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Raping with impunity
In Gene Lyons' Dec. 11 column "Rolling Stone Now Publishing Fiction," he asked a rhetorical question: "Had American culture really coarsened to where college boys could rape with impunity?" I'm writing this letter because I thought he might like to know that question has been empirically answered by social scientists.
A few years ago, psychologists at the University of Massachusetts in Boston conducted a survey of 1,882 undergraduate men that asked, among other things, if they had ever forced anyone to have sex against that person's will. One hundred twenty respondents — or 6.4 percent — said that they had. The methods the self-reported rapists used varied, with most saying that they had used alcohol or drugs to incapacitate the other person, while others admitted to using physical force to coerce sex from their victim. The 120 self-reported rapists acknowledged committing a combined total of 483 rapes, slightly more than four rapes per rapist. Other social scientists have replicated the University of Massachusetts study and found similar results.
In the third paragraph of Lyons' column, he wrote that he found the Rolling Stone story regarding rape at University of Virginia difficult to believe because he "wouldn't go to a movie with such cartoon villains." Although Mr. Lyons may ultimately be proven right about the Rolling Stone article he criticizes, he may wish to consider the possibility that his glibness about this topic is perhaps misplaced.
Recently Congress passed a $1.1 trillion government-spending bill. The big bank lobbyists that represent banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan were able to get a banking provision attached to the bill. This provision allows banks to keep their swaps trading in units that have federal backstops. More specifically, this provision allows financial institutions to trade certain financial derivatives from subsidiaries that are insured by the FDIC, explicitly putting taxpayers on the hook for losses caused by these contracts, which are currently valued at over $300 trillion. This provision negates the rules enacted by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, which protected taxpayers against bank losses after souring derivative trades helped cause the 2008 financial crisis. There is another financial crisis on the horizon and the big banks know it. Sen. Boozman voted for this bill and Sen.-elect Cotton, as the 4th District representative, did not, but I could not get a comment from his staff as to why he opposed the bill. There is not one thing about this provision that is good for the U.S. taxpayer. It only allows the big banks to gamble with you, the taxpayer, as their backstop. The profit potential for them is huge, billions of dollars, and now the cost of losing their bets is zero, courtesy of taxpayers. I urge you to contact your congressional representatives to get this banking provision repealed. We cannot afford another $700 billion bank bailout.
From the web
In response to "A racist system," a guest column by Sam O'Bryant:
If we are going to discuss the nature of race and police shootings, then it is incumbent on us to discuss this honestly. If you have a shooting like John Crawford's, where it is evident that the police came storming into Walmart with intent to kill, then you can show a problem.
If you have a kid like Trayvon Martin who is shot in the act of trying to kill someone, justice is done the moment the citizen fires that shot in self-defense.
Some of the cases clearly have a racial animus in them, yet they seem to be the ones that get little airplay. Also forgotten is that in some of these cases, the full court of justice has found in defense of some of those black lives. The shooter of Oscar Grant is out of a job, unlike the shooter of John Crawford. Michael Dunn is doing 60 years in the killing of Jordan Davis.
As far as zip codes, yes, that is true. It also works that way for non blacks, too. If you're Hispanic, and born into a certain zip, your life expectancy is not much better. That delves more into issues of community, rather than race. Blacks in other zip codes that have more mixing and less gang trouble do tend to live longer. Same goes for Hispanics born outside of East L.A., or in my case, Echo Park. We got out; I got a better life.
The question then becomes why are so many blacks committing so many crimes, and how can these communities get together to properly address the problem, instead of blaming others.
Michael Brown and Martin were examples of the system working well, and justice being served. Trayvon was not stalked, and Brown was not shot in the back with hands held high, and Eric Garner was not choked to death. There have been a legion of lies to show these cases as ones of racial animus, but the facts do not hold that up. Still, people seem to want to buy into the dubious nature of these shootings to legitimize the riots and lootings that have happened since.
Yet nobody riots for Tamir Rice, or John Crawford, which are clear cases of police murders. Will Al Sharpton make a speech about Crawford, or will Obama and Holder get the DOJ to investigate Rice?
There may be a point to the racial hysteria. It is entirely possible. For that point to be honestly made, one has to cull the dubious from the righteous. Brown, Martin and Garner are definitely dubious, and trying to hinge any aims towards justice on the lies that play in those narratives only creates racial strife.
Equal protection and due process shouldn't require you to first be a saint for those constitutional principals to apply. Even if one inserts himself into the criminal justice system, his experience throughout should be dictated by the constitution not his or her race or class. A black suspect should have the same fair process as anyone else. Studies and stats have repeatedly shown that is not the case.
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