False Sex Allegations

I had an interesting debate with a coworker today about people that lie about sexual assaults. Many agencies that educate the public about sexual assaults naturally will advocate that sexual assaults should never be labeled as false accusations. In fact, these same advocacy groups suggest that sexual assault are extremely underreported, and all should be taken seriously. On the other hand, there are people out there that will lie about rape because they want to revenge, redemption, or redirection. We both agreed that the key to sexual assault was consent. But in America, we have 5o states, and each state has its own definition of consent or how it’s defined. Consent will continue to become difficult to prove because of its one person’s word against another, and the criteria of consent have varying interpretations.

 

When we think about sexual assault, we may be drawn to an immediate violent crime where a person is raped by force leaving bruises or other injuries. But that way of thinking has shifted in the current definition of sexual assault by a multitude of interpretations to include touching a sexual organ or part. But watch any television show or passionate movie, and it is doubtful that the instantaneous sex scenes will ever demonstrate either person giving consent and sometimes play a role of sexual battery or questionable touching. I mention this scenario because many situations where people are involved in sexual roles are often similar to what we see on the big screen or television. Our conversation discussed if pop culture is somewhat responsible for not providing a benefit of educating the public about acceptable consent methods. If we mix in the ambiguous definitions of each state law, then the debate will continue for eons. Sure, no means no and we should respect that limitation. But in some cases, consent suddenly becomes a no that was never mentioned or insinuated.

 

People don’t typically lie about sexual assault. The subject in the question is that some do and the number appears to be growing.  I am not suggesting or diminishing the numbers that sexual assaults don’t occur. But finding accurate numbers with regards to false reportings can be a challenge. It would require data such as lie detection or counterclaimed physical evidence. The data that most rape advocacy groups utilize is based on studies that were completed between 1974 to 1986 which lists false reportings at 2%. But if you seek data from 1983 to 2004 then the number of false claims jump to 57% or higher. This information is provided from a 2006 paper by Philip N.S. Rumney in the Cambridge Law Journal. It demonstrates that there is a plausible argument that people do lie about sexual assaults or rape which is a disturbing trend.

 

But why would anyone want to lie about sexual assault? Is it because they regret what they did and want to turn back the clock as if it didn’t occur? But why would sexual assault advocate groups and law enforcement lie or mislead courts, schools, and the public about data the clearly shows a pattern of false allegations?  The topic is very sophisticated and ultra sensitive to grasp. People do lie on both sides and now is the time to introduce stiffer penalties for false police reporting and perjury in court. I fear that the future of sexual relations may be filled with smartphone recordings and sex tapes galore to reduce the burdens of rape accusations. The future of courtrooms juries will become a porn-like atmosphere where sex tapes will be viewed as evidence to either prosecute or reject a sex claim. Even with DNA forensics, the courts are filled with political agendas and elected prosecutors and judges. They too have an agenda to win cases to be reelected. We should place more emphasis on the truth and balanced investigation so that we are not revisiting an innocence panel twenty years from now and paying out outrageous sums because of shotty investigations, weak data, and emotional leverage inside the courtroom.

 
Perhaps it is safe to say we should return to a moral conscience society where we are careful not to place ourselves in situations where vulnerability could take place. Equally, there should be basic respect that individuals don’t benefit from a situation because the conditions are favorable. But we don’t live in a perfect world. However, we shouldn’t be adding to the imperfections to create falsehoods well after the fact. It’s one thing to have a credible case but another where the credibility is clouded and vague. Those that lie about sexual assault only hurt those victims of other sexual assaults and rapes. It makes our society suspicious and apprehensive especially in a time where adults should be reduced based on education and community information. But states should also take a moment to properly codify and streamline consent and federalize sex crimes so that education is improved and reduces the mixed definitions of assault.

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Media Should Reduce Fact Checking

When we sit down to view or read the news we expect and rely on a credible source of information. In reading or viewing it is up to us to determine if more information is warranted. A problem that I see with the media is that it is having to fact check along with providing information from whomever it decides to interview or discuss. This is where the media is caught in a trap because the news is sandwiched in between viewpoints and reporting. Naturally, any opposing person would be quick to blame the media as altering the interview or hinting at its own credibility standard.

