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The Duke LaCrosse Scandal: Eight Lessons By: Dennis Prager
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, April 24, 2007


America's news media, an amoral university, an opportunistic district attorney, and a police department that seems to have collaborated in framing innocent students all combined to nearly destroy the lives of three innocent young men -- members of the Duke University lacrosse team.

The attorney general of North Carolina announced that all charges -- of rape, sexual assault and whatever other charges a mendacious young woman got Mike Nifong to bring against the Duke lacrosse team players -- were being dropped. He pronounced the students "innocent," not merely "not guilty." And the attorney general also declared Nifong a "rogue prosecutor."

The lessons of this terrible story are obvious, but given the political correctness of our time and the inverted values that prevail among America's elites -- particularly the news media, the universities and the legal profession -- these lessons will rarely be expressed, let alone learned.

First, the rape of a name is also a rape. A false accusation of rape can be as devastating to a man and his family as a real rape can be to a woman and her family. Sometimes a real rape is more destructive; sometimes the rape of a name is more destructive. It is therefore a grave injustice not to prosecute the woman who brought these false charges.

Second, moral Americans of every race must acknowledge that our society has a problem of anti-white prejudice in parts of the African American community. Proportionally, it seems that more blacks unfairly mistrust whites than whites unfairly mistrust blacks. Mike Nifong won his race for district attorney largely by appealing to this prejudice.

Third, it is utterly unjust that the families of the Duke lacrosse players had to pay millions of dollars in attorneys fees to defend their sons against a lying woman and a morally corrupt district attorney. Such injustices happen every day because the American legal system, unlike that of other countries such as Great Britain, forces those who win lawsuits wrongly brought against them to pay all their legal bills. Trial lawyers and the Democratic Party, which trial lawyers fund, prevent all reform in this area in order to allow frivolous lawsuits and their accompanying high lawyer profits to continue. That is why three young men who did nothing wrong have cost their families much, if not all, of their life savings.

Fourth, while Duke University has good individuals, like most universities today, Duke is a moral wasteland. Eight-eight professors, abetted by Duke's president, created a mob mentality against the young men not unlike that of a lynch mob. Of course, nothing will be done to Duke's president or to those professors. To get fired as the president of an elite American university, one must suggest that men and women are innately different. Politically incorrect truth telling -- not race-, gender- or class-baiting of whites, athletes or males -- gets you fired. And Duke alumni will continue to fund Duke, just as Columbia University alumni are funding Columbia with record donations despite Columbia's reluctance to discipline radical students who violently disrupted a conservative speaker on campus last year.

Fifth, the moral vision of much of the Left, which led the anti-white athlete hysteria, was revealed again. It views the world not as a conflict between good and evil but between white and black, male and female, and rich and poor. The athletes were rich and white and male. For many on the Left, that alone made them villains. As a general proposition, subject to exceptions that accompany all generalizations, the Left has considerably more compassion for groups (racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and sexual groups it favors) than for individuals.

Sixth, any time Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson get in front of cameras on a race matter, assume that they are there to inflame, not heal. We await their apologies to the three Duke students. But we are also awaiting Al Sharpton's apologies to those he libeled in the Tawana Brawley rape hoax.

Seventh, the next time you hear that someone was indicted by a grand jury, unless you have knowledge of the case, or reason suggests possible guilt, don't assume it. As Joe Cheshire, one of the accused boys' lawyers said, "A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich for the death of a pig."

Eighth, it is time to drop the anti-male bigotry and either hide the names of accused rapists -- at least until their indictment -- or also reveal the names of their accusers. Short of that, the press and justice system surely have the moral obligation to reveal the names of false accusers of rape. It is almost beyond belief (but little is anymore) that news media like The New York Times will still not reveal the name of the lying accuser. For the record, it is Crystal Mangum. Shame on her and her supporters.

I weep for those boys and their families. And I fear for America.


Dennis Prager hosts a nationally syndicated radio talk show based in Los Angeles. He is the author of four books, most recently "Happiness is a Serious Problem" (HarperCollins). His website is www.dennisprager.com. To find out more about Dennis Prager, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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