Posts tagged ‘Robert Johnson’

It's Impossible to Make This Stuff Up

Yes, people write that sort of headline all the time.  But in this case, I know.  In my novel BMOC, I pondered for quite a while trying to make up outrageously lame torts that ignored the true guilty parties and instead targeted deep pockets only tangentially connected to the harm or loss.  But nothing I made up, which I thought to be over the top, beats this one from reality.  Via Walter Olson, of course:

Prison inmate orders attack on guard at guard’s home in Bishopville, South Carolina. Surviving guard Robert Johnson and wife “did not, however, sue the typical defendants – i.e., the shooter or any prison inmate or employee. Rather, the Johnsons sued several cellular phone service providers and owners of cell phone towers.

Why?  Because they have the most money of anyone involved.  Of course, that is not the logic in the legal briefs.  Apparently, gasp, the criminals made use of cell phones to plan the crime and for some odd reason the cell phone companies were not monitoring every second of every single call on their networks and failed to prevent the crime.


Guilt or Innocence is Irrelevant, I Guess

I thought this article by Robert Johnson (via Instapundit) about the Duke Lacrosse case was interesting in that it highlighted how many people on the Duke campus believed that the actual guilt of innocence of the players involved was irrelevant.

First, there was the Duke administration.  I don't think anyone can doubt at this point that the players' guilt or innocence was irrelevant to the actions of the Duke administration, since they meted out their punishments long before the investigation into the facts of the case had even really begun.  Duke was clearly worried most about its reputation and about protecting itself from lawsuits, a not unreasonable fear given this.

It is the actions of the faculty that are truly amazing.  Johnson shows us the thinking of a number of members of the Duke faculty, known as the group of 88, that came out with public statements about the matter.

[Duke Professor Wahneema Lubiano] was pleased "that the Duke administration is getting the point":
the banging of pots and pans had hammered home that a specific claim to
innocence in this case mattered little. "Regardless of the 'truth'
established in whatever period of time about the incident at the house
on N. Buchanan Blvd.," she mused, "the engine of outcry in this moment
has been fueled by the difficult and mundane reality that pre-existed
this incident." To Lubiano, the "members of the team are almost perfect
offenders in the sense that [critical race theorist Kimberle] Crenshaw
writes about," since they are "the exemplars of the upper end of the
class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the
dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group
on campus."

Professor Alex Rosenberg added:

The sole defenders of the lacrosse players in this case, the professor
suggested, are extreme advocates of the economic status quo

Though its not really news nowadays, I guess, the article is a nice reminder that universities tend to have a hard core of faculty that see the world in terms of race, class, and gender rather than individuals and individual action.  Makes you wonder how they go about assigning grades.  In fact, their desire to see the Duke case cast in terms of race and gender apparently caused them to ignore outright political abuses one would normally expect them to decry:

Most stunningly, Rosenberg claimed that every member of the
Group of 88 believed that Nifong was motivated not by the pursuit of
justice but by the looming Democratic primary for D.A. If true, this
breathtaking assertion means that the Duke faculty, despite recognizing
that a local prosecutor was abusing his office to railroad their own
institution's students, chose to go public instead with a mass
statement denouncing the students targeted by that very same prosecutor.