The Janitor’s Lament

Eric Turkewitz explained it with an epitaph. It wasn’t a real epitaph, but a humorous one. Still, it made the point.

Here lies the body of John McCray,
He died defending his right of way.
He had the light, He had some pluck,
But the other fellow had the truck.

Being right is wonderful, but better to be alive and right. And if you’re forced to choose, pick alive. The legal adage, comply now, grieve later, comes to mind. But then, these concepts which are entirely acceptable and, well, obvious, don’t apply when it comes to rape and sexual assault, because they’re different.

Why is sex different than any other human conduct that would be better guided by taking actions that will avoid risk? The best one can figure, it’s a combination of ideology and history, a backlash to women being blamed for what men do to them. The only way to fight the history of victim-blaming is to fight any suggestion that taking precautions to avoid harm is a good idea.

This conflates two very different concepts.

There are some people, however, who seem to think that urging people be safe is someone giving a free pass to the malfeasors. This is particularly true in the realm of physical assaults when politics and passion seem to impair the ability to think logically.

Personal safety and holding people at fault are not incompatible. They are very much separate and distinct concepts. It’s why parents teach their kids to be careful to avoid incidents and why our justice system tries to hold people accountable after those incidents occur.

There is a litany of bad things that happen that can’t be prevented; when a woman is forced at the end of a gun into a dark alley and raped. When a child is molested by an adult. When a stronger and larger man beats a weaker and smaller woman. The distinctions are too obvious to need to be said, and yet they apparently must be said or heads explode.

But what of the claims of rape and sexual assault that are not about stranger violence, or child molestation, or any of the myriad horrors that are perpetrated against women and children for which there is no way to avoid risk. Most claims arise from ordinary sexual interactions that are perceived as having gone awry, whether before, during or after their occurrence.  If there is nothing to be done to protect against harm, then the concept of risk avoidance doesn’t, by definition, apply. You might think this too obvious to need stating, but not so.

Using analogies once served to explain the distinction between risk avoidance and blame, but the narrative around sex has made them inapplicable. Don’t leave your keys in your running Lambo on a dark backstreet if you don’t want your car stolen? Duh. But that’s not about sex, so it doesn’t apply. Have you never heard of “tonic immobility”?

A pseudo-scientific discipline developed to fill in the gaps of risk avoidance, to connect the failure to take obvious precautions to protect oneself from harm to why the “victim” is blameless for failing to do so. According to narrative, a hormonal stew causes  [some] women to react to trauma by freezing, such that they can do nothing to protect themselves. Think of it as the “deer in the headlights,” although they are not deer but sentient human beings.

Emily Yoffe confronted the bad science, for which she became an enemy of the woke state.

This information sends the message to young people that they are biologically programmed to become helpless during unwanted sexual encounters and to suffer mental impairment afterward.

The problem isn’t whether someone may “freeze” when confronted by a traumatic situation, although experience in Title IX complaints, for example, is that almost every one includes a claim of freezing. But if you’re “biologically helpless,” is there any reason not to throw caution to the wind? After all, it’s not as if you can do anything to stop it anyway.

But when there is no force involved, is it really so traumatic that the brain shuts down, the woman is paralyzed and incapable of uttering the words, “No, I do not want to do this”? Or walk away? Or push his hand off your breast? Are these things invariably impossible and ineffective?

After a twit last week about preparing my daughter to face the rigors she would face, a great many random people were outraged at the suggestion that a father should do what he could to prevent harm from befalling his child. But what really brought down the rain of rage was this:

She tells me she has never been sexually assaulted because she won’t let herself be. She’s no one’s victim.

Is it unclear that this relates to situations where she has the choice to avoid risk, to not allow herself to be a willing victim when she has the ability to prevent it? Apparently so, as many have informed me in a range of replies from the kindly ways one talks slowly to a stupid old man to the outraged.

