Population: 18,440 people (est. 2011) on an area 10.63 square miles in size.
Politics: Democratic. There are an estimated six Democrats for every Republican in Steubenville. There is also an “above average” rate of registered Independents.
Dean Martin, the famous singer, actor and comedian, grew up in Steubenville. So did Traci Lords, notable for making her first pornographic video at the age of 16.
All facts above courtesy of Wikipedia’s Steubenville page.
I was pleasantly surprised and gratified when the guilty verdicts came down in the Steubenville rape case. The convicted rapists got off easy, however, in light of the fact the judge used his discretionary powers to not have them tried as adults.
A google search for the phrase “Steubenville divided” turns up some disturbing results. Essentially some folks in Steubenville defended the accused, two members of the high school football team both aged 16, for being “unfairly and too quickly accused” in the words of a CNN reporter.
What the hell is there to be divided about? Even the parents of those convicted should have been shocked enough into doing the right thing. They should have said, yes, they’re our sons, and we love them, but they must be held accountable for what they have done. We live in a society. Sadly there is an intense shortage of that sort of thing going around these days.
I believe the behavior itself is indefensible and highlights a shocking breakdown of judgement, morals and values taking place with some in our society. The fact that some would choose, for almost any conceivable reason, to defend the behavior of that night and the egregious vile and callous attitudes on display is saddening.
Meanwhile, following the convictions, more arrests have been made, this time involving online threats by minor females against the victim. This sort of thing really tears me up. Why not blame those responsible for their own actions? That’s the one thing we can never allow.
Sixteen-year-old children, under the effects of alcohol, openly discussed rape, talking about how the victim deserved to be “peed on,” recorded and posted video of the victim to YouTube, took pictures with cell phones and tweeted. Participants also joked that the theme of the evening should be the song “Rape Me” by Nirvana, a song which Kurt Cobain publicly stated, after he was tired of being asked about it so many times, was meant to be “life-affirming” and “anti-rape.”
When I took my handgun safety course required in my state to obtain a concealed carry weapon permit, I was very impressed with my instructor. He dispensed a lot of wisdom in a short period of time and not all of it about guns. One of the points he hammered home is that when you choose to carry a gun, you give up the right to lose control of your wits. Among other things, inebriation means the loss of ability to defend yourself. Getting drunk, high or wasted is basically a conscious choice to put your safety and welfare in the hands of others. Why would anyone ever willingly choose to do that?
Who is failing here? Parents? The public school system? Religion and churches? How do you break through to young people and make them take notice of the tools and decision-making abilities that will really serve to protect them when the chips are down? Sadly, I don’t think there are any easy answers. Peer pressure and conformity are intense factors on our young people who don’t quite have brains developed well enough to sufficiently cope. The fact that even some adults can defend the indefensible is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
What of personal responsibility and accountability in our society? What of all the other teens who witnessed the raping take place that night and knew what was going on yet did nothing about it? Where did the alcohol come from? What other adults had knowledge yet refused to come forward? As in 99.9% of human existence and the spectrum of behavior, the full measure of justice deserved will never be dispensed.
Will we half-step and half-measure ourselves into complete and utter oblivion?