Assault By Anxiety Attack

Assault requires someone “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” either cause bodily harm to someone or “reasonably fear imminent bodily injury.” Brian Mullinax arguably didn’t intend to or know telling Deputy Justin Johnson filming the arrest of his girlfriend would cause a panic attack, with Johnson firing seven shots at a trailer park. Remarkably, Mullinax is on trial for assault by anxiety attack.

Brian Keith Mullinax, 41, and his girlfriend, Tina Carrie Jo Cody, 37, spent 42 days in jail on felony charges, accused of causing what was described in court statements as a “panic attack” and which a detective called “some type of cardiac event.” They remain under prosecution on misdemeanor charges, court records show.

The charges started as felonies, because Deputy Johnson went to a hospital after the assault.

“Because of the assault on Johnson and the fact that he was taken to the hospital with injuries and may have suffered some type of cardiac event as the result of this assault by both the male and female and all the statements and evidence, I charged” Mullinax and Cody with aggravated assault, [Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Detetctive Johnny] Bohanan wrote.

And they might have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that damn body cam video. You can watch it here. It’s disturbing, but not “Daniel Shaver Shooting” disturbing.

Johnson arrived at a Sevier County trailer park after paramedics attending to a woman who’d fallen complained Mullinax and Cody stole her purse. At the start of the video, Johnson is chasing after Cody, eventually catches her, and with the help of an EMT, handcuffs Cody.

Very shortly after Cody is secure, a male voice is heard on the video. It’s hard to make out who the voice is or what is being said, but it’s arguably Mullinax. He claims he was holding a cell phone and told Johnson he was recording his girlfriend’s arrest.

Johnson responds by drawing his service firearm and firing off four rounds in Mullinax’s direction, then an additional three. No warning is given, and no concern for Cody or the paramedic who covers Cody’s prone body once Johnson begins firing near his head.

After discharging his firearm, Johnson begins to flee the trailer park and heads toward the road. He radios for backup, saying “Help me! Shots fired!” Johnson tells dispatchers someone fired at him as he returns to the scene where paramedics tend to Cody.

Johnson continues screaming commands at Mullinax to drop any objects in his hands and get on the ground. He keeps his firearm drawn and ready to shoot the entire time. It’s not long after the shouting begins that Johnson starts hyperventilating, a telltale symptom of panic attacks.

Fortunately, one of the EMTs on scene catches this and figures out what’s happening to Johnson. This guy walks up to Johnson, calmly tells him everything’s fine, and takes the gun from Johnson’s hands. If anyone in this situation is a hero, it’s the medical pro who realized a cop suffering from a panic attack with a gun was a danger to a lot of people.

As more people arrive on scene, Johnson tells them to look for the gun because “[Mullinax] must’ve done something with it.” There’s no video of Johnson’s hospital ride, but one can infer the EMT who saw a panic attack so severe it popped out a contact lens needed extra observation.

Release of the body cam footage dropped the charges on Mullinax and Cody from aggravated assault to simple assault for Mullinax and resisting arrest for Cody.

Let’s get things clear: Mullinax did not assault Deputy Justin Johnson. Not once did he display an intent to cause Johnson bodily harm. At best one can accuse Mullinax of scaring Johnson with the thought of the press potentially seeing him manhandle Ms. Cody.

This is a bad case and a bad trial for prosecutors. Anxiety attacks aren’t something other people can intentionally or knowingly trigger, unless that person knows you very well and is despicable. Experiencing one hardly meets the elements of assault.

Worse for prosecutors is Deputy Johnson’s credibility, which is now very much in question. The body cam footage doesn’t help. Neither does a new report stating Deputy Johnson was forced to resign from a prior law enforcement gig in Washington County after, among other things, lying to his chief about an affair.

Cop life is arguably stressful. Following the First Rule of Policing means you’ll be in high-pressure situations on occasion. That a stressful situation escalating into an anxiety attack by a man with a badge, gun, and state sanctioned license to kill didn’t result in death is tragically, in our time, a miracle.

h/t Jamie Satterfield

Education or Indoctrination?

