
    Older_Wiser says:

    @shortstop: That’s because teens who have sex can have only 2 or 3 yrs difference in age (say, a 17 yr old male and 15 yr old girl) and it’s considered statutory rape, which, even if it’s “consensual” between 2 teens, is still considered a criminal offense. There are many instances of this, even if the parties have a child and are later married or get together–the guy is still considered a “sex offender”.

  129. 129
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    As usual, as in all your comments and opinions, a crippling sense of projection makes an idiot of you.

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:

    @aimai:

    The prognosis for these kids “learning” from their crime doesn’t seem to be good–especially if the excuse for the crime is that they only “did what everyone else was doing” since “what everyone else is doing” in their social circle is excusing them from responsibility.

    But that’s what the “punishment” phase is supposed to do, not the trial phase. I’m guessing that very, very few criminals are brought to the understanding of their crime at the trial phase. If it happens, it happens when they’re actually in jail being punished for it.

    They now have a couple of years for the system to hopefully get them to understand that what they did was wrong. Unfortunately, that would probably require some kind of therapy, but even the juvenile system is all about punishmentpunishmentpunishment so I don’t know if they’ll even be given the opportunity to examine their behavior and learn from it.

  131. 131
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Yes, Timmy, I’m only projecting that you spend your days defending rapists and pedophiles, and your comments were actually about puppy dogs and rainbows. Good one.

  132. 132
    scav says:

    @Ecks: Should be something hanging about though, unless the only important things carried along from the teen years are your HS grades and participation in sports, which do get trotted out on resumes and certainly the HS GPA is requested (dimwit me was stunned at this, had to rummage through a shitload of boxes I’d luckily not tossed yet). Maybe a juvinal record could be generic, ranked, but not specific? Not sure.

  133. 133
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    You’re a serial liar here.

    A saying about glass houses is occurring to me.

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Justice will not have been done until these young men are raped, tortured and stoned to death in the public square.

    After that, the football stadium must be burned to the ground.

    Then all the parents of any kids at the party who did not assist the girl must be flogged until the flesh hangs from their backs in bloody strips.

    The football coach must be castrated, his genitals fed to crows.

    All teenagers at the party must be labeled for life as Sex Offender Enabler/Assistants.

    I’d be cool with that.

  134. 134
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    There is a huge gap between your imagination and reality, between what is said and what you pretend to believe to have heard; and this seems to be a means of protecting yourself as your navigate the world.

    Black/white is no way to maneuver through a very gray world.

    You have much in common with the vicious Puritans of yore.

  135. 135
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @aimai:

    she has to live in a state of heightened suspicion and awareness and consider even people she thinks are “friends” as possible attackers and betrayers.

    And that is the saddest possible commentary.

    As for CNN, I am just aghast. I expect inane, even cruel, comments from the general populace, but Candy and Poppy, their infantile names notwithstanding, should really have more sense.

  136. 136
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Comrade Dread: IANAL, but considering how often 16 year olds are tried by prosecutors as adults, I’m guessing they already got special treatment, otherwise they’d be looking at 15 years or more in a men’s correctional facility.

    Bingo. Not that prosecuting minors as adults is right. The impetus was panic over drug-crazed Black super-criminal teens, like all hysteria EVIL BULLSHIT. Kind of like the hysteria over “psychopaths” now. Never mind probably most people with this brain disorder aren’t criminals, and most criminals aren’t psychopaths, never mind it’s a narrowly defined condition that is nevertheless tough to diagnose because they learn from childhood not to blend in, to listen to some people talk, 10% of the population are psychopaths and a menace to society, liable to start a thrill kill spree at any time. Jesus wept.

  137. 137
    geg6 says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Late to the thread (damn that job anyway!), but…

    THIS.

    They have learned nothing, they only feel sorry for themselves, and they have gotten special treatment simply by being prosecuted in juvenile court and not as adults as they should have been.

    We used to go to Steubenville for the Dean Martin Festival every summer, but I told John we will not be going any more. Never again.

  138. 138
    Ecks says:

    I found an article about recidivism rates for sexual offenses to break through the cycle of blank assertions that rates are high or low (by me and others). Article here.

    Bottom line: rates are about 13%, but vary somewhat predictably. Anti-social personality and “deviant interests” (“e.g., exhibitionism, voyeurism, cross-dressing”) were the strongest predictors, expressing remorse was a very weak one.

    I made a bigger post which quoted lots of the findings for the sake of interest, but FYWP ate it.

  139. 139
    geg6 says:

    @Raven:

    I love a drink, but the alcohol didn’t rape that girl. Two boys, star football players in a small depressed town that has nothing other than high school football to be proud of, did the raping. If you want to be pissed about the alcohol angle, BJers aren’t the proper people to get made at. That would be the parents who bought and served the alcohol in the homes where these parties were held. Parents buying and serving alcohol to teenagers is very, very, very common and much more common among the athletic crowd in high schools because they are the ones who are the social arbiters of the high school social hierarchy.

