Sep. 9, 2014

Americans and 21st Century Lynching

I just saw the most disturbing video.  I am sure you have seen it by now.  It is the heretofore unavailable footage of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his fiancé twice in the face. She hits her head on a handrail inside the elevator on her way down and appears to be out cold. When the elevator doors open, Rice drags her out.

The incident took place at Atlantic City’s Revel casino on Feb. 15, and following Rice’s arrest, he was not charged with a crime and was given a two-game suspension and fined over $500,000.

The Baltimore Ravens announced Monday they have terminated Ray Rice’s contract after the release of the elevator surveillance video released by TMZ.

So, now the feeding frenzy which has been a slow simmer has erupted into a full blown explosion.  The frothing public demands to know who knew what and when? Who do we blame?  Who do we crucify?  The NFL Commissioner is feeling his share of the heat.  Even the Baltimore Ravens coach faced skeptical reporters who wanted to know why he hadn't seen the tape before. 

We are gearing up for what has become our national past time.  Cyber-Lynching.  It started with Don Imus, the radio jock her who infamously referred to a group of young basketball players as "nappy headed hoe's."  He was taken off of the air, fired and publicly skewered.  Who can forget Paula Deen and Donald Sterling?  We take these famous people, who embody something shameful in our society and we make them the scapegoat.  We have a problem with race in our culture, so we jump on every opportunity to have a public lynching of a famous person to satisfy our blood lust and cleanse ourselves from their scourge.  The problem is it doesn't.  These people lose their reputations, their livelihoods and their dignity and we feel better until the next time.  Have we fixed the problem of racism in our society by shaming these public figures?  No.

So now we have domestic violence as a hot button issue.  In an article published on the Global Grind, columnist Christina Coleman list some disturbing facts about domestic violence in the United states, including the fact that 24 people per minute experience intimate partner violence in the U.S. http://globalgrind.com/2014/09/08/domestic-violence-facts-victim-blaming-list/

Houston, we definitely have a problem.  So here is my question.  Why in the midst of all of outrage and vitriol leveled against Ray Rice and the NFL, have we heard nothing about the NJ court system?  The prosecutor who saw this video did not press charges against Mr. Rice.  Huh?  He is either an idiot, or the laws in the state of NJ are insufficient to protect the victims of domestic violence.  Prosecutors are public servants are they not?  They serve at the pleasure of the people...don't they?  So why in our lust to see someone pay are we not targeting the people who are actually responsible?  Who cares what the NFL or Baltimore Ravens do?  It is not the employers responsibility to protect us, it the judicial systems responsibility.  No man who thinks it is his right to physically assault his spouse or girlfriend is going to think twice because some professional athlete lost his job. Now, if that athlete goes to jail (think Michael Vick) our abuser might have second thoughts. He may not have multiple millions of dollars and an NFL contract to lose, but a couple of years of his life?  Yeah, he’s got that.

We are going to hold this public lynching of Ray Rice and potentially commissioner Godell.  Then, having our blood lust satisfied that the face of domestic violence in our society has been properly labeled and shamed, we will wait for the next twitter activist moment.  Meanwhile, women are not any safer, no justice has been done, and a man lost his job.  You will have to forgive me, if that doesn't satisfy me at all.