Sunday was a day of reckoning for the community of Steubenville, Ohio and to a larger part American society. The judge in the rape case found the defendants guilty. Most of the evidence against the defendants was based upon social media (words, videos and pictures uploaded to the web). Some of the most damaging evidence was the defendants own text messages that were read to the court by Joann Gibb’s who works in the state crime lab that retrieved hundreds of text messages from some of the 17 phones seized during the investigation.
I am sad that the lives of two potentially gifted individuals are now a shambles. Hopefully these individuals will receive the help and guidance they need to have success in their future and be a valuable part of society. I also hope the young lady has learned about the dangers of too much alcohol and keeping more control of her situations. I also hope it helps all the parents in the area recognize their responsibility as parents to be parents. To the school I hope it is a wake up call to begin taking action on underage drinking, an excessive focus on sports, and promoting responsibility for actions.
This case has shattered an American community. It has brought to light many of the problems in today’s society and culture in the entire USA. The role of Indifference, Arrogance, Lack of Responsibility, Misguided Ethics, Entitlement and Ignorance are all evident in the case as Yahoo writer Dan Wetzel states in his article about the conviction:
It’s still hard to say if Mays and Richmond ever grasped the trouble they were in until Sunday.
Mays knew enough to grow concerned. The girl was never sure whether to press charges, but once her parents found out, there would be no doubt. They culled social media for clues and walked into the Steubenville Police Department with a flash drive of evidence.
Just prior to that, Mays became panicked and texted the girl.
“I’m about to get kicked off my football team,” Mays wrote.
“The more you bring up football, the more pissed I get,” the girl wrote back. “Because that’s like all you care about.”
Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond were soon arrested after that text exchange. Legendary coach Reno Saccoccia couldn’t help them now. The power of Big Red, their families’ good names, their otherwise clean pasts and strong futures, meant nothing.
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.
Their ride to the Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility was waiting for them out back, two floors down, out in the real world.
Americans at all socioeconomic levels need to recognize that this case is NOT just a sad day for Steubenville. The problem is throughout the USA and needs to be corrected. We as individuals, parents, elected officials, educators and as a society as a whole need to take action and care. The message is clear… Take time with your children. As the old Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song verse says: