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April 14, 2006

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larwyn

I wrote to my grandson that the Duke situation was more like Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" than "IACS" yesterday.

Newsweak's Thomas just said same thing on Imus, as he doesn't believe that there really is evidence to indict but that the DA is going to do just that.

I hope Wolfe puts his reporter's hat back on and does some investigation at Durham. That would be fine reading.

CS

Rick, the unjust conflation would be allowing one's assessment of ab initio moral behavior to lead one to rhetorical excess about post hoc cooperation. I don't, of course, mean you. Agreed on expulsion from Eton (ask Harry Flashman), but those consequences didn't include incarceration and so on. Come to think of it, maybe a stretch in Afghanistan is exactly what some of this crew of not-quite-criminal privileged bullies need, pace G. McD. Fraser.

Cecil Turner

Problems arise when the pack forms but the supervision is inadequate.

Exactly. And especially in coming-of-age activities like this, it's essential that some sort of mechanism exists to keep the lid on. The coach in particular ought to be awake to the fact his responsibility--and legal jeopardy (e.g., for the underage drinking)--is substantially different than the players'.

Thanks for the e-mail, Larwyn, it's an interesting perspective (and one I largely shared at his age).

But, the other players should not be denied a season (especially the seniors) simply because some of the other members of their team wanted to have a not-so-sensible party.

First, I'd note the main concern here is with the sports season, and not any legal issues. Based on public reports of the evidence, I suspect that's an accurate assessment. And it's worth noting he sees the greater impact of a lost season on the seniors . . . but not their greater responsibility for team conduct.

Since when has it been the case, that when you can't find the guilty party, the entire population gets punished?

Since forever, youngster . . . the purpose being to impress upon the more responsible members of the population that they have a responsibility to police the actions of their less responsible brethren (particularly acute when discussing the slightly older members of a collegiate sports activity). Further, why is it that the (three) persons actually accused--of a group of 40-some--can't be identified? I'm not entirely sure (considering the prosecutor's zeal) that "lack of cooperation" isn't somewhat warranted . . . but it does have obvious ramifications as to treatment of the group as a whole. Which includes a lost season, and a program in jeopardy.

Specter

There are really two sides to this. The first is the partying side. There was apparently little or no supervision, and as we all know there will be partying on a college campus. I don't fault them for that.

But the big caveat in all of that is the sense of "boys will be boys." That I do not agree with. There are standards of common decency; there are team rules; there are codes of conduct. If the cancellation of the season were simply over the partying, I think it would be very, very unjust because I would be willing to bet that all DUKE teams have similar events.

The other contention here is that the boys should have cooperated with the authorities. In some sense they did because they gave DNA samples. But there is much more here. Police and DA's are NOT out to prove somebody's innocence. They are out to make a case. And if Fitz has shown us anything, if you can't charge one way, make up a charge and slime the charged. Turn it into GUILTY until proven INNOCENT. We see this happen over and over in society. I would never recommend that somebody cooperate. If they don't have a warrant, don't talk to them. Make them go through the steps of having a judge agree that there is probable cause. Build a paper record. It is important that people protect their own rights rather than let the authorities trample them.

Cecil Turner

It is important that people protect their own rights rather than let the authorities trample them.

For suspects, I certainly agree. But in this case, it appears there are a handful (3?) folks actually involved in some sort of altercation, hiding amongst the rest of the team. That raises an additional question of responsiblity if the team is stonewalling (which, based on my very limited reading, appears to be the case). Refusing to provide identities is not protecting rights, nor is it particularly honorable.

Specter

Well...that may be. But from my reading the building of the case has nothing to do with the "altercation". (albeit I could have missed a report or two it being the end of the holiday and all). From my understanding the DA is still trying to work on a case for sex charges and with the way these things get out of control I stand by what I said.

cfw

Cecil:

"For suspects, I certainly agree. But in this case, it appears there are a handful (3?) folks actually involved in some sort of altercation, hiding amongst the rest of the team."

