Here's one question *I* would have asked:
Jerry, I thought your performance in "King of Comedy" was ground-breaking, one of the most under-rated dramatic performances in movie history. You perfectly portrayed the conflicts of being a modern celebrity. After all these years, I still think you were robbed of an Oscar by a dull-witted Academy. With the virtue of hindsight, do you agree?
Mr. Hargrove's article is a model of succinct, accurate, fact-based commentary on an issue that should be of considerable importance.
Imagine, for a moment, that the gender roles were reversed. Imagine that "Suzanne Rainstorm" enrolled to study medicine in a Catholic medical school run by priests.
Slightly unconventional, iconoclastic, and with above average intelligence, she refused to be browbeaten out of her dream of a medical education. So the priests engaged in what looked suspiciously like behavior designed to get rid of her.
Good grief, people would be lined up around the block to support "Suzanne Rainstorm"! Title IX lawsuits would be sprouting like weeds!
I suspect strongly that it is precisely because Mr. Blizzard is a "Mr.", and nursing is a female-dominated profession, he's getting roughed up.
If there's anything a Catholic nun can't stand, it's a man with a 3-digit IQ questioning her almighty authority. In my opinion, due to the priests hogging the limelight, the general abusiveness of nuns (especially toward young boys in schools) is a topic our society has yet to turn to.
Countless men are survivors of abuse by Catholic clergy,
and quite a few of them were abused by nuns.
I'll close with a bit of family history. When my mother entered the hospital to give birth to me, she was suffering from pneumonia and had lost about 15 pounds. A "helpful" nun-nurse came up to her bedside, pulled back the sheet, and said "Young Lady, You're going to lose that baby." Nothing like a great bedside manner!
Aquinas needs a thorough investigation. Great article, Mr. Hargrove.
I've given my views on your story before, and I'll try not to repeat myself.
I first need to point out that on one occasion, I criticized you for not mentioning something that in fact you did mention very clearly in your article. I should have apologized for that before, and I do now.
You made some valid points above in your own defense.
However, in view of your claims of objectivity, I return to the issue of tone and intent. When the title on your story refers to a teenager's "impulsive" act, you are, in effect, stating a *hypothesis* of impulsivity as fact. To try to back away from that now is disingenuous.
And it's wrong. There is *no* credible evidence that Ms. Brown acted impulsively.
What kind of terrorized, horrified teenager plots to recruit accomplices to return to the scene of the crime to loot the victim's possessions while the dead body is still there? The jury didn't buy it for one second.
2. Your article pointed us to a PBS TV Show. The television show offered some insightful moments about Cyntoia's life history and her relatives'. However, I and a co-viewer noticed huge lapses in the show. For one thing, almost all information was presented via Cyntoia, the sympathetic videographer, or a relentless parade of defense expert witnesses or relatives. Strikingly absent from the video was any footage of Cyntoia attacking staff or inmates, or any detailed account of this. Cyntoia's articulate and obviously very intelligent adoptive mother was never cornered to provide an explanation for her apparently complete lack of control over her daughter. There were several cute pictures of Cyntoia growing up, but no details of her mom's frustration or Cyntoia's earlier history as a violent juvenile offender. Obviously, her mom felt constrained to avoid saying things that might damage Cyntoia's case, but an effective and unbiased interviewer could easily have gotten to the bottom of what kind of out-of-control child Cyntoia really was in the years just prior to her execution of Mr. Allen. So, once again, the truth got muffled.
In other words, the show was a setup, designed to emphasize Cyntoia's bad genetics, tragic life history, and potential for growth. It de-emphasized her history of violence, and failed to allow *anyone* to even try to give Johnny Allen a voice.
3. I feel I must, once again, comment on the *huge* intellectual inconsistency that characterized your treatment of Mr. Allen versus that of Ms. Brown. You slyly note that the prosecutor failed to bring up the "Good Samaritan" theory, and that he was, after all, naked in bed after picking up a minor.
Try a little thought experiment. Suppose Mr. Allen had caught Cyntoia sneaking up on him with a pistol and gunned her down in self-defense, and was prosecuted for it. If Cyntoia were the "victim," I suspect you and a hundred other liberal advocates would be angrily playing the "don't blame the victim" card on any defense lawyer who brought up the "victim's" violent past and criminal history. On the other hand, when the perpetrator is a cute young female, you're willing to swallow and present as fact, a rather absurd story about an "impulsive" act of self-defense.
The massive anti-male biases evident throughout our society are clearly on display here. It is precisely because Allen was a male and Brown a female that information on the case is being processed through such a distorted lens. This is why, crime for crime, women are detected less, arrested less, charged less, convicted less, and serve shorter sentences.
Fortunately, Jeff Burks saw things clearly in this case.
Thanks for the article, which provided some very interesting information. I especially appreciate the link to the report issued in response to Inhofe.
Although I can understand your sentiments, I'd like to offer a mild caution regarding your argumentative use of the term "universal conclusion."
You point out that the overwhelming majority of 77-79 high level "climate scientists" who self-selected themselves into an online survey answered "Yes" to questions 1 and 2. The response rate was 30% and the participants self-selected. Not surprisingly, the people running the study tried to minimize these flaws.
One could run a similar survey of "diversity specialists" (calling them "most qualified to comment about diversity") and ask them "Yes or No, Increasing ethnic diversity in a university classroom leads to improved learning." I wager you'd get a 99.9% Yes response there too. In fact, when interest in "diversity" was just beginning, it was a survey of university faculty about their *opinion* regarding the value of "diversity" that was then cited by "diversity" specialists as "proof" of the importance of "diversity"! Actually, the study provided only proof that a predominantly liberal professoriate had predominantly liberal views on the value of "diversity."
