Still Waiting

For those of us who live in Tallahassee, or who are fans of FSU, the last two weeks have been rather interesting to say the least.  Not because the ‘Noles continue to dominate on the football field, but for another reason altogether.

It has been right at two weeks since the crack media outlet TMZ “broke” a story involving star QB Jameis Winston and his potential involvement in a sexual assault or sexual battery (I distinguished these for a reason).

As of today, and according to reports just this morning, it might be another two weeks before State Attorney Willie Meggs announces whether or not there will be charges filed against Winston.  In other words, the holding pattern will remain in place, and that means that additional rumors and leaks are bound to come to the surface.

I have been talking with co-workers since this story broke, and the consensus seems to be that we are going to withhold judgment for right now.  If anything, that should be the track that everyone takes, but that is rarely the case.  Take, for example, the recent cases involving Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman.  In both instances, the media decided that they were guilty as charged, but the jury that decided the case for each came to a different conclusion.  I don’t use them as an example in order to give them a ringing endorsement, but just to offer perspective; you can bet that I won’t be asking Casey Anthony to watch my daughter anytime soon and I won’t be hopping in the car with George Zimmerman, either.  In this current situation with Jameis Winston, too many people have rushed to judgment and convicted him already.

Above, I made note how I separated the terms “sexual assault” and “sexual battery,” and there is a good reason for my doing so.  The legal definition for each follows:

Assault (source):

an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.

Battery (source):

an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the “person” of another.

Why do those definitions matter?  I guess the most important reason they matter is because the terms “assault” and “battery” are not interchangeable; they have specific legal meanings.  For people to use them as replacements for each other is disingenuous at best.  With respect to the current Jameis Winston investigation, the initial report was the he was being investigated for sexual assault, meaning that he could have made a comment toward someone referring to some sort of sexual act he wanted to perform with her.  I don’t mean to dismiss that as nothing, but it is a far cry from what is being reported now, and that is that it is a sexual battery investigation.  To expand even further, even if he crossed the line from words to actions, that still does not mean that he raped the woman who is accusing him; a sexual battery can be something like him grabbing her backside.

With regards to Jameis Winston, I believe that he, like everyone, has the right to be treated as innocent until such time that he is proven guilty.  Right now, he has not even been charged with a crime, so I will continue to lend my support to him.  If there comes a time when he is charged, and he makes his way through the legal system and were to be convicted, I believe he should be punished appropriately.  My position on this has less to do with my support of him as a Seminole than it does with my support of him to being entitled to be treated as an innocent person until such time a jury decides otherwise.  I am a firm believer in the legal process.

Lest I be accused of forgetting the accuser in this piece, I can assure you that I have not.  She has rights in this case, and any attempt to abridge said rights is plain wrong.

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Know The Difference

The other day, I wrote about a post that my friend Ryan posted on his blog, and the question I posed to him about abortion (you can read it here).  Ryan is a man of his word, and he promised to write a thoughtful and in-depth reply, and I cannot wait to read it.  In response to my question, another commenter weighed in, and what resulted was a rather testy exchange over the course of a few days.  I apologized to Ryan in a comment because it was not my intent to make his post into a thread containing people going back and forth.  Amber also weighed in, and I think some of the passion in my later responses come from the urge I have to defend her from being attacked and questioned as a mother.

The commenter I am referring to somehow twisted my pro-choice view into me being someone who “advocates for abortion.”  I do not advocate for abortion, do not think abortion is great, and do not think abortion is the answer in every case.  It is offensive that this commenter would presume that about me, but he is entitled to his opinion.

What I want to do now is distinguish between someone who is “pro-choice” and someone who is “pro-abortion” because they are not one in the same.  Maybe to most it is a matter of semantics, but to me it is not.

Being “pro-choice,” to me, means being someone who believes that, in this case, a woman is entitled to have a choice on what to do with their body and regarding their healthcare.

Being “pro-abortion,” on the other hand, means being someone who is all for abortion.  Abortions on every corner, so to speak.  That is not me.

I do not believe that a woman who is raped, or a little girl who is impregnated by her father or brother should be forced to carry the child to term.  I believe that they should have the choice, and that the choice should be theirs alone.  I believe that, if it came down to it, a mother should be able to choose between her life and the life of her unborn child; it is not, and should not be confused as being an easy choice.  I do not believe that a rape victim should be made to ensure the health of the child of their attacker.  I do not believe, too, that abortion should be the “fall back” for people who choose to make irresponsible choices; there is a difference between two consenting adults choosing to take a risk and a person who is raped (no matter what Todd Akin thinks).

Read that paragraph above again.  Do you see the difference?  I am sorry to say that the commenter I referenced cannot.

Let me give you an example on what his view is:  If Amber were to be raped and become pregnant, he believes that we, as a family, should care for her and the unborn child up until delivery, and then we can just give the child up for adoption.  Yep, that is a rational belief.  I should allow my wife to live with the psychological scars of the attack, plus the physical toll of being pregnant.  Good call.  Oh, and if Amber were to have trouble during delivery and were to die, he is ok with that, as long as the rapist’s baby is ok; he did not seem to mind that I would be a widower and a single parent, all because my wife was attacked and did not have a choice.  While that is an ugly hypothetical, and one that I hope I ever have to endure and that nobody ever has to endure, it is a possibility.

The intent of my original question to Ryan was not to change his mind or his view, but was for clarification.  I respect the view of people who are “pro-life” and only ask that the respect be returned.  Was I passionate in my responses back to the commenter?  Yes I was, and I may have unintentionally offended him.  Was he respectful of my view?  Not even close.  He was derisive and dismissive, and felt free to talk down to me.  He believes that his view is the only view, and that if people do not agree with him, they are wrong.  I feel sad for people like that.  I know people reading this will not agree with my view, and I respect that.  If you choose to comment on this post, and you fall into that category, all I ask is that you keep your comments civil.