 

The media has an intricate delivery system. If you are a newspaper, then you only have an avenue of reporting by a cutoff deadline. The news changes like the wind so that printed newspaper article could potentially become old news by the time it is delivered or read. 24-hour news networks or online news perhaps provides too much news. After all, it must refresh its content if the news story lay claims that its information was taken out of context. This is why I think we have too many political television and radio shows. Each one delivers its own perspective, and in most cases, so one-sided that it becomes an extension of the media which is supposed to be a neutral agent of reporting. In any case, it’s difficult.

 

President Trump has a unique and unorthodox way of creating a news cycle. I remember when President Reagan would speak before a camera it was as if your trusted uncle was telling you a story that made you feel secure. However, when you peeled back the layers, you found that the delivery was great, but safety was questionable. Trump, on the other hand, will shoot from the hip creating an almost circus-like atmosphere with tiny organization or focus. To me, Trump has a subliminal way of changing the subject matter where you begin to wonder what was the original question?

 

While I am appreciative of our media, I must ask that media only report what Trump says and not interpret or provide viewpoints. Let the American people do that. Yes, the media can help become a part of diplomacy but let the world judge Trump by his own words. That alone may be enough for the world and general public to quickly assess that we cannot afford to keep him in office or make the same mistake at election time again. When the media interprets or provides fact checking then perhaps it is getting in the way of what the opposition party should be doing. Let the Democrats step up and become the fact checkers. Eventually, the Trump train will run out of steam and coal of credible information.

Poor, Poor N.C. State University Basketball

For some of my blog readers, today’s blog may not be filled with political discourse or general policy overviews. Instead, I again will once again write about the North Carolina State University athletics program. When I attended N.C. State I wrote for The Technician about the University piss poor athletics programs. In fact, during that reporting period, the athletics department was headed by athletics director Lee Fowler. Shortly after my scathing, but honest, assessment Fowler retired from the University. He was replaced by Debbie Yow, which is the sister of the late N.C. State basketball coach legend, Kay Yow.

 

First, to understand a typical dedicated Wolfpack fan comes with a standard set of guidelines. 1. The program has an incredible history. 2. The entire athletics program seems focused on only beating Carolina. 3. Preseasons are filled with hype only to dissipate as the season progresses. In other words, the Wolfpack doesn’t have the caliber programs found at Notre Dame, UNC, Arizona or Florida. Instead, it will throw millions of dollars into a “Field of Dreams” style building project to build a reputable and loyal fan base to immediately fail on the field or on the court. Granted, its athletics facilities are some of the best on the planet. Any athletics coach would be in awe to have equal access to such services. In fact, the recruitment is on par with just about any other major university program. Coaching staff typically has some remarkable stats at the initial phase. But once at N.C. State all that falls apart. It’s a university filled with hopes of athletic excellence that consistently fails to deliver.

 

The last time N.C. State basketball program went to the NCAA Elite Eight was in 1986. That program was led by the late Jim Valvano. Les Robinson took over the program after Valvano was forced to leave under athletics misconduct allegations. Then came Herb Sendek which took the Pack to a tournament for 9 out of 10 seasons before his firing and departure to Arizona State University. Sidney Lowe, a former N.C. State player became the next coach that never had one appearance at the NCAA tournament. Now we come to the current Wolfpack basketball coach, Mark Gottfried which seated the Pack at a NCAA Sweet Sixteen position at his first season as coach. As a coach for five seasons, Gottfried has been to the NCAA tournament four times. This season his Wolfpack is struggling. But the Wolfpack apparently, once again, want change. It is highly rumored that Gottfried will be fired after the end of this season. Why the Wolfpack hired Gottfried after being fired from Alabama is perplexing. Perhaps it’s because N.C. State athletics has issues securing good coaching talent. After all, it’s a trainwreck in the making.

