Why The Brock Turner Appeal Is A Big Deal

Why The Brock Turner Appeal Is A Big Deal

No, I don't care how excellent of a swimmer he was.
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About 3 days ago, it was announced that convicted Brock Turner is now appealing his conviction from Santa Clara Country over his rape case back in 2015. Turner's 172-page appeal submitted by his attorney discussed how aspects such as Brock Turner's swimming career and school performance were all factors that shouldn't have been overlooked because it "demonstrated his honesty." In addition, a full 60 pages of the appeal goes on to describe how intoxicated the victim, Emily Doe, was. Turner's appeal also continues to discuss how the description of how he repeatedly assaulted the victim "behind a dumpster" brought an unfair view to his case by associating the fact that he was trying to conceal his actions as well as associate the actions with the filth of the dumpster. In reality, the assault carried out next to the dumpster, with the other side facing the football field and a wall on the other side.

While the articles telling of Turner's appeal bring up the forgotten feeling of outrage we experienced from the trial, my stomach also has been twisted into a feeling of nausea every time Brock's face appears on the media.

I'm not sorry, Brock. Your actions, trials, and now appeal have all displayed the glaring issues we have in the US facing assault, rape, and white privilege. And heart-breakingly, one victim had to suffer for these to come to view.

Here is a summary and outline to catch anyone who's out of the loop up:

January 10, 2015: Brock Turner, a swimmer at Stanford University, is reportedly very "creepy" and "handsy" at an event at Kappa Alpha Order fraternity towards a woman who later spoke out.

January 17, 2015: Turner leaves the Kappa Alpha fraternity house with the victim, Emily Doe, and is soon pulled off her by passing graduate students who spot him thrusting himself into her unconscious body behind a dumpster—whoops, my bad, thrusting himself into her unconscious body dumpster-adjacent and as a result, is tackled by the grad students and later arrested,

January 18, 2015: Turner posts up a $150,000 bail, most assuming from his daddy.

January 28, 2015: Turner is formally charged with two counts of rape, two counts of penetration and one count of assault with intent to rape.

October 7, 2015: Rape charges are dropped.

March 30, 2016: The court finds Turner guilty on all remaining assault charges, but Turner and his defense appeal.

June 2, 2016: Judge Aaron Persky of Santa Clara County sentences Turner to six months in jail and to register as a sex offender—an extremely light sentence seeing that the maximum (and typical) could have been up to 14 years in prison.

September 2, 2016: Turner is released from jail after 3 months.

December 1, 2017: Turner and his defense submit a 172-page brief insinuating that Turner’s trial was not fair.

First, let’s get to the point. On March 30, 2016, Turner was found guilty of several indictments relating to that night. These are sexual penetration of an unconscious woman, sexual penetration of an intoxicated woman, and assault with intent to rape.

So, here we are, in December of 2017 and still hearing about Turner and his defense constantly arguing his side.

I understand how the justice system works. I know that a lot of this case rode on the emotional level for people all over the country. I know that many people insinuated Turner’s guilt before he even faced trial. But what I don’t understand is how because of these things, a man convicted and proven to not only assault and take advantage of a woman unconscious, but to be a predator, has continued to emphasize the rhetoric of assault on college campuses as well as white privilege within the US justice system.

As we launch in to a new ordeal of watching the appeal, here are some key things we need to remember:

Rape is rape

Quite honestly, I don’t give a damn if he wasn’t convicted of rape. Brock Turner is a rapist. He is a clean-cut cookie cutter image of college men and because of that, so many people, including his own father, refuse to recognize him as the monster he is.

Brock, I don’t care how intoxicated the woman was. I don’t care if you “thought she wanted it”. And what I really don’t care about is how “excellent” of a student or athlete you are. You’re a monster, and what you did that night was horrific and going to follow that victim throughout the rest of her life.

Turner’s father became infamous as he referred to the assault as “20-minutes of action” in his letter to the court. Let’s look at the idiocy of this phrase. “20-minutes of action”. For 20 minutes, Brock Turner repeatedly forced himself inside an unconscious body and the only thing that stopped him were the bystanders who intervened as they saw an unconscious body be thrust into over and over again BEHIND A DUMPSTER. For 20 minutes, Brock Turner raped, assaulted, and altered the life of an innocent girl who just happened to drink too much and fall into the hands of a monster. It may have just been “20 minutes” but just because the time window was brief, doesn’t mean the damage was.

The thing that’s so difficult to recognize on a college campus is that rape, regardless of who it is, is rape. It doesn’t matter how intoxicated either party is, when someone forces themselves on an unconscious body, it’s rape. I don’t care that the charge wasn’t “deemed” rape entirely. The charge was penetration of a foreign object, so honestly, I couldn’t tell you which one is worse, rape or being repeatedly gouged into with a foreign object behind a dumpster. Brock, you raped someone. You’re a rapist, regardless of what your defense attorney or daddy tells you because even they know deep down that what you did was horrible. The jury didn’t overlook your swimming career or your grades, they were simply overpowered by the evidence that proved you assaulted that girl on the night of January 17, 2015.

White privilege is alive and well in the justice system

Let’s separate politics, the race issues, and social problems the US is facing right now. I want you to try to clear your mind of bias when I incite this question.

