No Way to Prevent This

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 5/27/14. Isla Vista, CA. 6 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 6/17/15. Charleston, SC. 9 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 10/1/15. Roseburg, OR. 9 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 12/3/15. San Bernardino, CA. 14 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 10/2/17. Las Vegas, NV. 58 people killed (851 injured).

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 11/5/17. Sutherland Springs, TX. 26 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 2/14/18. Parkland, FL. 17 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 5/18/18. Sante Fe, NM. 10 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 9/13/18. Bakersfield, CA. 5 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 10/28/18. Pittsburg, PA. 11 people killed.

“No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens. 11/8/18. Thousand Oaks, CA. 12 people killed.

I Believe Dr. Blasey Ford

Thanks to the political horrorshow that has dominated the last week (not to be confused with the dozens preceding the current week, or those yet to come – I’m looking at you, greatest tax fraud scandal in the history of the presidency), we’ve gotten to hear from a number of men who are terrified they’ll be falsely accused of rape.

Good news, guys: Kavanaugh hasn’t been falsely accused, and you won’t be either.

Disagree?

Let’s do something CRAZY and look at evidence and facts, helpfully compiled by Jeremy C. Young, and even more helpfully pulled out of the Twitter cesspool by Tumblr folks.


First, how hard is it to arrange a false accusation of rape?

In the last week of the 2016 election, Democratic donors Susie Tompkins Buell and David Brock demonstrated you don’t need morals or brains to acquire wealth, and decided to find out. They offered $700,000 to any woman who would say Donald Trump raped her.

Source

So. Women had whatever normal incentives women have to lie about rape (more on that in a bit), plus fistfuls of cash on offer.

The result: “It was not productive.” One woman requested $2 million, Bloom said, then decided not to come forward. Nor did anyone else.

This has happened before. During the Clinton impeachment hearings, Larry Flynt offered $1 million to anyone who said they’d had an affair with a GOP congressman. Only one woman got paid, and the man she accused, Bob Livingston, admitted she was telling the truth.

Source

Let’s go back to that “whatever normal incentives women have” line.

Why don’t more women lie about being sexually assaulted?

Because the disbelief and ridicule they receive is so devastating that the lie isn’t worth it. They don’t HAVE any motive. They can try to “ruin” a man, but most of the time it doesn’t work, and they get ruined instead.

This isn’t to say there aren’t ANY false rape accusations. But let’s take a look at what those look like, courtesy of this outstanding article, which you really should read.

What kind of person makes false rape accusations?

It turns out there have been studies on the types of people who make false rape accusations, and they fall into a few consistent categories.

  1. Teen girls trying to cover up a pregnancy or missed curfew.
  2. People with extensive criminal convictions for fraud.
  3. People with Munchausen’s Disorder (who fabricate a million health conditions).
  4. People seeking revenge, usually for petty things like someone stealing their truck.

Also: “False accusers almost never tell stories that could, by any stretch of the imagination, be seen as an innocent misunderstanding.”

If Dr. Blasey Ford wanted to lie about Kavanaugh, based on the patterns observed in the article, she’d accuse him of torturing her in a basement, not of attempted molestation at a party.

The takeaway: “If a woman without any history of dramatic falsehoods says she went home with a man and, after they’d kissed a while consensually, he held her down and forced her into sex – in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, you can assume it’s true.”

(More to the point, you SHOULD do so, but that’s MY takeaway.)

When it comes to Kavanaugh, false accusations of this type simply don’t happen. Dr. Blasey Ford is telling the truth. So are Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. If you know a man who’s faced accusations like these three, it’s almost certain they actually did what they’re accused of. (More on THAT in a bit.)

False accusations of rape do happen, but they are rare. Rarer than being struck by lightning WHILE SITTING INSIDE YOUR HOUSE. If you’re not lying awake at night worrying that lightning will come through your window and electrocute you, you shouldn’t worry about being falsely accused of rape, guys.

What we SHOULD worry about is what happens to women like Dr. Blasey Ford when they tell the truth and are still not believed. What’s been said about Dr. Blasey Ford would land most people in therapy for years. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh’s nomination trundles onward.

In summary, you literally cannot pay women to falsely report sexual misconduct.

But, as Donald Trump has demonstrated (repeatedly), you can certainly pay them not to report sexual misconduct that actually happened.


Okay: let’s loop back to “If you know a man who’s faced accusations like these three, it’s almost certain they actually did what they’re accused of.”

I’d like to make an edit to that sentence. Delete “almost.”

