Suicide Amid Molestation InquiryThread Started December 14 at 3:13AM
<< Thread Modifed December 14 at 3:13AM >>
Does all this seems to be going too fast for anyone else? I just saw this article on MSM tonight and find it horribly sad. I know Mike started the backlash thread, but it was getting terribly long so I chose to start a new one. I really am at a loss of what to think about this. :(
Rep Dan Johnson commits suicide amid inquiry.
Reply on December 15, 2017 03:18 AM << Modifed December 15 at 3:28AM >>
The situation you paint is not the situation we are discussing here, Emma. It's not a matter of "someone" decided to sexually molest this girl, and we don't know who - so there might be a perpetrator still roaming the streets.
This person either did what the girl (now woman) is accusing him of, or he didn't. Given what I've read, and given what I saw in the video that has now been taken off the internet, my tendency would be to believe the girl. This person does not seem like someone whose word is to be trusted.
There is also the supreme irony of the video of his "faithful" followers standing beneath a crucifix and belting out "Amazing Grace" while clutching an arsenal of weapons. I'm no Christian, but to me that seems like blasphemy. I wonder if his family are all still staunch gun-rights advocates? Probably.
As for the inadmissibility of prior convictions as evidence, I accept it's a difficult point. Nevertheless, it's indisputable that there have been numerous instances where a crucial piece of evidence that would have convicted a murderer or rapist has been denied the jury. And in quite a number of these, someone has died as a result of the offender walking away free.
I'm not talking here about a prosecutor standing up and saying "this person has murdered before, therefore he committed this crime." I'm talking about cases where a crime previously committed by the accused contains details which conclusively point to the crimes being linked, for example. Evidence the jury never hears.
I'd rather you be the person to explain that to the victim's family than me.
Reply on December 15, 2017 12:38 PM
The victim's family probably already know. It's the way the law works. Previous convictions may be what leads the police to the suspect, and will certainly play a role in getting them to court in the first place, but it cannot be used in court. It HAS to be about the evidence pertaining to the case. You can't convict someone of a crime on flimsy, circumstantial evidence, because the jury's heard he's done this and that in the past and is therefore biased. You can surely see why that has to be the case.
Whilst I totally see your point about believing the girl in this instance (and don't get me wrong, I'd be inclined to as well) it's still from a biased viewpoint. How much is it about the actual CASE, and how much is it about the man.
Somebody has to look at this objectively. That's why nobody who knows the victim can be on the jury, or the judge. It's not a perfect system, but it's a sight closer to fair justice than conviction based on hearsay and youtube videos.
Reply on December 15, 2017 03:05 PM << Modifed December 15 at 3:06PM >>
You can't convict someone of a crime on flimsy, circumstantial evidence, because the jury's heard he's done this and that in the past and is therefore biased.
I was at pains to rule that out. You just choose to ignore what I said. As for your defence of "it's the law", there are a number of things which are "law" that make no sense. How many depends on where you live. In that list I would include a law which allows murderers, rapists or child molesters to walk free, and yet more people to be the victims of their crimes, because facts (not conjecture) are withheld from a jury. If people are too stupid to distinguish whether facts concerning a previous crime are relevant to a current case, then why have a jury? Use AI bots instead.
But you win, Emma. Let's take the law as gospel. The law says that the press is free to report the news. KCIR broke no laws in reporting the sordid facts of this man's history. So time we got off their back.
Reply on December 15, 2017 08:14 PM
I agree it is a horrible thing to be accused of a crime you didn't commit but sadly, people do believe the old adage, "where there's smoke there's fire". That is one for the trash. While it's apt advice when looking for a real fire it is not necessarily an applicable metaphor to such situations. And Internet mobbing is always lurking in the background as a lawless posse of judge, jury and executioner. The first time I saw it pounce in real time in a matter of four hours was with the case of Lori Drew, (2006). On MySpace a mother pretended to be a sixteen year old boy to lure her teenage daughter's friend into a romantic relationship in retaliation for some friendship fiction invented by her own daughter. When the mother, pretending to be the boy, called off the relationship, the 13 year old girl committed suicide later that day. When a media personality caught wind of it, the tragedy went viral. While Lori Drew did a disgusting, despicable thing, the speed and efficiency at which Internet mob mobilized and physically invaded her home was genuinely frightening. It's almost like an invisible force of its own making.
