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Rape, hate crime victim commits suicide.
July 2, 2007 9:37 PM   Subscribe

Hate crime, Rape victim dies of shame.
posted by availablelight (110 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the first link:

"The 16-year-old victim, David Ritcheson, is popular at his high school, played football and was once featured in a fashion layout in the school yearbook. But the intent of the attack, as has been seen in other such assaults, was to strip him of his personal identity and degrade him to an object that could be insulted and sodomized."

David Ritcheson testified before Congress just this April:


Statement of Mr. David Ritcheson
Hearing on H.R. 1592, the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes
Prevention Act of 2007”
House Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
Tuesday, April 17
posted by availablelight at 9:45 PM on July 2, 2007


.

Wait, that kid deserves a few more.


...
posted by milarepa at 9:47 PM on July 2, 2007


Goddammit.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:50 PM on July 2, 2007


Christ. That's so sad.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:56 PM on July 2, 2007


From an interview back in April:

The friend who accompanied to the party didn't intervene or even call police afterwards as Ritcheson laid naked and injured outside for hours; Ritcheson blamed himself for being too drunk to realize the attack was happening or to be able to defend himself adequately; and (regarding the hate crime legislation currently pending):

The FBI had no grounds to investigate the attack because it occurred in a private yard. Under federal law, perpetrators can be charged with a hate crime only if the event occurs in an area of public access.

Ritcheson will testify in support of a bill that would allow people to be charged with a hate crime even if the incident happens at a home or other private property.




Ritheson allegedly provoked the attack by attempting to kiss a white 12 year old girl at the party.
posted by availablelight at 9:57 PM on July 2, 2007




Two men were convicted of aggravated sexual assault in the attack. David Henry Tuck, then 18, was sentenced to life in prison. Keith Robert Turner, then 17, was sentenced to 90 years in prison. Both must serve at least 30 years before being eligible for parole.

I'm surprised at the length of the sentence. That's a good thing (the sentence, not the surprise).
posted by mediareport at 10:04 PM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


. . .

poor kid.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:05 PM on July 2, 2007


Fuck. The world can be so fucking horrible sometimes.

.
posted by papakwanz at 10:10 PM on July 2, 2007


Wait...shame isn't when you inhale water!
posted by Roman Graves at 10:10 PM on July 2, 2007 [6 favorites]


Alcohol, cocaine, and Xanax. Great idea.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:14 PM on July 2, 2007


No offense, but what's the point of this post?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:14 PM on July 2, 2007


Roman Graves, I think I speak for many of us when I say the following: You're a Grade A asshole.

Also,


.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:17 PM on July 2, 2007


What a horrible story.

.

I can't believe no one attempted to help him for 10 hours. Were the attackers so intimidating?
posted by gomichild at 10:19 PM on July 2, 2007


What I don't understand is... he declined counseling, but he was 16 & a minor. Couldn't his parents have somehow made him have it? Because honestly, I'm not sure how he could possibly be expected to survive well through that kind of trauma at that age without some kind of professional help.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:24 PM on July 2, 2007


You're a Grade A asshole

Probably, but I fail to see the point of this. We're all gonna hear about this (or already have) and no thought-provoking discussion will come out of this thread. Mostly nothing but a bunch of "." will come out of this thread. So hey, at least I jazzed things up a little. I'm sorry the kid had it unbelievably rough, but this is a waste of blue.
posted by Roman Graves at 10:25 PM on July 2, 2007


I don't think you can force counseling...
posted by Matt Oneiros at 10:32 PM on July 2, 2007


hard cases make bad law. every assault of this nature is a hate crime, and there is nothing in the constitution conferring federal jurisdiction on purely intrastate altercations. sad story, glad the perps were put away, hope i never hear about anything like this again.
posted by bruce at 10:46 PM on July 2, 2007


Mostly nothing but a bunch of "." will come out of this thread.

Sometimes a moment of silence is the only conceivably humane response.
posted by treepour at 10:49 PM on July 2, 2007


Who knows what will become of this thread. But...we've discussed hate crimes here before, and we've discussed male rape here before. Two things of interest off the top of my head:

*So the House already approved legislation allowing crimes occurring on private property to be investigated by the feds as hate crimes. It's going to the Senate, and now with a very tragic name attached.