There are statistics about false rape accusations floating around that range from 2% (according to activists) to 10% (according to skeptics). (The highest rate in any credible study is 10.3%. If someone quotes you a rate higher than that, they don’t know what they’re talking about.)

But there’s a BIT more to it than that.

First, go back and read the article I linked. Seriously, do some legwork; it’s literally one click and moving your eyeballs.

What kind of person makes false rape accusations?

Second – and this is critical – not a single false accusation mentioned in the article involved more than one accuser. With multiple accusers who are (a) credible in their own right and (b) don’t know one another, the possibility of a false accusation drops exponentially.

Put another way, if you have even two credible accusers who don’t know each other, you have (for all practical purposes) mathematically removed the possibility of reasonable doubt.

Kavanaugh has three credible accusers, and two more potentially credible ones.

The chance they’re ALL lying is functionally zero.


SOME OTHER ARGUMENTS YOU MIGHT HEAR

“Memory is unreliable.”

Sure: people often don’t remember the face of a stranger who attacks them. They DO remember when it’s someone they know. And three women don’t MISremember being attacked by the SAME GUY. That’s light-years beyond lightning-struck-in-my-armchair odds. It isn’t a thing.

How Reliable are the Memories of Sexual Assault Victims?

Takeaway: People forget peripheral details of trauma, but not central details. They might misidentify the face of a stranger rapist, but they don’t misremember the identity of their classmate, whom they know, who attacked them.

“Why now?”

Maybe you’re talking with (or are) one of the “why did she wait 40 years to come forward” crowd? I (or, rather, Jennifer Taub) have got you covered.

Coming forward is traumatic. Sexual assault survivors are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than the average person, and most report that public victim blaming is one of the main reasons. The Mental Impact of Rape

But if he’s going to be ruling on the rights of 150 million women? Suddenly it becomes more urgent. Judged to be worth the pain, I must assume.

“Women just want to protect Roe v Wade.”

Okay. So did all the women David Brock offered fistfuls of money to in 2016. And yet.

Wanting to protect Roe v Wade, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars, wasn’t enough to convince anyone to make false accusations. It’s just too traumatic.

And, again, consider motive. People who make up false accusations ALWAYS trend toward the sensational. They’re easy to spot.

“I know someone who’s been falsely accused.”

Cool. How many people do you know who’ve been sexually assaulted? Data says it’s 27% – somewhat more than 40 MILLION WOMEN – in the U.S. – and 7% of men.

And let’s not forget 80% of women sexually harassed – that’s… 120 million in the U.S.?

But sure: hit me with the anecdata about that one guy you know…

“Innocent until proven guilty.”

That is a legal standard, not a job interview standard. I’ve worked inside HR offices as a trainer for years, and don’t know any who’d hire someone with these kinds of stories flying around about them, from multiple credible witnesses. It’s laughable.

No one’s suggesting Kavanaugh should be in jail without trial, just that he shouldn’t be on the Court.

Some Thoughts on Black Panther, from a White Dude

So.

I love this movie. Love. I think it’s probably the best overall film Marvel’s come out with, viewed holistically. I might like a certain action scene or the humor in another movie more BUT, taken as a whole, Black Panther is STRONG. Top three, if not top of the list.

And, I have confirmed, very rewatchable.

I’ve been struggling with what else – if anything – to say about the movie, and honestly trying to decide if I should say anything about it. I love it, and I think it’s great, and I think if you haven’t seen it, and you’re someone in my circles, you probably should, because you’ll like it.

But what else?

I mean, the empowerment and representation in this movie is not mine, and that is an inarguable good, so maybe I should just shut the fuck up about it.

Maybe no one wants to hear that I think Blank Panther also has something important to say to me and other white guys. Maybe I don’t even need to step into the “what Black Panther has to say” conversation at all.

And if you feel that way, I respect that, and you should definitely tune this next bit out.

Because… this movie is about Wakanda, right?

And what’s Wakanda?

Wakanda is, by all accounts (including the exposition in the movie) a pretty blessed country. It has resources and advantages no one else in the world has. It has made advances no one else in the world has, and in fact enjoys benefits no one else in the world even imagines can be.

“You guys have hoverbikes?!?”

It has, in short, all the best stuff.

And, at the start of the movie (and throughout the fictional history of this country) what Wakanda does with these gifts is:

  • use them to protect itself
  • preserve its advantage
  • ensure that everyone else’s problems do not become its problems.

So… basically… white men in the real world.

