Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Duke Lacrosse Boys Indicted for Rape

When I was in Chiropractic College, a friend of ours with a drinking problem slid off the black-ice covered road on a freezing cold night. Bleery eyed, he walked the block home through the snow and went to sleep.

The police found his car stuck in a snowbank sometime in the middle of that night and came and arrested him for drunk driving. He was terrified. Not that he had been caught but that he could have hurt someone and not even remember. "What if I had killed someone?" he asked us, frantic. That was the last time he took a drink to this day. Almost ten years dry.

Well, it was just the beginning of a very big ordeal. We urged him to hire the best, most connected defense lawyer in town. We were in a tiny area, the judge was a local farmer--a very fair-minded man, I might add. The townies, including the cops, generally hated the college kids (rich, privilaged, blah, blah, blah.) In this case, as in most cases, it wasn't true. Our friend is one of the few pure genuises I've met, his parents poor, always just got by. Every family member was alcoholic. He was the first person in his family o both sides to go to college. He was scholarshipped through undergrad and now paying his own way through grad school. He was anything but privilaged.

But since our friend didn't have money, he relied on the public defender. The public defender was no more interested in helping him out of this than the cops. An election was coming, the new District Attorney was running on "getting tough on drunk drivers". Our friend needed this over and fast. It didn't happen.

Our friend became the "example case". It cost the DA no political will, because it wasn't a local. It was PERFECT. While there is no question this kid did something wrong and it could have been bad. It didn't turn out bad and the lesson was learned. If he had been the son of a local, it would have evaporized into thin air. As it was, the judge, a kindly spared him the worst, but it nearly wrecked his life anyway.

The difference between our friend's case and the Duke Lacrosse case, is that the evidence against the players is even less substantial. It doesn't matter. The boys will be forever tarnished. Their reputations destroyed. The jury of public opinion lead by a zealous, up-for-election DA, Mike Nifong, already confirming their guilt.

It is sick.

Now, I'm a person who thinks stripping should be illegal like pornography and tittie bars and prostitution. Yup. I'm a PRUDE. Those boys are absolutely stupid for hiring a stripper to come on to campus. This type of situation is ripe for exploitation--on both sides. At the very least it looks really bad. It confirms all the stereotypes all the way around.

But stupid isn't criminal. And stripping is legal. And these young men are young and men. And this girl is desperate and has zero self-worth to be doing what she is doing. But she chose it. And so did the guys.

That doesn't mean that a rape didn't happen Colin Finnerty, one of the boys indicted got in trouble before for beating up a guy and calling him gay in D.C. He's from Mineola, NY where a number of kids I went to Chiro College were from. It is macho Long Island culture.

Reade Seligmann, 20, the other kid indicted has a name that just reeks of aristocracy, right?

Where I went to school two extreme developed: the extreme macho end and the extreme feminist end. They HATED each other. The macho guys always lost to the feminists. Put on probabtion, told to be quiet. Yes, they were often pulling stupid stunts and saying inflammatory things. The women, in my opinion were way too senstitive.

This polarization makes it nigh to impossible to feret out the truth. When something bad happens, no one believes either side if they are fair-minded. And those who side up reveal their prejudices.

The problem with a sexual assault case is that hard evidence is almost impossible to come by in situations like these. If the boys are convicted, doubt will always swirl around it. If not, they've been convicted publicly anyway. And the woman, somehow, will always remain the victim.

I hate these cases.

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