Part 3—A basic fact disappears: What actually happened on the Stanford campus on the evening of January 18, 2015?
We can't exactly tell you. This March, a jury ruled that Brock Turner, then a 19-year-old Stanford freshman who says he wasn't black-out drunk, committed three felonies that night.
That suggests that the jury may not have believed Turner's account of the evening's events. That said, his account of the evening's events does in fact exist.
His account may be true, or it may be false. The world's leading authority on the case describes his story thusly:
After his arrest, Turner told police that he and the victim "drank beer together," "danced and kissed" at the party and both mutually agreed to go back to his room. Turner stated that the victim slipped on a slope behind a wooden shed, and Turner got down to the ground and they started kissing each other. Turner said he then asked her if she wanted him to "finger" her, to which she said yes. He stated that he "fingered" her for a minute as they were kissing, then they started "dry humping." Turner then said he got nauseous and told her he needed to vomit.How much of that account is true? We have no way of knowing. In part, that's because the woman, described by police as Emily Doe, gave no account of these events. She was black-out drunk that night, in accord with the dangerous, illegal campus culture permitted by the upstanding, august men who serve as president and provost of the famous university with the frightening "scary path."
(The victim's sister, who was initially present, couldn't give an account of these events. She was helping another drunken student get back to his or her room.)
What actually happened that night? Like you, we can't quite say. Turner had every reason to lie to police. Doe was too drunk to say.
That said, this scenario has become amazingly familiar in the past few years, as the liberal world and the mainstream press have discussed, or pretended to discuss, the problem of sexual assault on American college campuses.
In an amazing array of high-profile cases, the victims and alleged victims of campus assaults have been blackout drunk at the time of the assault, and have therefore been unable to speak to what occurred. As part of our childish, crackpot "liberal" culture, liberals and mainstream journalists persistently agree to behave as if this is an unremarkable state of affairs.
(Like Turner, many of these victims and alleged victims have been underage. As such, their drinking wasn't just excessive and dangerous, it was also illegal and enabled.)
Within our enlightened liberal culture, we pursue the 19-year-old freshman whose blood alcohol was 0.17 at the time of his crime. We look away from the highly august provosts and presidents who have relentlessly accepted and enabled the dangerous, illegal campus culture which is deeply entangled with this series of appalling cases, in which many young people get hurt.
In the current case, we also take the rope in our hands and pursue the local judge who was forced to deal with the predictable results of this illegal cultural mess. Power relations have always been thus. For starters, this brings us to Leonard Pitts' column.
For starters, let's say this. By all normal measures, Leonard Pitts, age 58, is a sensible, decent person.
He's even a former Pacific-10 great! The world's leading authority offers this capsule description:
Leonard Garvey Pitts, Jr. (born October 11, 1957) is an American commentator, journalist and novelist. He is a nationally syndicated columnist and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. He was originally hired by the Miami Herald to critique music, but within a few years he received his own column in which he dealt extensively with race, politics, and culture.By an array of normal measures, Pitts is a serious, decent, intelligent person. For that reason, it's worth reviewing the way he chased after the local judge, while deferring to the august behavior of the president and the provost.
Raised in Los Angeles and educated at the University of Southern California, Pitts currently lives in Bowie, Maryland. He has won awards for his writing from the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and the National Association of Black Journalists, and he was first nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993, eventually claiming the honor in 2004.
The local judge who handled this case is named Aaron Persky. It falls to people like him to adjudicate the messes which emerge from the illegal lunatic culture created by higher-ranking, more august men and women who run our finest schools.
Following the pack, Pitts went after Persky. Just for the record, he used the current ages of Turner and Doe, rather than their ages on the night in question.
(Our journalists have occasionally massaged age in this way ever since the thrilling case of "the 21-year-old intern" who was neither 21 nor an intern at the time in question.)
Whatever! Pitts had the local judge in his sights. His account of Persky's decision started like this:
PITTS (6/12/16): Turner was facing up to 14 years in prison. Judge Aaron Persky gave him the aforementioned six. Months.The local judge had compassion for the "rapist," Pitts said, but none for the victim. (Under California law, Turner wasn't convicted of rape.)
A harsher sentence “would have a severe impact on him,” explained the judge.
Persky’s compassion for the rapist—and lack thereof for the victim—has detonated social media like a bomb. People are furious. They are weeping. They are calling Turner a “monster.” At this writing, a petition at Change.org demanding Persky’s recall stands north of 900,000 signatures.
Already, we thought that assessment was pretty tough. Later, though, Pitts wrote what you see below. He was speaking about the six-month sentence Turner was given, which he thought was too lenient:
PITTS: It’s not a big number. You were counting past it in kindergarten.Just this once, we'll be honest. In a culture in which crazy people increasingly turn to the use of their guns, we thought that final reference to Persky stepped way over the line.
For an American woman, it’s a measure of the danger she faces from predatory men who consider her body to be their right. It is the difference between self-confidence and fear.
For Turner’s victim, it is a measure of the value the justice system placed on her trauma—and on her. It is the difference between the free woman she was and the frightened one she has become.
For Turner, it is the fraction of his life he’s been ordered to pay for the arrogant violation of another person’s self. It is the difference between spring and fall.
If you are a woman, or a man who cares about women, you ought to seethe, and then you ought to do whatever you can to fix a culture that makes possible a Brock Turner—and an Aaron Persky.
That reference struck us as possibly dangerous. Not as dangerous as the culture enabled by the provost and president, but perhaps a tiny bit dangerous nonetheless.
Different people had different reactions to that six-month sentence. Pitts seemed to think the sentence was heinous, although, in fairness, he showed little of sign of knowing much about such sentencing matters.
In this increasingly dangerous culture, we thought Pitts was possibly over his skis when he offered the fiery thoughts which, admittedly, helped his readers admire his own manifest moral greatness. More strikingly, though, we couldn't help noticing a more basic point.
We couldn't help noting the basic fact which Pitts omitted from his column. Increasingly, the omission of basic facts is a basic part of the "journalism" to which our failing nation has been condemned.
In his country's finest tradition, Pitts was ready to hang the local judge thisday. In service to that ancient desire, he disappeared someone else!
We don't refer to the provost and the president, though they got disappeared too. Tomorrow, we'll discuss the official who got disappeared in what has become a standard part of our "journalism."
The pundit was chasing the local judge. Did you see who he disappeared?
Tomorrow: Disappeared and irrelevant facts. But then, what else is new?