    Personally, I hope that the girl and her family sue the pants off every single family that held these parties (as far as I can tell, that is at least two, possibly three, families).

  140. 140
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Older_Wiser: That’s because Americans get hysterical when 16 year olds have sex.

    Puritans aside, a lot of jurisdictions allow a two year age difference.

    The stat rape laws have a rational basis. Girls who date much older men have a much higher rate of pregnancy and STDs and a lower likelihood of using a condom. Young teens may have reached “the age of reason” but they are very bad at predicting the consequences of their actions and still respond to childhood conditioning in that they are easily misled and intimidated by adults. Very young teens who are pregnant are at very high risk of pregnancy and birth complications. Some of these conditions could cause infertility or infant death. Also, very young teens are ill-equipped to be parents. Whether it was the mothers of young boys in ancient Greece* or the mothers of young girls in early 20th century USA, mothers have had strong and justified reasons for not wanting their young teens to be sexually involved with adults.

    *-for reals, there is evidence from the historical record in Athens that some mothers objected to the “ancient, beautiful” tradition of grown men fucking teenaged boys

  141. 141
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    There is a huge gap between your imagination and reality, between what is said and what you pretend to believe to have heard; and this seems to be a means of protecting yourself as your navigate the world.

    … says the guy who argued that being sodomized while passed out and having the pictures posted on Facebook isn’t as bad as being beaten and raped, so why are we persecuting these poor boys with an entire year in a juvenile facility? Haven’t these boys already suffered enough?

    Again, I pity your daughters if they ever come to you saying that they were the victims of a crime since you’ll spend hours telling them how they shouldn’t prosecute because it was their own fault.

  142. 142
    Ecks says:

    @aimai: For sure, the social influence doesn’t EXCUSE their actions. Nobody would argue that they shouldn’t be punished for what they did.

    The question to my mind is whether these guys are an ongoing danger to women moving forward, especially, lets say 10 years down the line. The social situation that helped prompt the rape probably does not follow them 10 years into the future… so to the extent that it drove their behavior, if that cue is there then they will be less likely to reoffend. It doesn’t change what they did, or their punishment for it, just their future chances going forward.

  143. 143
    gelfling545 says:

    @Ecks:

    If they are genuine risks to keep on re-offending then by all means.

    This would be determined how? We know that at this time they are sex offenders because they have been convicted out of their own mouths. They are clearly unrepentant, again by their own words, other than being sorry they got caught. Why would we assume they will be no further danger?

  144. 144
    Ecks says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh for heavens sake, stop feeding the damn troll. This is why god invented pie filters.

  145. 145
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mayken: Absolutely agree. I’ve always felt the Western Europeans have it right – let them drink beer and wine at 16 but not drive till they’re 18.

    It would certainly reduce the teen mortality rate. Western Europe is trying to cut back on the drinking, though. Hopefully they won’t repeat the American idiocy of banning 18-21 and thus create an American-style college binge-drinking culture.

  146. 146
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gelfling545: Isn’t that what a parole board is for, or whatever the juvie equivalent is?

  147. 147
    Ecks says:

    @gelfling545: The study I link at 138 suggests that repentence is actually a rather poor predictor of reoffending. I’ll see if I can’t quote that bit without FYWP eating it again:

    The clinical presentation variables (e.g., denial, low victim empathy, low motivation for treatment) had little or no relationship with sexual or non-sexual recidivism. As with pro-offending attitudes, it may be difficult to assess sincere remorse in criminal justice settings. It is also possible that evaluators looking for risk factors have little to gain from listening to offenders’ attempt to justify their transgressions. Psychotherapists often consider full disclosure desirable, and courts are lenient towards those who show remorse; few of us, however, are inclined to completely reveal our faults and transgressions. Research has also suggested that full disclosure of negative personal characteristics is
    associated with negative social outcomes, including poor progress in psychotherapy (Kelly, 2000). Consequently, resistance to being labelled a sexual offender may not be associated with increased recidivism risk, even though it does create barriers to engagement in treatment. Offenders who minimize their crimes are at least indicating that sexual offending is wrong.

  148. 148
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: But that’s what the “punishment” phase is supposed to do, not the trial phase. I’m guessing that very, very few criminals are brought to the understanding of their crime at the trial phase.\

    Word.