*Opponents of the legislation have pointed out that even without additional "hate crime" penalties, the two defendants were sentenced to the max

*If Ritcheson had merely been beaten into unconsciousness and left for dead for 10 hours, instead of sodomized as well, would he still have been moved to take his own life? Journalists routinely withold names of female rape victims--Ritcheson stepped forward publically--even as he complained about how he had been branded locally and nationally as the "pipe sodomy" kid--and, without any kind of counseling, may have suffered for it. He even admits to blaming himself in part for the attack, due to how intoxicated he was at the time. For all the debate on whether or not heterosexual rape is a crime of passion (or even a once-useful adaptation, biologically speaking) or just violence, it seems clear from cases like this (as well as the Louima case, Abu Ghraib offenses, etc.) that the next step beyond simple brutality is dehumanization of an "other", which for many aggressors = rape.
posted by availablelight at 10:56 PM on July 2, 2007


I don't think you can force counseling...

I really wish someone had told me that when I was 8 & my parents got divorced. I would've totally boycotted it.

As for the rest of it, sometimes it's just good to be made aware of a tragedy (I wasn't aware of this one) and be given a chance to pay humanitarian respects. There's no rule that says the only things worthy of sharing are those that inspire fierce enigmatic discussion within specific criteria, is there? I mean, my most popular post was about cupcakes that taste like mojitos so I'm thinking no.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:58 PM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


mrgrimm, kindly leave. Thanks.
posted by ORthey at 11:02 PM on July 2, 2007


since when was it a tube-rapeable offense to kiss a 12 year old girl?
posted by 29 at 11:20 PM on July 2, 2007


Yes, Availablelight makes a good point. ..Degrade him to an object that could be insulted and sodomized. So those at the receiving end of sodomy are objects? That sure does seem to be taken as read, doesn't it?
posted by Methylviolet at 11:27 PM on July 2, 2007


There's no specific criteria at all. My only posts are about aliens and comics. But I think the fostering of discussion, not just observation, is important, yes.
posted by Roman Graves at 11:28 PM on July 2, 2007


And how hard was he trying to kiss the 12-year-old girl?
posted by Methylviolet at 11:29 PM on July 2, 2007


.

jesus christ
posted by exlotuseater at 11:34 PM on July 2, 2007


(and I'm an atheist)
posted by exlotuseater at 11:35 PM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


One for the kid:

.

And one for human decency:

.
posted by salishsea at 12:16 AM on July 3, 2007


I'm with Roman Graves on this being a waste of the blue.

Because I don't see what's so interesting about the dead kid. Aside from the sodomy thing, which is unusual & disturbing in its own way, he would seem to be just another dude who got drunk, made an ill-conceived pass at a girl, and got his ass whupped because of it. Not the first time a teenager beat up another, and hardly the worst reason.

Sure, going on to refuse counseling but making a big, messy spectacle of his death makes the kid a douchebag, but that's no reason to post this story here either.
posted by chudmonkey at 12:24 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


since when was it a tube-rapeable offense to kiss a 12 year old girl?

Well, if I tried to kiss a 12yo girl, I could probably expect to be tube-raped, and worse, all according to proper due process.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:25 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


mrgrimm, Roman Graves & chudmonkey - your protests have now been registered. Thanks very much for using the flag [!] convenience and moving on to Mefi places more akin to your preferred style of entertainment.
posted by peacay at 12:32 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


peacay, you're funny. =)
posted by chudmonkey at 12:35 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Chudmonkey, I have to believe you didn't read the details. Besides the "sodomy thing" (which apparently screwed up his internal organs so badly that he required dozens of surgeries), the attackers stomped on his chest, burned him with cigarettes, and poured bleach on him.

It's possible I'm out of touch - I've never been a teenage boy - but if this is par for the course in U.S. high schools these days, I'll join with salishsea in mourning the death of human decency.