After considering it more in my opinion these allegations of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to assault are not a witch hunt but certainly can be susceptible to abuse. Those who make false claims should be punished to the full extent of the law and public court. And, if the background of the victim/plaintiff is open for intense and very personal scrutiny then so too should the perpetrator/defendant. When and how these things are judged by media and other pundits I don't know. Some of the things aired in different situations should not have been made public in my view.
I wasn't aware of Dan Johnson's background so I appreciate the information. Suicide is always a loud statement and it leaves gaping wounds for those left to mend. For Johnston to assign blame for his choice to Liberal ideology and then demand Conservatives take a stand for vindication in the name of God is beyond the pale. Such actions do require public scrutiny because it is an amplified call for violence to correct the alleged wrong done to him.
A man of some strength would've made different choices. But because we are standing on the cusp of a cowardly new world where disinformation is becoming the norm, lying and denial is the preferred method for avoiding accountability which is despicable. If I was falsely accused of such a heinous act I most definitely would take a stand and a polygraph and anything else it would take to prove my innocence.
I wonder if a bigger effect will culminate from the #metoo movement? I think of women and girls in other parts of the world who are forced to drink acid if their dowry isn't big enough, or those raped by a stranger who are then murdered by their brothers for having allegedly dishonoured the family, or those girls whose genitals are brutally mutilated, or honour killings or the sale of child brides. And on and on the violence against females goes and claimed by some to be the will of God.
I hope the movement encourages women all over the world to speak up. I don't think enough praises can be sung for the strong, honourable, decent men supporting women and the cause. If this positive growth is encouraged by media involvement then it's a good thing.
Reply on December 15, 2017 09:10 PM
Very well said, Gloria. I take it you may have read some of Aayan Hirsi Ali's books? She details some of the very horrors of which you speak. Also, Malala Yousafzai, whose self-titled book I started reading ages ago, but not finished. Both are great examples of incredible resilience and bravery, and wonderful advocates for the rights of women.
For anyone who is interested, the video I posted on the previous page, which was pulled from YouTube shortly after I did so, is back up, for the moment. This video, featuring "Pope" Dan Johnson, chills me to the bone.
Reply on December 15, 2017 09:58 PM
Yes I have read some of these materials as much as I can before I just can't anymore because it's so gruesome. I can only absorb the subject in small doses. Malala Yousafzai, I haven't read her book but she is most definitely an incredible girl of strength advocating for human rights education. It still shocks me how different things are just a few thousand miles away. Geography is everything in the fate and survival of societies as Jared Diamond so aptly states in his book Guns, Germs and Steel.
I did watch the video of Dan Johnson and it is chilling for a number of reasons, first off the song, Amazing Grace written by a slave trader whose wayward ways were apparently healed by God. Yet, when it came to moral steel, Johnson didn't have it, but these folks are still armed and singing their hymn. We are living in dangerous times.
Reply on December 16, 2017 03:31 AM
I think we've got so bogged down in discussing legal points that my original point has been missed. Yes, legally there is nothing to stop media outpourings, naming names, etc, but I don't agree with trial by sensationalist media. I have never said the law is gospel. You are right to point out the part I missed in your argument, but you have missed that point in mine, which is that it is still better than conviction by popular opinion.
You might wonder why I spend the time putting this obviously unpopular view forward on this subject, since objectivity on this generally seems to be seen as some sort of cold-hearted endorsement (not necessarily by you, I'm talking general terms), but I can see where this free-for-all pack mentality can ultimately lead.
This isn't a circus for our entertainment, it's people's lives. People with sons and daughters, wives and husbands, all of whom get caught in the crossfire. And (not by anybody here, again, in general terms) increasingly the trend seems to be to treat these cases as gossipy talk-show topics. The accused is still a person, and I'm sorry but I'd rather reserve my stones and throw them when I know more detail, not just when I've read a third-hand expose (again, general terms).
In more specific terms, a life has been lost. I don't know the man personally. Who am I to say what his life was worth, why he did what he did, and what he is guilty of?
And what of the next man to face this scrutiny? Do I want to be part of the baying crowd, potentially driving an innocent stranger to his death. You know, I once heard a story, probably apocryphal, but I can well believe it, of a group of vigilantes banging on a paediatrician's door. The mob doesn't always think.
Women can now speak out. Great news. But in hearing them, must we really become deaf to all the other possibilities? Or can we still step off our bandwagon of righteousness for two seconds and make sure we don't become that which we deplore.
