Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cage Match: Captain Obvious vs. Major Premise

Q: Why would a conservative blogger pen no fewer than 52 posts in three months on the Kaitlyn Hunt case?

A: Because phrases like "teen lesbian" attract traffic to his blog; words like "pedophile" keep the visitors, and their pitchforks, engaged; and traffic + engagement + monetization = how that blogger makes his living.

Pointing that out, rather than expressing any particular opinion on the case, seems to be what got me kicked out of a comment thread at The Other McCain by an eager young intern (or something like that) who seems to have taken it as his mission to monitor commenters and make sure they color within strict "yeah! Charles Johnso ... er, Stacy McCain ... is right! Yeah! YEAH! YEAH BABY!" lines.

I suppose it's possible that the real reason I got kicked was for making a $5 donation to Hunt's defense fund in honor of some idiot whose Internet identity centers around the rotting corpse of Richard M. Nixon and who asserted that only a pedophile or supporter of pedophiles would question the use of a key term of art in the prosecution's case and McCain's coverage of same.

But I really think it was probably the act of pointing out something that McCain himself sings from the rooftops: Hell, yes, he sensationalizes. And it works.

It certainly worked on me. I first heard of the Hunt case at The Other McCain, and I've heard very little about it anywhere else, all while Stacy courts carpal tunnel syndrome writing an average of one article every 1.75 days for 90 days on the topic. He's worked very hard to corner the teen lesbian and pedophile blog niche this summer.

As to the case itself, I don't really have a strong opinion on Hunt's innocence or guilt. The only strong opinion I have is that instead of legislatures drawing numbers out of hats ("age of consent" laws) to magically create crimes, prosecutors should be required to prove that someone was victimized.

That strong opinion translates into an objection to referring to Hunt's girlfriend as "the victim" -- the term of art I mention above -- until and unless it's been proven that she is, in fact, a victim.

These cases being what they are, it's difficult to get full information, but the information that is available seems to indicate that the girlfriend (who was 14 at the time of initial "crime" and is 15 now), does formally consent and always has formally consented to the relationship, and has in fact actively pursued that relationship even since the filing of the charges.

Now, here's the thing: I'm certainly open to the possibility that the girlfriend's formal consent is void because she is, for some reason, incompetent to truly consent. Perhaps she has an IQ of 50 or some major mental health issues.

BUT! If that's the case, the prosecutor should be able to prove it. And the prosecutor should be required to prove it, not just dance around screaming "but the legislature drew a number out of a hat and that number is higher than 14!" and get an automatic conviction.

And let's not sidestep this:

If that 14-15 year old goes out tomorrow and kills three people while robbing a liquor store, the prosecutor will be in front of a judge asking to try her "as an adult" tout suite.

If that 14-15 year old is a child actor and mommy and daddy are blowing all the millions she's earned on cocaine and Maseratis, a judge will respectfully hear her petition for emancipation.

I'd bet money not one of the "pitchforks for Kaitlyn" crowd over at ToM would bat an eye at either of those two things. But suggest that the 14-15 year old just might not be a victim when it comes to sex, and all of a sudden you're a pederast. Nonsense.

As far as "which part of IT'S THE LAW do you not understand?" is concerned, well, bad laws should be condemned and if legislatures can't be persuaded to repeal them, juries should nullify them.

And that's all I have to say about that.

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