What Law Will Be Named After Christian Adamek?

Streaking. It was a fad for a while in the 1970’s, funny, harmless and certain to piss off the grown ups.  At the Harvard-Yale game in 2006, a nostalgic MIT hacker reminded them which school had the best sense of humor.

File:MIT streaker at HarvardYale game.jpg

This isn’t to be flippant about what follows in this post, but rather to provide context to the seriousness of the offense with which 15-year-old Sparkman High School student Christian Adamek was charged. From AL.com:

Christian Adamek, 15, hanged himself Wednesday and died this morning from his injuries, Madison County Coroner Craig Whisenant said today. Adamek’s death came less than a week after he was arrested for streaking across the Sparkman High football field during the Senators’ Sept. 27 football game against Grissom High School.

What was an immediate “legend” among his classmates on twitter turned swiftly into a nightmare.

The conversation on social media took the situation lightly in the first few days, with some students calling Adamek a “legend” and laughing off what he had done.

The school district was taking the incident much more seriously, however.

After all, schools have rules. To protect the children, you know.

“There’s the legal complications,” [Sparkman High Principal Michael] Campbell told the news station. “Public lewdness and court consequences outside of school with the legal system, as well as the school consequences that the school system has set up.”

Adamek’s sister indicated on Twitter that her brother was facing expulsion.

When a teenager commits suicide because he felt bullied by others who said mean things about him, there is invariably a law passed to make sure it never happens again.  In the pursuit of a perfect world, no child should ever feel so badly as to do himself harm.  What law will they pass for Christian Adamek?

The streak was caught on video, which remains up for now.

Horrible?  Was it of sufficient moral turpitude that it cost a life?  There are many things that can be said about the streak, that it was immature and stupid.  No doubt someone will cry that it created a sexually hostile environment, as seems to be the cry with all things involving nudity. In response to those who call this a juvenile prank, someone will passionately explain the grave harm this does to the moral fabric of society.

So what if society survived the Harvard-Yale streak of ’06. That was a bunch of northeastern atheist sexist elitists.  This was Alabama, and they don’t take kindly to such things in Alabama, where God and Country come first.

And so the Sparkman High School powers of saving grace decided to drop every bomb they had on Christian Adamek.  They’ll show him.  He’ll never do anything like that again.  And indeed, he won’t.

There isn’t sufficient information about this young man to delve into his psyche, why he felt incapable of withstanding the punches being thrown at him.  Maybe he had dedicated his life to his education, and saw this as the end of any possibility of going to Harvard or Yale.  Or maybe he was more MIT material.  Whatever, between expulsion and criminal charges, and whatever other influences existed in his life, he took a rope and put it around his neck.  It’s a horrible image. It’s a horrible way to die.  It’s always a horrible loss when any teen takes his own life.

So did you show him, Principal Campbell?  Are you pleased that your rules served their purpose?  When you decided that the “legend,” the laughter, the applause would destroy the decorum of your school, did you consider that the price would be one young man’s life?

It’s hard to imagine how the official rule-makers will spin this to find external blame. Maybe it will be Youtube. Maybe it will be videogames. Somehow, the internet is always involved in whatever tragedy befalls high schoolers.

It’s always some other evil that compelled a young person to take his life.  Because it could never be the school rules that create the perfect environment for children to thrive and grow, and shield them from the harm of a cruel harsh world.

H/T Tom Coatsworth

71 comments on “What Law Will Be Named After Christian Adamek?

  1. BL1Y

    Male, white, presumptively straight, probably college bound and from a family with two college educated parents. …Sorry, I don’t see why this is a story. This kid just got his privilege checked, and can we please now go back to talking about the problems girls and queer students face?

      1. BL1Y

        I’ve heard the “missing young black girls we never hear about” thing enough that I’m now pretty sure that I have actually heard about those missing black girls. And the only two missing white girls I ever remember hearing about were Natalee Holloway and Elizabeth Smart, so it’s not like there’s a big sample size.

          1. BL1Y

            How many Missing White Women have you actually heard about on mainstream news? 2? 3?

            And where’s the site dedicated to missing white boys?

            1. JTW

              And so right…

              It’s sad but he is correct, a black (or other ‘minority’) girl gets killed, there’s more political capital to be gained than when it’s a black boy, which is “better” for the politicians and their press cronies than a white girl which is “better” than a white boy.

