Consequences and the Right Things

Nope. No catchy photo for this one. Seeing this man’s face just makes me mourn the loss of the last shreds of civil society.

Brock Turner. That’s a name prominently displayed in the headlines over the last week. Unless you’ve been somehow tucked off comfortably on a secluded island somewhere in the South Pacific, you’ve heard the name and know why it’s so relevant right now.

Brock was someone who had a promising future ahead of him. He was someone who has been put in positions to do well in the world. And he’s someone who has been put in those positions thanks to a family, society, and culture designed to allow people like him to succeed.

He’s 20 years old. He’s a college swimmer–apparently a standout–, attended Stanford, and clearly has led a protected, middle-class life.

And every time he or his family or friends attempt to explain or defend him, it just keeps getting worse. It wasn’t rape, it was “action.” He’s not a rapist–sorry, but a jury and judge disagree, and their opinion is the only one that actually counts–or a monster. And, actually, one of my favorite assertions by his father says that Brock just isn’t his upbeat, happy-go-lucky self anymore.

Why not? Because he was caught. And convicted. It’s as simple as that.

Let’s check in with the rape victim here: a woman who wan’t planning on going out, but did so to spend time with her sister. Her life has been changed forever.

Would he be sulking around if he got away with the assault? If he hadn’t been charged, or convicted, or kicked out of school or banned from campus forever? I’d bet his appetite for steaks would still be there if he hadn’t been caught. God knows he’d still be pursuing that promising career as a college swimmer.

He’s privileged enough to make his way through an obviously very comfortable life. And privileged enough to convince a judge that even after sexually attacking an unconscious woman behind a dumpster (because that’s where every couple goes for a quick hook up) he isn’t enough of a threat to society to merit anything more than six months in prison. And he’s privileged enough to not take a shred of responsibility for his actions, because it’s not his fault that he was underage at a party drinking alcohol: it’s the campus and swim team’s culture that made him do that…You know, so he could be cool like them. Remember the talk you had with your parents about not giving in to peer pressure, Brock? That was what, like 10-12 years ago, right? Geez, don’t you remember anything?

Fortunately, most of the world sees this guy (and his father, for that matter) as the dipshits that they are. Both of them have managed to take an event that clearly should never have happened and turned it inside out by treating it like it’s something normal. They’re focused solely on themselves, and really have yet to acknowledge that there is only one true victim here, and that Brock himself is a victim only of himself.

Let me say that again here on it’s own: Brock is his own victim. It’s not the party culture of Stanford that made him do anything that night. It’s not the party culture that forced the rape victim to the hospital for treatment and a sickening list of specimen gathering, probing, and picture-taking on top of the indignity of the act itself.

Brock Turner is a victim of his own belief, obviously perpetuated by his father at the very least, that actions have absolutely no consequence. He can ponder that one while staring at the walls of his cell for six months.

Now…shall we move on to discuss the judge? There are some more consequences to be had…(I’m not going to drive it into the ground, since basically I think we can all agree that even with a reelection coming, this guy’s career is probably over).

I think we all know what the judge was trying to do. But let’s stop for a minute and acknowledge a couple of things: this was a violent crime (as all rape is), and the fact that nearly every single impact statement that the judge had available to him seems to point to the fact that Brock Turner clearly doesn’t feel like he should be held responsible for his actions. As much as he deserves punishment for the crime itself, he deserves punishment for his obvious inability to do the right thing and recognize his responsibility for what happened that night.

That’s what this all boils down to: Brock Turner doesn’t have remorse for what he did. He has remorse for how it’s impacting him.