  149. 149
    West of the Rockies says:

    What are truly the role models of young men these days? I’m 51, and so I grew up watching TV shows like Star Trek and Adam 12. (Yeah, Kirk was a randy fellow who’d hop into bed with the first blue alien who winked at him, but he certainly wasn’t about to be featured in Californication.) I also gained a lot of cues from old-school movies: Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story, Bogart in Casablanca. I believed that honor mattered. Not saying I didn’t have wicked thoughts sometimes, but I sure didn’t act on them.

    So at the risk of sounding like a “back-in-my-day curmudgeon”, who ARE the role models for young males these days? Are they learning how to treat women from what they learn on Jersy Shore?

  150. 150
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Ted & Hellen: FOAD.

  151. 151
    MaxxLange says:

    Supposedly she drank a half of a fifth of vodka – enough to make somebody quite drunk, but not normally unconscious, amnesiac, or nonresponsive

    Bullshit. A normal drinker will be almost completely incapacitated by that much vodka. (Alcoholics, not so much). And she was only 16.

  152. 152
    chopper says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I talk to my daughters almost every day. The oldest just spent a week with me

    that’s real “fatherhood hall of fame” material right there.

  153. 153
    geg6 says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Tell us again how digital penetration is not rape and how little children being raped like it, T&H. We’re all dying to hear about it from an expert.

  154. 154
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger: Sorry, but I’m having a lack of sympathy on this one. 16-year olds who act like they did are either sociopaths or clinically deficient in empathy. And likely they’ll be the same way when they’re 40.

    Not true. The frontal lobe is very important in (stopping) anti-social behavior, and it doesn’t complete development until about age 26.

    Recidivism risk for violent crimes drops a LOT after 30 and thence gradually for males as they age and their blood testosterone (another anti-social risk factor) drops over time.

  155. 155
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Thank you for so perfectly illustrating my points.

    You simply make up shit I never wrote, project your fantasy of how I would handle something with my girls and announce it as fact.

    You’re a delicate flower. You can only feel strong in a strictly controlled environment, and as a commenter you are a bully.

  156. 156
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Ecks: I don’t have the study citation at my fingertips, but there’s a different issue at play here. What makes these creeps different from most sex offenders is that the creeps fall into that group that is rarely prosecuted, because their behavior is rarely reported. They don’t see it as rape, nor do their friends. They fall into the acquaintance rape group, and that group is hugely likely to re-offend. If I get a minute to find the (fairly recent) article on point, I’ll list it.

    Like burnsie, I find the decision to stay in the juvie system part of the failure of this case. Not surprising, sadly, but I question the decision.

  157. 157
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Ecks:

    She’s too delicate to make the choice.

  158. 158
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @West of the Rockies: Kirk never forced himself on a woman a la James Bond. You also don’t see scenes where he and woman suddenly jump on each other (which might imply to someone not very emotionally intelligent that they can ‘just know’ another person wants them when they imagine it so).

    Kirk usually eyefucks someone he’s macking on in a coy way. He then waits for them to come to him. Then there’s dialogue. Usually it’s established that they’re both available. Then they make out and the next shot is Kirk putting his shoes on. Now what was interesting was that in some episodes the woman comes onto Kirk but he doesn’t like her and only puts out to further the plot. Kinda Humphrey Bogart although he does it with a smile. Trek had a lot of female bad guys. Roddenberry was going through a divorce when Star Trek started, so you gotta wonder.

  159. 159
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @West of the Rockies: What are truly the role models of young men these days?

    Video game NPCs?

  160. 160
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @chopper:

    Interesting.

    My girls are young women, each attending separate colleges in other towns.

    Would you suggest I stalk them, perhaps move in with me here and urge them to don burkhas?

    Your zeal to attack me personally makes an idiot of you too.

  161. 161
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Yes. That’s rape culture right there. Their anti-social behavior isn’t perceived as anti-social behavior. In fact, the victims are punished for talking about it, never mind reporting it to the police.

  162. 162
    Ecks says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): The rape enabling culture is ABSOLUTELY a huge part of the problem here. Totally. Yes. Complete agreement.

    @Ted & Hellen:
    Huh. So does cheesecake count as pie?

  163. 163
    geg6 says:

    @Ecks:

    But a lifetime sex offender label? It doesn’t make sense purely on the level of retribution. It’s too much.

    She’ll have to live with it forever. Her fucking face was sent around the internet, along with naked body. If she has to live with it forever, I don’t see why they shouldn’t. I’ll bet she thinks it’s too much for her to live with, too. Not their being labelled sex offenders, but her being labelled slut and having to endure death threats against herself and her family. Do you think, in a town the size of Steubenville, that she’ll ever overcome any of this?

  164. 164
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @geg6:

    No, I don’t care to feed your twisted fantasies. Instead I’ll tell you how digital penetration, to any intelligent discerning human, is a far sight less traumatic than full on forced intercourse.

    To equate them is not of course to say the former, if forced, is not also traumatic, but not nearly so as being gang fucked by a line of men then beaten and left in a ditch.

