While I expected North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper to drop the charges against Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, and David Evans in the Duke Non-Rape, Non-Kidnapping, and Non-Sexual Assault Case, I did not expect him to be forceful in doing it. While some of what he said seemed to have been taken from my open letters to him, I take no credit, as I am not going to flatter myself in thinking he read anything from me, much less paid attention to it.
That being said, Cooper’s words were some of the strongest I ever have heard anyone in his position make. As K.C. Johnson put on his blog, Cooper’s statement had a number of highlights:
- The players are innocent — not victims of a case with insufficient evidence, but innocent. This statement should leave no doubt as to whether a crime occurred.
- Nifong might be guilty of criminal misconduct.
- Nifong is a “rogue prosecutor.”
- Lots of people owe the three players an apology, and a rush to judgment took place.
- The accuser has serious mental problems (hinted, very strongly, by the AG).
- North Carolina needs to change its laws to deal with rogue prosecutors in the future.
I watched the press conference live, and it was clear to me that Cooper understood what was at stake, and did what he had to do. Furthermore, I am glad for the young men and their families that this ordeal is over, OVER. I now can say that I had contact with some of them, and I know what these false charges did to the families.
Yet, I also need to point out something to those who are going to claim that "the system works." These charges were false, and transparently so. There is no way they ever should have seen the light of day, and there is no way that people should have believed them. Yet, they did. So, why did this train wreck happen?
The charges came about because of the politics of race and rape. Often, those two political spheres collide, as they did in the infamous Kobe Bryant case a few years ago. In this case, however, those who operate under the two banners joined forces, and it gave Michael B. Nifong the cover under which he needed to operate.
Certainly, a year ago no prosecutor was using the word "rogue" with Nifong. He was "doing his job," as the talking-head prosecutors on Cable TV and elsewhere were claiming. Who would have thought a year ago that "Nifonging" would become a verb used by the courts to describe a railroad job by rogue prosecutors? Yet, that has happened, and I can be glad, and many families can be glad, too.
Yet, it took millions of dollars to unearth this transparent hoax, and that says what we need to know about the power of the state. Despite all of the talk about checks and balances, ultimately, it is the state that determines if the state is engaged in wrongdoing. Furthermore, lest we forget, the state is a political entity. We do not have government divorced from politics, no matter what the politicians claim be doing.
The politics of rape dominate the law in this country, and that is not a good thing. Yes, rape is a terrible crime, but a rape must first be committed before one can say there was a crime. The modern politics of rape do not require a rape, only an accusation, and once that accusation is made, it almost is impossible to dislodge. Even today, even with the AG’s statement and all of the investigation done, there still are "rape crisis" advocates out there who will insist that those three young men raped Crystal Gail Mangum. Take the following quote:
“I hope people who experience sexual violence in any form feel comfortable calling for help … and know that each case is different, and they can seek help when they’ve been violated. There’s a possibility that the way the media handles high-profile sexual assault cases, and the fear that would happen to any survivor who comes forward, can have a chilling effect and make them reluctant to step forward.” — Margaret Barrett, executive director, Orange County Rape Crisis Center in Chapel Hill.
This comes from the NAACP:
Now, as we have repeatedly said, comes the hard part. How do we proceed toward the healing places in our communities and our hearts? Long after the television vans with their saucer antennas have pulled out of Durham, long after the bloggers have grown weary from typing, those of us who believe in freedom and justice can not rest. How do we work to ensure that the final decisions in this case in no way deter women of color from making claims of violations against them which violate their spirits and their bodies?” — statement from William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.
Thus, we see the intersection of the politics of race and rape. That intersection more often than not produces lies, and we have seen the wreckage.
This part of the case is over, although the trials for Michael Nifong are just beginning. One can hope that this miscreant meets the bar of justice. There are more people who need to meet that bar, too, and I will deal with them at a different time.
I also want to personally thank Lew Rockwell for giving me a forum. A year ago, it was just a few of us writing, going up against the justice system of North Carolina, as well as the entire mainstream media. Lew stood up for what was right, and many people are grateful to him for his courage, and I am especially grateful.
April 12, 2007