 

A problem for the Wolfpack is that its programs and fan base utilize the eligibility rule to secure a seat at playoffs. Nevermind about becoming a conference champion or a NCAA ranking. Instead, Pack fans and its program will ever endure the Cinderella syndrome of its only hope of being crowned Champion. The Cinderella method is fine for UTEP or Pepperdine but not N.C. State. The University is a Division 1 contender with Duke, UNC, and Virgina in its brackets. Yet, the Pack seems unconcerned or effortless in securing solid and robust wins against those adversaries. This is why the Wolfpack and all of its athletics won’t win championships. If the Wolfpack wants to begin winning, then its coaching staff must stop being a friend to its fan base and become autocratic, disciplined and focused leaders on the field and court. Until then, the Wolfpack athletic program will continue to be the hum-drum back pages issue filled with canned expectations and mediocre write-ups. After all, that has been the typical sports writing style since the departure of Valvano.

 

Mark my words, the Wolfpack will hire another coach, and you will hear the same canned commentary each and every time. “The new coach must be given several seasons to select his own players” or “the Wolfpack signed one of the best recruits for next season.”  The end result is that without a robust and disciplined coaching staff none of that will matter. The Wolfpack, in my opinion, will continue to rank between mediocre and below average regardless of what stellar facilities it builds. Go ahead and fire the Wolfpack basketball coach. It will only make it harder to find a better replacement. It only gives the university another poor excuse of additional time and recruiting to rebuild with same repeated insanity laced expectations that NC State fans have come to endure.

Word Extremism

In recent weeks we have heard about “fake news” or “alternative facts.” Let’s be honest with ourselves. Blown out of proportion headlines and misleading information has dominated our televisions, mailboxes, homes, and workplace for decades. While all cameras and microphones turn towards Donald Trump, perhaps we should reflect a moment and ask ourselves if we have ever had a Trump moment in our lives.

When I read headlines of “serial spree” or “massive demonstrations” or other colorful and perhaps misleading rhetoric, then I sometimes think that sort of talk is similar to what Trump says on a daily basis. People tend to exaggerate the facts and replace them with almost folklore comment to raise the quality or excitement level. Another problem is that our news and daily conversation does not seem balanced or centered. In fact, our language is emotional in nature to persuade our listeners. It is similar to those that claim “I am swamped with work overflowing on my desk” when in fact the desk is clean but the data to be entered in the computer is backlogged a bit.

Another issue is how we take our daily language as if we are skilled attorneys. When I hear sexual assault, breaking and entering, or violent activity then I quickly assume that the crime is a horrible event. However, if you drill down and take a closer look you may be amazed to learn that the sexual assault was a slap on the butt and the breaking and entering was someone opened what was intended to be a locked door. There is nothing at all violent, but we are presented information to believe it was. Another reason our court system is clogged with minor situations deemed as crimes but in hopes that the accused will take a plea deal. Again, this is where fake news becomes lubricated.

In essence, we are all a bit like Trump. We use words we do not mean to get our point across; perhaps not as excessive as he does. However, as a capitalistic society, we do attempt to push our agenda ahead of others with sometimes false data and misleading words. Our sets of beliefs are under scrutiny today because we are not using the correct words, timeline, and events to tell an accurate story. We love pizzazz and entertainment value. After all, that is Trump. What I’m afraid of is that we will eventually become a little like Trump if we fail to become a bit more realistic and tone down the word extremism.

Valentines Meaning

Tomorrow is Valentines Day. Personally, I have never taken an enormous interest in valentine’s events. However, the event originates from Christianity, but its exact origin remains a mystery. Despite what historians have to say about Valentines Day to be sure a good marketing company can destroy that history within a few seasons.

 

Of course, this particular day is intended to be filled with romance, chocolates, dinners of appreciation and of course a few marriage proposals. The reality is that Valentines has captured some creative stresses that dinner reservations are not found, flowers failed to be delivered, and those that basically forgot because of the daily stresses of work. Missing a Valentines Day is nearly equal to forgetting your wedding anniversary. I have friends that have said, “Getting ready for Valentines can be exhausting. Once the dinner is over with all I can think about is going straight to bed and falling asleep.” Yep, folks, it has come to Valentines is nearly equal to New Year’s Eve and Christmas Day. Once the moment arrives, we want to just sleep in. Gone is the romantic excitement or the wooing of your partner.

 

Sure, there are young couples that live for the Valentines moment. Overall it is a beautiful experience for those entering first loves and firm commitments. But the excess and indulgence can leave one a bit exhausted and overwhelmed. That leads to the question of how do you outdo yourself next season? This is where our creativity and wallet becomes a bit overextended, and eventually, the event subsides.

