Monday, June 18, 2007

INNOCENT: H- S not wrong in this case

"... these three individuals [David Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann,] are innocent of these charges."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Apr. 11, 2007

Today I posted in response to a letter that appeared in the Durham Herald Sun. You can read my post, which contains the letter in full, here.

The first comment the post drew was this from an Anon:

[Letter writer] Schlegel shouldn't be faulted for having bizarre thoughts; after all, she had some pretty serious trauma fighting cancer. She is probably more to be pitied for having trouble grasping reality.

The Hurled Scum was absolutely dead wrong in publishing the poor woman's letter, exposing her aberratiions (sic) for all to see. I liken it to pointing and laughing at someone having a grand mal seizure. At this juncture, what is gained by publishing the ravings of someone who is obviously trouobled (sic)? Hurled Scum does it again!! What a rag!!!
I read the comment a few times trying to decide whether it was a troll's comment that simply deserved deletion.

I've decided to treat the comment as being a genuine expression of belief by a person whose conscious intentions are well-meant.

That said, I take very strong exception to just about everything the commenter says.

To label Ms. Schlegel's statements as bizarre and attribute them to her cancer without detailed clinical knowledge of her condition is presumptuous in the extreme.

It also ignores some very salient facts including the following:

1) Ten of millions of cancer survivors are thoughtful, skilled, intelligent and able citizens who are as free, if not more free, of bizarre thoughts than the average citizen.

2) Everything Schlegel said in her letter has been said by people paid to write news reports, columns and editorial for our largest circulation newspapers; and to host and comment on our cable channels.

Most of those people are not cancer survivors. They are just people like Schlegal who've embraced zany and dangerous ideas.

3) There was nothing I read in Schlegel's letter that I haven't heard again and again from people here in Durham I've know for ten, twenty and thirty plus years. And most of them are people who've never had cancer.

I could say more but I hope I've made my points: lots of people who've never had cancer say what Schlegel said; there's no reason to believe she said what she said because of her cancer; and her opinions are ones many, including many in media and in Durham, share.

Therefore, in publishing her letter, the Herald Sun, was giving voice to one segment of community opinion.

That was a reasonable thing for a newspaper to do even as I disagree with just about everything in Schlegel's letter.

Again, you can read her letter here.


Anonymous said...

Well, I re-read the DMH letter (and your excellent fisking) and anon's letter and I'm a bit puzzled.

I think that what anon might be saying is that Schlegel might still be suffering from the treatment she described in her letter. In other words, perhaps this poor woman dashed off this letter while in the midst of a cancer treatment.

I have to tell you, were I the HS editorial page drone-in-charge I would have asked someone to get in touch with her to see if she was compos mentis.

In any case, I would also suspect that these opinions were not *caused* by her treatment and any disorientation but were strongly held in a Victoria Peterson sort of way.


HumboldtBlue said...


as I commented on the previous post, this syndrome is apparent everywhere. Those three men may be innocent, but they're not that innocent *wink, wink.*

They did something wrong, they are no choir boys, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. But what gets me is this argument that one cannot call out Mangum. I have believed from early on she's a woman in need of help, I still believe that, and I have maintained a spot for both sympathy and empathy (I have dealt with serious issues of substance abuse in my own clan, and continue to do so) in my heart, but she lied. She claimed three men brutally gang raped her in a bathroom and then repeatedly changed that tale. The blame for this fiasco lies with Nifong's willingness to push forward with no case.

09 parent said...

John, the letter is just one more example of the disturbing truth exposed. If you give this poor woman a "pass" due to the stress of cancer treatments, you have to give Nifong a pass since he is also slowed down by his cancer battle. (OK, it did occur to me that he had cancer in his brain, but after all I have observed, I have him pegged as a slightly above average bright narcissitic personality disorder who cannot read "reality" correctly and lives in a skewed world.) People like Nifong can only believe they are superior and can only wield power and treat others with contempt when they work in environments where they are never challenged. He has never held another job than in that office, and we have all seen plenty of who he got to Lord Over all these years.
Many people in Durham are very weak in the logic department and have no grasp of what due process means.

Sadly, many overeducated and privileged people employed by my son's great university also seem to be "challenged" in both logic and in reason, and seem to have missed 8th grade civics as it applies to people of all color and economic background.
While I don't doubt that Duke settling with our unlucky, tormented and randomly targeted three families is a decision that we should respect as theirs to make, as a Duke parent I still wait for the sincere, visible, ownership and apology from Duke for offering no support to our student athletes in their hour of great need. Too many adults with advanced degrees at Duke were silent while our kids were crucified. I would like to add that our family tends toward voting in liberal agendas politically, is only somewhat interested in sports and came to Duke for other reasons. I do hope that the Duke administrators and faculty members comprehend that the alum, parent and student misery caused by their graceless behavior when courage was called for cut across all political lines. Any illusion they have that blog hooligans all listen in rapture to Rush Limbaugh is patently false. Many moderates, liberals and people who don't vote conservatively are still waiting for the public mea culpa apology that should have accompanied the settlements.
Perhaps the faculty members who encouraged the ridiculous mindless mob are sick of hearing about their behavior being deemed cowardly, but their silence while innocent people were condemned and vilified remains frightening. We will not recover until amends are made and they own that the many who chose silence also let us down. Why is no one able to get out front and apologize for letting our student athletes down in the face of unprecedented condemnation? Please, Duke step up and connect the dots for your alum, parents and students. Your payments to Pressler and our tormented student athletes are evidence of mistakes made in 2006. Just say it out loud. Please.
One hopeful change agent point bloggers seem to miss that I think is very central: This rude awakening about flawed adults in power in Durham and at Duke has changed the young adults studying at Duke right now and forever. This is a good. I know my son will never look at people in authority with such blind trust. There were three varsity lacrosse players on his freshman hall, young men of multiple talents and impressive character. He saw how they suffered and he witnessed a great wrong as did all our Duke students.
The impact of how our young adults at Duke changed while watching the adults they used to look up cower and equivicate is a force for good that we can count on.