A number of theories currently circulate regarding conservative hostility to higher education. Some argue it’s because a lack of education will keep Republican politicians in power. Others say it’s because conservatives can’t handle hearing different opinions. Let’s consider another perspective: conservatives want their kids educated, not indoctrinated.

A class taught this spring at Ohio State University will review a parade of reasons why white heterosexual masculinity is allegedly problematic…according to its syllabus.

Parents are surely thrilled at the prospect of their children learning about problematic masculinity for approximately five to six figures of debt. What could such a course entail?

The course, “Be a Man! Masculinities, Race and Nation,” includes a variety of readings to that end, including its required textbook “Dude, You’re a Fag!” by C.J. Pascoe, which analyzes masculinity as not only a gendered process, but sexual one.

Time will only tell if OSU’s Bias Response Team is deployed to examine whether Jonathan Branfam’s required textbook is considered “problematic” with a homophobic slur in the title. Perhaps other required readings make up for the gaffe.

Other assigned reading excerpts include: “Masculinity as Homophobia” by Michael Kimmel; “Advertising and the Construction of Violent White Masculinity” by Jackson Katz; “Dude Sex: Dudes Who Have Sex with Dudes” by Jane Ward; “Looking for My Penis” by Richard Fung; “Sodomy in the New World” by Jonathan Goldberg; and “Teaching Men’s Anal Pleasure” by Susan Stiritz.

Solving the heterosexual masculinity problem involves a detailed examination of homosexuality. Got it. The audiovisual material in the course is just as ridiculous for a class at a university.

The class is also expected to screen “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” the dashcam footage of Philando Castile’s murder, Key & Peele’s “Hoodie Skit,” and an episode of “The New Normal.”

Connecting any of those videos with dreaded toxic masculinity is a stretch for those outside academia. Fear not, as Dr. Branfam’s done all the heavy lifting for mere mortals.

The course is ultimately presented as a study in “feminist masculinity” that seeks to explain how ideas about masculinity “simultaneously harm yet privilege” men, the syllabus states. It also aims to explain how “beliefs regarding masculinity serve to justify certain kinds of violence by men against others, and violence against particular groups of men.”

Being a man is both a privilege and harmful. Masculine beliefs justify violence against others. Students read a “male privilege checklist” on the first day of class. If anyone can explain how this isn’t a case study of indoctrination, I’m willing to listen.

Dr. Branfam’s work isn’t confined to the halls of academia. His published material includes a children’s book teaching “gender and sexual identity.”

“It was really a result of teaching women’s, gender and sexuality studies classes at OSU,” Branfman told the [OSU] Lantern. “I often found myself thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if everyone got really clear, unstigmatized information about gender and sexual diversity at a young age instead of them having to unlearn all kinds of harmful false ideas when they’re 12 instead of when they’re 20?’”

Get them while they’re young, and they’ll sign up for your gender studies classes later. Duly noted.

The unhinged lunatics infecting academia aren’t limited to places like Oberlin or Evergreen State. Odds are your local university has someone like Branfam teaching men they are bad, evil rapists destined for a life of violence unless they rid themselves of all the harmful manly thoughts and values taught by their parents and society.

Once the diploma is secured, and the newly neutered but “educated” man walks across the stage at graduation, he will attempt to find an employer who will pay him a living wage without subjecting him to the horrific violence that is masculine thought. This “woke” individual will no doubt make every effort to point out co-workers’ problematic displays of manliness.

And he’ll blame the patriarchy when his boss finally sees him as a liability.

Conservatives aren’t willing to engage with differing opinions. Parents against sending their children to college are more wary of the gospel preached by the Dr. Branfam’s of academia. They’re paying for their children to learn useful skills and study subjects preparing them for the transition to adult life.

When the kids come back home over break and argue with their parents about the gendered violence of the NFL, Mom and Dad will call their friends and tell them to keep their children away from university.

The second call will be to the school, demanding a refund.

h/t Andrew King

When Compelled Consent Is The New Normal

Consent is a specific component of the sex crime called rape. If the victim does not consent, what might begin as a sexual encounter between two adults turns into a criminal act. Furthermore, consent must be mutual. Unless you’re part of the Social Justice Xisterhood Orthodoxy. Status in such a group grants you the superpower to compel another party’s consent, less they commit the offense of “reverse rape.”

