"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

May 4, 2011

A Good Argument for Vengeance

I don't know these people. I don't know their circumstances. I'm almost old enough to forget what it's like to be an adolescent. My whole experience of it, now, comes from parenting teens.

And that's the whence from which my emotions seethe and fly out of proportion to my connection (as in, none) to these events:

"A teenage girl who was dropped from her high school's cheerleading squad after refusing to chant the name of a basketball player who had sexually assaulted her must pay compensation of $45,000 (£27,300) after losing a legal challenge against the decision.

The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a review of the case brought by the woman, who is known only as HS. Lower courts had ruled that she was speaking for the school, rather than for herself, when serving on a cheerleading squad – meaning that she had no right to stay silent when coaches told her to applaud.

She was 16 when she said she had been raped at a house party attended by dozens of fellow students from Silsbee High School, in south-east Texas. One of her alleged assailants, a student athlete called Rakheem Bolton, was arrested, with two other young men. 

In court, Bolton pleaded guilty to the misdemeanour assault of HS. He received two years of probation, community service, a fine and was required to take anger-management classes. The charge of rape was dropped, leaving him free to return to school and take up his place on the basketball team.

Four months later, in January 2009, HS travelled to one of Silsbee High School's basketball games in Huntsville. She joined in with the business of leading cheers throughout the match. But when Bolton was about to take a free throw, the girl decided to stand silently with her arms folded.

'I didn't want to have to say his name and I didn't want to cheer for him," she later told reporters. "I just didn't want to encourage anything he was doing.'

Richard Bain, the school superintendent in the sport-obsessed small town, saw things differently. He told HS to leave the gymnasium. Outside, he told her she was required to cheer for Bolton. When the girl said she was unwilling to endorse a man who had sexually assaulted her, she was expelled from the cheerleading squad..."

I'm not qualified to properly analyze this within an intellectual framework. I couldn't possibly write commentary that won't be or hasn't already been better put to page and screen by dozens of feminists. But, I do have the words to describe my emotional response:

The superintendent ought to have his tongue cut out of his mouth and stitched to his forehead. The rapists ought to have their raping rapist peckers staple gunned to concrete slabs which are thereupon immediately tossed into the nearest river, and the young woman ought to have whatever other vengeance upon the shitheel Texas town her bright heart desires.


K. Ron Silkwood said...

Your words also well describe my emotional response.

Randal Graves said...

Bros before hos, brah ain't just for the whipper snappers.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Despicable, truly despicable.

Michael- said...

fuch yeah. And then there's the judges... but we already know what their non-priorities are... Fucktards the lot of them.

Unknown said...

Sure, when the tale is told from a certain perspective the first reaction is revenge, but that is because revenge is part of western culture. Not all cultures believe in revenge however. And you see this all
is rather like about a zillion Hollywood flicks where in the beginning some really bad person does something really outrageous and along comes this muscle bound guy who looks great and wreaks revenge on the smelly ugly bad person to everyone's glee. In the end this reduces reality to good versus evil which is solely a human invention used mostly in novels. I could come up with another perspective that would make the supposed victim into anything but a victim. Depends on how you frame the story.

Richard said...

I can only echo what Harvey Milk said about closeted gays in the places like Texas in the 1970s . . "or [s]he can move to San Francisco".

Hopefully, she'll get out of there, and get to someplace like Atlanta, Asheville . . or, farther away, like the West Coast and leave these people behind.

Unknown said...

So, people who live in certain geographic areas are superior to people who live in other gegraphic areas? C'mon, think about that a minute.

Richard said...

No, but there is more diversity, tolerance and respect in some areas than others. If you talk to some of your gay and lesbian friends, they can tell you about it. Consider, for example, what happened to Seth Walsh and Asher Brown. African Americans know about this, too. In this instance, the victim, although straight, lives in a community that treats her with great disrespect, providing her little, if any social support. So, moving to a new place where people would actually empathize with her experience, instead of punishing her for being a rape victim and reporting it, thereby making it public, which is what this case is really about.

Unknown said...

Wellll, I'm not really convinced by your argument. There is racism pretty much where ever you go so I would assume you would find people who would blame the rape victim as well. But you would also find people who would not. I don't think you can assume so many things about a given geopolitcal area without tripping up. The same holds with attitudes towards gays and lesbians, you will find bigots where ever you are, it's part of our culture, hard to get away from.

Jack Crow said...

I guess, for me, I am willing to separate bureaucratic violence from the need to seek recompense.

I don't necessarily reject vengeance or violence, but I'm not really endorsing a systematic approach to it either.

If a victim wants to kill her rapist, I have no moral qualms with her desire to do so, however impolitic it might be.

I will tell you that when I finally got around to dealing with the people who arranged my rape - and the ones who did it to me - I felt better.

Not because I changed anything about the world. Not because it erased my memory. Not because any pain I may or may not have caused shifted a balance of power or effect.

None of that happened, or ever will.

Because making those motherfuckers tremble allowed me to put it down. Saying the "no" which best suits you is how you start the long process of ceasing to be a victim.

For some, that is forgiveness. For others, making your violators fear will do.

Some time ago now, I wrote this:


I still feel that way, but I've come to understand that people continually resort to vengeance for a reason.

Unknown said...

I guess we all need to feel that we have some control over the events in our lives, especially when confronted with something as horrific as being raped, something I admit I have a difficult time imagining. You might check out Barry Crimmins blog who writes very strongly about his sexual abuse as a child at the hands of the Catholic Church which understandably he hates passionately. I can understand hate, hating the people who hurt you, there are people who I hate for that reason, it's an ugly thing but I'm well conditioned by our culture. People do underestimate the power of culture, in fact, are rarely even aware of how it rules our lives and very thoughts.