Anyway, I suspect the attack was rather unusual as he was invited to testify before Congress as it debated a hate crimes bill. I think that's a pretty brave thing for a teenage boy to do after a sexual assault.

.
posted by lalex at 12:38 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


[first link just placed behind registration wall... bugmenot access with:
Username buggerhead@yahoo.com
Password buggers

this is an op-ed; if you're looking for more details of the actual attack (skinheads screaming "white power" and anti-Mexican slurs as they tried to carve a swastika in his chest, etc.), the fourth link posted is more detailed. ]
posted by availablelight at 12:54 AM on July 3, 2007


"David Henry Tuck, then 18, was sentenced to life in prison. Keith Robert Turner, then 17, was sentenced to 90 years in prison."

Thus solving the problem forever.

Well, until society churns out yet another sociopath to torture someone to death. Then we can make ourselves feel better by doing something very similar to them, by locking them up with all the other sociopaths and laughing about them getting raped.

I have to wonder, where do these people come from? What sort of conditions would you have to raise a child in for them to want to do this sort of thing? That goes for the witnesses too, wtf!?
posted by Freaky at 1:01 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't see how the severity of the kid's beating makes the story any more significant.

But I suppose there's no harm in the lot of you mourning this total stranger you likely never heard of before, so long as you can at least acknowledge that hundreds of worse things happen to hundreds of better people everyday.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:03 AM on July 3, 2007


Better people?
posted by dreamsign at 1:18 AM on July 3, 2007


From the victim's sworn statement before Congress:

-Once the attack came to an end, I was dragged to the rear of the back yard and left for dead.

So why were the assailants convicted of aggravated sexual assault and not attempted murder? In this CNN transcript from an interview with the prosecutor in the case (about 40% of the way down the page), the hospital said the victim's chances for survival were "50-50," and the prosecutor said that bleach may have been poured through the inserted pipe and into the victim's body.

-This crime took place in middle-class America in the year 2006. The reality that hate is alive, strong, and thriving in the cities, towns, and cul-de-sacs of Suburbia, America was a surprise to me.

Why was it a surprise to him? When does hate-crime-prevention education start? Does it exist in most schools? I'm not a parent so I don't really know or remember from my own education? Parents/students: do you remember you or your children receiving any anti-hate education?
posted by mdonley at 1:19 AM on July 3, 2007


Better people = "People who don't try to kiss 12-year-old girls, drunk, high or not"

Better people = "People who don't make their suicides an obstacle to the holiday-enjoyment of a cruise-ship full of people"

Better people = "People strong or brave enough to at least try counseling"

Like, I'll bet somewhere today a nun died in a tragic, preventable accident. I don't know the details, but I'll also bet a story about her would have been more uplifting, and just as unneccesary on MetaFilter.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:24 AM on July 3, 2007


*waits for everyone to ignore chudmonkey, continue discussion*
posted by mdonley at 1:27 AM on July 3, 2007 [6 favorites]


Thou shall not call a sixteen year old boy who kisses twelve year old girls a paedophile. Some sixteen year old boys are just 'nice'.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:31 AM on July 3, 2007


(Which is not intended to imply that he deserved what happened to him.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:32 AM on July 3, 2007


Chudmonkey, I wasn't trying rank the incident on some kind of scale of notability, I was disagreeing with your characterization of the attack as normal schoolyard hijinks. Since you shared your belief that the victim's post-attack actions made him a "douchebag", I threw in my opinion that testifying before Congress was a decidedly non-douchebaggy thing to do.
posted by lalex at 1:37 AM on July 3, 2007


availablelight writes '[first link just placed behind registration wall... bugmenot access with:
'Username buggerhead@yahoo.com
'Password buggers


Surely this is not an appropriate place for eponysterical bugmenot names/passwords though?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:40 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]



Surely this is not an appropriate place for eponysterical bugmenot names/passwords though?


