A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

May I Have Some Bacon with the Egg on My Face?

The Attorney General of the State of North Carolina dropped the charges of kidnapping and sexual assault against the three Duke Lacrosse players today, who were accused of that, along with rape, by an exotic dancer who performed at a house-party where the three were present last spring. It was a shameful and sad episode all the way around. Everyone involved behaved terribly and they should be embarassed for their part in the fiasco. To say they have egg on their faces is an understatement. Who were the chefs that whipped up the disgraceful omelets?

First, there are the lacrosse players themselves. It is a travesty that they were falsely accused. Their lives have been changed forever. This event will follow them for the rest of their days and there is no excuse that can justify that. However, they should be embarrassed that they were attending such a party and truly ashamed that they hired a stripper. I am tired of hearing "Boys will be boys." That's nonsense. I have two boys. I am not raising them to go to drinking parties and hire dancers. Such behavior is sexist and degrading to women, and encourages, all the more, the objectivication of women in our society. If these young men are not embarrassed by their presence at that house that night, their parents should be. It is not possible to be admitted into Duke University without above average intelligence; and yet they were not smart enough to keep themselves out of a situation of potentially explosive trouble. They truly did not deserve what they have had to go through, but at the very least someone ought to ask them, "What were you thinking?" That's the trouble: they weren't thinking. They let a certain male body part replace their brains that evening.

Second, there is the accuser. The Attorney General will not prosecute her given her medical history that is understandably sealed. She clearly has problems and needs some help. False accusations about rape hurt women everywhere. Every day women are sexually assaulted, and many of them will never report it, because they do not want to subject themselves to defense attorneys publicly twisting the evidence to make them look as if their victimization is all their fault. This case will not make the situation any better, and that in actuality vicitimizes women who will find themselves so violated. As a husband and a father of two daughters, I find this quite distressing.

Third, there is the famous (or infamous) "Duke 88," the professors from the university who, in order to feebly demonstrate that academics aren't irrelevant, came out with a statement that strongly indicated the lacrosse players were guilty. After the rape charges were dropped in January, 87 of them put out another statement attempting to deconstruct their first publication, claiming they had not convicted anyone. In both instances, these professors demonstrated that, at times, Ph.D can stand for "Pile it higher and Deeper."

Fourth, there is Duke University who allowed the coach of the Lacrosse team to be the scapegoat for not controlling his team. Why someone not directly involved with a bad event always has to be blamed from a distance in our culture is beyond me. With all of Duke's tobacco money, I smell lawsuit.

Fifth, there are the talking heads and pundits and community leaders, who with an incurable case of class envy, assumed and hoped that these young men were guilty, as they were persons of privilege and wealth. The whole blame the rich for all of society's ills is an old argument and patently false. I am quite a "news hawk;" it seems clear to me, as I read the headlines, that income level and crime do not go together. What is definitely connected to bad behavior is lack of character, and that is no respecter of income.

Sixth, and finally, there is the Head Chef and District Attorney, Mr. Nifong himself, who shamelessly used America's tragic history of slavery and racial discrimination to lobby the African American community in Durham to re-elect him to another term, so he could work enough years to get his retirement. If there was racist behavior in this whole episode, it was perpetrated by him. Every lawyer with any competance has denounced his mishandling of the case. It was obvious how terrible the case was when the Attorney General of NC went so far as to refer to Mr. Nifong as a "rogue prosecutor," and declaring, not that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the case, but that the players were, in fact, innocent. Justice would be served if Mr. Nifong were disbarred.

Because of the financial resources of the accused, they were able to hire top-notch attorneys to work their case. How many people in this country do not get such representation because they cannot afford it? May God help them should they ever encounter the likes of a Mr. Nifong.

I wish I could say that such nonsense will never happen again, but if I did, I would be the one with egg on my face.
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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian


John said...

I have to disagree with your first one. No amount of teenage tomfoolery that the lacross boys did justifies getting falsely accused of rape. In no way did they remotely bring them on themselves.

The fault is entirely Nifong's, and he belongs in prison for a long, long time. He was willing to destroy innocent lives for his petty political gains. He is an evil, despicable man who has earned far more than merely public rebuke.

Allan R. Bevere said...


If you would have read my post more carefully you would have noted that I indeed said nothing justified the false accusations. What I am saying is that they were not at all smart in putting themselves in a situation where there could be trouble, and that such behavior needs to be seen as more than "tomfoolery." It is a moral issue. What kind of views of women do they have that they hired a stripper to come to their party? Moreover, what kind of view of women do we have when we simply write this off as college-boy shenanigans?

You are correct (and I said so in my post) that they did not deserve what happened to them, but we let this kind of male adolescent bahavior off too easily at the expense of the women of our society.

Keith H. McIlwain said...

The players will land on their feet; I hope the woman gets some real help.

Allan R. Bevere said...


I agree.

Anonymous said...

Apologies are a cheap rag used to try and wipe away the stain of personal wrong doing. No matter who uses that rag, it in not acceptable. The courts are the only mechanism by which such wrong doers may be held accountable. To not hold all concerned accountable to the utmost extreme is to condone what happened and excuse future occurances.
These young men are not to blame for what happened. To say that they are somehow to blame because they were party to the hiring of a stripper and that such degrades women is outrageous. One might as well say that had the young woman actually been raped, that she would have been partly to blame as she put herself at risk by accepting the invitation to involve herself in a morally questionable activity.
These young men should bring a broad legal action against Duke, those who brought the prosecution and the woman who made the false charges. In every possible way they should seek to extract the most extreme money judgement possible from all parties involved. Civil charges should be brought against the woman who falsely accused them and she should by the courts be held accountable for the damage she has done to each of the accused. Those involved in the prosecution of this case should be held accountable and severely penalized by the state bar association to the point of having their license suspended or even stripped. All of the professors who so inappropriately involved themselves and thereby created a polluted academic atmosphere should be at the least censured if not dismissed. There is no room here for moderation. Otherwise the innocent are left damaged for no fault of their own while the guilty are not held accountable and pay no penalty for their wrong doing. Sincerely OOM.

Allan R. Bevere said...

One of Many:

I agree with much of what you have said. Once again, I will say to you, as I said earlier, that if you had read my post carefully, you would have noticed that nowhere did I blame the lacrosse players for what happened to them. I never faulted them. If you note my language once again, I used the term "embarrassed." They should be embarrassed for their behavior that evening; and yes, this kind of stuff is degrading to women.

Your analogy about blaming the victim if she had been raped is a bad comparison as well. Of course, by being in that situation she puts hereself at risk for that happening, even though if it did, she would not be to blame; but we sure could question her judgment in her chosen profession. I am questioning the judgment of those young men that evening, nothing more.

Keith H. McIlwain said...


...since you're unlikely to nominate yourself, might I suggest you make this post one of the "Best of the Methoblogosphere" for the week?

Allan R. Bevere said...


Thanks very much for the compliment, but I am sure there will be plenty of other better candidates.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Allan, I agree with what I can understand of what you're saying here. I followed the case, but not real closely (as understandably you, a Duke alum would).

There are a number of issues to work through here as you have well done. What stands out for me is the insistence that these young men were innocent. Yes they were innocent with regard to the charges. But no, they weren't innocent in putting themselves in a place harmful all the way around. But that's part of our society which maddeningly to me, is all too accepted as the norm.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Absolutely right. Certain kinds of scandalous behavior (and I consider going to a drinking party and hiring a stripper as scandalous)are now acceptable in our society. Their bad behavior does not justify what these three young men went through in the past year, but their behavior cannot simply be labeled as college shenanigans.