Accepting excuses trivializes crimes
So just give me his name and I will kill whomever it is you want dead.
I'll get away with it, too.
In fact, to make it even more interesting I'll get away with it without even denying that I killed him in the first place. You're reading this thinking I'm joking, but I'm not. Think about it.
First off, let me set the stage. I'm going to hang around parties where I know there'll be a good chance he, or one of the other persons I've been commissioned to do in, will be socializing. I'll stick to the walls, making sure to have a beer in my hand all the time, but rarely drinking anything from it. I'll probably spot him from across the room, noticing either that his speech has started to slur, or he's stumbling and leaning on the wall or such. That's when I'll make my move.
I'll head over, just start to make some small talk, friendly banter, you know the stuff. "What's your major?," "Where do you live?" I'll get him another drink so he doesn't have to wait in that big long keg line. A little later on the party is breaking up, it comes time to go. What the hell, I'll give him a ride home. And why wouldn't he accept; I've been nice all evening.
That's when it will happen. I'll save you the details, but sometime between when he gets in my car and before the next day when he doesn't show up in his dorm, the crime will have occurred. I'm not going to deny the fact that the guy is dead, you see; it just wasn't murder. When you ask me if I murdered the guy, here's what I'll explain.
First of all, you should have seen what this guy was wearing. Clearly he must shop at Goodwill, and no, not for the chic, "I shop at Goodwill" cool clothes, just nasty unkempt frumpy clothes that say to the world, "I am miserable, I hate my life." I got the message loud and clear from what he was wearing. This kid did not want to live, he was begging for it. I just gave him what he wanted.
What? That's not a satisfying answer? Well, it doesn't matter either, because I had been drinking. You can ask anyone there that night. I had a beer the whole time I was there. I know I drove him, but I drive drunk all the time, and plus, when I got him to the place, I took out a bottle of Jack Daniels and I "caught up." We were both drunk. No one's at fault here. We were both victims.
Hey, it was consensual, too. You doubt me? We were in the car and I said, "Hey man, I'm going to kill you."
He said, "Ha ha man, go ahead, ha ha."
It was a little slurred, but that is definitely what he said. I don't need anything other than that, so you just need to back off.
I know I don't need any more evidence, but there's still more. You know about his past don't you? This isn't the first time he's done it. No, last year, I heard he tried to take his own life. Yeah, when someone has a past like that, you know it's not possible to murder them because they like it. It's what they want.
You guys need to back off. Everyone always jumps on blaming the accused, but you're not adequately questioning and challenging the victim. You just need to be objective. With all the evidence I've shown you, how could you possibly think there was a murder? It's completely clear. It was consensual. I'm innocent.
So, why is it when a woman is raped all these excuses seem to make sense, but when you apply the same exact excuses to a murder it seems ludicrous?
Perhaps it is because we just don't want to believe that rape occurs on our campus.
Perhaps it is because we don't want to think of someone we know as having committed this crime.
Perhaps it is just an awful betrayal we seek to impose on the women of our community.
Regardless, I urge you to think about accepting such excuses and what it does to a victim.
John Litle is a senior MIS major who wants to make it clear that the scenario proposed in this column is false and meant only to illustrate a point. His column runs every other Friday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Friday, September 20, 2002