by Eileen | 11:39 pm, February 20, 2013 | Comments Off
I will judge you by what you say and write. And it will impact what I think of you. You own you choose to put out into the public sphere and I expect you to realize that before you share your thoughts. If it comes back to bite you, I think you should deal with it like an adult.
I think there is little, if any speech, that should invoke criminal penalties. But I an enthusiastic supporter of tendency of society to use its own non-legal means to punish people who say appalling things.
With that intro, I think it’s rather obvious where I’m going…
1. The ilk of politicians who love, absolutely love, to blather on about their civil rights chops and their abiding love for any and all vulnerable groups endorse gun policies that would leave people utterly defenseless and lead to more sexual violence. When those less prone to fret about political correctness mock such dangerous proposals, the perennially offended grievance-mongers of the web go into full melt-down mode, clasping at pearls (or, given the subject, at knotted hemp necklaces) and moaning about the ‘War on Women’.
2. An adult woman who is old enough to be expected to show judgment and who has a job where she acts as an authority figure to teens uses a public Twitter feed to tell the world about her penchant for nudity and her abiding love of all things ‘crunk’. My research informs me this is a portmanteau of ‘drunk’ and ‘chronic’. How delightfully droll. Placed on paid leave by the school district that employs her, this young filly now spends her days playing at put-upon champion of free speech.
These two recent controversies’ are much on my mind of late. Two Coloradans, both brand new to their jobs, commit spectacular snafus in public space, actions that gravely affect their reputation and their fitness to continue in their jobs. They both get taken to task, yet insist they’re pure victims. In both cases, those faulting the poor behavior and calling for repercussions are attacked for, among other things, blowing things out of proportion.
First, both cases are rife with people – usually far left people – misunderstanding the problem and blaming the wrong ‘villain’. Watching the blowback direct not at Joe Salazar suggesting women are vapid fools who can’t reliably know when they’re about to be raped but against those who called him out for such insulting chatter, I kept hearing about ‘rape culture’, a phrase I fear is rendered meaningless by overuse; if it offends a self-described feminist and she can’t think up a good reason why, then it’s ‘rape culture’. As I think there are real and abiding problems in the way some societies and some groups treat women, it bothers me a lot to see such a term carelessly applied. As McKinney, back on Twitter not long after gaining notoriety, insists she did nothing wrong and wrongly persists that the First Amendment means she’s untouchable, her defenders, when they aren’t begging for more graphic photos, insist that anyone finding fault with the young teacher really just hates women or is engaged in ‘slut shaming’. The more I hear that turn of phrase, the more certain I am that it is little more than projection in place of reasoned response.
In the case of Salazar’s comments and the ensuing kerfuffle, ‘rape culture’ is the appellation of choice in condemning pointed, accurate criticism of a man and his deplorable attitude toward women and their safety. Actually, he only used women as an example; extrapolating his fetish for disarming people to all of us, we should be talking about Joe Salazar and his deplorable attitude toward any person who could ever become a victim of sexual violence, which is to say, all of us. But I while I would like to point out that Salazar’s preference for seeing his anti-Second Amendment platform become law regardless of the human cost is a real threat to a wider demographic than just women on college campuses, I digress.
When Salazar was called out for his awful comments, for the pathetic thoughtlessness it revealed, and for his insincere non-apology, those who came to his defense frequently called out his critics for failing to take rape seriously and for blaming victims instead of rapists. Within the narrow case of Joe Salazar and the #LiberalTips2AvoidRape hashtag that was a response to him, leftist criticism painted satire as people trivializing sexual assault and blaming the victims. Are they really dumb enough to think that or are they trying to avoid admitting one of their guys is a gutless bonehead? Probably a little of both. In a wider scope, I hear – far too often – people who think that telling a woman to take steps to protect herself against rape is the equivalent of society protecting rapists and indicating that any woman who is raped had only herself to blame.
Carly McKinney also got her own hashtag, #FreeCrunkBear, which is depressing in its own horrible way – think tragic souls begging for more naked imagery and high school dropouts summoning all their literary skills to assure us that, had their teacher been a perpetually stoned exhibitionist, they’d have graduated, after all. While the #LiberalTips2AvoidRape hash was started by a Twitter user decidedly not sympathetic to Joe Salazar’s comment, the #FreeCrunkBear tag originated with Overland High School students who saw no problem with having a walking caricature of reality programming guide them through proofs and tangents. Seriously, there’s a reason teens don’t get to vote or sign contracts.
