Morning Ed: Law & Order {2016.01.17.T}

Should male statutory rape victims be required to pay child support? In some states, at least, they are. It goes down to the fundamental question of whether we really believe young people can or can’t consent to sex (and with whom),.

After getting a traffic-camera ticket, Adam MacLeod fought the law and the law lost.

The Global Coalition has an interview with a French Daesh defector.

Speaking of France and terrorism, they’re getting very twitchy about Islamic infiltration of their police force.

This is like the ending of the movie where they try to get you to like and admire that character whose earlier actions should have precluded liking and admiring them.

An attempt to make OxyContin safer by preventing it from being crushed and snorted ended up pushing more people to heroin.

If Trump repeats this, will he get Three Pinocchios or Four?

Kansas has a lawyer problem. Specifically, a “no lawyers in the State Senate” problem.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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93 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Law & Order {2016.01.17.T}

  1. Having male victims of statutory rape or male victims of rape in general pay child support seems wrong on many levels. If a male victim has to pay child support than there is a big implication that he really wasn’t the victim of sexual abuse but that the real victim is the female perpetrator. The idea that men can’t really be the victims of a sex crimes at the hands of woman is really deeply ingrained in our society.

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    • The idea that men can’t really be the victims of a sex crimes at the hands of woman is really deeply ingrained in our society.

      Lots of things are ingrained in our society and for lots of reasons. That’s how societies work. This comes across as a way of claiming that something is wrong without having to do the work of establishing what exactly the problem is.

      Maybe we should complete the thought and ask why this particular idea has taken root. And I mean that we should ask in a way that honestly opens us up to more than one possible correct answer.

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      • I used to read a blogger who wrote about how, in his 50’s, he came to realize he’d been sexually abused as a teenager, and how it had damaged all his sexual relationships, indeed all his relationships. I know another young man whom I suspect is in a similar state, though perhaps he hasn’t quite got it all figured out yet.

        There are a lot of things to care about. So maybe it doesn’t make your list. It’s on mine, though.

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    • I think theres a difference between statutory rape and non statutory rape. In the fist case the male might have consented to the sex even if the age difference (student-teacher for instance) makes it illegal. In that case some obligations, and some parental rights, are reasonable

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      • J_A,
        Personally, I think the difference should break on the “did the kid have sex ed”?
        Because one can have informed consent for part of an act, without realizing the consequences.

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      • Yeah, there are lots of issues with defining statutory rape. I see a 17 year old guy having sex with his 18 year old girlfriend (in a state where 18 is the hard age of consent) as being WAAAAAAAAAAY different from a (say) 32 year old woman preying on a 16 year old boy. Yet often they are treated the same and in some cases – especially if it’s an 18 year old GUY having sex with a slightly-under-aged girlfriend, the guy gets stigmatized with a “sex criminal” label for life.

        The “teacher student sex crimes” thing is in the news again because of a case in Houston. I admit these cases always make me feel vaguely ill. (I had a teacher – I was never one of the ones at risk and I only learned about it years after – who apparently preyed on several young-teen girls in his class. I don’t want to boast about any kind of “spidey sense” here but I always did get a creepy vibe off him and tried not to be alone in the lab or classroom when he was around).

        also, I am a college prof. You occasionally hear of cases of “sexual harassment” where profs and students get involved. It’s not technically statutory rape because they’re all over 18 but still it’s creepy to me because of the power/authority imbalance there.

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        • I could see the stat rape standard changing from a bright line 18 to a clear age differential (e.g. 2 years if at least one of the parties is under 18), and then move the bright line down to 13 or 14 or something.

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            • See, that sort of thing blows my mind a little, because I remember learning where babies came from at 10 (my mom gave me the “talk”) and for more than a couple of years after that I was like “Holy crap, if I ever want to have a kid, I am going to have to do THAT first.” (And also: “Holy crap, my parents did THAT twice, seeing as I have a brother.”)

              I don’t know if I was just a weird kid or if this is a common thing.

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              • My niece learned about where babies come from on the street, the way God intended, from some local hooligan. Apparently the version she heard was roughly accurate. She came home deeply offended by the experience, as it was obviously absurd and how could anything think she was so gullible.

                My nine year old knows that “sex” is involved, but doesn’t know what “sex” is.

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              • Holy crap, if I ever want to have a kid, I am going to have to do THAT first.” (And also: “Holy crap, my parents did THAT twice, seeing as I have a brother.”)

                In one of the best episodes of The Middle, Brick has a Miracle of Halloween experience and goes trick-or-treating to his future home, where the housewife tells him that her husband is the world’s authority on antique fonts, and that they have four kids.

                When he realize he has seen his own future home, he’s blown out by the idea that he will get to have sex FOUR TIMES. He can’t be happier.