If Brock Turner was Latino or black, do you think the outcome would’ve been the same?

If you said yes, you’re lying to yourself. A study conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union found that blacks and Latinos receive on average sentences that are 20 times longer than the sentence for white crimes.

Turner grew up in an affluent neighborhood, excelled in swimming and school, and had parents wealthy enough to hire a defense as well as bail him out for a sum of $150,000.

The problem with the justice system in the US in three-pronged.

One is that the racist stereotypes that insinuate minorities are less human and more capable of committing heinous crimes take over the emotions that can determine whether a defendant is guilty, or innocent based on the color of their skin. For example, when Stephen Paddock open-fired on the Route 91 concert in Las Vegas, Nevada, the first questions being asked were if he was connected to a terrorist organization—meaning that it would be easier to accept what happened if we connected him to a group of foreigners that we lived in fear of… Because after all, what white guy just open fires for no reason? Oh, wait.

The second is that even in cases of heinous crimes, such as Turner’s, these are all too often excused because of the idea white privilege gives us which is that white people are more easily rehabilitated than people of color. Therefore, the judge so easily accepted that those 20 minutes in which Turner repeatedly and brutally assaulted the woman did not determine his character.

The third prong is easy to grasp. Who runs the justice system? The government. Who’s in the government?

A bunch of privileged white males who, for the most part, were able to gain power because of wealth.

We need to adjust the way we prevent rape in the country.

The victim in this heartbreaking case was not assaulted violently because she was wearing revealing clothing. She wasn’t assaulted because she had too much to drink. She also wasn’t assaulted because she chose to go out that night.

She was assaulted because Brock Turner is a pig, who took advantage of her and her state and consciously chose to penetrate and rape the victim.

Stop telling girls how “not” to get raped and start telling men not to rape. If someone’s unconscious, don’t have sex with them. If someone’s too drunk to think for themselves, don’t have sex with them. If someone says “no”, don’t have sex with them.

Don’t tell me that you wouldn’t ever rape someone because you have a mom, sister, wife, girlfriend, or daughter. Tell me you wouldn’t rape someone because it’s sick and wrong.

As we advance on to witness the next chapter in this seemingly never-ending case, remember these observations. And the sooner that closed-minded people stop pushing this off as “liberal bullshit” the sooner we can stop our population from getting raped (every 4.2 minutes in the US).

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and many others, like myself, who have fallen victim to a sexual assault on a college campus. It’s not okay, it’s not excusable, and it must stop now.

And to Brock Turner, I hope your “20 minutes of action” really did ruin your life.

Cover Image Credit: New York Post

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

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https://unsplash.com/photos/JFirQekVo3U

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What The Bible Really Says About Following The US-Mexico Border Crisis Laws

Hint: It doesn't say we should support tearing families apart.

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As the inhumane separation of families at the US-Mexico border (not to mention the conditions they are being held in) has elicited strong lashback--and rightfully so-- what truly breaks my heart is how the Bible (and subsequently Christianity as a whole) is being misused to defend these actions, such as when Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted Romans 13.

He stands behind the notion that the law is law, no matter what. Those parents broke the law when they crossed the border illegally, so they must face the consequences.

Nevermind the extreme fear of being torn from their loved ones. Nevermind the immense hurt, both physical and emotional. Nevermind the heavy hearts drained of all hope, the broken souls of people desperate to provide a new, better life for their loved ones.

Because the law is the law.

Now, I was raised in a Christian home, exposed to various practices and denominations, and I still continue to explore my own ideas of who God is, if and what I believe with regard to the Christian faith. But one thing has always been clear: it is all about love.

At the end of the day, the entire belief system is based on the premise of unconditional, self-sacrificial, unadulterated love.

In fact, to love is in and of itself a "law," the ultimate command given by Christ.

In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus tells a Sadducee, a teacher of religious law, that "you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these."

Jesus placed loving one's neighbor on the same level of significance as loving God, showing just how seriously the command should be taken.

He emphasized loving others above all else, encouraging--demanding, even--his followers to do the same. His followers, often foreigners traveling to strange lands themselves, were to be the embodiment of authentic love, to live compassionately, to show hospitality and kindness to those whom they encountered.

Why should we be any different?

What those like AG Sessions who stand behind their defense of "the law is the law" fail to see is that for Christians, for true Christ followers, love is the law.

Further on in that same Romans 13 passage, the Apostle Paul (who was executed for breaking the law, by the way) writes, "If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law… These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God's law." (v. 8b-10)

Love does no wrong. Love fulfills the law.

This is the law Christians should be fighting to protect, the "clear and wise command" they should be following.

What does that mean?

It means we have to stop this horrid practice of separating families at the border.

It means we have to put this law of love first and stand up to a government policy that is tearing parents from their children, that is the definition of cold and heartless.

It means we have to do more than just admit that this is unjust, do more than see a post on social media and send up a prayer.

It means we must act, must speak up and fight back for our neighbors, must demand that this behavior not only cease now, but also ensure that nothing of the sort ever happens in our country again.

It means that we should stop focusing so much on "the law," and start focusing on the fulfillment of the law.

It means we must love.

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