There is one aspect of rape that’s like not addressed enough though, maybe because it’s quite rare. I call it “Reverse Rape” …[referring] to the rare times when a man refuses to have sex with a woman.

NO MEANS NO UNLESS YOU’RE A MAN; THEN YOU ARE DISEMPOWERING ME WHEN I WANT SEX.

Anne Gus’s 2o14 Thought Catalog piece was meant as satire. Some people didn’t take Poe’s Law into account after a read. Now the term carries a whole new meaning, as the most “woke” will gladly tell you.

Reverse-rape is the refusal to sexually engage w/ women of the “wrong body type” and is just as horrific as rape.

So if you’re a man, and you turn down the proposition of a woman you simply don’t find physically attractive, you’re now a sexual predator of the Weinstein variety. Still think this is satire? Ask a recent Big Brother UK contestant and see if your opinion changes.

In the latest episode, Ginuwine seemingly rejected fellow housemate India Willoughby.

The controversy stems from a conversation between Willoughby and the “Pony” singer, in which she asked whether he would date a trans woman. “You would date me, yeah,” Willoughby, who is a trans woman herself, asked. “Not if you were trans,” Ginuwine replied. After Ginuwine replied that he would not date a trans woman, Willoughby attempted to plant a kiss on the singer. When her advance was rejected, Willoughby stormed off.

It’s not just Willoughby who finds rejection from a cisgender male offensive. Mic, a left-leaning media company recently published a video mocking men who wouldn’t date trans women as “insecure.”

Whether… you may not understand my gender identity, it doesn’t mean that I’m weaker than you. I find myself to be a lot stronger than those people, actually, because my strength has to come from within, you know the endurance of what I have to endure day to day and what I have to do day to day to myself and all the things I face on a day-to-day basis. I think it makes me resilient and that actually makes stronger than that kind of man so I actually think they’re weaker.

So a refusal to romantically or sexually engage with someone you don’t find attractive makes you “weaker” and in some cases “phobic?” What if your business involves sex and you’re the target of an outrage mob because you refuse to have sex with someone for health and safety reasons?

[The suicide of adult film star August Ames] is stirring up quite a controversy, because in the days leading up to it, Ames was being bullied heavily online, including several specific suggestions that she kill herself. Ames had tweeted that she had backed out of a sex scene because it wasn’t disclosed that the man she was supposed to have sex with had done gay porn. Apparently, the reticence of women to work with “crossovers” is fairly common and long accepted in porn.

Ames apparently held the belief men who worked in same-sex adult film scenes were at a higher risk of contracting STDs and HIV, which cripples the career of adult film stars. When she attempted to defend her right to work with whom she chose, the online outrage mobs descended and called her homophobic.

This brave new world of throwing labels such as “rapist,” “phobic,” and “bigot” comes to one logical conclusion. Eventually people will wonder why their invisible signals of sexual juju don’t bring around their preferred targets of desire. They will puzzle over why the opposite sex runs when they advance.

None will stop to think for even the slightest moment the person sprinting in fear doesn’t want to end up on a punitive registry for the rest of their lives.

Advice After Aziz

It was only a matter of time before someone sufficiently “woke” ran afoul of the #MeToo Hollywood choir. Few could expect the dreaded “sexual misconduct” would include “regrettable hook-ups.” Well, time’s up.

Golden Globe winning actor and comedian Aziz Ansari has been accused of “sexual assault” by a 23-year-old photographer from Brooklyn kept anonymous for her safety. (emphasis mine)

The bolded portion of that quote is the first alarming part of Fader’s write-up. “Sexual assault” means certain things, like rape and sexual battery. These are crimes. Not awkward bedroom moments with celebrities, as Babe’s account suggests of the date between “Grace” and Aziz.

Ansari and “Grace” met at the 2017 Emmy Awards after party and found a connection between the type of camera the two used to take pictures. She took pictures with Ansari, and gave him her telephone number before leaving.

When her plane landed back in New York the next day, she already had a message from him. They exchanged flirtatious banter over text for a week or so before he asked her to go out with him on Monday, September 25.