    To equate them, as is the current fashion, is silly and demeans the severity of the latter.

    But don’t let that get in the way of your agenda.

  165. 165
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @cckids: You’ve put this very well. I realize that at 16 & 17 you don’t always make great decisions, but your basic personality is pretty much set. Someone who is decent & empathetic would not ever commit these acts – and I include all the people who watched, filmed & commented in that condemnation.

    See, this is bullshit. Sure, some toddlers care and share and some don’t. But it’s perfectly possible for someone to grow in empathy in the 20’s. In fact, many people do. It’s also possible for people to lose empathy, perhaps because of some trauma that makes them fearful and causes them to cut off their heart to large groups of people. (There is a link between authoritarian attitudes and past bad experiences.)

    Just because some children have precocious empathy does not mean that less empathetic teens will not later improve. The 16-year old brain has not finished growing, nor is it informed by life experience. The reason there is a juvenile system is: to segregate teens from adult prisoners, to attempt reform, and to recognize that kids grow up and sometimes are no longer the little shits they were when they were younger.

  166. 166
    raven says:

    @geg6: And guns don’t kill people. next

  167. 167
    geg6 says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    He has daughters?? The mind boggles.

    Hey, T&H! Did you tell your daughters that if they are involuntarily digitally penetrated that it isn’t rape and that they should just lie back and enjoy just like Jerry Sandusky’s victims?

  168. 168
    Ecks says:

    @geg6: Ok, so I was wrong, I guess you can make a case for retribution. I guess I’m just personally not so comfortable with it. Even for premeditated cold blooded murder I don’t think you should be in prison forever. I believe (and this is just me) that punishment is something you have to give people the chance to recover from. I think people change slowly over the years (heck, I know I’ve changed), and become different versions of themselves. Shackling someone to a very very VERY old version of themselves seems like a denial of the possibility of human growth and redemption, and I don’t want to live in a world where that’s not possible.

    I know that there are some cases where people have to be permanently removed from civilization for the ongoing safety of all involved, and so there you have to do what you have to do. I am not convinced that this is one of those cases.

    @Another Halocene Human: This.

  169. 169
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Another Halocene Human: There has got to be material for a dissertation or two on Star Trek, don’t you think? It might sound funny to point to Captain Kirk as a paragon of sexual virtue, but he never did hit on his underlings (Uhura, Yeoman Rand).

  170. 170
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Southern Beale: There wasn’t nearly this much outrage when the parents of a white girl who had consensual sex at a high school house party pursued statutory rape charges against a black teenager in Massachusetts. The case was bullshit… those laws had not been enforced for years (at least in the case of teens having consensual sex), yet nobody seemed to think anything of it. Certainly not national news.

  171. 171
    Ecks says:

    @Ted and Hellen

    I have to hand it to you, sir and/or madam. A full 5 stars out of 5 for trollery, you really do seem to have them all riled up. Keep up the good work and you might be able to wrangle a paid authograph signing booth at the next TrollCon.

  172. 172
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jl:

    That is the sad thing. A lot people there that night who could have done something, anything, and did nothing. Those folks weren’t put on trial, but I hope they have trouble living with themselves and will, maybe, put themselves on trial and think about what they did not do but should have. Though, sadly, looks like many in the community are too eager to make excuses.

    Trudat. Whatever happened to those “act leading to the delinquency of a minor” laws? Seems a little more serious than passing around copies of Playboy.

  173. 173
    chopper says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    please tell us that you didn’t actually have a hand in raising them, for their sake.

  174. 174
    drkrick says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    If a delisted sex offender later committed another rape, I would not want to be that official.

    Have you met the Rev. Gov. Huckabee, perennial GOP Presidential timber?

  175. 175
    geg6 says:

    @raven:

    Okay, I’m a little confused about what you’re on about. Yes, alcohol was a factor here and I admit that and even want the parents and adults who served it or allowed it to be served in their homes to pay a price. But just as alcohol was one of several factors here, so is football and the culture of small town football, which is inextricably entwined with rape culture since it revolves around the power issues between the sexes. Football players are the social arbiters of these small, economically depressed towns and the women are peripheral and there to serve (as cheerleaders and majorettes and drill team and, maybe, band). They are devalued in the high school football culture at the exact same time that the players are exalted beyond reality and even their own athletic ability. The players get the idea that they are entitled to whatever they want because everyone, adults included, give it to them. Do you deny there is such a thing?

  176. 176
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @West of the Rockies: Yeah, Trek was a little ahead of its time in that aspect. Rather than hitting on Rand a la Mad Men at one point he admits to a friend that yeah, he likes her… but his crew is off limits. I wonder if Roddenberry was exploring this idea in “The Cage” with Pike and kind of realized that the captain couldn’t date the crew. Instead you see Rand flirting with Sulu, and Uhura flirting with Spock (and getting flatly rebuffed :).