AMac said...

Thanks for the cogent analysis, 09 parent.

If Schlegel's letter truly was bizarre instead of (sadly) an expression of points that are well within the mainstream, 09 parent's comment would have been superfluous. "Everybody," or at least every sensible person who was paying attention, would have already come to the same conclusions. Meaning, for instance, that the fraction of the Group of 88 who were decent people but Followers, P.C.-stricken, and Useful Idiots (as opposed to ideology-driven Hard Leftits) would have recanted by now.

Nothing of the sort has taken place, because Schlegel's sentiments are commonplace.

Anonymous said...

John: My post was the one with which you had major disagreements. I think you misunderstood my point (no, I'm not a G88er). Simply put, I was attempting to give Schlegel some rationale for her irrational letter by speculating that her brush with death may have made her come unhinged. If you criticize me for making such a statement without any clinical evidence, I stand corrected and I apologize. I must presume, then, she is rational but extremely naive--perhaps terminally stupid. The crux of my post was to say that the Hurled Scum was absolutely wrong to print such a letter. Do I make myself clear? Frankly, I can't see where anyone could fault me, but I'll let the other posters weigh in.

BoonDoggie said...

I had a different take on this. I think the Hurled Scum printed that letter to illustrate that, in spite of all of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there are still plenty of people so caught up in their ideology and world view that they still think "something happened in that bathroom."

There are plenty of people that feel cheated and wanted there to be a trial so that the players could "prove their innocence." What they really mean is that they would have taken some satisfaction if some rich kids had to roll the dice with a Durham jury and possibly spend the better part of their lives in prison, somehow righting a wrong for past injustices.

It's a shame that Mangum has basically gotten a pass, but then again she's got a bit of a google footprint problem. This entire incident will not look good on a resume. I'm just waiting for her to announce her book.

Anonymous said...

Me again. I'm sure the HS published the letter, as Boondoggie speculates, to show that some people still believe "something happened." I didn't speculate on HS' motives, but I believe publishing such drivel is like throwing gasoline on a smoldering fire. I mean, there are people out there who think the government has planted electrodes in their brains and control their thoughts, but I see nothing gained by printing their hallucinatory joyrides. Yes, Mangum is experiencing a Google epiphany; but she can always revert to any of her(ahem) stage names.

JWM said...

To all of you who've commented,

I tip my hat to you.

You've put together a thoughtful and civil thread concerning some complex and contentious issues and problems.

If "the Nifong/DPD investigative team" and its enablers had acted as you six have here, there would never have been .... (well, you know the rest of that).

You're comments deserve a better response than I’m giving you here, especially the comments of Anon @ 10:20 am and the same self-ID'ed Anon at 3:13 pm who responded with clarity and an impressive desire to treat with and resolve differences, or perhaps misunderstandings.

An extra hat tip to Anon 10:20 and 3:13 for that.

I'm just home now after 6 days "on the road" and there's a lot of catching up to do.

In a day or two, I'll make a more detailed response to a lot of what's on this thread.

For now, two things:

1) I hope Anon @ 10:20 and 3:13 lets me know he/she has seen this comment;

2) Again, my appreciation to all of you who commented.

You've shown what blog threads are at their best.


Anonymous said...

John: Thank you so much for your very generous remarks. I know you to be a very prudent and fair man from your blog, and I am happy that you caused me to clarify my post. Since I apologized, it's obvious I'm not a G88:> Thanks for all you've done.
10:20 3:13

Anonymous said...

Electrodes in my brain are forcing me to vote write-in for Nifong.....


Anonymous said...

For the record. The lax 3 were accused of rape and of "something happening" that night. That's how I interpret Nifong dropping the rape charges but keeping the kidnapping and sexual assault charges. The last 2 charges were Nifong's version of "something happened that night. It is because he separated the rape from the kidnapping and sexual assault charges that I think he was alleging that something criminal but not defined happened. He was casting as broad a net as possible to be able to convict the players of "something". Therefore, when AG Cooper declared the players innocent, he was saying no rape occurred and nothing else happened that night. Nifong was disbarred for, among other things, continuing to believe that something happened when an investigation by the state had shown that nothing did.

That's my answer to Ms Schlegel and the countless others who argue the same line of logic to me here in Chapel Hill.

Brant Jones