This meant, to the outraged, that I was probably a rapist myself, if not a child molester, and a great many suggested that this means that if my daughter ever was the victim of rape, she wouldn’t come to me because I would be disappointed in her for being a victim. While it may not have been what was said, there are extrapolations, subtexts and the dreaded “implications” that conclusively proved their case, that this was victim bashing and that my daughter would suffer by being taught how not to be a victim.

To explain the distinctions as Turk did to the outraged was pointless. The victim is never to be blamed. But then, that wasn’t the issue, and few were capable of distinguishing the risk avoidance from blame. They desperately needed to exclaim how wrong this was and how there could be no aspect of sexual interaction where the “victim” could be shamed for failure to act. Not by saying “no.” Not by leaving if they became uncomfortable with the situation. Nothing. It was never the victim’s fault, even when it had nothing to do with fault.

Turk’s explanation is excellent, but I fear will fall on deaf ears. In the zeal to defend victims from blame, the banal advice to our daughters to protect themselves has itself become offensive, as has their choice to protect themselves whenever possible, to not be victims if it’s within their power.

And yes, a parent should teach his son “not to rape,” to the extent that phrase has any meaning anymore. But that too has nothing to do with teaching our daughters to avoid harm. That anyone is outraged at the notion of not wanting a young woman to be harmed is idiotic, and a sign of the times.

This needs to be said because the message of the woke is that there is no need for a woman to get out of the way of the truck because it’s her right to be there and she can’t be blamed for doing nothing. But she’ll still be crushed by the truck. I want to keep the woman alive and safe, which makes me the monster, a role I’m happy to play if it helps a father to help his daughter, and helps a young woman to not be harmed.

You don’t want to find yourself in a lawyer’s office after a bad event. Worse, your surviving family members don’t want to be there. I’ll often tell people, you don’t want me to be your lawyer. Because if I am, something bad has happened.

I’ve heard the complaints and the outrage. May god have mercy on your souls.

35 thoughts on “The Janitor’s Lament

  1. Hunting Guy

    John Farnham.

    “The best way to handle any potentially injurious encounter is: Don’t be there. Arrange to be somewhere else. Don’t go to stupid places. Don’t associate with stupid people. Don’t do stupid things.”

  2. Richard Kopf

    SHG,

    I read your tweet and the firestorm of idiocy that followed. Truly, I was dumbstruck. Sense is no longer common.

    If everyone is a victim then no one is a victim. For so many, words have have come to have no meaning. And reading comprehension scores must be at an all time low

    Finally, and most importantly, your daughter is both practical and wise. But I am not telling you anything you don’t already know.Yet it should be said.

    All the best.

    RGK

    1. SHG Post author

      I’m not sure sense was ever, or could ever be, common, but it’s become increasingly clear to me that before the unduly passionate (along with odd fetishists and white supremacists) found like-minded people on social media, they had the good sense to keep their irrationality to themselves.

      My daughter and I read through some of the replies before I muted the noise. We laughed and then went out to dinner and ice cream. She is far too wise to be bothered by such nonsense.

      1. Hunting Guy

        Just think how bad it would have been if you mentioned that she had a firearm for protection.

    2. Guitardave

      Judge Kopf,
      ” I was dumbstruck”…Me too. I kept shaking my head. It looked like i suddenly acquired a severe neurological disorder…good thing i live alone.
      Stand up and speak the truth….the idiots have their machetes at their fingertips…
      ( i feel a shameless self-promoting reprise coming…)

      1. Richard Kopf

        GD,

        Gonna cut ya down!

        Same ole story, speak the truth and be crucified.

        Let’s hope the Admiral escapes the fate of your gorgeous lyrics.

        All the best.

        RGK

        1. B. McLeod

          Part of this is what the thought police call “nuances.” A thousand fathers might get by with this advice, or even with gifting pepper spray or a Taser for their child to use in a tight spot. But anyone who is already a known Shitlord is obviously motivated by the desire to open the door to unacceptable thoughts, out of conformity with correct doctrine. This is why the Barney Fifes of Progressivism must leap on it and nip it, nip it in the bud!

