Saturday, April 14, 2007

This Happened Sooner Than I Expected

Terry Moran has recently written an article about how he doesn't "feel too sorry for the dukies." I really have a hard time with his line of reasoning.

First of all, I bet that even those of you who haven't read his article know what he said: blah blah money, blah blah privilege, blah blah good lawyers, blah blah white kids, blah blah they are all jerks anyway. While I am certainly of the opinion that people who don't hire strippers seldom get accused of raping strippers, it is hard for me to stomach Moran saying that these guys earned what they got. And even if they are privileged jerks, they are not especially privileged or especially jerk-ish.

But they are different in one huge way, and it's a way that Moran ignores. These boys were tried and convicted in the court of public (read: media) opinion on the barest of accusations. Moran argues that we should not feel too bad for these boys because prosecutors go on vendettas all the time and these boys were lucky enough to get out from under the charges against them. Most less privileged victims are not so fortunate. We can argue about whether Moran's facts about prosecutorial misconduct are correct, but the vast majority of the falsely accused never have their alleged crimes bandied about in the media for a year. Most of the falsely accused don't have their professors start organizations that openly antagonize them. Most of the falsely accused will not be instantly known as the "[place] [verb]ers" ("Duke rapists" in this case) forever and everywhere.

This alleged crime fit a mold that many people, including many people in the media, wanted to highlight. This whole prosecution was never about these boys. It was about all the blah blah blahs.

The problem is that, while the blah blah blahs may or may not be true for the country at large, but these boys did not commit any crimes. Why not be on their side? Is every person at Duke a scumbag who only deserves whatever rights a $400 per hour attorney can secure for them, or are they entitled to human rights as well? Let us be glad that justice was done in this case and seek to do justice in every other case as well.

I fear that our country's media has embraced the idea of "false but accurate." Don't buy it. Feel sorry for all, including the falsely accused, who suffer unjustly. Do justice to individuals, not disembodied classes or races. Love all people, even those of us who committed the crimes for which we have been accused.

In a story, the characters must yield to the theme.

In real life, the characters last forever and the media is gone by the bottom of the hour.

1 comment:

GranMarty said...

"...but to DO justice—and to LOVE mercy—and to WALK humbly with thy God" comes to mind."