 

Perhaps Valentines Day is a reminder that we should take the time to remember commitments and love towards our partner. But I argue that we should be mindful of loving events not just once a year but all year round. We live in a social media world filled with unsocial technology that clouds our viewpoints. A simple, “I love you” should be enough to mean and accept a commitment. If you want more, feel free to splurge the excess of commercialization filled with marketing phrases that intend to lead to a special event, but it’s the company talking, not your partner. Perhaps we should focus on each other rather than what someone else writes on a box of chocolates.

Uneducated President?

In the latest news development, it appears that the U.S. Court of Appeal of the Ninth Circuit rules 3 to 0 against the Trump Travel Ban. Naturally, and as expected, President Trump took to Twitter to voice his concern. What struck me about Trump’s text is that he said, “see you in court!” Okay, this is where I think either Trump doesn’t fully understand the judicial system or has some terrible advisors.

 

First, the U.S. Court of Appeals in any circuit has a three vote system. The majority wins. However, if the majority is a full three votes, then the U.S. Supreme Court does not have to hear any merits to the case. This means, their won’t be a “see you in court” scenario. The case has been decided. Sure, the U.S. Supreme Court could hear the case if the other justices determine that the rule of law, as written, was not applied. But legal experts nor I can ever recall that ever happening.

 

This leads me to believe that perhaps Trump is creating a level of his own fake news. After all, as the leader of democracy, statesmanship, and diplomacy his office should be first to set the national tone of the people and law. But in this case, when Trump took to Twitter I think he made himself look like a sore loser in additionally to being misinformed about how the law works. Folks, it’s only been a few weeks in his presidency, and I am growing more concerned that this administration is set on a path towards ignoring the basic rule of law and precedence.

In the name of God, please someone disable Trump’s Twitter account! It is becoming a huge liability for our nation as well as potentially harming companies. I support strong leadership and our legal system. Sure, it is imperfect. But that imperfection is to demonstrate we are human. There are proper ways and procedures to overturn injustices. What Trump is doing is perhaps acting like a schoolboy throwing a tantrum because the swing set is not where he wants it to be. This attitude and demeanor must change. But for the sake of Trump, I think we are stuck with this type of attitude and resistance towards diplomacy for the remainder of his presidency. I hope the American people voted for the right leader.

$15 for Popcorn at Superbowl?

During our educational years, we may have learned about supply and demand. However, when do supply and demand become price gouging? It was mentioned that the NRG Stadium in Houston where Superbowl LI took place had bottled water priced at $6 each and a cup of soda at $11 each. Popcorn was listed at $15, and a scoop of ice cream was $11. Yes, we have perhaps witnessed an event where prices are so out of control or bizarre that we avoid concerts or supporting the arts altogether.

It is bad enough that our supply and demand needs currently have us paying an average cost of a movie ticket at $10 or more only to be punished by having to watch a barrage of movie trailers and commercials just to get a decent seat. The snack bar at theaters is no secret to a majority of us that already see skyrocketing popcorn prices and basic drinks starting prices as if we are at a Superbowl event. The sad part is that we pay those ridiculous prices.

There was a time where people would come together and enjoy events without such unreasonable prices. Concert or event tickets are controlled by ticket companies that levy additional fees. We are merely left at the mercy of either paying for it or hopefully watching it later on an HBO special or DVD. Personally, I do not mind convenience, but I do mind being exploited. Exploitation of supply and demand methods eventually harm the intended purpose. For example, Circus prices became so expensive as well as souvenirs that it crippled its business model and became bankrupt. Some states have price gouging laws. However, it is hard to prosecute and enforce.

I support for free enterprise and competition. However, I am wary where supply and demand become exploitative and diminishes an event that has an ability to bring people together. A bucket of regular standard unflavored popcorn should hardly cost $15. A basic cup of soda should not cost $11. Then again, parking at an event should not cost $20. We should reassess a fair market system where supply and demand in a public setting are equitable and reasonable for all. Otherwise, stadiums and certain events create a culture of black marketing where we lose focus on the actual event.

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