And without discussing spoilers, I will say this.

The movie demonstrates a healthy, helpful, I think necessary path forward for anyone with those kinds of advantages.

And it’s not more guns.

It’s not war and occupation in every country we don’t agree with.

It’s not continuing the same selfish, inward-focused, personal preservation that has been our go-to move throughout history.

In a time of conflict, fools builds a wall barriers, and the wise build bridges.

Right?

So.

Without (I hope) taking anything away from everyone to whom this movie will speak much more fully, much more emotionally, and much more personally, I hope I can say that it also has something to tell a middle-aged white dude.

And I’m going to shut up and take notes, because it’s got a hell of a good point.

Another way to (safely) view the eclipse: Waffle Fingers!

https://eclipse.aas.org/sites/eclipse.aas.org/files/Waffle-Fingers_RTF_512x323.gif

Just cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other. Then, with your back to the Sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground. During the partial phases of the solar eclipse, these images will reveal the Sun's crescent shape, as shown in the accompanying photo.

eclipse.aas.org/sites/eclipse.aas.org/files/Waffle-Fingers_RTF_512x323.gif

This is not New

The first time the president’s name appeared on the front page of the New York Times was more than 40 years ago. “Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City,” read the headline of the A1 piece on Oct. 16, 1973, which pointed out how Richard Nixon’s Department of Justice had sued the Trump family’s real estate company in federal court over alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act.

Over the next four decades: he was accused of ordering “all the black employees off the floor” of his Atlantic City casinos during his visits; claimed “laziness is a trait in blacks” and “not anything they can control”; requested Jews “in yarmulkes” replace his black accountants; told Bryan Gumbel that “a well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market”; demanded the death penalty for a group of black and Latino teenagers accused of raping a jogger in Central Park (and, despite their later exoneration with the use of DNA evidence, has continued to insist they are guilty); suggested a Native American tribe “don’t look like Indians to me”; mocked Chinese and Japanese trade negotiators by doing an impression of them in broken English; described undocumented Mexican immigrants as “rapists”; compared Syrian refugees to “snakes”; defended two supporters who assaulted a homeless Latino man as “very passionate” people “who love this country”; pledged to ban a quarter of humanity from entering the United States; proposed a database to track American Muslims that he himself refused to distinguish from the Nazi registration of German Jews; implied Jewish donors “want to control” politicians and are all sly negotiators; heaped praise on the “amazing reputation” of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has blamed America’s problems on a “Jewish mafia”; referred to a black supporter at a campaign rally as “my African-American”; suggested the grieving Muslim mother of a slain U.S. army officer “maybe … wasn’t allowed” to speak in public about her son; accused an American-born Hispanic judge of being “a Mexican“; retweeted anti-Semitic and anti-black memes, white supremacists, and even a quote from Benito Mussolini; kept a book of Hitler’s collected speeches next to his bed; declined to condemn both David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan; and spent five years leading a “birther” movement that was bent on smearing and delegitimizing the first black president of the United States, who Trump also accused of being the founder of ISIS.

This is not news.

The news is, we’re letting him run the country.

On Punching Nazis, Part Three

Maybe you don't want to punch Nazis because you don't want to punch anybody, but you want to do SOMETHING. That's fair. (I don't want to punch anyone either, though I've decided I will make an exception in the case of Nazis, but that is my choice, not yours.)

Maybe you wouldn't mind punching Nazis, and there are no Nazis around to punch, but you feel you must to do something. Also fair.

Here's what you do.

Love somebody who needs it right now.

Talk to the brown-skinned guy with the accent who, like you, is standing in the Home Depot, waiting to see if the employee can find any eclipse-rated welding goggle lenses in inventory.

Tell your black or jewish coworkers how sorry and frustrated and goddamn ANGRY you are that this country has allowed this poison for so long, pretending it wasn't there.

They will know what you mean. They've always known. We're the ones who've just figured it out, and shame on us.

Find your lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, queer friends and ask them what they need. (Don't ask how you can help – don't make them do the mental labor of finding a place for self-important YOU in their trouble – ask them what they NEED and fit yourself to that.)

If you don't have such friends, get out in the world and fucking FIX that.

Love someone who needs it right now.

Love someone who needs it, right now.

Someone who isn't like you.

Someone Other.

There are a lot of them, and they need it right now.

WE need it right now.

If you need to do something. Do that.

Happy 4th

“[They] agreed that it was neither possible nor necessary to educate people who never questioned anything.”

— Joseph Heller, Catch-22