Cleared, Yet Clearly Wrong

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The headline reads:

Judge Aaron Persky Cleared Of Misconduct In Stanford Sex Assault Case

Take a moment to read the article.  Be sure to pay special attention to this line.

The commission stressed that it did not examine whether Turner’s sentence was the appropriate length of time.

JUST TO BE CLEAR:  The one item (the sentence itself) that was evidence of misconduct or bias is the one item that was not examined!

Many have lost their moral outrage from the decision handed down after the Stanford Rape Case.  That’s the problem with moral outrage.  It’s often a disproportionate mix of emotional fervor and moral reasoning.  An intellectual commitment to a prohibition against sexual assault and rape remains, but the fuel of gut level repulsion that propelled the masses to speak out and even sign petitions has long since evaporated.

What has not evaporated into the effervescence of public memory are the myriad scars, nightmares and feelings of shame felt by the victim.

There’s a lot I want to say about this.  I fear that the volume of what I want to say would drown out what I must say.  So, for now, I will suppress the raging currents of thought and distill them down to this one indictment.

Judges usually issue sentence at the expense of the offender, with higher regard for the victim and that of potential future victims.  Judge Aaron Persky issued a sentence at the expense of the victim and potential future victims, while holding the offender in higher regard.

Yes, prison would have wounded Brock Turner, perhaps irreparably so.  In a profane twist of fate he would’ve likely played the role of sexual assault victim throughout his term, though terminally branded as predator.  His would’ve been a soul crushed in the chaotic, downward spiral of predator and prey.  Such is the nature of evil.  The agents of evil are simultaneously the offender and offended.  We cannot perpetuate evil without also being the victim of it.

Why must we be forceful in our response and relentless in our commitment to justice?  What’s the cost of sparing the rod with this young man?  Our society is sick, sexually sick.  There is a pernicious malignancy festering deep in the recesses of our collective conscience.  Somehow we’ve numbed ourselves to the bitter reality of our own moral brokenness.

We need not look past the porn epidemic.  We’ve addicted millions and enticed them to annually spend billions on digital, sexual fantasies.  What we applaud in fantasy has a dreadful tendency of spilling into reality.  We need not look past the easy to ignore yet impossible to solve reality of sexual slavery in our own country.  We need not look past the phenomenon of exploitation in sexting and revenge porn.

It’s unfortunate that take it takes the private abuse and public humiliation of a young woman to rouse us to a brief moment of moral sobriety.  If the instant rush of clear moral reasoning stings your sensibility, all you have to do is wait.  Close your eyes and steel yourself against reality.  All you must do is endure until the next news cycle.

When you open your eyes tomorrow you’ll be distracted with the next iteration of frivolity and all the moral outrage will have passed its expiration date.  With soul numb, you can happily scurry along through life until another victim, another miscarriage of justice exposes this moral cancer.

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