"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Update to the Update on the UVA Gang Rape Hoax


Well, although it was somewhat predictable, I didn't think it would happen quite so fast.   The UVA rape story has completely fallen apart.   Here is the nail in the coffin from the Washington Post:

Randall said he met Jackie shortly after arriving at U-Va. in fall 2012 and the two struck up a quick friendship. He said Jackie was interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with him; he valued her friendship but wasn’t interested in more. 
The three friends said Jackie soon began talking about a handsome junior from chemistry class who had a crush on her and had been asking her out on dates. 
Intrigued, Jackie’s friends got his phone number from her and began exchanging text messages with the mysterious upperclassman. He then raved to them about “this super smart hot” freshman who shared his love of the band Coheed and Cambria, according to the texts, which were provided to The Post. 
“I really like this girl,” the chemistry student wrote in one message. Some of the messages included photographs of a man with a sculpted jaw line and ocean-blue eyes. 
In the text messages, the student wrote that he was jealous that another student had apparently won Jackie’s attention. 
“Get this she said she likes some other 1st year guy who dosnt like her and turned her down but she wont date me cause she likes him,” the chemistry student wrote. “She cant turn my down fro some nerd 1st yr. she said this kid is smart and funny and worth it.” 
Jackie told her three friends that she accepted the upperclassman’s invitation for a dinner date on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. 
Curious about Jackie’s date, the friends said that they tried to find the student on a U-Va. database and social media but failed. Andy, Cindy and Randall all said they never met the student in person. Before Jackie’s date, the friends became suspicious that perhaps they hadn’t really been in contact with the chemistry student at all, they said. 
U-Va. officials told The Post that no student with the name Jackie provided to her friends as her date and attacker in 2012 had ever enrolled at the university. 
Randall provided The Post with pictures that Jackie’s purported date had sent of himself by text message in 2012. The Post identified the person in the pictures and learned that his name does not match the one Jackie gave friends in 2012. In an interview, the man said he was Jackie’s high school classmate but “never really spoke to her.” 
The man said he was never a U-Va. student and is not a member of any fraternity. Additionally, he said that he had not visited Charlottesville in at least six years and that he was in another state participating in an athletic event during the weekend of Sept. 28, 2012. 
“I have nothing to do with it,” he said. He said it appears that the circulated photos were pulled from social media Web sites.
The WaPo author doesn't use the word "hoax," but he doesn't really have to, does he?   It seems plainly implied by this that "Jackie" made up a fake upperclassman who was interested in her in order to make her freshman crush, Randall (one of the three friends from the Rolling Stone story) jealous.   She even faked his picture using a high school acquaintance's picture, and faked texts to her friends pretending to be him.

The next leap should be obvious... if she just happened to be creating an elaborate hoax on the same night, what are the odds that her rape story has any credibility whatsoever.   I'd say zero.   There's a principle in the law, falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.   If a witness will lie about one thing, you can't trust anything she says.

Nor should any of this be too surprising.   Anyone who has any memory of college and any honesty or insight at all should have seen through this from the beginning. Freshman arrive at college often not knowing anyone. This is particularly true at fairly "elite" colleges, because they draw kids from all over the country.

They are thus often understandably anxious to fit in, and the way to do that often includes telling tall tales to new friends to make themselves look cooler, hipper, smarter, more accomplished, more dramatic.

Sometimes it's relatively innocuous. Kids lie about their high school GPAs or their SAT scores. Kids lie about their achievements in high school sports. Sometimes they lie, weirdly, but understandably, to make themselves look more worldly. They tell stories about what they did when they were "wasted." They tell stories about illegal things they did.

And, yes, very very often they tell stories about sex.

Again, most of the time this fabulism is innocuous and sometimes, if the storyteller is a good one, a raconteur, it can even be charming.

But in a college culture that increasingly puts a premium on being a victim -- of racism or of rape are the two prime examples -- sometimes these stories require the manufacturing of a villain. And then they're not innocuous; then they cross over into an accusation that can ruin a young person's life. 

This young girl in the UVA story has an excuse... she's young and desperate and possibly a little mentally ill.  

But what's the excuse of the adults at the Rolling Stone for publishing her fable as fact?

And what's the excuse of the adults in the UVA administration and even the U.S. Senate for believing it so easily?

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