One of the Steubenville rapists has been freed

And his lawyer has released a statement on his behalf. Got your puke bucket handy?

Ma’Lik Richmond recently completed his designated time at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Detention Facility. The past sixteen months have been extremely challenging for Ma’Lik and his extended family. At sixteen years old, Ma’Lik and his family endured hardness beyond imagination for any adult yet alone child. He has persevered the hardness and made the most of yet another unfortunate set of circumstances in his life. As with each other obstacle, Ma’Lik has met it squarely, lifted his chin, and set his shoulders; he is braced for the balance of his life.  While away, Ma’Lik has reflected, learned, matured, and grown in many ways.  He is a better, stronger person and looks forward to school, life, and spending time with family.  At this point, Ma’Lik wants most to be a high school teenager. In conjunction with his release, Ma’Lik, his family, and guardians ask that the media respect their privacy in this matter, as we all need to heal and move on with our lives. We will have you know that Ma’Lik will be taking all the time necessary to focus on his academic and personal goals. We ask for your support and prayers as we move forward, Thank you.

He endured, he persevered, he grew, and become more mature and learned — why, raping an unconscious young girl has made Mr Richmond a better fucking person. What a great thing for his character, and the character of any teenager who wants to improve himself.

There’s also a statement from the lawyer for the victim.

Although everyone hopes convicted criminals are rehabilitated, it is disheartening that this convicted rapist’s press release does not make a single reference to the victim and her family – whom he and his co-defendant scarred for life. One would expect to see the defendant publicly apologize for all the pain he caused rather than make statements about himself. Rape is about victims, not defendants. Obviously, the people writing his press release have yet to learn this important lesson.

What he said.

Steubenville hasn’t learned a thing

The football coach who reportedly joked to his team members about the sexual assault on an unconscious girl, who the team trusted to cover up any problems their behavior might cause, who threatened a reporter and her family if they pursued the case, has had his coaching contract extended another two years.

Symbolic of this unholy marriage of jock culture and rape culture was the revered Big Red football coach Reno Saccoccia who didn’t seem to give a damn that his players could have treated a woman this way. Given Coach Saccoccia’s controversial behavior before and during the trial, which drew national scrutiny, many of us thought he at the very least would be shown the door after three decades of service. We all thought wrong. Today we learned that “Coach Sac”, as he is known, has been granted a two-year contract extension by the Steubenville school board. They made this decision despite the fact that a grand jury is meeting next week to assess whether he and others obstructed justice in the case. Saccoccia was legally required to report the sexual assault as soon as he was aware it took place. The grand jury will determine whether or not he in fact knew and tried to sweep it under the turf.

Two members of his team were convicted of rape and sent off to jail. You know, even if all anyone cared about was his win/loss record, this is not evidence of a good coach.

But maybe they should care about more. Isn’t it peculiar that many atheist and gay teachers are terrified to come out because they know it could cost them their job, yet a coach can facilitate a culture of rape with total impunity?

Steubenville rapists found guilty

That appalling story of the Steubenville high school football players who took advantage of an unconscious girl — and callously bragged about it on twitter and in cell phone conversations — is coming to partial closure. Two of the players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were just found guilty.

It was a bizarre case in which the lawyers tried to simultaneously argue that there was insufficient evidence and that the avalanche of cell phone photographs and messages had tainted testimony.

The live feed from the court was hard to watch. Both of the defendants, just teenagers, broke down into wracking sobs at the announcement of the guilty verdict. Their lives are wrecked. Now if only they’d felt that degree of pain in empathy for the girl they’d raped, before they committed their crime.


Sentence has already been passed down. This is juvenile court, so they got 1-2 year minimum sentences, at maximum they get released when they turn 21. Time will be served with the Department of Youth Services, and they’re under a program of rehabilitation (which is a good thing, I think.)

This crap is everywhere

One question I got at my CFI-DC talk was about the prevalence of sexist/misogynistic scumbags in the atheist movement — aren’t they just a minority? And my answer was that I don’t know what percentage they are, but that it’s a mistake to dismiss it as a fringe phenomenon; it’s too common, and the people who are doing it aren’t some bizarre handicapped aberrant group, they’re people you wouldn’t look at twice if you saw them in the street. And some of them are your friends and family.

And then I get home to discover the latest misogynistic screw-up in the tech industry: a conference called TechCrunch which features presentations about quick hacks had a couple of, to put it generously, inappropriate presentations, including one called “Titstare”. This is the entirety of the talk.