And I've got a question. How can I find all these words to talk of this with relative strangers like yourselves, but, when faced with an email from my best friend about his wife's cancer, I can't think of a damn word that doesn't sound like trite crap. Humanity sucks ass at the important stuff.
Reply on December 16, 2017 05:58 AM << Modifed December 16 at 6:25AM >>
Emma, I would take issue with your assertion that you have picked the "obviously unpopular" side of this debate. Whether we are talking about the media or the legal process, the notion that we must take every possible course of action to protect the guilty isn't exactly unpopular. I know that's not how you see it, but all too often that's what it boils down to.
Yes, that might sound heretical to liberal ears. I'll happily throw my hand in with the left of centre crowd nine times out of ten, but I don't see myself as an ideologue. I'll speak up for what makes sense to me, no matter on which side of the political divide the cards may fall.
You refer to "pack mentality" and "conviction by popular opinion", and while I've acknowledged both of these things do happen, I fail to see how that relates to this particular case. This was not a piece of "trash journalism", in my opinion. It looked to me like a well researched piece of investigative journalism, that was reasonably moderate in style and comprehensive in coverage. If you see it differently, then perhaps you could say why.
I'm unaware of any "victimisation" of this alleged sexual predator by the public, any "baying hounds" trolling Facebook accounts, or any such thing.
One paper published an expose, that's it. On the basis of that single thing, this man, instead of choosing to either admit guilt or defend himself, chose to take his own life. You might very well speak of concern for his family and loved ones - his action shows no such concern on his part.
I'm thinking this will probably be my last word on the subject, so I just want to say that I don't totally disagree with you. I acknowledge that internet bullying based on hearsay and trial by Facebook can be awful things, resulting in dire consequences. They are undesirable. But I think you've picked the wrong case to make your point. Those things just didn't happen to this man. Whatever demons he faced appear to be of his own making, in so far as I can tell. Could I be wrong? Sure. Does it make any difference whether I am or not? No.
I hope the woman in this sad case can get some peace, and isn't the victim of the sort of abuse you are talking about. I suspect she's suffered enough. And I hope she is heard, because it would appear the police closed the case previously, claiming it was at her request, when according to her and her mother, no such request was made.
Reply on December 17, 2017 04:43 AM
Ah, well, maybe I'm being too general, and not specific. It just worries me that, as a society we are moving into a dangerous phase of mass verbal stoning. This time, the case may be clearer, but how many times will that not be the case? And it still bothers me that, whilst I find it odious that victims of abuse finally coming forward is being painted as a 'leftist plot', there may well be something in that argument, because when all is said and done, if somebody was accused of this who wasn't a racist gun-toting fundamentalist, would there be as many 'hang 'em high' comments, or would there be more support and denial, just from the opposite side?
You know, George Takei has been accused. Given his liberal stance on just about everything, I've noticed on his facebook page that the same people who are seen damning to hell somebody else accused in a similar fashion, with similar evidence on an article on Takei's page, launch into vehement defence of their favourite.
And that's the trouble. It's human nature to only want to believe it when it's someone with ideas that are repulsive to us. Just like those on the fundamentalist right, the liberals protect their own. So this becomes not about the abused, and the actual thing that actually happened, but about the character, popularity and politics of the alleged abuser. The waters are becoming very muddy, and people will drown. And there's a very real chance we'll end up back at square one in terms of more focus on/better platforms for the victims. They'll get lost in the mud.
Reply on December 17, 2017 11:10 PM << Modifed December 17 at 11:19PM >>
Just two very brief responses concerning the above post:
1. There are striking differences between the Dan Johnson case and the George Takei case. Firstly, in the case of George Takei, the allegations were made 36 years after the alleged event, and are against someone who presumably is quite well off, and who would be well worth pursuing from a financial point of view. In the case of Dan Johnson, I have no idea what his net worth was, but I'm guessing maybe not as much as George, so less to gain from trumping up a charge. Furthermore, the allegations followed the supposed incident immediately, not 36 years later. Draw from that whatever conclusions you will.
2. I'm a fan of George, however I won't form any opinion, as there is little to go by. If character was the sole defining criteria for judging innocence, I'd be inclined to say go with "not guilty", but I think the story should be left to unfold. Regrettably, in the other case, someone decided to take that possibility off the table.
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