I found it on bugmenot, I didn't create it myself. Link seems to be working again without registration now.
posted by availablelight at 1:42 AM on July 3, 2007


Chudmonkey, you do realize that 12-year-olds can look like little kids or they can look like "developed" teenagers, depending on what their pituitary glad foisted on them, and when, don't you? Do a google image search on something like "12 year old model" and you'll see people who are clearly prepubescent kids and you'll see people who, from my old man eyeballs, could be 15, 16 or older. If you're a drunk horny teenager at a party (where you might assume everyone there is about your age), you might make the mistake, too. Who knows what really happened?
posted by maxwelton at 1:43 AM on July 3, 2007


I have to wonder, where do these people come from?

Me too. One of the articles said the attackers were coked out and liquored up, so maybe that's part of it. On the other hand, I think some people are just born with some kind of fucked up brain chemistry that makes them sociopaths with little hope of behavior modification - serial killers who at age 5 enjoyed setting cats on fire, even though they likely weren't socialized to do that. I'd be interested to know if the attackers have ever displayed any remorse.
posted by lalex at 1:45 AM on July 3, 2007


lalex: Then we're in agreement.

mdonley: What you're waiting for is called a consensus, not a discussion.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:46 AM on July 3, 2007


With all the abuse, rape, torture, maybe we should have mandatory "relations" class, where kids can learn to communicate, and learn about empathy. Instead of waiting till some kid dies, some husband dies, or some wife dies from the hands of another.

The millions we spend per state and federal on abuse alone, could teach kids in every school a course, make it federal mandated. Teach kids the karpman drama triangle and other abusive communications, and follow it up with empathy tasks and senarios. Too much hate thats just using a criminal system when a pre-emptive class for kids could do more.
posted by IronWolve at 1:48 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


chudmonkey, the problem here, I think, is that most people find your ideas about what makes a better person downright bizarre and disturbing.

I hope you don't take this as an invitation to elaborate, because I'm quite certain that no one actually cares what you think. We're all just happy we don't know you and are wishing that we didn't know of you.

Anyway, go ahead and chalk this up as one of those instances where everyone is wrong but you (and I'm sure you've experienced a great many of those), and rest assured that you aren't going to convince us of anything, so there's really no need to try.

Seriously, it's quite alright.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 2:09 AM on July 3, 2007 [15 favorites]


Very sad.

What sort of conditions would you have to raise a child in for them to want to do this sort of thing?

Painting swastikas on your garden fence is probably a good start if you want to create the right atmosphere in which to raise a racist thug.

...so long as you can at least acknowledge that hundreds of worse things happen to hundreds of better people everyday.

Why does this bullshit argument get trotted out on MetaFilter every time a small-scale or individual tragedy is mentioned? Can you honestly not see that this kid's suicide and the causes behind it are appalling, regardless of the fact that worse things happen daily on a grand scale? Yeah, I know, you're not supposed to feed the troll...
posted by jack_mo at 2:19 AM on July 3, 2007


Ugh, should've previewed.
posted by jack_mo at 2:21 AM on July 3, 2007




What the hell was a Latino kid doing at a party with known skinheads?
posted by gsh at 3:43 AM on July 3, 2007


Horrible story and aftermath. That said, newsfilter is nothing new here -- if you have a problem with the post as a valid FPP, you'd be wrong. But you could also take it to meta.

That said, I feel for this kid's family. But it looks as if the guys who raped him are doing lots of hard time. I'm not sure how Hate Crime legislation would have made this any better for anyone -- execution? Would that right any wrongs here?
posted by bardic at 4:06 AM on July 3, 2007


...so long as you can at least acknowledge that hundreds of worse things happen to hundreds of better people everyday.

I wonder if this is the kind of rationale you have to have to witness an attack like this and not go get help.
posted by hermitosis at 4:58 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm glad to see blaming the victim crosses gender lines.

The response to his attempt to kiss the girl goes far beyond anything that can be construed as reasonable. NO ONE deserves to be treated the way he was treated.

And while we're at it, why was a 12-year-old girl at a party with 16- to 18-year-olds, liquor and drugs?
posted by lemoncello at 4:59 AM on July 3, 2007


lemoncello: girls mature faster than boys. this should be obvious from the story.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:07 AM on July 3, 2007


* flies flag of convenience [!] to evade flameouts.