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    • I would note that things like child support are based on the child being an innocent bystander and the support is ostensibly for the child. So the child would be, in essence, punished for the crimes of the mother. Not that I support the fathers being forced to pay child support in these cases, but that’s the theory.

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    • I don’t know that requiring child support necessarily implies that the woman was a victim. It might speak to whether we see the man as a victim, but I don’t see how it says anything about the woman. Child support is not about the receiving parent, but about the child under that parent’s care.

      The thing is… answering, “Should a statutory rape victim be required to pay child support?” feels like an impossible question. Are we talking about a 17-year-old male and 18-year-old female? Or a 14-year-old male and his 35-year-old teacher? Assuming the sex was not violent and non-coerced, the question of whether or not rape took place hinges on consent… and not whether consent was given but whether the person in question was capable of giving consent. And different states handle that question differently.

      I’m also not sure we should be looking at the question as a binary yes-or-no. Maybe we tell a 17-year-old who willingly sleeps with a 25-year-old that he bears some but not full responsibility for his choice and his child support payment calculations will reflect that.

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        • From the law review article from 2011 mentioned in the link, in the one case that could be found involving a claim made against a mother-victim for child support, the court refused to order child support for the three children. The issue was slightly different in that lack of consent was premised on incest, she claimed her brother was the father.

          There are a lot of examples given of adult men raped, and sperm stolen without consent. Granted there is only one example of the mother-victim, but it appears that part of the collective rationale includes gender-stereotyping.

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      • It’s not that binary. Legally he didn’t consent, just like age prevents children from having the capacity to consent to a lot of legal matters like contracts and settlements. When he’s old enough he can consent to responsibility for the child, that would be his choice. That’s a moral decision that he can make when he is old enough to make it.

        A girl raped also should not be compelled by law to do anything: she can have an abortion, put the child up for adoption, or raise the child. Those are moral issues she will have to make. The law’s role is to enforce private agreements btw/ consenting adults and punishing/redressing wrongs committed by criminals.

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        • See TF’s response below, which captures what I was trying to say about how consent is a sliding scale, as is the responsibility for what one does.

          We sort of recognize this already. We let 16-year-olds make choices we don’t let 12-year-olds make who can make choices we don’t let 3-year-olds make.

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      • It seems like if the law would rule that he was unable to consent to the act (whatever the specific circumstances), it’s very hard to turn around and also say that his participation in the act should incur lifelong responsibility. One or the other, but surely not both.

        I’m on board with the idea that responsibility and consent are really a continuum and not a binary, but it does seem that adding to one necessarily subtracts from the other.

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        • “I’m on board with the idea that responsibility and consent are really a continuum and not a binary, but it does seem that adding to one necessarily subtracts from the other.”

          This is what I was trying to get at, admittedly rather sloppily.

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      • It’s maybe worth thinking of this from the angle not of “who bears the moral responsibility for this child’s birth?” but “what apportionment of financial responsibility for this child’s upbringing would best support the child’s wellbeing?”

        Consider e.g. cases where the City of X is held to be 20% responsible in some case, and Joe Schmoe the unemployed short order cook 80% responsible – but the city ends up on the hook for 95% of the financial damages. The apportionment of damages is based only in part on who’s responsible for the harm, alongside what will actually result in the victim receiving the money they need to be made whole.

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        • Child support tends to be a very complicated calculation as it is so I’m not even sure how close or far such a mindset is to how we currently do things.

          I guess my thinking is that “statutory rape” covers such a wide range of circumstances that there exist a subset of such circumstances wherein it’d make sense for a male victim to contribute to a child’s upbringing.

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  2. Speed camera tickets: Good for Adam. That wouldn’t work in my state, but kudos to him. There was recently so guy who was a physicist or such who proved that the speed camera was wrong about his speed. That ended up bringing the who system down around its ears and, as I recall, the city cancelled it’s contract.

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  3. I have been thinking about the marshmallow test.

    When arguing about the marshmallow test with Maribou, she usually makes the following pretty good point at some point in the argument:

    Let’s say you’ve got a handful of kids who have taken the marshmallow test before. The times before that they’ve taken it and chosen “wait for the two marshmallows” have resulted in feckless researchers saying something like “oh, whoops, looks like we didn’t have two marshmallows after all. Oh, and it looks like someone else ate the first marshmallow that you chose to not eat.”

    How many times would this have to happen for these kids to eat the marshmallow?
    If these kids eat the marshmallow, is reaching the conclusion that they have a problem with delaying gratification and publishing the hell out of that, the right response?

    Anyway, as I’ve been saying, I’ve been thinking about the marshmallow test.

    Also, this cartoon has been floating around the twitters:

    https://twitter.com/rebecca_roache/status/820883887517798400

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    • Jay,
      To speak from experience, it’s not the kids who eat the marshmallow who are the problem.
      It’s the kids who hoard the marshmallow.
      They’re the ones who aren’t sure if they’re going to get enough to eat tommorrow.

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      • Sometimes I wonder if I bought in too much to the lessons of the marshmallow test. Every month these days, as I budget carefully so that a chunk of my paycheck goes into a TIAA/CREF account for a future retirement that may not even exist. (I could get hit by a car crossing the street, we could get nuked by space aliens, the government could decide to confiscate/”nationalize” those kinds of retirement accounts to prop itself up, a pandemic could come).

        I don’t know. I see people with fancy smartphones and expensive shoes and purses and newer cars than what I have (though my car is perfectly serviceable and I actually like it) and I wonder: are they the chumps, or am I?

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          • I can roll my eyes and go “That’s BS” to the old saying about “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels” (which is probably why I am 40+ pounds overweight)

            I can’t quite do the same about “no purchase feels as good as future financial security does,” even though my faith in my doing everything “right” ensuring my future financial security has been severely shaken.

            though if space aliens nuke us from orbit, I’ll probably be dead before I have time to regret not having bought that fancy stereo equipment.

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    • I remember talking about the marshmallow test w/ my grandschooler once (I cannot remember why), and he said something like “It depends, sometimes you just want one marshmallow.” Which is true for him, and it’s just a damn marshmallow. The 60s called and they want their confections back.

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      • This. Bug is 4.5, and all his life we’ve, in an effort to avoid instilling the same bad eating habits we struggle against, never told him to clean his plate, or denied him more food. Rather, we’ve told him to listen to his hunger and when his tummy says to stop, stop.

        It’s something of a struggle, because sometimes he’s not that hungry when dinner is ready, or he’s busy playing and doesn’t want to stop for food, so we have to strive to strike the balance between having him listen to his body, but also not letting him dictate meal times based on his whim.

        Still, the end result is, the kid usually will stop eating the food he just loves, including dessert, when his tummy says to stop. He’ll even turn down dessert, or only take a bite, if he filled up on other food. He never feels deprived, so I suspect that if he was to take the marshmallow test, his behavior would depend quite heavily on his mood and how hungry he was.

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    • “C’mon, I want to show you how dumb this kid is”, he told me. “Kid! C’mere. I want you to meet my friend.”

      “Hi. mister”, the kid said.

      “Nice to meet you.”

      “Look, kid”. he said. “I have two coins. You see them? A nickel and a dime. You can have one of them. Which one do you pick.”

      “I want the big one!”

      “Here you go, kid. See”, he turned to me. “What did I tell you. Dumb as a post.”

      “Yeah. Hey, I need to get going.” I caught up with the kid. “Son, you know the dime is worth more than the nickel, right?”

      “Sure, twice as much.”

      “Then why do you always pick the wrong one?”

      “Geez, mister! The first time I pick the dime, he’ll stop playing the game.”

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  4. Re: France and terrorism. The Sun is a terrible newspaper. The article’s title – “it’s claimed 16 police officers have joined ISIS” is not supported by the article. (16 is the number of (Muslim) people that were reprimanded for violating a rule over the period of 3 years)

    Perusing the other titles Christophe Dubois has written also doesn’t instill me with confidence in “Ou Sont Passes Nos Espions?” (the other co-author seems to be more a mainstream ‘true crime’ author)

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        • When you only win the EC with the help of the FBI and Russian intelligence? Or, in Bushs case, with the help of a party-line non-precedential vote by the Supreme Court. Also, winning the EC but losing the popular vote is quite rare, and losing by the margin Trump lost by hasn’t happened since, well, Hayes won.

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            • With regard to the Comey letter, yes. It’s harder to say with the DNC hack, since the results were dribbled out over months and it was therefore very hard to measure their effect on the polls. It’s not like it took very much, since Trump’s margin in the Midwest was razor thin.

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              • Don,
                yes, of fucking course Trump won because of the FBI.
                Goddamn idiotic liberals gotta blame someone for Walker leaving the race, don’t they?

                Oh, wait, liberals ain’t gonna want to talk about that, because it doesn’t fit their nice shiny narratives. EVUL FBI does Bad Things! Can’t possibly herd people out of the presidential who don’t deserve to be there.

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  5. I’ve known a few women who dated men in their 20s when they were in high school. Most of these women claimed that they were more mature than their 20-something boyfriends (not to mention the boys at school). Sometimes I wonder if the female variant of adolescent recklessness is to think you are more mature or worldly than you really are. For the most part, most of these women ended up with guys around their age eventually.