Who knows which three the V has in mind? If DA Nifong had exact info about alleged 3 who had sex, and the innocent bystanders, why not offer immunity and compel cooperation?

Since DA has played games - no lineup that I have heard of - keeping all 46 out of the "volunteer witness" business makes sense.

Everyone is still a target, per the last search warrant (conspiracy alleged).

Cecil Turner

Since DA has played games - no lineup that I have heard of - keeping all 46 out of the "volunteer witness" business makes sense.

Can't really argue with that (especially since the wide-ranging DNA checks). But I do wonder which came first. And if it was stonewalling, both TM's and Nifong's complaints about cooperation have some merit.

Daddy


T(A)ILHOOK + TAWANA (B)RAWLEY = DUKE LA(C)ROSSE
Math, ain't it wonderful.

cfw

"Can't really argue with that (especially since the wide-ranging DNA checks). But I do wonder which came first."

Ordinarily, one would expect the line-up to be done on or about March 14 - why not do it promptly, when one could check arms for scratches, clothes for hair, etc.?

I suspect the police showed (or discussed) photos with V fairly promptly and found out V could not be sure (which, of course, does not mean that nothing happened).

Then they went to plan B, DNA testing and "jaw-boning" about cooperating witnesses.

An "if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears" sort of problem developed when the DNA tests proved negative.

Unfortunately, whoever was close enough to have credible evidence as to forcible sex (e.g., at the door looking in) would have potential liability as aider and abetter (encourging is all that is required).

So offering immunity is not a super-attractive option.

I like the idea of offering up to $100,000 of reward money for evidence leading to conviction or conclusively establishing innocence of the lax 46.

Make an open offer of use immunity (narrower than transactional) for those not involved in aiding and abetting but able to illuminate what happened.

I predict DA Nifong keeps the case open at least until after the election, which does not offend me, assuming we are only talking about a few weeks.

CS

Another obvious way one trains young males to do right in "packs" is through the imposition of honor codes that require candid, voluntary informing on bad behevior by pack members. To work, though, they have to be enforced all the time. Pack members have to be schooled to assume informing and being informed on in small matters, so the code checks more serious bad behavior through an expectation of informing. I wonder what Duke would have done if the lax coach had actually installed and enforced an honor code.

That being said, my guess is that if Nifong had very good cases against "the three" he'd have used immunity and contempt threats to corroborate and firm things up. But who knows? Nifong may think he can get secondary-offense indictments as to many of "the 43", then use that leverage to adduce corroborating statements. Plus, he'd have the secondary indictments to fall back on if the rape cases proved weak.

larwyn

Cecil,
My error is not reiterating my specific disagreements with TM's post, the value of the "small sports" and the benefit of those "playing fields of Eton", as a preface to posting my grandson's email.

He's NAL and taking 5 courses vs 4, tutoring, rugby and other activities/jobs doesn't keep up with current events as we did prior to his entering the Univ.

These were the grafts that I should have emphasized:

Although academics is of course first and foremost, I have a strong sense of pride and camaraderie from playing an intercollegiate sport, something I wouldn't have had from any other experience at this school.

And these:

Contrary to popular belief, however, there is a large number of college kids who don't drink, or(sb AND) who behave responsibly, although they aren't always the loudest, most noticeable ones.

I can say that drinking often gets out of control, and there is a focus placed on this sort of behavior that is almost surreal. It has affected my social situation, only in the sense
that it has made me have to look harder for other people like me, who won't be found at the big drinking parties or whatever
.

He confirms that Wolfe's "I Am Charlotte Simmons" culture is accepted by his university, which is not known as a party school:

"there is a focus placed on this sort of behavior that is almost surreal.