    Men chasing women isn’t a big factor in Star Trek. I think the idea was that women in Teh Future were sexually liberated (hence world’s shortiest skirts) and could freely hit on the guys. This made the ‘seduction’ model from the Hayes code era of motion pictures irrelevant and outmoded.

    In the world of Trek, women’s sexual liberation means the end of “no means yes”, which is pretty awesome when you think about it. (TNG felt like a step back with episodes like “The Perfect Mate”.)

    more trivia:
    One time that Kirk attempts an (insincere) traditional seduction he falls flat on his face. In “Is There In Truth No Beauty” he takes Dr. Mironda Jones to the arboretum and gives it his best game (well, the best game he can given that she’s blind and can’t see his best smarmy kissy faces), but she’s in love with someone else and harshly calls him on the carpet. (At the end of the episode, Kirk is reduced to pathetically begging her to save Spock’s life. It’s an interesting episode in that there isn’t a villain, just a lot of interpersonal conflict. Very Trek, I guess.)

  177. 177

    CNN, oh well. I suppose that those comentators could be reminded how much better the two fared at the hands of the state/court than they would have at “my” hands as father of the girl. We have courts to avoid this sort of chaos.

    We have a culture where some are privileged enough to avoid consequences that most would face. I’d guess that a privileged status allowed the two to go through the juvenile system, though it is only speculation that adult court would have punished more severely. The same privilege extends to the coverage this story got, the why CNN was even there.

    As far as sex offender status goes, this is completely different from peeking in the girls shower or something that just gets out-grown. The level of callous depravity is stunning, not only in the commission of the act, but in the follow up to it.

    The “news” media is a joke with a very few exceptions that ought to be the minimum rule – I’d say this is about par and let it go at that as a definition of incompetent stupidity.

  178. 178
    bemused says:

    NYT article said victim attends a Christian based school. Now her friends shun her and people don’t want their kids around her. Way to go Christians!

  179. 179
    scav says:

    @chopper: That inevitably raises terrifying images, I’ve no doubt you know that.

  180. 180
    cckids says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Just because some children have precocious empathy does not mean that less empathetic teens will not later improve. The 16-year old brain has not finished growing, nor is it informed by life experience. The reason there is a juvenile system is: to segregate teens from adult prisoners, to attempt reform, and to recognize that kids grow up and sometimes are no longer the little shits they were when they were younger.

    I won’t argue with that. I stand by my belief that someone who has been brought up to look at other humans as, you know, HUMANS, will not treat someone like a convenience or a piece of meat. I have a 19 year old son at college, and while I know he drinks now, and I’m sure he drank at a few parties while in high school, I can guarantee you, to a f*cking certainty, that he would not ever do this, regardless of peer pressure. He has, in college, stepped in more than once to walk someone home or get them out of what could be a bad situation. And he’s not a saint, he is just a decent human being.

    Treating a girl like this is NOT A “BAD DECISION”. It is a moral failing. The Jesuits used to say “give us the child, and we will give you the man”. The patterns & morals learned throughout your childhood & teen years are exceedingly difficult to break.

    I am not holding these teens solely responsible for the happenings of that night–from accounts, there were adults who saw what was happening & let it go on–but they are responsible for their own actions & have to pay the price. What if she’d died? Would you still be making this argument? What about the 17 & 18 year olds who sign up for the armed forces? I know the research about brain development & logic, but to me, that doesn’t even come into play here.

  181. 181
    aimai says:

    @Ecks:

    Justice systems can be more tending towards self help (in which case it is the girl and her family who get to take whatever revenge they can on the boys and their families) or more tending towards handling the offense at a distance and the state or other authorities stands in and adjudicates who did it and what the punishment should be–and whether any gestures at all are made towards the victim. Our system is quite organic in the sense that its an admixture of the two (or more) styles of law. The whole idea of “victims rights” is extremely truncated, for example, as are chances for the victim to testify or express him/herself about the outcome of the trial or the sentencing or the post-sentencing (parole) issues.

    Sometimes thats good–maybe the victim doesn’t want to press charges and the state goes ahead. Or maybe the victim is dead and the state stands in for the victim in getting justice/punishing/preventing future acts of violence. Sometimes its bad (for the victim) and possibly bad (for society) in that the attention and the therapy is offered to the offender and not to the victim.

    I’m not arguing and would never argue that the rapists deserve cruel and unusual punishment, or permanent punishment (such as permanent jail, or the death penalty, or whatever other stupid suggestion T and H made) but I’m not sure that registering as a sex offender is unfair or unwise, from a societal point of view.