So, a skeptic might say that what the survey shows is that scientists highly committed to the mainstream view of global warming actually believe the mainstream views about global warming!!
I'm not arguing that the weaknesses of climate science even begin to approach those of "diversity" research. The point is that, when the overwhelming majority of "key" respondents have employment that is at least partially contingent on supporting a particular world view, it makes it important to listen to dissenters and not discount them.
Again, to be clear, this does not mean that dissent in science equals truth. Just for example, dissenters among AIDS scientists are outspoken that HIV does not cause AIDS. They are almost certainly wrong, yet they have hundreds of adherents.
Regarding emailed evidence of bias -- I'm not surprised. Actually, it is almost certainly true that, to some degree, climate scientists promoting the importance of anthropogenic warming are selective and biased in their data analyses. The would put them in the company of numerous other scientists in numerous other areas. The notion that individuals with the prevailing scientific view might try to censor opposing opinions would hardly surprise anyone with any background in science. "Turf protection" occurs in every area of science.
The huge (and really quite obvious) flaw in the report sent to Inhofe is right in front of your eyes, should you simply choose to see it. The report concludes that evidence of fraud in one scientific center should not change our conclusions, because all the other centers reached conclusions similar to the one embarrassed by the release of emails.
Now suppose I presented you with evidence that the Chinese had completely penetrated the electrical grid control system for New York city, and *might* be able to black out the entire city any time they wanted. Suppose then that you called a commission (cleverly) to investigate the significance of this. Suppose further that the committee returned a report saying that there is no problem, because no such evidence of penetration has been found in the other major cities of North America! Would you be convinced?
Simply because no email scandals emerged in the other major centers for climate research, and a mainstream scientific organization investigating mainstream science finds no overwhelming evidence of guilt, we have no assurance that similar turf protection behavior is not occurring. In fact, it probably is, but I would suspect the emails proving it no longer exist. There is a certain "religious" fervor to climate researchers and their supporters (just look at the semi-stable and hugely hypocritical Mr. Gore), and so I retain a healthy skepticism, for now.
Fortunately, as mentioned in the report, initiatives are under way right now to add a substantial level of quality and openness to the climate change database, and I suspect the issue will gain clarity in the coming decade. I don't belittle climate change dissenters. They raise interesting questions. For me, the most interesting question concerns mathematical identification of parameters in climate change models. Contrary to common belief, the more complex a model is, the more likely that alternative models with very different implications will fit the data equally well. This is common knowledge in some areas of science, and it may prove to be the Achilles heel of climate change research.
I was very gratified to see Assistant District Attorney Jeff Burks' response to Brantley Hargrove's well-written, but very biased and one-sided discussion of Cyntoia Brown's execution of Johnny Allen.
As someone who, many years ago, worked with drug-addicted and violent offenders, I knew others like Ms. Brown. They had the same veneer of superficial charm masking a propensity for violence they could barely control.
Hargrove's badly strained attempt to characterize Cyntoia's act as "impulsive" fell flat. It simply made no sense. When rolling out this "self-defense" theory for the television cameras, Cyntoia had trouble keeping a straight face. There was no reliving of terror and fear, simply a calm retelling, as if she were recalling cribbed notes she'd made to herself.
The best explanation for her act is the simplest one. Out plying one of her trades, she found herself in bed next to a sleeping Mr. Allen, and recognized a situation with a lot of potential for profit. Killing Allen wasn't impulsive at all. To a juvenile psychopath, it provided a neat solution to the problem of incapacitating Mr. Allen so his house could be looted. Plus, it would give her additional street cred. She probably figured (wrongly) that if ever caught, she'd have to do a brief stint in juvy.
Cyntoia's subsequent actions were not those of a highly intelligent, frantic person terrified after an "impulsive" act of self-defense. Rather, they were the standard chillingly stupid and completely amoral actions of the teen psychopath. Recruit some help, go in, loot the dead dude's stuff. One of the reasons psychopaths get caught is that they don't have the standard fear mechanism.
Attempts to present Cyntoia as "intelligent" and "attractive" seem equally strained, just as Hargrove's very selective rendering of Mr. Allen's background was designed to dehumanize him.
I congratulate Mr. Burks for putting Cyntoia Brown where she belongs --- safely behind bars for a long, long time. And I'm grateful that he came forward to confront Mr. Hargrove's sympathy piece with some important facts.
I think you're doing an excellent job of making Donna Locke's point. You discount the ("grieving") father 's knowledge of his son on the grounds that he's potentially biased. But your version of the facts seems rather disingenous. He "went to the mosque a few times" and then (according to your filtration of the facts) just happened to end up in Yemen. I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but it seems to me that you've got your head buried deep in the sand on this one.
Establishing causality "beyond a shadow of a doubt" is impossible. You could always claim that the Bledsoe boy was deranged and "misinterpreted" the "holy teachings" at the mosque.
There are many good and wonderful Islamic people who deserve our respect and protection. That is not the point. The point is, that virtually all serious terrorist acts of late have been perpetrated by Islamic groups, all of which will claim innocence and virtue right up to the point that they kill some people. A balance has to be struck.
For decades (DECADES!) liberals were claiming the Rosenbergs were innocent victims of nasty Republicans --- right up to the moment that released classified documents from Russia confirmed that they were indeed Russian spies whose treason accelerated the progress of Russia's nuclear program at great cost to us. That latter "inconvenient truth" was buried on page 17 of the NY Times the day the story broke.
So while I strongly agree we have to keep the redneck hate-element here firmly under control, I also feel that vigilance is indeed necessary. This a tough balancing act, but balance is needed, not liberal platitudes and one-sided sifting of facts.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment. The problem is indeed staggering, and I wish I had a confident take on a solution. I don't.
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