    For the issue of male victims of statutory rape, the other disconnect is that there are a lot of guys out there who think men can’t be the victims of statutory rape. Whenever you see a story about an older woman arrested for statutory rape with a younger man, you can usually find vulgar commentary about how this is every guy’s dream or some such. Guys will say lots of this stuff.

    It seems when it comes to this issue, there is a lot of special pleading involved. Lots of “but we are exceptions to the rule.” The problem is that the law needs to be an ass sometimes and lay down some bright line rules.

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    • When I was in my early 20s I, uh, “dated” isn’t the right word—let’s go with “fucked repeatedly” a woman who was probably in her mid-30s. In retrospect, I think she took me on as a project, what with me being extremely nerdy. I wasn’t a virgin going into this, but I wasn’t all that far removed from virginity either. In any case, I recommend the experience highly. I learned a lot, and by “learned a lot” I mean technique. While teachable technique is not all there is to good sex, or even most of what there is to good sex, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Of course key to this being a good idea is that neither of us ever thought that it was anything other than what it was.

      Edit: Oh, and the law is “a ass,” not “an ass.” It’s just one of those things, like “the wages of sin is death.” You just gotta go with it.

      Second edit: Thereby establishing my “nerd” cred, were there any question.

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    • It’s interesting that if he had been a little more brazen, not had children to think about, and generally acted more like a calculating sociopath at the end, he probably could have gotten away with it long enough to die a free and wealthy man. Start taking on new “investors” to keep it going for a few more years, then stall the whole thing in a cloud of legal red tape. He might have been on his death bed by the time any real consequences caught up.

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  6. Regarding the murder rate links. I just went and looked at the fact checkers on Trumps carious claims on just this issue.

    They rated it true when he first said the murder rate was increasing faster than it had in forty five years, and false when he said that the murder rate was the highest it had been in forty five years. Which is both accurate and fair (in my opinion).

    With that said, it gets to a point Will made earlier about claim investigation, rather than ‘fact checking,’ being a better way of handling these types of statements.

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    • Wow! I did *not* expect that one. While the punishment seemed barbaric, the case was pretty clear-cut. It seemed like an example of everything wrong with the worst self-styled whistle blowers: huge amounts of unrelated data, a release through uncontrolled channels, and not much in the way of public benefit. I figure Snowden doesn’t have a chance in hell, but his chances seemed better than Manning’s.

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        • It’s not the time that’s at issue, it’s the
          – essentially constant solitary confinement
          – incarceration in an all-male institution
          – forced masculinization (hair cut short like a male prisoner)
          – extreme, disproportionate punishment for ‘offenses’ not even applied to other prisoners (possession of expired toothpaste FFS)
          – refusal of medical treatment
          – refusal of access to legal counsel

          Basically, the military penal system has shown itself quite incapable of fulfilling its obligation to treat this particular prisoner with minimal humanity, so sentence commutation to get her out of their clutches is right and just.

          You could of course have found that out yourself – you just would have had to take on the exercise of deliberately challenging your own beliefs. You should try it sometime; it’s every bit as much of a valuable exercise as cardio, weights, or stretches.

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          • I think this is about right.

            We must have state secrets, and can’t really just allow the moral imperative defense since thats too easily abused.

            So in this case some punishment was warranted, but an official acknowledgement of the moral imperative was in fact important.

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          • It seems to me that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America could had done something about problems in the military incarceration system if they exist.

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              • Hey, don’t be looking my way when you say that. I don’t know a damn thing about the UCMJ or the allocation of responsibilities regarding the management of DOD prisons.

                (The general rule for court intervention into the way that medical services are provided to prisoners is that the inmates need to establish “deliberate indifference” by the warden to their legitimate medical needs. [At least, that was the standard about 25 years ago.] I have no idea whether the deliberate indifference standard applies to military prisons.)

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          • Prison isn’t a picnic and military prisons are even less so. You are still a soldier and expected to maintain certain standards. If he didn’t like some of his treatment at the Marine brig, he shouldn’t have joke about attempting suicide. As for getting “out of their clutches” he isn’t some damsel in distress. He is an adult that chose to commit a crime and harm this nation.

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    • You should like Manning – a third of her acts and motivation were to directly undermine Hillary Clinton’s abilty to do the Sec State job effectively.

      Now, as to why Obama is mitigating someone undermined Hillary Clinton, and who as well worked with an organization now alleged to have direct ties with Russia intelligence (at the time Manning’s data dump occured)?

      Well, who the fuck knows what Obama is thinking these days? Manning gets a pass, Cartwright gets a pass – but Petraeus and Bergdahl and submarine dude that took pics that he then tried to destroy – they’re all still on the hook.

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