It's a good life here in, um, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines...

posted by UbuRoivas at 5:13 AM on July 3, 2007


Also from the "where do these people come from?" file: Wichita Massacre, Christian Newsome Murders and of course James Byrd, Jr. I wish I didn't have these things rattleing around in my head. We're monkeys in pants. Don't forget it.
posted by MarshallPoe at 5:42 AM on July 3, 2007


I don't really want to get invovled in this as there are no winners in this thread, but I thought the 12-year old thing was an excuse made up after the incident that was not supported in fact. I remember reading about this as a targeted act of violence that was later justified by a phone 12-year old story. Way to take the word of violent skinheads at face value chud et al. I guess Leo Frank deserved what he got for what he did to that 13-year old girl.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:47 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


er, phony.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:47 AM on July 3, 2007


I'm with Roman Graves on this being a waste of the blue.

Because I don't see what's so interesting about the dead kid. Aside from the sodomy thing, which is unusual & disturbing in its own way, he would seem to be just another dude who got drunk, made an ill-conceived pass at a girl, and got his ass whupped because of it. Not the first time a teenager beat up another, and hardly the worst reason.

Sure, going on to refuse counseling but making a big, messy spectacle of his death makes the kid a douchebag, but that's no reason to post this story here either.


Uhhhh. I'm starting to flash back to another comment I made in another post. I mean seriously. He was a kid. And in pain. And there but by the grace of God go you if the situation had been yours.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:48 AM on July 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Can I flag the post as a derail? Because I just did.
posted by chlorus at 5:50 AM on July 3, 2007


Agreed. This story is horrible on about at least three different levels, but the thread's a pretty good example about why OutrageFilter sucks. Whether it's something like this, or "honor killings" in Pakistan, it's the same pattern, outrage about outrage, outrage about not enough outrage, outrage about outrage about not enough outrage.
posted by psmealey at 5:55 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


What a horrible crime. I don't know the details of the perpetrators' convictions beyond their sentence but I hope they have to wear some sort of sex criminal jacket. They might very well make parole at some point in the future, and the sexual nature of this crime should be noted just as with every other sex criminal.

Despite the victim's testimony this is a crime that should be handled entirely by the state and I hope this bill is a failure. Federal hate crime legislation is an unfortunate development and it is perpetuated by cases which play on our sympathies like this one.

Roman Graves: +++!
posted by BigSky at 6:15 AM on July 3, 2007


Sad story. Some sad reactions, too.
posted by jonmc at 6:17 AM on July 3, 2007


idunno. i'm with lynnsterji. "there but by the grace of God". we've all done innocuous things at parties, out on the street, wherever.

in this case, a combination of circumstances made it all horrible. it could have happened to anybody. that's the tragedy. we probably all act like asshats at times, or act normally in the wrong context, and we mostly get off scot-free.

this kid had to deal with some serious shit when his adolescent brain was probably not even developed enough to realise that Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a great raving piece of bollocks. in that sense, christ, how much of his life had he lived?

.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:21 AM on July 3, 2007


In an interview with the Houston Chronicle this past April, he said: "I shouldn't care what people think or say. It's just the fact that everyone knows I'm the kid. It was bigger than Houston. It was bigger than Texas. It was bigger than America. Everybody in the world knew what had happened and everybody knew the details of it."

This should've been seen as a bad sign. If the attack happened in April of 06 and he was saying this in April of 07, well, that just doesn't sound like a healthy perspective on the trauma. I'm not saying he should've been fine with it after a year (and I'm definitely not trying to place any fault on him), but thinking that it was "bigger than Texas" and "bigger than America" and that "[e]verybody in the world" knew about it points to some potentially serious problems, including and especially suicide. I'm sure this skewed perspective was in no way helped by testifying before Congress. It's too bad he didn't have any one around him who could recognize this and be willing to act on it.

And I don't know what good it is for me to point any of this out.

