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will

The power of a drunk herd cannot be overstated.

I also think that there is a danger when you call these men animals. If they did it, then their behavoir was appalling. However, when you call them animals, you say that they are different from other human beings. Sadly, tragically, they are not.

How many times do we have to discover that otherwise normal humans will do incredibly cruel and savage things to those people that they objectify?!?!?

The Stanford Prison Project should be required reading for every high schooler and then again for every college student.

The Happy Feminist

Confused . . . who is calling them animals?

"How on earth were these guys allowed to reach adulthood without learning that torturing other people and ridiculing them based on their sex and race is not acceptable? Do these guys not have parents?"

You didnt specifically. But that is the thought that goes through most people's minds when they read about such an event.

The Happy Feminist

Oh, I see. Of course, they do have parents, and they do read, and they are just like the boy next door. I know it shouldn't surprise me, but it always does.

will

"I know it shouldn't surprise me, but it always does"

How many times have you said that to yourself? I've lost count. But that is why it is so important to address the issues of objectifying and demonizing. Strippers have never really do much for me as a man. They always seem depressing. They are not selling themselves as a person. They are selling their body as an object. Is it really any wonder that they are then treated contemptously as a disposable object?

You mentioned that she is a mother with kids working through school. You can bet that she doesnt really mention that before she starts stripping.

I realize this sounds an awful lot like blaming the woman. That is not my intention. I am blaming the job.

You cannot have someone as an object for an hour, then expect them to be treated as a person one minute later. That is what is so insideous about stripping and porn.

The Happy Feminist

Well, I know that she probably didn't announce that she is a mother and a student before she went to dance at the party. I almost didn't add that detail because this crime would be just as shocking even if she spent all her spare time shooting up heroin.

These guys should have the moral wherewithal to see a human being with all sorts of other aspects of her identity besides "lust object" -- whether it's as a daughter, a neighbor, a person who thinks, a person who feels, whatever . . . They may not know what those particular aspects are, but they've gotta know that there is more to her than just a person who is paid to put up with whatever they feel like dishing out.

will

"These guys should have the moral wherewithal to see a human being"

Agreed. But why didnt they? And why didnt the men and women in the Stanford Prison Project have the moral wherewithal?

I do not think the answer is simply that these particular men were morally weak.

will

The Stanford Prison Project head, Professor Zimbardo asked: "What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph?"

Look at this situation. Look at the prisoner abuse scandals that we have been having. Were all of these National Guard and reservists bad people?

TangoMan

Will kind of touches on this phenomona when he writes "The power of a drunk herd cannot be overstated." I'll go further. Their little social microcosm was malignant. The lacross frat house developed its own culture that was reinforced over the years with old hands indoctrinating their juniors into modes of behavior. Within that culture, as in any culture, one seeks to impress others and jostle for position, by playing to those cultural values. This little culture was sick for it stessed dehumanizing behavior, revelled in sexist exhibitions, and rewarded that type of behavior.

These guys would have acted differently if they had been split up and melded into normal society. However, when they were concentrated into their microcosm, welded together by bonds of fraternity (both social and athletic) and then took up long standing malignant values, then they were a powderkeg waiting to explode.

This same dynamic was seen in NOLA after Katrina - the concentration of social malignancy that resulted when the greater amount of population evacuated the area.

I have a question for the lawyers here - the police were compelling DNA samples from all the frat members and I'm wondering how far they can extend compulsory DNA sampling. Also, the prosecutor is making noises about charging all members with aiding and abetting and I'm wondering how far the prosecutor can push that reasoning - if the houe is full of people and 3 guys are raping a woman in a bathroom how is it reasonable to assume that all frat members were either aware that this was being planned or aware that it was occuring? Also, can the malignant customs of the frat house be introduced as evidence in support of the prosecuation case?

The Happy Feminist

Good legal questions, Tango Man.

First, law enforcement would have to get a warrant in order to get DNA samples from the lacrosse team. In order to issue a warrant, the judge would have to find probable cause to believe that taking the DNA samples would provide evidence of a crime. I am not sure what the case law says about taking samples from a large but closed group of people, some but not all of whom must have been the perpetrators, but apparently that is allowed. I would imagine that kind of mass DNA sampling would permitted only when the crime could only have been committed by a limited group of people -- so only people who were present at the party. I have some ideas as to what the legal theory may be but I haven't looked it up.

As for aiding and abetting, it would depend on the definition of "aiding and abetting" in North Carolina, but I am sure it would have to involved some purposeful affirmative step to further the crime--like guarding the door to the bathroom, or intentionally making noise to hide the sound of the woman's screams.


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