Let me just say that not only was it grossly sexist, but it was unimaginative, uncreative, incompetently done, and terribly presented. These two guys ought to be deeply embarrassed to have thrown up such a pathetic joke on a public stage — even if it hadn’t been a sad attempt at a breast joke, it was a total failure.

These people are all over the place. There’s just something wrong with the culture.


My theory: boys are brought up with a lack of sexual responsibility. The aggressive aspect of male sexual behavior is celebrated and treated as entirely natural, and therefore excusable, while girls are brought up with all of the responsibilities. Crude sexual humor is an outlet or venting, rather than a mistake or exhibition of ineptitude.

You know that right now those two guys are back with their bros, who are not telling them, “you fucked up.” They are being told that bitches are crazy, women have no sense of humor, grim somber feminists are ruining everything because they hate men and don’t know how to laugh. All blame is being placed on women because men are not accountable for what their testicles make them do.

You know who else ought to be really outraged at that spectacle? Comedians. Because boys are also brought up to think the most stupid crap is hilarious, as long as it’s about getting sex (see also that crass young man who was yucking it up on camera about the Steubenville rape), and it really lowers our expectations for humor.

Can we fire Richard Cohen yet?

Richard Cohen, tenured columnist at the Washington Post, is one of the worst. He recently blamed Miley Cyrus and twerking for the Steubenville rape, which he doesn’t think was a “classic rape”…and he thinks the two most important things you should know from it is that 1) there was no intercourse, and 2) only two men were involved. Really, the man is a world-class ignoramus. I rather enjoyed this beat-down.

But I’ve despised Cohen for years, ever since he wrote a column telling a young girl that she never needed to know algebra, because he’s so fucking stupid he’s never had to use it.

Unfortunately, as we all know, once a big-name newspaper hires some derpwad as a columnist, they’ve got a sinecure for life, and no matter how stupid their columns, nothing will evict them. Brooks, Douthat, Friedman, Cohen…awful writers, poor thinkers, and disgraceful human beings, all set up forever.

Only rapists are allowed privacy now

The hacker who exposed the rot in the Steubenville rape case has been arrested by the FBI and faces serious jail time.

At first, he thought the FBI agent at the door was with FedEx. "As I open the door to greet the driver, approximately 12 FBI SWAT team agents jumped out of the truck, screaming for me to "Get the fuck down!" with M-16 assault rifles and full riot gear, armed, safety off, pointed directly at my head," http://www.projectknightsec.com/Lostutter wrote today on his blog. "I was handcuffed and detained outside while they cleared my house."

He believes that the FBI investigation was motivated by local officials in Steubenville. "They want to make an example of me, saying, ‘You don’t fucking come after us. Don’t question us."

If convicted of hacking-related crimes, Lostutter could face up to 10 years behind bars—far more than the one- and two-year sentences doled out to the Steubenville rapists. Defending himself could end up costing a fortune—he’s soliciting donations here. Still, he thinks getting involved was worth it. "I’d do it again," he says.

Rape a girl, get a sympathetic press and a light jail sentence in the juvenile system. Expose the rape of a girl, get a decade of prison time. Anyone else find this a little bit out of balance?

To compound the hypocrisy, Lostutter is being criminalized for cracking open supposedly private data. At the same time, it has been announced that the Obama administration has authorized the NSA to snoop on private email, chats, file storage—everything we put on the net. If the data has already been compromised to hell and gone by our own government, how can our government make a case against Lostutter? Can we expect a SWAT team to nab Barack Obama now?

Just when you thought Libertarians couldn’t get any more revolting

Steven Landsburg carries out three “thought experiments”. They’re all pretty bad — one suggests that we have no grounds to complain about environmental destruction in Alaska if we’re living somewhere else, to which I’d have to reply, “You mean like Mars?” — but the third one…jebus, Mr Creepy McLiberturd is masturbating publicly here.

Let’s suppose that you, or I, or someone we love, or someone we care about from afar, is raped while unconscious in a way that causes no direct physical harm — no injury, no pregnancy, no disease transmission. (Note: The Steubenville rape victim, according to all the accounts I’ve read, was not even aware that she’d been sexually assaulted until she learned about it from the Internet some days later.) Despite the lack of physical damage, we are shocked, appalled and horrified at the thought of being treated in this way, and suffer deep trauma as a result. Ought the law discourage such acts of rape? Should they be illegal?

He provides his Libertarian philosophical answer.

