This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight was published June 12, 2016 by The Washington Times.
Father’s Day is coming this Sunday, and there’s a lot to think about, given an incident that’s still making news days after it broke.
Former Stanford swim team member Brock Allen Turner, who was found guilty by a jury, was sentenced by a judge to six months in jail plus probation for sexually assaulting an unconscious 23-year-old woman behind a dumpster in 2015.
The light sentence was newsworthy, but what really lit up social and legacy media were a public letter from the victim, now scarred for life, and the mind-boggling comments from Mr. Turner’s father, who said his 20-year-old son shouldn’t suffer this much for a mere “20 minutes of action.”
Perhaps Dan Turner believes his son’s story that it was entirely consensual despite the victim’s bruises and severely inebriated state. Even if that were so, perhaps he doesn’t think that taking advantage of a drunk girl, fleeing the scene and being tackled by two passersby and held for arrest is a big deal.
Dan Turner’s full quote was: “(Brock’s) life will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”
I’m sure he now regrets that comment, which he says was misinterpreted. If you have a strong stomach, read the lengthy, extremely graphic 12-page letter from Brock’s victim, detailing not only the incident and the nightmare of a trial but what her life has become since. As for Brock, Judge Aaron Persky said, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. I think he will not be a danger to others.”
No wonder people are demonstrating and urging the trial judge’s impeachment. In some jurisdictions, people have the opportunity to vote such judges out of office.
Apart from its shocking context, Mr. Turner’s “action” comment resonated because it exemplifies an unexceptional attitude: Sex as commodity. It matters little whether it’s in or out of marriage, with love or without, on a single night or weekend, and with abortion as a backup if contraception fails. Hey, it’s action.
All of the other increasingly bizarre permutations of the sexual revolution begin with the notion of sex as an end unto itself, to be valued solely for its sensations. But sex is so much more than that, which is why the Creator of Heaven and Earth, who can equip Monarch butterflies for an annual 4,000 mile-migration, gave us common sense boundaries and things like the “love” chemical oxytocin, which bonds husband and wife.
For you Darwinian evolutionists out there, here’s a mental picture. Remember the diagram showing a monkey gradually evolving into a bent over man who finally walks in a straight fashion? Our culture’s trajectory toward an animalistic view of mating could be drawn in an opposite direction, with the ape at the end muttering about getting some “action.”
That picture may not be fair to Mr. Turner, a distraught father trying to protect his son, but it puts the kibosh on the notion that we’re evolving into higher moral beings as we make up new rules along the way.
On the flip side of the Stanford story, there is the overreaction by radical campus feminists who insist that most men are rapists and that the rules of a fair trial do not apply if an accusation is made. This attitude, plus a juicy side narrative of race and class privilege, drove the wide media acceptance of the stripper’s false charges of rape against the Duke Lacrosse team in 2006 and Rolling Stone’s fabricated University of Virginia fraternity house rape story in 2014.
It’s telling how the same media have managed to stifle their own curiosity over numerous claims from credible women accusing Bill Clinton of groping and even rape (Juanita Broaddrick).
A wise man once told me that life is not as complicated as many people make it out to be.
Right and wrong don’t take a lot of explaining. The right way to regard the opposite sex, my father taught me, was to see girls and women as created in the image of God and thus of inestimable value. We learned this at church as well, and much of the popular culture of the time elevated the idea of the male protector of hearth, home and country.
The anti-hero who bucks all convention, especially marriage, has become a cultural icon in our debased culture. But as Movieguide’s Ted Baehr chronicles year after year, the films that reflect traditional virtues still make far more money than others. In an ever-shifting world, people long for strength, stability, honesty and selflessness. And real manhood.
Which brings us back to the “20 minutes of action.”
On second thought, let’s not go back there. You get the idea.