Sunday, March 17, 2013

A St. Patrick's Day Wish After The Steubenville Rape Case

The judge handed down a guilty verdict in the Ohio rape case today. The sentences are fairly short, as the perpetrators are juveniles. (The victim is as well.) It seems to me that justice was done.

As far as I can tell, the basic issues in this case aren't at all complicated. If I get drunk and pass out, and someone takes away my money without my consent, that's theft. If I get drunk and pass out, and someone has sex with me without my consent, that's rape. Perhaps I was foolish to expose myself to crime. But it's still crime, and that the people who commit it are criminals. What they did is exactly what the law should punish.

Here is my St. Patrick's Day wish. I want to live in a world where someone who gets drunk and passes out -- at a party, on the street, or anywhere else -- won't have to fear theft or rape. Certainly it'll still be inadvisable to get so drunk and pass out there for a variety of reasons. Outdoors one has to fear animals and the elements, and one shouldn't make oneself a nuisance to others. But in a just society, one shouldn't have to fear other people. A world where we can expect our fellow humans not to harm us, even when we're vulnerable, is the kind of world that the law is supposed to provide.
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