    3. Turk

      Judge:

      The first victim of Twitter was reading comprehension.

      That’s what happens when one is on the never ending hunt for outrage.

  3. ShootingHipster

    Your physical safety is up to you, as it really always has been.

    -Jeff Cooper

    Ps I don’t miss twitter much but periodically I check in on a few accounts that are worth my time. How did your account become a magnet for morons?

    1. SHG Post author

      Let a twit out into the wild and you never know where it ends up. Plus, there is a small group of woke young lawyers and law students obsessed with how horrible I am. Why they care so much is beyond me, but I apparently make them angry enough to invent some really funny stories about my nefarious purposes.

      1. B. McLeod

        Right. It isn’t the words you use, it’s what the voices in their heads tell them you might be trying to do with those words.

  4. L. Phillips

    ” although they are not deer but sentient human beings.”

    Oddly enough, I can look over the top of my monitor as I read this and watch the deer who take over our property in the summer and fall – particularly one mule deer doe who is doing a bang up job of raising twin fawns.

    Given some of the human beings I dealt with over the years I believe a rousing argument could be had over which species is sentient.

          1. Skink

            It tastes great after being smacked by a Kenworth. Otherwise, it’s a rat with antlers. But fried rat ain’t bad.

  5. David

    I saw a twit storm by [Ed. Note name removed and link deleted.] a law student arguing that you sought being ratio’d for some inexplicable reason to get people to SJ for some inexplicable reason, followed by a bunch of others, students and baby lawyers, bashing your unrepentant awfulness. It was like watching the last vestiges of hope die a brutal death in the hands of the woke.

    1. SHG Post author

      In a weird way, it’s flattering to see them care so much about what I have to say, even if they need to express through their delusions. But they wanted to bitch about my being a monster without my knowing or seeing, and given that bitching about old lawyers is a time-honored tradition, it’s best to stay out of it and let them enjoy their much-needed catharsis.

      1. David

        It was more than catharsis. It was like watching a group therapy session of narcissists spiral out of control. The most bizarre one was (I think) a PD who posted a 3 year old screen cap to show how mean you had been to her. Except it wasn’t a pic of anything you said, but a pic of her hurt reaction to whatever it was you said. WTF? You could have called her baby ugly or shot her puppy, but it didn’t matter. It was only about her and her feelings.

        At least I had a chance to see some familiar names in there, so I now know who is either too stupid, too crazy, or both, to avoid going forward. It wasn’t just bizarrely fun to see, but informative as well.

  6. Alan Williams

    It’s a miserable society we’re becoming. So damn many people these days are outrage artists. Discourse about even the simplest of things is becoming insufferable because so many people are dedicated to perpetual intimidation. The divi and divas of defamation are in charge.

    That last sentence will probably be branded as misogynistic even though I used (or at least tried to use) both the male and female forms of the offending word. And the first sentence of the previous paragraph is probably dangerously unwoke because it clearly implies that society was better in the past–which, in some respects, it absolutely was.

    1. B. McLeod

      They believe that this will make them members of a Master Class. But, working class folks, and even many nuts and bolts lawyers in this old world are unwilling to have a bunch of academics and dogmatic morons dictating what may or may not be said. It is the single greatest reason why Donald Trump is president today.

  7. Lee

    For some reason, this reminds me of discussion of “The Talk” that apparently some African American men feel compelled to teach their sons. It is just so horrible and oppressive to have to tell your son that he must act polite and compliant if ever stopped by the police, or else they may mistreat and/or shoot him. Those damned racist police!!!

    Except that I, a white man, have given the same talk to my sons. And I explained that it doesn’t matter what color you are, or the cop is, the only color they care about Blue, and they are bound and determined to obey The First Law of Policing. “You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.”

    But we live in a racist society so I must have been racist to have this talk with my sons. Or reinforcing their White Privilege. Or something like that.

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