              Racist? Sure.
              Just as racist as denying blacks the vote was decades ago.
              Just as racist as having race quota for hiring employees or for college grants (both of which exist to this day).
              Racism is color blind, one can be racist towards any race, and deliberately not giving more than very local attention to the death of white kids when similar incidents involving black kids does get such attention is racist (note DELIBERATELY, I don’t know the reasons in any specific case).

    1. Pam

      Hmm, well did you know that he killed himself after the harsh chargers they gave him? If that doesn’t deserve a story then i don’t know what does.

    2. ZBC

      He was a kid tried as an adult! He was a great kid! He was only 15! No one deserves to die like that!

        1. AttilaTheHun

          So you don’t consider the threat of the full force of the school system and the criminal justice system and an arrest record and having to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life to have an impact on a fifteen year old? That would certainly scare me.

          Why is it that we think that kids aren’t mature enough to drive until they’re sixteen, be protected from sex with adults until they’re eighteen, and to drink until they’re twenty one, yet we’re ready to bring the full sanctions of adulthood down on a fifteen year old for a prank? No one was harmed. There wasn’t even any property damage, yet his life is worth so little to us that we’re okay with killing him.

          I’ll bet they’ve already brought in grief counselors for the rest of the kids, but couldn’t think of anything but bullying Christian Adamek. Principal Campbell should be fired immediately for bullying and gross negligence. Then he should be charged with homicide. This man is evil.

          1. Jake

            Alabama Christian here. You expressed my feelings far better than I. This prank harmed NOBODY. No property was damaged , nobody was scarred from seeing butt cheeks (genitalia was covered by a sock). Unfortunately now he won’t be tried as anything. Jay

            1. SHG Post author

              These are neither novel thoughts here nor is this a one shot issue. I realize that you’ve come only for this one post, but you represent a tiny minority of readers, and this post is part of a far larger dialogue, of which I alone set the agenda. Day tripping would be best done elsewhere if it serves to reduce the level of the dialogue to its lowest common denominator.

            2. AttilaTheHun

              Is your message that I’m not welcome? You’re closed to new input? I would assume that this topic is complete enough to stand on its own. I don’t understand the concept of day tripping. Is this a drug reference?

            3. SHG Post author

              This is a law blog, about legal issues and primarily read by lawyers, whether prosecutors, defense, judges or academics. Everyone is welcome, with the proviso that their comments illuminate issues regardless of their perspective. But when people come because of an interest in a particular case or post (people who show up for, and read, on a one-shot basis are called “day-trippers”), they often misapprehend the point of this blawg.

              The reason it’s as widely read as it is among lawyers, and tends to be fairly persuasive in making its point, is that I ride the comments very closely to prevent them from going off on tangents, getting out of control or becoming a soapbox for other causes. I trust this clarifies things for you.

    3. Poester

      I was wondering when a member of that significant minority of ‘mericans” that think this this boy’s death by his own hand is no big deal would come out of the woodwork and show their awfulness. This is just another strike against him, right? He’s a coward for not living as (he completely believed he would be) a registered sex offender for the remainder of his days, right?
      Suicide among young men, just in general, is a huge problem that nobody either knows about and/or cares about.

      1. SHG Post author

        As I’ve already explained more than once, it was sarcasm. I really hate explaining things more than once. Please, try to follow before you get your panties in a twist for the wrong reason.

        1. DM

          When you post something on the internet, it gets preserved. If you meant it as sarcasm, say so in the post. Nobody is going to do a full search for all of SHG’s comments to try and glean context. That is simply not how things work. If you want context, take it to a legal proceeding. The internet is the court of public opinion; no one is exempt from its rashness.

          1. SHG Post author

            First things first, you’re talking about B1LY’s comment, not mine. Second, you don’t make the rules, either here or for the internet. Third, the court of public opinion has a finely honed appreciation of sarcasm, and you would find that B1LY is a pretty well-known fellow whose sarcasm is appreciated by many, though mainly limited to reasonably intelligent people. You, on the other hand, are not well-known here. So rather than tell someone else that it’s his responsibility to make his sarcasm clear to you if you didn’t get it, perhaps you should focus more on why you were unable to detect obvious sarcasm and ponder why you think you get to make the rules for others?

            1. AttilaTheHun

              Okay, I got the message. Please take me off of distribution. I don’t care to discuss the finer points of the law.

    4. Barb

      I am a queer girl. And that white straight male was my friend’s kid. Problems aren’t ranked based on demographic. This is just as tragic as any other child suicide. Check yourself.