    I look at it from a consumer point of view. If a restaurant owner deliberately poisoned a customer wouldn’t I want to know that about that restaurant owner even if he temporarily shut down the first restaurant and later opened another? Why should I or in this case my daughters be blindsided by discovering later that these guys are rapists? If someone commits a murder we don’t seem to have any trouble saying “he’s a murderer” but there seems to be some weird argument going on here that these boys are not “really” rapists–is it because she was drunk? Is it because people like T and H think that it was “just a little fingering” so no harm no foul? Is it because we don’t have a good word/concept/understanding of the utter destruction of her personhood that was publicly performed–greater than stranger rape–when they urinated on her in public and created FB postings of it all?

    I don’t mean to be attributing these views to you, I know you don’t share them at all. But I’m just sensing in the more pro-boy accounts some weird cultural model–whether of male sexual activity or of teenagerhood–in which this crime will simply leave a faint trace on them, they will “naturally” grow out of it and thus should be presumed to grow out/away from having to own it in any public sense.

    America is full of second acts, contra the famous line, but what galls me and what I think galls a lot of women on this subject is that women rape victims live with the trauma, insult, fear, degradation their entire lives and are often treated permanently as damaged goods by society and their own families. While men convicted of violent, disgusting, crimes are given a worried shake of the head and a pat on the back and a chance to redeem themselves. For the same reason, I’d argue, that the girl and her mother who procured an abortion in Brazil (I think it was Brazil) were excommunicated from the church while the rapist was forgiven and remained in good standing in the church. I’m not sure that I am obligated to look on the bright side and hope that these rapists are “not so bad” and that they deserve a second chance. Sometimes when you break someone else’s life you just don’t deserve a second chance. Maybe you get one, but you don’t deserve it.

  182. 182
    Peter says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Jesus you are a fucking disgusting piece of work. I feel slimy just responding to you.

  183. 183
    geg6 says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    So is this what the GOP means when they talk about legitimate rape?

    So when I was raped, it was only the one guy and he didn’t beat me and leave me in a ditch but only left some cuts and bruises and I knew him, so no biggie, right?

    It’s only rape if there are more than one and they beat you and leave you in a ditch according to T&H. Oh and also too, kids actually like getting raped.

  184. 184
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Zifnab:

    I think our criminal justice system is fucked up and there’s really no benefit to stuffing people in a cell for 15 years. At a certain point, the punishment isn’t any kind of deterrent or recompense to the victim, its just a political pile-on.

    Let’s put it this way: those rapists were always going to be let out at some point, and the twin goals of sentencing are to provide an adequate punishment for the crime and to prevent future crimes. The juvenile system is better set up than the adult one to reduce recidivism.

    There’s been a lot of talk about rape culture and rape-enabling culture, but it’s also a reflection on the broader culture of impunity that exists around privileged activities, and the way in which the US has invented its own feudal system around sports. The freedom to rape is the epitome of that broader culture.

  185. 185
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @Svensker: Apparently there is a fair cultural bias that way — I was quite surprised to find it in an enlightened guy.

    It’s depressingly common. Did you see ABL’s thread about the 0.6% rate of false rape accusations?

  186. 186
    Fred says:

    From the lofty age of 62 I think back on my own stupidity as a 16 year old. I shudder to think of the number of times I dodged death, dismemberment, jail, maybe damnation (did I dodge that? it remains to be seen).
    My wife has worked successfully as a councelor to troubled teens, a field where success is the exception not the rule. Her observation is that adults don’t remember how they thought as kids but instead superimpose their adult way of thinking over their memories.
    The actions of these boys (they are boys not men) are horrendous and inexcusable but I can’t help but observe that there but for the grace of god go I or most any of us.

  187. 187
    Maude says:

    @aimai:
    Young women used to be made to have chaperons. Since that has gone away. women have always had to be very careful.
    I would encourage any woman to carry a hat pin. It is effective. And women used to have and use those pins.
    People who think they are safe everywhere are the least safe.

  188. 188
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @Fred: The actions of these boys (they are boys not men) are horrendous and inexcusable but I can’t help but observe that there but for the grace of god go I or most any of us.

    I’m not sure what you’re suggesting here. Could you translate this to a sentencing guideline?

  189. 189
    Svensker says:

    @Zifnab:

    I think our criminal justice system is fucked up and there’s really no benefit to stuffing people in a cell for 15 years. At a certain point, the punishment isn’t any kind of deterrent or recompense to the victim, its just a political pile-on.

