The New York Times is pleased to announce that all but one of the 1989 Central Park jogger-rapists are about to be set free. The remaining question, apparently, is how rich their lawsuits against the local and state authorities will make them. “Their only crime was being black and Latino teenagers in Central Park,” says one of their lawyers. The re-evaluation of the youths’ convictions stems from a confession by one of the rapists that he acted alone. That rapist–Matias Reyes–is already serving a life sentence, so his purported exoneration of his confederates will cost him nothing.
The normally sensible Glenn Reynolds seems to have bought the “exoneration” theory hook, line and sinker. He views the conviction of the rapists as “a tremendous miscarriage of justice,” and bemoans the fact that while the rapists will be “happy to get on with their lives,” they can never be compensated adequately for “what they went through.” Some would say, of course, that it was the jogger–beaten, gang-raped and left for dead– who could never be adequately compensated for what she went through. Reynolds acknowledges that some skeptics have questioned the revisionist approach to the rapists’ convictions, noting Ann Coulter as one who argued that “the Central Park joggers [sic] are criminals even if they aren’t guilty of the rape in question.”
This is simply bizarre. Read Ann’s column here, and judge whether she is arguing that the convicted rapists are guilty of some other, unspecified crime. Also, judge for yourself whether they are guilty of this crime, as their juries unanimously found.
The release of the Central Park rapists will be a grotesque miscarriage of justice. Beyond the injustice of the individual case, it also raises this question, which has been lurking in the background now for some years: Why have liberals seemingly become tolerant of rape? Being against rape would seem to be a core “women’s issue.” Yet, when it became reasonably clear that Bill Clinton was a rapist, his feminist support never wavered. Likewise, in this case, the New York Times–so fanatically devoted to “women’s issues” that it has made a crusade out of getting women admitted to the Augusta National Golf Club–blithely passes over the plight of a young woman, abused and left for dead, her skull crushed and three quarters of her blood spilled, to celebrate the impending release of those who attacked her. Here is another case: Robert Fisk’s latest column in the Independent. Fisk criticizes the recently-published British dossier on Saddam Hussein because it includes the revelation that Saddam employs men for the specific purpose of raping the wives, sisters and daughters of his political enemies. Now, mind you, Fisk doesn’t criticize that revelation because it isn’t true. On the contrary: he says that he himself has been inside a “raping room” in Iraq which had “women’s underclothes still lying on the floor.” What, then, is his complaint? He whines that the world has known about Saddam’s “rape squads” for the last ten years, and therefore, “what are we doing rehashing the story all over again?” It is time for the rape victims to get over it. Including, I guess, those who were raped yesterday.
I don’t really know what to make of this, except to say that it is one more way in which liberals are becoming unhinged. And if a woman is in danger of being assaulted, she had better hope there is a conservative around. We know where we stand on rape.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has been getting abused by his readers for misreading Ann Coulter’s column and defending the rapists, and is retreating.
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