        1. AttilaTheHun

          Hmmmmmm … It appears that sarcasm isn’t always obvious, especially when it’s from an unknown author and can easily be confused for the target of the sarcasm. Who would have thought?

          1. SHG Post author

            Not a single lawyer mistook the comments for anything other than sarcasm. Only some of the local non-lawyer day trippers, who also couldn’t be bothered to read my comments in response that explained it was sarcasm and would have saved us all from the subsequent comments.

            Who would have thought?

            1. AttilaTheHun

              That’s all well and good. I suppose going to law school sharpens your sense of sarcasm. At any rate, the mast head says “Simple Justice” and “A Criminal Defense Blog”. To me that doesn’t say “Lawyers Only, All Others Stay Away”. If that’s your intent, then say so. You may feel like high priests of the law, but all of us are subject to it, so it’s not unreasonable for non-lawyers to have more than a passing interest in legal matters. On top of that, the topics listed are very relevant to many of us.

              I’m interested in men’s rights. I’ve watched decades of feminism wander from what appeared to be somewhat plausible in my youth to absurd in my advancing years. The problem is political, but implemented through the legal system.

              I’m amazed at the hubris of believing that only lawyers should discuss the law. We are all subject to the law, and in many cases victims of it. How can you think that only people who’ve gone to law school are entitled to discuss it, or even learn more about it?

              Isn’t is presumptuous to say that only non-lawyers don’t get sarcasm? How do you know that ALL of the lawyers got it? And we’re back to name calling (day trippers). That’s a sure sing that you’ve lost an argument. Pathetic.

            2. SHG Post author

              Sigh. You have a talent for missing the mark. Non-lawyers are welcome here, but their commentary isn’t subject to a lesser standard of thoughtfulness than anyone else. And what the masthead says isn’t subject to your interpretation. You don’t get a vote. It is what I say it is because it’s my blog. You want a soapbox for your own thoughts. Fabulous. Start your own blog. But this is mine.

              Just to straighten out another bit of confusion, day trippers isn’t “name calling,” but a commonly used description in the blawgosphere (I know, you never heard of it so therefore it never happened because you are the center of your universe) of people who stop by a blog for the first time, jump in with both feet without getting a feel for the level of discussion, without knowing the history or perspective of the content, without having clue, and assuming that the blog should bend to your will. If I called them blithering idiots, that would be name calling. Day trippers is merely factual.

              Now you’ve contributed nothing illuminating to any discussion. What interests you is of no concern to me. You click and read, like everybody else. You aren’t special. If you want to comment, try hard to add to the discussion rather than display your personal ignorance of how this place works and argue that this blog should change to accommodate you. Or go away. It makes no difference to me either way.

              You’re being put on moderation. If you happen to stay and comment again, and if your comment shows any signs of intelligent life, it will post. If not, it won’t. And if you never read or comment here again, have a nice life.

            3. AttilaTheHun

              Bye.

              [Ed. Note: My apologies for posting this, particularly since it violates my rules about lack of content, but I take perverse pleasure from the combination of stupidity and narcissism that pervades so many users of the internet. He needed to get in the last word and to show me that he was leaving. This of course deeply saddens me because his comments were so illuminating, though not in the way he thought. Bye, Attila. I will miss you. We will all mourn the loss of your thoughtful words and deep ideas. Adieu. At least twice a day, I wonder why I allow comments at all.]

  2. Jake

    Speaking only on behalf of this Alabama Christian who witnessed the streak and also happens to carry a badge, I was infuriated when the principal issued the statement. I know there are rules and maybe he should have been required to bus tables for a couple of days. He should not have read that he could be locked up for two years. Every other “Alabama Christian” sitting around me took it for what it was: a prank we all were amused by. In this past Fridays game, hats off to the five or so boys who streaked (with just short shorts on) to honor their “legend” who will forever be 15. RIP Adam.

    1. SHG Post author

      I would hope you speak for anyone, regardless of occupation, state or religion, who cares about kids.

      1. Scott L.

        I take it he is responding to your comment “[t]his was Alabama, and they don’t take kindly to such things in Alabama, where God and Country come first.” I take from his self-identification that (part of) his point is that being from “where God and Country come first”, doesn’t make people unreasonable. That quality manifests itself without regard to religious, political, or patriotic belief.

