This morning the trial of Dharun Ravi opened at Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick, N.J. I fumed about the case last weekend on Radio Derb:
Next Tuesday the trial of 19-year-old Dharun Ravi opens. . . . If found guilty, Mr. Ravi could go to jail for ten years.
What did Dharun Ravi do? Well, he was a freshman roommate at Rutgers University with a chap named Tyler Clementi. Clementi was homosexual, and not a closeted one — he didn’t make much of a secret of it. Why would he? Our young people are taught from kindergarten on that “gay is just as good as straight,” that Heather has two mommies, that homosexuals should be “proud,” and so on. My local high school has a club for homosexual students. Anyone who’s embarrassed or ashamed about being homosexual hasn’t been paying attention for about thirty years. And in fact, Clementi wasn’t ashamed: in those first three weeks of his freshman year, he attended at least one meeting of the Rutgers students Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance.
Well, a year last September, Dharun Ravi and another freshman, Molly Wei, used a webcam to secretly watch Clementi kissing a young man Clementi had picked up. After watching the video, Ravi gossiped about it on Twitter, quote: “I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”
Three days after that, Clementi committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge. Whether this had any connection at all to the webcam incident, is not known. That Dharun Ravi thought his prank might drive Clementi to suicide is preposterous; that he intended that result is preposterosity squared.
The homosexualists were up in arms none the less, and every damn fool politician in New Jersey joined in the hue and cry. Chris Christie, who I think less of every time he opens his fat mouth, quote: “I don’t know how those two folks are going to sleep at night, knowing that they contributed to driving that young man to that alternative.” They don’t know that, Governor, and neither do you, and neither does anyone. They played a trivial prank; Clement killed himself; cause and effect are not obvious, certainly not established to any fair evidentiary standards.
(And nor will the trial attempt to establish such cause and effect. As the USA Today report notes: “Ravi is not charged with anything to do with the suicide.” A legal friend tells me that if the prosecution so much as mentions Clementi’s suicide, that would be grounds for a mistrial. The trial is not about the suicide, it’s about what Dharun Ravi did – see above.)
Continuing the Radio Derb rant:
The even more dimwitted Senator Frank Lautenberg has introduced national legislation that, quote, “would require colleges and universities that receive federal student aid to adopt codes of conduct that prohibit bullying and harassment of students.” So now it’s going to be a federal crime for students to pull pranks. What the hell country is this, North Korea? What’s going to be the next federal offense on the statute book – forgetting to feed your goldfish?
And so on. This prosecution is of a piece with the child sex-abuse witch-hunts of the 1980s and 1990s, so memorably described by Dorothy Rabinowitz in her 2003 book No Crueler Tyrannies. Back then it was anti-family zealots and charlatans like the egregious Eileen Treacy playing havoc with due process. Today it’s the homosexualist lobbies grabbing for more power and influence in the sheep’s clothing of an “anti-bullying campaign.”
In both cases courts of law were/are being used to promote fashionable hysterias in defiance of reason and evidence. You think “hysteria” overstates the situation? Listen:
Equality Forum, a national gay-rights organization, released a statement that called the actions of Ravi and Wei “shocking, malicious, and heinous,” and urged “the prosecutor to file murder by reckless manslaughter charges.”
(That’s from the same New Yorker piece as the Chris Christie quote up above. It is a measure of the insanity we’re in here that even the New Yorker, as homo-friendly a magazine as you could wish for, leaves one with the strong impression that this case stinks to high heaven.)
This is bad. A calm and coldly objective system of law is all that stands between us and random tyranny. If the law loses its wits, we’re finished.
These prosecutors are a disgrace to their profession. The Dharun Ravi trial is a travesty of justice. The actual charges are “invasion of privacy” (in Ravi’s own dorm room!), “bias intimidation,” which basically means having Bad Thoughts, and evidence/witness tampering – deleting tweets and such, really just b.s. what-the-heck charges, added on the off-chance that the court might take them seriously. For this the Middlesex County prosecutors want ten years.
Further from the USA Today report:
The trial is expected to last about a month . . .
And cost how much? To what public purpose? Is the New Jersey court system so bulging with unspent funds they can squander money prosecuting student pranks?
Legally, [local attorneys] Weinstein and Kennedy said, while Ravi might appear “guilty” to the public, it is legally a difficult point to prove by the prosecution . . .
I should certainly hope so. And if Dharun Ravi appears guilty, or “guilty” (which I assume means “not guilty of any criminal intent or action on the evidence, but has something coming to him anyway”) to the public, then the public, and the nation they constitute, has gone to a place from which there is no rescue.