Dan Wetzel’s piece is the best I’ve read on the Steubenville verdict, the team and the town’s culture.
There is no victim blaming, no handwringing over the futures of those “poor boys who were good students who just made a mistake.”
Rape, experts say, is a crime of power and control more than sex. Underlying all of that is arrogance, and in Steubenville it was taken to the extreme.
Throughout this trial, the two defendants and a parade of friends who wound up mostly testifying against the defendants, expressed little understanding of rape – let alone common decency or respect for women. Despite the conviction, the defendants likely don’t view themselves as rapists, at least not the classic sense of a man hiding in the shadows.
“It wasn’t violent,” explained teammate Evan Westlake when asked why he didn’t stop the two defendants as they abused a non-moving girl that Westlake knew to be highly intoxicated. “I always pictured it as forcing yourself on someone.”
That was part of the arrogance.
Arrogance from the defendants. Arrogance from the friends. Arrogance within the culture.
…Arrogance is looking at a girl in desperate need of help, looking at a friend who was committing an obvious felony and deciding what the moment called for was an impromptu porn shoot.
…A culture of arrogance created a group mindset of debauchery and disrespect, of misplaced manhood and lost morality.
Drunk on their own small-town greatness, they operated unaware of common decency until they went too far, wrote too much, bragged too many times and, finally, on a cold Sunday morning, were hauled out of a small third-floor courtroom as a couple of common criminals.