Here is a paragraph from "Judas:A Saint for Our Seasons" by Vanderleun

There was, perhaps, only one moment in history when humans "knew not what they did." In all other times we know, at the deepest level, exactly what we do when we betray another, or others, or ourselves, or our country. We know it clearly and so we bury the ugly deed deeply. Still it persists, remains and rots in the tomb of our souls. A wiser culture called this "sin" and sought to have it confessed and forgiven as meaningless in the shadow of the greatest sacrifice. Our therapeutic culture calls it "guilt" and seeks to palliate and expunge it so that we may live a guilt-free life regardless of our acts. More and more of us live in the latter culture and seek a life forever free from sin, from guilt, from the consequences of our betrayals. And yet this final freedom eludes us.

Vanderleun's line:
"More and more of us live in the latter culture and seek a life forever free from sin, from guilt, from the consequences of our betrayals".

The P.C.'d moral relativists administrations at Duke and at all the institution of higher learning they control have moved that line of accepted behavior so far, that my grandson finds he is in midst of the "surreal".

So grandson is saying that it doesn't look as if that DUKE LAX team are outliers on any continuum of accepted behavior on campus. In fact, he and his friends are the outliers. And therefore, he sees the extreme punishment coming from an Administration that not only permits this culture on campuses but celebrates it, as a hypocrisy with "a focus placed on this sort of behavior"

He has gone from one of the best Catholic grade schools to the excellent public H.S. in our suburb. It is a H.S. that must answer to the mid to upper class professional parents who vote REPUB. An island of sanity on this end of our state.

Feb 14th is still for candy,flowers and stuffed bears not for females running about with photos of their private parts. When he was home on break last year and I asked "how was Valentines' Day on campus? He shook his head, rolled his eyes and blushed.

Please do not misconstrue any of this as my taking the responsibility away from these young men at Duke IF an assault or rape, did in fact take place.

My pride is in the fact that he will not lead and has chosen not to lead what Vanderleun's calls "a guilt free life".

He is also well aware that that it could be dangerous to speak any words of "judgement" to his fellow students. Look what the Librarian at OSU is going thru for presenting a reading list containing 4 Conservative books. So he rolls his eyes, does his work and seeks out the like-minded
"they aren't always the loudest, most noticeable ones".

My "So Far So Good" reflected my relief that more than half way thru the dangerous sophomore year, he hasn't decided to become "sophisticated".

Cecil Turner

That being said, my guess is that if Nifong had very good cases against "the three" he'd have used immunity and contempt threats to corroborate and firm things up.

I suspect he doesn't even know who they are. (CFW's assessment of the lineup point strikes me as spot-on.)

Please do not misconstrue any of this as my taking the responsibility away from these young men at Duke IF an assault or rape, did in fact take place.

I didn't take it that way at all. Besides, I rather doubt there was anything that could be prosecuted as an assault anyway, and think your grandson nailed it: a not-so-sensible party. And I don't doubt he's right about the hypocrisy and glorification angles. The problem is, that is also an infraction, and all present are guilty. Further, while folks will look the other way as long as the police don't get involved, when they do . . .

He is also well aware that that it could be dangerous to speak any words of "judgement" to his fellow students.

He sounds like a good kid. And avoiding idiots is a reasonable method of getting along. But as time goes by, he'll eventually become more of an opinion shaper. And when knuckleheads conflict with folks who've lost patience with their shennanigans, the latter will win. It's better to be on the right side of history.

larwyn

Cecil,
"It's better to be on the right side of history."

Exactly why we cannot let the Left have power. And why we must chip away bit by bit at their bastions.

These are very important midterms.

CS

Cecil, he thinks he knows, at least. Two indictments, and I'd be very surprised if they're not of the alleged rapists themselves.

larwyn

Vanderleun:
Our therapeutic culture calls it "guilt" and seeks to palliate and expunge it so that we may live a guilt-free life regardless of our acts.

Alan Fraser

Bill Clinton's legacy

Everywhere the headline in the MSM for a couple of Clinton speaches was “Bill Clinton Learns To Laugh At His Past.” Thank God; we had all been losing sleep.

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