        1. SHG Post author

          I take it the same way. But my “Alabama” quote was facetious, and since his was serious, I thought I owed him the courtesy of treating it seriously.

    2. Jen

      You also speak for this “Alabama Christian” and Monrovia resident.

      Btw about the “sarcastic comment” if it was indeed sarcasm then I apologize, my bad.

  3. JA

    Wow a young man dies and people are so flip as to comment on his sexual orientation, gender and skin color being too vanilla for it to be considered “newsworthy.” I live in this community and I can tell you none of those matter, what matters is a young man took his life because he thought his life was over because people who were suppose to look out for our children made it sound like he would be labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life over a stupid prank.

    1. SHG Post author

      If you’re referring to B1LY’s comment here, he was being sarcastic. It was not a flip comment as to Christian Adamek.

  4. scott

    I believe If American law enforcement can twist and pervert any offense into a “sexual related offense”, then they can collect federal pork bloating dollars for that arrest statistic. And if the schools feminist bureaucrats can twist and pervert this prank into a “sexual related prank”, then they can Inflame the public, and can maybe get more “women as victim” federal pork bloating grants.
    May this young man rest in peace, and the pervert, perversion Alliances between modern victim feminists, and perverse pork bloating fueled law enforcements, stick youre federal pork bloating dollars right up youre ” where the sun don’t shine”.

    1. SHG Post author

      Your blame is misplaced. Neither law enforcement nor “feminist bureaucrats” created the sex offender registry and designated laws that require people to register. Blame elected officials, and blame the people who elect them. Remember what Pogo said.

      1. Len Firewood

        I’m sorry but “elected officials” toe the feminist line all the way down from the top and that includes Barak Obama and especially his Veep Biden!

        1. SHG Post author

          Lose the talking points. Elected officials toe whatever line gets them elected, and if you think it’s just the Democrats, then you’re doubly clueless.

  5. yo

    local news tried to censor this but i snagged the footage before they scrubbed it. [Ed. note: I've taken the liberty of adding it in here.]

  6. A Dad

    Thank-you for making this post in order this terrible injustice is not forgotten. Yes – the question remains of what happens when the education system become the bully. Hopefully this mangina principal receives his own “figurative lynching” from the school board and outraged parents.

    1. SHG Post author

      And how does it possibly illuminate anything for you to use “mangina”? You diminish your point with such childishness.

      1. AttilaTheHun

        True, pejorative terms don’t add to the discussion. However, the Left has been using them for years (e.g. Teabagger) and they don’t appear to be stopping, so it’s reasonable to reciprocate in kind (although in fairness there were no derogatory terms used here). I would much prefer to have a higher level discussion that doesn’t devolve to name calling.

        The author of the post alludes to a very significant aspect of the discussion: If the streaker had been female rather than male, would the outcome have been different? Is there a difference in responses and punishments based on the sex of the offender? I believe that answer is yes. However, that’s likely a whole different topic.

        1. SHG Post author

          There is no “but.” The left does it. The right does it. Everybody does it. But not here. Again, this is a law blog. If you want to argue politics, go to a political blog. This is not a political blog and I will not tolerate it devolving into one.

  7. ZBC

    That little news thing said it deserved maybe a little probation, but I’m sure if that was all I would still be able to walk across the fence and see my neighbor outside with his dog. But they charged him as a sex offender. And the principle said it wasn’t just a prank? It absolutely was. He made a bet with his friends, lost, and went steaking.. The whole situation is absolutely messed up and I don’t know how anyone intends to go about fixing it.. They have a wonderful family and they don’t deserve to go through this.. Nobody does

  8. BL1Y

    “B1LY is a pretty well-known fellow whose sarcasm is appreciated by many, though mainly limited to reasonably intelligent people”

    This is simultaneously the nicest and most inaccurate thing ever said about me.

  9. The G

    Another white privileged kid got what he deserved. One less white soldier to grow up and benefit off of his white privilege. One less white soldier to grow up and thrive off the oppression of blacks and other races. I really don’t give a crap about these silly white children and their “problems”. Common sense should have told him to not streak, and he would have deserved everything that would have happened to him.

    1. SHG Post author

      Ordinarily, this comment would be tossed as another ignorant, racist comment. But then, I decided to post it as a reminder that there are always trolls around to see what sort of anger they can stir up. It won’t happen, but it’s always good to remember that people like you are never far away.