As long as I’m safely unconsious and therefore shielded from the costs of an assault, why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits? And if the thought of those benefits makes me shudder, why should my shuddering be accorded any more public policy weight than Bob’s or Granola’s? We’re still talking about strictly psychic harm, right?

Maybe we could even talk about a positive advantage. You go in to a hospital for some essential medical treatment that involves anesthetizing you, and while you’re unconscious, the hospital pays for its services by leasing out your body to anyone willing to pay. Free health care! It’s a benefit, right?

It’s a remarkable claim from a Libertarian. If we’re not using our property at some moment, do we forfeit our rights to it? When Landsburg is not driving his car, is it OK if someone takes a joyride in it as long as it’s returned when he needs it, with the gas consumed replaced?

Is there really no cost to a person if their body is abused while they are unconscious? He writes as if this “psychic harm” is meaningless nothing. Reputation, security, trust…these are mere “psychic” phenomena, so they have no significance to a person?

And what gives this hypothetical rapist the right to use someone else’s body? Flip it around and try to justify the rapist’s exploitation of another for his personal benefit — by what right does that person deserve to “reap the benefits” of someone else’s unconsciousness…or for that matter, reap the benefits of the Alaskan wilderness? Mr Landsburg seems to naturally take the side of the takers and looters.

We’ve got a convenient phrase for what Landsburg is doing: it’s called JAQing off. He’s clearly a master.

Around FtB

This may be redundant — you all cruise every blog on the site already, right?

  • Ed is asking for donations, and exploring ideas to get an ad-free site. Give him your input!

  • The Digital Cuttlefish thinks God is a misogynist. I think he’s right.

  • Greta has a guest post — it seems that being a member of atheist and gay groups is grounds for suspicion.

  • Stephanie can recognize a reasonable dialogue when she sees it.

  • Jen is unimpressed with the paleo diet fad.

  • Ian’s reputation as a stud is forever demolished.

  • Maryam discovers that the Muslim Brotherhood is opposed to a UN resolution against violence against women. She doesn’t seem surprised.

  • Taslima is optimistic about the future for Muslims — that they’ll grow out of Islam.

  • Brianne talks about rape.

  • Ashley talks about rapists.

  • Miri talks about rape and justice.

    Steubenville seems to have stirred up a theme.

  • Avicenna deconstructs a bad Thunderf00t video. It seems he thinks a short clip of a girl video game character punching a guy in the crotch invalidates everything Anita Sarkeesian says.

An object lesson for those who doubted

About 48 hours ago I posted a link to the Twitter feed of the egregious Michael Crook, who had used that fine microblogging service to share loathsome, horrible, explicitly pro-rape opinions regarding Steubenville.

Within minutes, this clown – in the very first comment on the thread — objected, saying that my calling attention to Crook was “feeding a troll.” Twenty minutes after that first comment, this other clown chimed in.

Both claimed that by calling out an egregious “troll” — not a rape advocate, but a “troll” — I had played right into Crook’s game of trollish 12-dimensional chess. Given him “what he wanted.” etc.

That’s manifestly not true, as it turns out. I don’t know what percentage of the attention Crook got came from my link. Perhaps it was a large amount, given the Pharyngula Phyrehose. Perhaps it was just a couple of percentage points. But Crook got a lot of unfavorable attention from all over the feminist and anti-rape sections of the Webonets. Should have made him utterly gleeful, right? As a ‘troll.”

Crook’s Twitter feed is gone. His website seems to be down. Is it reasonable to conclude that he decided there was too much attention being paid to him? Seems so to me. Though perhaps both Twitter and his web host decided to take him down against his will. Which seems less likely, given that the stuff Crook was saying was merely among the most egregious of the hundreds of rape supporters opining on Steubenville, most of whom seem not to have been censored.

I’m guessing he found the public response unpleasant.

Yes, forestalling further trollish objection, Crook is indeed entitled to freedom of speech. And so are we. It would seem sentiments like Crook’s in favor of rape don’t stand up to actual discussion. If people had decided not to “feed the troll,” Crook would very likely still be spreading his pro-rape views online at the moment. But enough people used their own rights to freedom of speech to let him know they found his views repugnant. If he’d been out to troll, he’d have relished that. If he’d had the courage of his convictions, he’d still be arguing.

But instead, that fearless defender of rapists seems to have shut the fuck up for the moment.

That tiny minority of commenters on that thread who scolded those of us who wanted to call Crook’s garbage out publicly: if we’d all listened to you, the world would be a slightly worse place than it is now. I suggest you go to your rooms and think about what you did.

And for those of you who think your voice doesn’t matter? It does. And thank you.