After dinner, the two proceeded to Ansari’s apartment where the two engaged in a variety of sexual acts. “Grace” later claimed everything Aziz did was “aggressive.” He failed to read her signals of discomfort, and that was too much for the young photographer to bear.

Throughout the course of her short time in the apartment, she says she used verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was. “Most of my discomfort was expressed in me pulling away and mumbling. I know that my hand stopped moving at some points,” she said. “I stopped moving my lips and turned cold.”

Whether Ansari didn’t notice Grace’s reticence or knowingly ignored it is impossible for her to say. “I know I was physically giving off cues that I wasn’t interested. I don’t think that was noticed at all, or if it was, it was ignored.”

Ansari was sexually aroused and indicated as much. “Grace,” not so much. She went to Ansari’s bathroom, collected herself, and then returned with a rejection.

“I said I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you,” she said.

“Grace” didn’t want to feel forced. That’s completely understandable. No one should feel forced to have sex with someone, and Ansari acknowledged he understood this.

 “He said, ‘Oh, of course, it’s only fun if we’re both having fun.’ The response was technically very sweet and acknowledging the fact that I was very uncomfortable. Verbally, in that moment, he acknowledged that I needed to take it slow. Then he said, ‘Let’s just chill over here on the couch.’”

Once the pair hit the couch, “Grace” performed oral sex on Aziz.

“He sat back and pointed to his penis and motioned for me to go down on him. And I did. I think I just felt really pressured. It was literally the most unexpected thing I thought would happen at that moment because I told him I was uncomfortable.” (emphasis mine)

“Grace” could have said no. She’s ostensibly a grown woman, completely capable of telling anyone she doesn’t want to engage in sexual activity with them. “Grace” could have left the apartment the moment Ansari motioned that he wanted oral sex. None of this happened.

The night continued, with Ansari making a final advance while watching an episode of “Seinfeld” with “Grace.” At that point “Grace” felt violated and verbally lashed out.

“I remember saying, ‘You guys are all the same, you guys are all the fucking same.’” Ansari asked her what she meant. When she turned to answer, she says he met her with “gross, forceful kisses.”

After this, “Grace” left in an Uber, crying and texting her friends about the encounter. She felt “groggy and miserable” the next day. When Ansari messaged her about the prior night, the digital disconnect between the two allowed “Grace” enough space to tell Aziz how she really felt.

“It was fun meeting you last night,” Ansari sent on Tuesday evening. “Last night might’ve been fun for you, but it wasn’t for me,” Grace responded. “You ignored clear non-verbal cues; you kept going with advances.” She explains why she is telling him how she felt: “I want to make sure you’re aware so maybe the next girl doesn’t have to cry on the ride home.”

“I’m so sad to hear this,” he responded. “Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.”

None of Ansari’s actions constituted sexual assault at any point. “Grace” could have said no, left his apartment at any time. Her feeling “pressured” and “forced” to perform oral sex on Ansari, however much this pains the #MeToo crowd, doesn’t constitute any element of sexual assault.

Yet with the help of her friends, and enough recitations of her story, “Grace” managed to make the leap to “sexual assault.”

“It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault,” she told us. “I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that’s why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say, because I wanted validation that it was actually bad.”

Validation from your friends doesn’t meet the elements of a sex crime. It didn’t stop “Grace” and Babe from putting Aziz Ansari on trial in Internet Court. Ansari has since issued a statement, saying the entire encounter was consensual, but he still supported the #MeToo movement because it was “necessary and long overdue.”

Amy Alkon, the “Advice Goddess,” had a different take on the experience, one future “Graces” might want to consider. It’s not as touchy feely as they would like, but one worth considering for equality’s sake.

If you are a woman who is so emotionally frail that you cannot have agency — control your behavior when in the presence of an unarmed person who wants something that you don’t want — you should not be allowed out unsupervised.

As in Victorian times, you should meet men in the family parlor, with supervision.

If Ms. Alkon’s above statement offends too much, well, she doesn’t pull any more punches.

The apartment had a door.

There’s a word: “No.”

Another word: “Stop!”

If you don’t stand up for what you want on some occasion, there’s something you should do — and no, it isn’t putting another person on trial on social media. It’s deciding to turn the experience into a learning experience and figure out what you’ll do to stand up for your interests the next time around.