The lefty uproar over the former tag speaks to a shaky belief in a fantasy society where no man will ever be a sexual predator and the concomitant faith in ‘society’ or ‘the government’ to make crime so unthinkable that no individual needs to consider her risk and take personal steps to mitigate it. The latter evinces a refusal to get real about how much Crunky Carl has done to shatter her credibility, to admit that she got the attention she sought an that it comes at a price. Perhaps it is the logical conclusion of the collectivist mind that even expecting people to be responsible for themselves is unacceptable. It’s also stark, raving nonsense. I recommend any other women carry a gun, practice shooting regularly, take self-defense, and make a habit of being aware of her surrounding all the time not because I intend to blame her for anything that befalls her but because I think the ideal solution is that nothing ever does befall her. And I recommend anyone control her online reputation and think about what she posts under her real name, not because I am categorically damning a woman who wants to be explicit on the Internet is less deserving of Constitutional rights or morally unworthy, but because, one it’s out there, there is no going back and it behooves anyone to think and then post.
I really do worry about people who are even remotely willing to make such a divestment of personal responsibility. When it comes to a government keen to deprive individuals’ responsibility and control of their own affairs, I use the word ‘evil’ and I do so deliberately. Taking responsibility for yourself shouldn’t be the scary concept. Letting the state take care of you is what ought to terrify anyone. Answering for poor decisions may not be fun, but it’s not severable from making your own decisions.
There is no way, logically or morally, that preventing a woman from taking care of herself can ever be just, or efficient, for that matter. I think political speech that persists in the delusion of a crime-free Utopia says something about its practitioners – such people want the benefits of personal responsibility and of an armed society, but want those benefits while obstructing their causes. Rape is violent and so is what a strong woman is willing to do to prevent it. If you want empowered women, don’t refuse to admit what that realistically means. Too, if you want empowered women, don’t cotton the idea that an adult shouldn’t have to face the consequences for her behavior.
No one, certainly not I, is advocating that Joe Salazar or Carly McKinney face any criminal charges. Repugnant as he is, there is nothing criminal in Salazar’s comments. Only yesterday, Aurora police announced that they cannot prove McKinney’s Tweet about keeping marijuana on school grounds is anything more than idle boasting and that they are not filing any charges. Which is as it should be. She remains on paid leave and the Cherry Creek School District is tight-lipped about what they intend to do with her. She is still listed on the parent directory on Overland High School’s website as part of the math faculty, but she ha been removed from the detailed listing of teachers’ schedules. Salazar, meanwhile, tossed off a tepid ‘too bad if you’re offended by my offensive behavior’ non-apology and has been backed by his party’s leadership.
For all the handwringing and spilled ink, neither of these two is like to face real repercussions. My guess is that Cherry Creek Schools will drag our the administrative investigation into McKinney until the school year ends and then decline to renew her contract, rather than outright firing her. The investigation will likely be sealed, as well. She may also get a deal on her teaching license – ‘we won’t revoke it if you never actually use it again’. Salazar could also skate. It’s clear the Democrats aren’t going to do anything to him. When the 2014 elections get closer, leadership will test the waters to see how much ‘RapeGate’ is remembered and they’ll either back him for a second term or quietly arrange for a primary and support the other guy, depending on what they find.
At the end of it all, where’s the harm? Democrats are going too ram through anti-Second Amendment legislation and Salazar hasn’t done anything to change that. He doesn’t think he truly said anything all that objectionable and neither does Carly McKinney. Freshly back on Twitter, she is treating us to fewer amateur porn shoots and instead offering up a wince-inducing butchering of the First Amendment:
I’m going to keep fighting for what I believe in !!!!
Everyone in this country should have the right of freedom of speech and expression I mean it is the first amendment
Fuck everyone who is hating on me I didn’t do shit btw
That she has a Twitter account where she can legally share such opinion is free speech. What she wants, though, is a lot more than the fevered cyber-flirtations of strangers. She would like to face no consequences at all for what she did and, if possible, be publicly vindicated as a heroine in the fight against censorship. The consequences she does face are being fired, losing her teaching license, and finding herself unhirable for a broad swath of jobs. None of those are legal penalties. No one is stomping on her First Amendment rights. Unfortunately, the misunderstanding that the First guarantees you an audience, entitles you to sympathy, or means no one else can judge you or treat you differently because of your speech is widespread. The issue is not and never was Carly McKinney’s crunkified free speech. It is whether or not she has displayed a lack of judgment and maturity that renders her unfit to work as a teacher.
She is the one who put herself – tattoos and all – in front of the world. A freely made choice and now, the requirement that she face the consequences. What I see in her is a young woman who will not even consider that she bears culpability for her present situation and that her critics have a point. Given that people just like her hold elected office, one can see where she might get these delusions.
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