    Sometimes not. A friend was brutally attacked 25 years ago and left for dead, she suffered horrendous and life changing injuries. She wasn’t the guy’s first victim but he had been steadily escalating the violence of the attacks against women. He’s been in jail ever since, parole board keeps refusing to let him out because even though he has been a “model prisoner” he still has no remorse for his attack and blames my friend for keeping him in jail. He’s obviously mentally ill and would probably go after my friend if he got out since he is so angry with her. Throw away the key on that guy.
    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    It’s depressingly common. Did you see ABL’s thread about the 0.6% rate of false rape accusations?

    Yup.

  190. 190
    ruemara says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Hang on, I just want to make a note of this for the future. You’re advocating that nuance and grey areas matter in this discussion. Ok, carry on.

  191. 191
    aimai says:

    @Maude:

    Uh… upper class women had chaperones. Lower class women got raped with impunity. As for hatpins? Sure, whatever makes you feel comfortable. As a woman and as the mother of two daughters I have never “felt safe everywhere” and certainly wasn’t raised that way. And I’ve been all around the fucking world. How I feel about things says nothing about how safe they are–my feelings don’t change the fact that women get raped at home, by people they know, all the god damned time.

  192. 192
    Fair Economist says:

    @MaxxLange:

    Bullshit. A normal drinker will be almost completely incapacitated by that much vodka. (Alcoholics, not so much). And she was only 16.

    First and last time I got drunk I drank almost as much (and yes, it was vodka) and while I was pretty drunk I was nowhere near passing out and even had enough of my wits to reject a pass (by someone I’d dated in the past, even). When I was throwing up later I *wished* I could pass out but if wishes were horses, etc. I’d never had more than a half-glass of wine before.

  193. 193
    aimai says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    Ditto. I can’t get over the number of people attributing to teenagers malevolent stupidity that most teenagers never exhibit. “There but for the grace of god go I?” Really? Did you nearly trip and fall into a long drawn out rape scenario where you abused and urinated on a former friend in public?

    I am sick and tired of hearing people garble out what is known about teenage brains. Sure: teenagers are more impulsive than adults, more prone to anger, and have less foresight. This incident is not described by any of that. It was planned (the drugging) part of an ongoing social situation (the so called rape group), it took place over several hours (not impulsive), was not the product of spontaneous and uncontrolled anger–it did involve a stunning lack of foresight but that’s it and foresight here practically doesn’t apply since they apparently had done it before with no consequences.

    Someone asked way upthread whether (some) would be so cavalier if the girl had died of the ingestion of alcohol and drugs. Well–that is something that teenagers legitimately don’t anticipate. This was substantially worse than that, in some ways. The acts themselves were grotesque and cruel from the get go. No “foresight” is required to know that you don’t do to someone what these guys and their friends did to this girl.

  194. 194
    aimai says:

    @Fair Economist:

    You do know that body weight has a lot to do with how drunk you get? And the time allotted to drinking, right? What is the point of explaining that you or someone your height/weight/age sex would or would not have been drunk on X amount administered to someone else?

  195. 195
    Ecks says:

    @aimai: ok, let’s do a thought experiment and take the sex and gender out of it. Lets say these kids get smashed at their party, and start beating the crap out of a kid there. They punch and kick and severely hurt them, but the kid is too drunk to really get away. Then after an hour or two of this, the kid says something mild back, and all the bro’s start saying “oh man, you gonna take that”‘ and get a kick in. And they take pictures of this. Then a lead kid says “no, I’m not going to take it”, grabs a kitchen knife off the counter, and stabs the kid dead.

    So we have drunken yet premeditated murder. The kid goes to jail, as they should, and serves, lets call it 10 years.

    He’ll always be a murderer, but do you honestly think that he should go on a national murderer registry for the entire rest of his life? That whenever he moves to a neighbourhood the neighbours all get updates and warnings, and can protest to keep him out, or away from the schools and playgrounds? And all for something he did as a stupid messed up over privileged drunken teenager? Or at some point do we say he has paid his price, and should be allowed to put his life back together and not be that same person anymore now that he has had a chance to grow up?

    Because it won’t bring the kid he killed back to life, or heal his parents and siblings hearts. But I still say that at some point we, the punishing society have to let it go. Not forget, but forgive.

    You can debate if rape is worse than murder and make some valid points either way, but there can’t be THAT much in it, and at some point it becomes what a rabbi apparently once called the Suffering Olympics…. Competing over who had it worse

  196. 196
    Faux News says:

    @Ted & Hellen: You are an amazing douchebag and asshole at the same time. Shouldn’t you be in the RedState circle jerk?

  197. 197
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m probably botching the quotation, but it goes a bit like this: “There is no use in reasoning with someone who’s reached his opinions without first reasoning himself.” It’s like Robert Heinlein said: “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” Of course, our pig rather enjoys the attention. DNFTT!

  198. 198
    Bettencourt says:

    @Cassidy: I saw that one years ago – it was a young Sam Rockwell as the driver.