Bad dates don’t equate to sex crimes, and if you lack the ability to clearly say “no” to anyone, even someone previously referred to as a “woke feminist bae,” then it’s definitely time to turn your bad date into a learning experience, not accuse someone of sexual assault.

X+Y=Racism

Literature, chock full of references to white cisheteronormative shitlords, was first on the racism chopping block. Timeliness and striving for greatness, goals often considered worthy, couldn’t escape the dreaded R-word. Now mathematics, arguably the least racially charged subject, isn’t woke enough for academia.

Three British professors recently claimed that statistical analyses have been weaponized to “serve white racial interests” within academia and beyond.

Led by David Gillborn, a professor at the University of Birmingham, the professors argue that math serves white interests because it can “frequently encode racist perspectives beneath the facade of supposed quantitative objectivity.”

If that word salad has you scratching your head, you’re not alone. Statistics by nature are designed to measure certain issues within a set parameter of data. How a string of numbers can “encode racist perspectives” is beyond comprehension.

“Contrary to popular belief, and the assertions of many quantitative researchers, numbers are neither objective nor color-blind,” Gillborn and his team assert in their article for the journal Race, Ethnicity, and Education.

Numbers are not neutral because “quantitative data is often gathered and analyzed in ways that reflect the interests, assumptions, and perceptions of White elites,” they contend, adding that even so-called objective analysis fails to take the pervasiveness of racism into account.

Reaching this conclusion requires a sharp left turn off the tracks towards [ableist slur]town. Two plus two equals four. Ten multiplied by ten equals 100. “White elite” perspective has no say in the result. Numbers don’t reach a system of oppression towards minorities or the oppressed.

Despite this, the shut-ins of the ivory tower have a solution to make math “woke” enough for public consumption.

To address the racism numbers reinforce, the professors advocate for the adoption of “QuantCrit”—a portmanteau for “quantitative analysis” and “critical race theory.” Quantcrit, they say, has five key tenets, including that “numbers are not neutral.”

Other key tenets of QuantCrit theory include realizing that math tends to legitimate existing racial inequalities, acknowledging that numerical analyses disadvantage minorities, and understanding how numbers play to the benefit of white interests.

Do what now? Math legitimates existing racial inequalities? Is there no absurdity outside academia’s reach?

Lumping mathematics under the dome of “racism,” as with many other disciplines, only serves the purpose of rendering actual racism meaningless. Yes, we have a long way to go in our collective struggle to address racism, and some people still harbor the lunatic mindset those without white skin are inferior.

Adding numbers to the problematic masses just neuters the real, ugly racism in our lives.

Drunk People Get Coverage Too

One of the great things about the Volokh Conspiracy’s move to Reason is their feature of Short Circuit, a weekly roundup of notable federal court decisions. Today’s topic of interest is affectionately titled “People Do Dumb Shit When Drunk.”

A twenty two year old man and his friends got loaded and decided to play a game of “chicken” in a Michigan field. The end result saw our booze-soaked subject in the hospital with six figures in medical bills.

This is normally where health insurance would kick in and at least defray some of the cost. With nearly two grand in bills, you’d think Beau Heimer at least met his deductible. Unfortunately, his insurer, Companion Life, told Heimer to pound sand because his injuries were the result of “illegal use of alcohol,” a situation not covered in his plan.

Heimer exhausted all administrative remedies before suing Companion Life in Federal Court. This would not go well for Companion Life.

Courts don’t give parties drafting contracts much leeway in lawsuits. The general rule is to look at the plain meaning of the words in question to see if they give any guidance. If further clarification is needed, courts construe contract language against the drafter.

As you can imagine, the Sixth Circuit roasted Companion Life. “Illegal use of alcohol” did not mean what Companion Life wanted it to mean.

In everyday English, an “illegal use of alcohol” thus means an illegal act of consuming alcohol—such as drinking while under 21, on public streets, or in an unlicensed restaurant…Read this way, Heimer’s conduct was not an “illegal use of alcohol”: Heimer was over the legal age to drink, and Companion Life has not pointed to any law that prohibited Heimer from consuming alcohol.
Heimer did something illegal, but it wasn’t drinking. The court couldn’t find a definition of “illegal use of alcohol” that fit “let’s get drunk and play chicken.” Absent language specifically excluding coverage for injuries sustained while under the influence, Companion Life had to pay Heimer’s bills.

