Friday, March 16, 2012

What was he thinking?

So it seems that Dharun Ravi, the kid who video-spied on Rutgers student Tyler Clement, has been convicted on all counts charged against him, including invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, witness tampering and hindering arrest. Rhavi is here on a green card, so he might also be deported. To put it bluntly, this kid is fucked. Tyler Clement, you'll remember, was the Rutgers student who threw himself off of the George Washington Bridge after being publicly humiliated by Ravi.

The New Yorker has an incredible article on this case, which you should read instead of my shitty blog, but if you don't have the patience to read it, the important takeaway is that Ravi is not history's greatest monster. In fact, I can imagine a lot of people, past and current, who would react to this situation in the same, immature, juvenile and yet deeply offensive manner. That being said, the charges the prosecution DID pursue (which notably did NOT include hate crime charges), were actually pretty airtight from a criminal law standpoint. Unfortunately, Ravi seems to have learned no lessons from the experience and definitely seems to have worsened as a human being since charges were filed. The charges of witness tampering are pretty well-documented in email and text message trials and they demonstrate that he had a pretty tight grasp of the wrong he did and the criminal consequences of that wrong. But really all of the charges against Ravi had pretty clear evidentiary lineages. Despite the mountain of evidence, Ravi stubbornly did not take the prosecution's plea bargain, which, as it turns out, was criminally insane (pun intended). The original plea, as offered, would have avoided jail-time entirely, albeit with thousands of hours of community service.

Now I don't know about you, but with my Catholic conscious, thousands of hours of community service would have been a very small price to pay if I was personally responsible for the shaming and subsequent suicide of another living and breathing human being. In fact, even after the community service hours, I would probably tack on the crazed cat o'nine tails self-flagellation we saw John Savage demonstrate at the end of Brave New World. Maybe Ravi didn't think he was "criminally" responsible (a dubious proposition I'll grant you), but how can you have so little remorse that you wouldn't feel morally responsibly? This moral vacuum strips away what little remorse I had for Rhavi. Now he'll get five to twenty years in prison. Or deported to India. Or both. Good riddance.

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