  10. Leigh Ann Stender

    I knew this boy in middle school and he was a friend to my daughter. He was bright, sweet, and a goofy kid. I am sure that as smart as he was that he was looking forward to college and a career. If he had to register as a sex offender it would have ruined his life. He was asking the other kids at the game about doing it. They all said it would be funny, so he streaked. My daughter showed our family the video from the game. We all laughed about it. I never would have thought the administration would have taken it so far. I am a teacher and this is not how I believe we should treat these kids. Our foremost thought is what is best for the children. I agree that he hurt no one, did not damage any property and was a good kid. He was just being a boy. Sometimes, boys do crazy things. As a teacher, I believe what he did was wrong and should have faced some sort of discipline; however, the discipline they were speaking of seemed incredibly harsh. We are to protect these children, not be the ones to hurt them. Mike Campbell is a disgrace to our profession. Any ideas on how to get him fired?

    1. SHG Post author

      You elect a school board which hires and fires administrators. If the public thinks Campbell is a danger, then they should turn out for their school board meeting and let your elected members know your thoughts about him.

  11. RAC

    Good post, and worthy of this site to bring up. I sent this link to the superintendent of the school district this child once belonged to. This was a rite of passage, nothing more, but with our privatized prison systems licking their chops at the “new clients” aka kids in the court system, the parents financial means (or perhaps lack therein) with a stigma of “Sex Offender” lingering about, no wonder this kid felt the way he did…I pray for his parents, who will live with the guilt of wondering forever what they could have done to prevent this.

    We know the school could have been more supportive. Well done digging into the principle. Well done.

    Thank you Tom for writing EXACTLY how I felt when I found this story myself.

    1. SHG Post author

      Tom who? It probably would be more effective to use the “reply” button to whatever Tom wrote that expressed your feelings if you wanted to let Tom know of your appreciation.

  12. scallywag

    Sex offender list for streaking? America (Alabama) are we serious? The only thing that was offended was certain people’s sense of social political decorum, no one’s sexual parts got dangled with.

    Some things are just too much weight even for adults, let alone impressionable 15 year old boys….

    [Ed. Note: Link deleted per rules.]

  13. Patrick in Texas

    How about something like, The Integrity of Guidance and Discipline by Educators Act?

    It would assign responsibility to make available mental health counsel or initiate availability/referral of legal counsel when appropriate. IE: When matter is of severity that detention or study hall seem insufficient penance.

    The help that both of these professionals provide, in terms of human peace of mind, tends to be underappreciated. In my experience.

    I deem it inexcusable that a public servant can “make a name for themselves” at a students expense.

    1. SHG Post author

      And then kids who are subject to discipline beyond detention are thereafter tainted as “psychologically impaired” based upon a principal’s excesses? While your goal is well-intended, it seems to just add another problem to the mix without addressing the cause of the problem, the principal’s absurdly harsh statements and threatened prosecution.

  14. KCV

    Christian Adamek Law : Let it be said that no persons of Official Capacity shall PUBLICALLY discuss the course of the Judicial System as it may or may not impose sanctions against a minor and that such a minor facing the potential of Criminal and or Scholastic Disciplinary Sanctions shall have afforded him or her the immediate Advocate Support in place before said person is felt aggrieve upon.
    Christian Adamek was a fun loving individual who pulled a prank hundreds laugh about and some honored, now he is dead. Many could have testified they were not offended by his action with the exception of the School but a interview by a School Official was given need to a equal balance of circling the wagons. Father, Mother, Lawyers, family and friends supporting Christian, which was not put in place in time to save his life. Much stress was place upon him and he could not cope with it alone.
    May God Have Mercy On All Of Us.

  15. Franklee

    The story is so heartbreaking. Have the administrators of our education system become fools? The principal should be fired, immediately, and should never be allowed to be around another child. Maybe we need to start a registry for offenders of our children. I am sure there are other stories to tell. P.S. What does “ad hominem” mean?

    1. SHG Post author

      P.S. What does “ad hominem” mean?

      Here you go. People typically misconstrue the logical fallacy of ad hominem to mean any time a person uses an unpleasant characterization. That is not an ad hominem.

      Example of an ad hominem: You are a moron, so your argument is stupid.

      Example that is not an ad hominem: You argument is stupid, so you are a moron.

      Of course, if the argument is not stupid, then the only moron is the person making the assertion.

  16. Pingback: Producer/director Judd Apatow joins chorus calling for Sparkman High principal's firing following Christian Adamek suicide | Alabama

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