The worst one can say about our reading is that it does not give effect to the insurance company’s understandable desire not to pay for injuries sustained during a drunken ride on a motorbike. But if the insurance company wanted to exclude this type of injury, it should have used specific language to that effect, as many other insurance companies have done. (emphasis mine)

In other words, if you want to exclude bad behavior while drunk from your insurance plan, say so in plain, specific language.

Companion Life’s last stand failed when the Sixth Circuit construed the language of Heimer’s plan against the insurer. No ambiguities in the plan’s language meant it was time to pony up for Heimer’s bills.

The dissenting judge even admitted Companion Life’s drafting was sloppy and needed work. While there was some ability to read the plan in favor of Companion Life, the language in Heimer’s plan didn’t allow for Companion to exclude coverage.

Companion Life surely did not intend its policy to cover injuries arising from drunken participation in a reckless game of chicken. Reading “illegal use of alcohol” so narrowly leaves one seeing double. But ultimately, in this case, the insurer must bear the consequences of its sloppy drafting.

Bad writing and deference to Heimer’s policy meant Companion Life ran on the wrong side of the law. Perhaps in the future they’ll figure out a way to exclude people doing dumb shit when drunk. For now, the Sixth Circuit gives us solid notice that “context matters,” especially when trying to skirt paying for medical bills.

The Few Standing For Justice Against The Outrage Mob

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand loved the support for recalling Judge Aaron Persky, the Voldemort of Social Justice who spared Brock Allen Turner the “severe impact” of prison.

This is incredible: In California, the activists behind @RecallPersky gathered 100,000 signatures to recall the judge who sentenced Brock Turner to just six months in jail after he was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside a frat party.

Shon Hopwood called bullshit on Gillibrand’s virtue signaling and endorsement of the “Recall Persky” mob.

Yes, pitchfork justice for judges who impose one sentence shorter than the small segment of the public thinks. The @RecallPersky effort will only lead to more punitiveness, which will disproportionately fall on minorities and the poor. Bravo!

It wasn’t just Shon ready to stand against the tide of those calling for Judge Persky’s head. Ninety one law professors did something few in academia are willing to do: take a principled stand and argue for the law.

We the undersigned are part of a broad diversity of law professors from California universities…[writing] in strong opposition to the campaign to recall Judge Aaron Persky of the Santa Clara County Superior Court…[This] recall campaign…threatens the fundamental principles of judicial independence and fairness that we all embed in the education of our students.

“Wait,” you may ask, “the recall mechanism is part of the law. It’s something California has on the books. Why is this such a threat to judicial independence and fairness?” Settle in for some “lawsplaining.

The mechanism of recall was designed for and must be limited to cases where judges are corrupt or incompetent or exhibit bias that leads to systematic injustice in their courtrooms. None of these criteria applies to Judge Persky. We appreciate that some people (indeed including some of the signers of this letter) might have chosen a different result, but the core values of judicial independence and integrity require the judge to make a decision based on the record (including, in this case, the recommendation of a skilled professional, a probation officer) —not on public outcry about a controversial case. (emphasis mine)

The ninety-one signatories agree on a key principle: mob opinion has no place on judicial independence and integrity. While openly admitting they might have ruled differently, each signer of the statement against Judge Persky’s recall stands firm in their opinion a judge must be allowed to make the rulings, no matter how unpopular. At the end of the day, it’s the person in the black robe who decides a defendant’s fate, social media be damned.

If close to a hundred academics can’t persuade those calling for Judge Persky’s head, perhaps the Santa Clara County Bar Association’s view holds stronger weight. They condemned the efforts to recall Judge Persky back in June of 2016.

 Judges have a duty to apply the law to the facts and evidence before them, regardless of public opinion or political pressure.  In that role, judges provide an important check against other political forces.  If judges had to fear direct, personal repercussions as a result of their decisions in individual cases, the rule of law would suffer. 

Those still calling for Persky’s neck might be keen to find out California’s Commission on Judicial Performance, the body tasked with handling problematic judges, fielded thousands of complaints over Brock Turner’s sentence and still found Judge Persky clear of any wrongdoing.

It is not the role of the commission to discipline judges for judicial decisions unless bad faith, bias, abuse of authority, disregard for fundamental rights, intentional disregard of the law, or any purpose other than the faithful discharge of judicial duty is established by clear and convincing evidence…The commission has concluded that there is not clear and convincing evidence of bias, abuse of authority, or other basis to conclude that Judge Persky engaged in judicial misconduct warranting discipline. (emphasis mine)

A triumvirate of those versed in the law examined the Brock Turner verdict, concluded it was proper, and that Judge Persky’s only offense was showing maybe a little more empathy than most would’ve preferred. Why take the time now to stare the mob led by Michelle Dauber in the eye and proclaim “enough?”

Because as much as Dauber wants to believe otherwise, the recall isn’t just about Brock Turner and will affect far more defendants than the Stanford Swimmer.

In particular, lawyers who represent indigent defendants in our system rightly view the recall as a danger to, not promotion of, progressive values. This is because, historically and empirically, recall actions push judges towards sharply ratcheting up sentences, especially against the poor and people of color, out of fear of media campaigns run by well-funded interest groups.

In other words, should the Recall Persky campaign succeed, other jurists will take notice and shaft the less privileged accused of crimes out of fear they’ll be next. Better to issue harsher sentences than find your name smeared across the internet.

This is a pivotal moment, when the few who stand for what the law should be stare the mob of social justice in the eye and refuse to blink. Though some may find a defense of Judge Persky unpalatable, they realize if judicial independence is compromised here it sets a dangerous precedent hard to overturn.

As Ken White would say, this fight is for “the ones who never saw much mercy to begin with.”

Free Speech: Go Vols!

A new year means new free speech protections on Tennessee college campuses. As of today, the “Campus Free Speech Protection Act” is law in the Volunteer State. That’s great news for any parent sending their kid to college.

This new law, signed last year by Governor Haslam, addresses many concerns those of us outside academia watched unfold over the last few years. Passing with overwhelming support, institutions of higher learning will send kids back to class with a new set of rules.

Here’s a look at a few of the goodies in SB 723:

*Schools must adopt policies consistent with the University Of Chicago’s Statement on Principles of Free Speech and Free Expression.

*All open, outdoor spaces of universities are to be considered “public forums” for free speech and expression.

*Goodbye and good riddance to “free speech zones.” Colleges may no longer designate an area in which students may freely express their views.

*No school gets to deny student groups activity fees because the school might disagree with the group’s viewpoint.

*Goodbye to the imposition of “security fees” for speakers invited to campus. The same goes to the tactic of “disinviting” a speaker a college may disagree with or find upsetting.

*Teachers are protected for speaking in class, unless the speech is “not reasonably germane to the subject matter of the class as broadly construed, and comprises a substantial portion of classroom instruction.”

*With regards to the issue of “student-on-student harassment,” schools must adopt policies consistent with the decision in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education. 

This is a massive win for free speech in the Volunteer State. It’s a step forward in reaffirming a bedrock principle of our country: the right to say, be, and do as you please. No longer will outrage culture or offense be considered when someone speaks on a Tennessee campus.

I’ve often joked when I see something pop up about an incident in Tennessee that “my people don’t always get it right.” This time my people didn’t just get it right, they knocked one out of the park. A strong commitment to free speech is important in higher education, and Tennessee just took a big set towards making sure students are educated instead of indoctrinated.

What is the Age of the American Asshole?

It’s 2018, and time for a new era. Gone is the time of the Voodoo Child. Now it’s time for the Age of the American Asshole.

The American Asshole is an easy to understand creature, but one who needs some explanation.

2017 was a year of divisiveness for the entire world. The American Left shed its veneer of propriety and revealed the true ugliness and hate it holds for modern society. “Intersectionality” became the new fashion trend, as people revealed the various ways “systemic oppression” made their arguments better than most. And people couldn’t stand to see someone think differently or even a simple counter argument.

