Carroll: Brock Turner Brock Turner Brock Turner
In October 2004, actor, writer and comedian Tina Fey trained her trademark scorching-dry wit squarely on Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly following the out-of-court settlement of a lurid sexual-harassment lawsuit filed against him by one of his former producers.
“This brutal ordeal is now officially over, and I will never speak of it again,” O’Reilly announced on his show, “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“Oh, but I will,” Fey said gleefully on “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update. “Because I like the part about you wanting to rub falafel on that lady’s boobs and the part about how you love vibrators and the part about how you believed it when a prostitute told you you had a big penis. I love all those parts, and I’m going to keep talking about them. A lot.”
Former Stanford University student Brock Turner, 21, was emancipated from the Santa Clara County Jail four days ago, which, in the current age of hashtags and short-attention-span news cycles, is more than enough time for most people to have moved on from their outrage over him to, say, the latest racist/sexist/xenophobic obscenity vomited by Donald Trump.
Like Fey with O’Reilly, however, it seems as if many folks have no plans to stop crucifying Turner. And rightfully so.
When someone like O’Reilly, who makes a handsome living perched on a lily-white pedestal taking cheap and often misleading shots at those whom he has determined to be hypocrites, proves to be among the biggest charlatans out there, it’s basically everyone’s job to memorize the constitution of his DNA. This way, the next time he uses his sizable platform to crookedly eviscerate others, the knowledge of his own nefarious character can be taken into consideration.
Likewise, when a guy such as Turner, who was convicted of three felonies for sexually assaulting an unconscious young woman behind a dumpster, only serves half of an already paltry six-month sentence, it’s pretty much everyone’s duty to keep talking about it.
A critical part of the conversation is how Turner only spent a few months in jail instead of the six years requested by prosecutors — because California Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky worried more time would have a “severe impact” on him. Yet Persky wasn’t nearly as concerned with the bearing that hard time would have on Raul Ramirez, the 32-year-old El Salvadoran immigrant he sentenced to three years in state prison after Ramirez sexually assaulted his unconscious female roommate.
Stanford University is an essential part of the ongoing dialogue, as well. In the wake of the Turner case, last week the school announced a “strict” new alcohol policy aimed at preventing rape. Hard liquor has been banned at on-campus parties, and undergraduates are prohibited from possessing containers of alcohol larger than 750 milliliters. Because Stanford students probably aren’t bright enough to now go out and buy several 750-milliliter bottles of hard alcohol. And because men don’t rape women; hard alcohol makes women get raped. Oh, wait.
Then there are Turner’s parents. They might have spent the past three months soul searching to understand how they raised a kid capable of such barbarism. Instead, though, they appeared most concerned about Brock paying “a steep price … for 20 minutes of action out of his 20-plus years of life.” Fortunately, Brock managed to “survive” his three months in jail and didn’t emerge as a “major target” there, as his mother fearfully cried to the judge ahead of sentencing. It seems as if she was alone in that concern, though, because the criminal-justice system isn’t used to seeing his kind. Indeed, CNN spoke to a slew of judges, prosecutors, academics and criminologists, all of whom said “little to no time in jail or prison is common among college athletes convicted of first-time sexual offenses — if they are charged at all.”
But really, Turner is hardly alone in having committed a monstrous act and escaping all but unscathed. Bubbling under the surface of his tale are countless other sex offenders — with higher degrees and otherwise — whose crimes frequently go unreported and either underpunished or unpunished entirely. Pushed even further down the Turner story is the well-being of his victim.
What should be talked about ad nauseam is the onus on boys not to rape instead of girls learning not to get raped. And while all parents should love their children as unconditionally as the Turners do Brock, they also need to realize their kids will probably end up better human beings if the steady stream of accolades they shower on them is peppered with admonishments when applicable.
Clearly being a white, American, Stanford-educated athlete (and Fox News host) has its privileges. It’s just tragic one of them is being afforded a separate — and futile — set of rules.
More at http://www.meredithcarroll.com.
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