  199. 199
    AxelFoley says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Seriously, Cole–why isn’t this asshole banned? This punk muthafucka compares anything bad anyone has ever done to President Obama. This fucknugget adds nothing to any discussion here. So why allow it?

  200. 200
    AxelFoley says:

    @burnspbesq:

    And T&H weighs in on the side of convicted sex offenders. This is so surprising.

    Ironic, ain’t it?

  201. 201
    DavidTC says:

    @Fair Economist:

    Alcohol does not impair judgement, especially moral judgement, nearly as much as a lot of people pretend it does. It’s often used as an excuse to do something the actor wants to do but is not willing to admit to.

    I think the way to say it is that alcohol impairs impulse control, not ‘inhibitions’ or ‘judgement’. (And it also impairs reflexes, but that’s neither here nor there.)

    Someone who is drunk and has anger issues might, for example, take a swing when normally he’d be able to retrain himself. Someone who is normally too shy to do something might be willing to take that first step while drunk. In fact, we know this so well we actually have terms for it…the angry drunk, the emotional drunk, the honest drunk, the attention-crazy drunk. All those are caused by lack of _impulse_ control, not by lack of ‘judgement’ per se.

    But hauling a drunk and unconscious women around is not ‘poor impulse control’. And drugging a women is not ‘poor impulse control’. (Well, the _drugging_ might be, but why the fuck would anyone _have_ those drugs in the first place? And if they actually have the impulse to drug women but simply don’t normally act on it…uh…)

    I mean, there _are_ forms of sexual assault that could be understood poor impulse control. Groping someone, for example. Not excusing it, but if some guy got drunk, and grabbed a women’s rear…yes, it’s assault, and he should be charged with it, but I can see the argument he shouldn’t be called a sex offender for life and probably should just be ordered to 30 days in jail and court mandated consoling of some sort, at least for a first time offense.

    This…was not that. This was _nowhere near_ that.

    This is not always for nefarious purposes – sometimes people really get do get drunk to give themselves an excuse for sex.

    Which is itself entirely fucked up. We’ve got an entire culture out there teaching women that they shouldn’t want to have sex, so if they do want to have sex, they have to come up in some way that decision is _made for them_.

    This _usually_ works out okay if the decision is ‘made for them’ by them getting themselves drunk.

    However, I read Fred Clark, and he occasionally talks about a slightly different setup, where in religious communities, this essentially sets up a culture where men are supposed to ‘seduce’ women to have sex using any sort of means, thus resulting in something that, from the outside, looks almost like rape.

    If women are _supposed_ to be saying ‘No no no, I don’t want to do this, but you have somehow seduced me so I unwillingly go along with this’, while taking off their own clothes, uh, this can obviously, and often does, result in _actual_ rape because men can’t tell the difference. There are places when women _indeed_ say ‘no’ and mean ‘yes’, and this is a _really bad_ setup for everyone, both for women who say no and mean no, and men who can’t figure out when no means no and no means yes. (Please note I am making no analogy with this case at all. There’s a difference between ‘pretending to be unwilling’ and ‘being unconscious’.)

    We really need to get rid of the fucked up idea that women need an ‘excuse’ for sex. Even in their own head. (This is not intended to be a slight on women that do think that way. Women did not invent that idea, society did.)

  202. 202
    DavidTC says:

    @Ecks:
    Having the sex offender tag hang on them 20 years later when all they want to do is drop their own kid off at school but nobody will let them near a classroom… If they are genuine risks to keep on re-offending then by all means. But if not, then what is the point? If anything we’re creating unnecessary fear and anxiety in the world because there will be people knowing that they are living near a sex offender, interacting with one, and on and on… when they aren’t. They’re just dealing with someone who was a much worse person in a much worse place a couple of decades back.

    Look, many people are sympathetic to this argument, but if you want to talk about the problems with the ‘sex offender’ label, this is exactly the wrong case to start.

    There are places where streakers and drunk guys who piss in bushes get labeled as ‘sex offender’. Hell, there are places where two 16 year-olds, _who are allowed to have sex_, have exchanged pictures of themselves naked and it’s ‘child porn’ and they’re ‘sex offenders’.

    So perhaps you could worry about _those_ guys first, and try to get them off the list _first_, rather than, you know, people who actually drugged, kidnapped, and raped an teenaged girl.

    I’m just saying.

    The sex offender registry is indeed stupid for general sex crimes, because, as is pointed out, adults convicted of raping adults (or kids raping kids) are much much less likely to be repeat offenders than people convicted of theft. And people convicted of raping adults are extremely likely to go after children, so we don’t actually _use_ the sex offender registry in any logical way. (It’s not children they should have to stay away from, it’s adult women!)

    However, this is a _really_ stupid case to attempt to talk about that debate in.

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