I first started thinking about the Age of the American Asshole when I began reading some of Kurt Schlichter’s work. Normally I’m a pro people guy, but when I began exposing a few of my contrarian beliefs the Leftists in my social circles turned on me like rabid jackals.

So hate for the other side seemed like a natural consequence of the times.

Then Charlottesville happened, and I questioned whether hatred of the other side was a necessary requisite for the times. Was it better to show love for your fellow humans or was the culture war in full swing? Did I need to show compassion, or was there zero tolerance for intellectual dishonesty and groupthink?

Eventually the answer became clear. I would need to strike a balance between the two, and the evolution was the Age of the American Asshole.

I host a show on Southern Fried Radio called the Sit Down with Chris Seaton. Each week we talk about news stories, big ideas, and fun topics. There are many occasions when we have guests in studio to talk with us.

From this point forward, the rules going in will be simple. If you come to my yard, your best bet is to do so with an open mind, a willingness to listen to the other side, and present your arguments with the best intellectual honesty possible.

Inside the studio and outside in the real world, if you approach me in that fashion we will have a civil discussion. We may disagree, but that’s the nature of reasonable minds. Regardless, we will both come away from the discussion without the hatred that seeped through much of 2017.

Play identity politics, attempt for a bid at the Oppression Olympics, or start a discussion about how “privileged” I am and you’re going to see what a proud, unapologetic American Asshole looks like.

Happy 2018.

 

 

Statement of Principles for the AotAA

Miss me yet?

That’s right, folks, I’m not going anywhere. Despite my antics on Medium and the ability to post on Simple Justice, consider this the start of the Fourth Wave of Blawging. I’m going to go where no lawyer has gone before and make this a method of delivering new ideas to the masses.

Now people have accused me of all sorts of thought crimes. I’ve been labeled far right. Alt Right, and worse. So in the spirit of CRTV’s Gavin McInness, I’m going to list my ten point principles on why I see conservatism as the new counterculture. In this list you will find things you agree with and things you don’t care for.

I don’t give a fuck either way.

1. I AM  A FREE SPEECH ABSOLUTIST. The right to say, act, and believe as you wish is a cornerstone of American life, regardless of what the gender studies majors at Oberlin tell you.  If you censor those you “hate,” you censor free speech as a whole.

2. IDENTITY POLITICS FOR ALL, OR IDENTITY POLITICS FOR NONE. This comes from my favorite militant atheist, David Smalley of “Dogma Debates.” Get rid of your “patents of oppression” where you show how oppressed you are is an indicator of your argument. Present your damn point and let it stand.

3. VENERATE THE PATRIARCHY. You know what gets shafted most in society? Dads. The people who hold a family together. Feminists hold the “patriarchy” as evil when it’s shown families with dads are more successful and raise better kids. Let’s make dads more welcome in the public.

4. THE WEST IS BEST. No, I’m not subscribing to Proud Boys dogma. I’m simply asserting Western Civilization brought us the best advancements life had to offer. There’s a reason people want to come to America and never go back.

5. STOP APOLOGIZING FOR BEING A STRAIGHT WHITE GUY. This idea of cisheteronormative guilt is amazing and foreign to me. No one should be ashamed of who they are.

6. LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Get over yourself. Life isn’t about your struggles. You are a cog in a machine. Govern yourself accordingly.

7. REJECT HEDONISM: EMBRACE THE SUCK.  Our society is hedonistic by nature. We would rather have comfort and leisure than pain. If you experience pain, learn to love it. Like the Marines say, “embrace the suck.” Only after the pain will you know true freedom.

8. LEARN TO ADAPT. You will grow over time. You will change your views. This is expected. Don’t let an asshat troll you with an old twit saying you were different. Just admit you’re evolved and move on.

9. ACCEPT EVOLUTION AS PART OF GROWING UP. You are a new person if you’re an adult. You are responsible for making your views a reality and defending them. Show some spine.

10. FAMILY FIRST. You know what makes people successful? Having families and keeping them. No substitute will do. This is the big one.

So ten principles to live life on.  I call it “Conservatism is the new Counterculture.”  I hope you get something out of this. Otherwise the Age of the American Asshole is starting soon.