.
posted by effwerd at 6:24 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


wtf
posted by chunking express at 6:42 AM on July 3, 2007


This is a shame, but the perps got very harsh sentences without hate crime legislation. Ever. I dont think we need hate crime legislation and this case proves it. Its still a crime to do these things. When the democrats start thinking straight about this issue is when I get off my butt and start voting again.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:46 AM on July 3, 2007


chudmonkey just inspired me to go on a flagging spree like never before. I truly hope it's all just mindless trolling, because if not... wow.
posted by ORthey at 7:18 AM on July 3, 2007


Better people = "People who don't make their suicides an obstacle to the holiday-enjoyment of a cruise-ship full of people"

The mind boggles.
posted by dobbs at 7:28 AM on July 3, 2007


This is one of the most disturbing things I've read in a while. And some of the responses on here - well, they're pretty disturbing too. I hate to feed the troll, but chudmonkey, et al.: if writing childish responses to something as horrific as this somehow makes you feel proud or a little bigger than you did previously, well, good luck with everything. You'll need it.
posted by tiger yang at 7:32 AM on July 3, 2007


From the second link: In an interview with the Houston Chronicle this past April, he said: "I shouldn't care what people think or say. It's just the fact that everyone knows I'm the kid. It was bigger than Houston. It was bigger than Texas. It was bigger than America. Everybody in the world knew what had happened and everybody knew the details of it."

I'm sure it felt that way to Ritcheson, and it's too late for him now, but for others who might be in similar situations: your case isn't as well-known as you think. FWIW, I consider myself reasonably well-informed, and I had not heard about Ritcheson until today. You can move to another city, even within the U.S., and no one will know your past.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:33 AM on July 3, 2007


MeTa, you callous shits.
posted by mkultra at 8:16 AM on July 3, 2007


.
posted by amberglow at 8:22 AM on July 3, 2007


Saw this this morning on the train. So sad :-(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:37 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


.
posted by rtha at 9:20 AM on July 3, 2007


Horrible, although rape as torture is not unusual, I'm heaterned to see the lenghts of the sentences. Since it is not because of the hate crime, can I take it that any aggravated rape of a minor in that state gets a similarly long sentence?

Poor, poor kid.

.
posted by Wilder at 9:29 AM on July 3, 2007


Lou Dobbs is making a difference.
posted by 2sheets at 10:04 AM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Since it is not because of the hate crime, can I take it that any aggravated rape of a minor in that state gets a similarly long sentence?

No, because this was attempted murder.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:27 AM on July 3, 2007


.
posted by MythMaker at 10:28 AM on July 3, 2007


I don't see how the severity of the kid's beating makes the story any more significant.

Well you're not very imaginative then.

That said, I think it makes sense to limit hate crimes laws to public places. I think the idea is to prevent crimes that strike fear into a whole community, but in this case the assailants knew the victim and they had a motive beyond racial hatred. I don't think it's a good idea to treat any crime where the victim gets insulted as a hate crime, rather only crimes where the primary motivation was group hatred should be treated that way.

I also wouldn't really call this "rape" or "sodomy" it goes way beyond that, way beyond any notion of sexuality and it was done only as a way to cause pain. Rather I would make a distinction between "assault" and "torture" and call this torture.
posted by delmoi at 10:53 AM on July 3, 2007


Yet another reason not to hang out with skinheads.
posted by electroboy at 11:00 AM on July 3, 2007


This is important for more than just what happened to the young man who died.

It gives us more information about how people are "solving" social issues these days. Yes, '06 is still "these days".

If you add in the group of people beating someone to death for being in the vicinity of a car that might have almost hurt a child, the numerous people killing their entire families and then themselves, and the other unwound timebombs going off on a daily basis...

...well, that's a horrifically compelling pattern that I think serves all humans well to pay more attention to.

It also gives us a lot more information on how little most people understand about the impact of this kind of brutality on those who, for better or worse, survive these things.

I know someone who survived something along the lines of what Ritcheson went through, even after his assailants crippled him and left him hanging from a noose. Reading over the nauseatingly glib comments made by some of the more fortunate souls here makes me wish that we could somehow share the soul-destroying terror and suffering that this kind of evil wreaks on a person, particularly if they're just resilient enough to keep going after such egregious violation of their person and humanity.

But I know people well enough to be sure that this wouldn't wipe the self-satisfied smirks from the faces of those who don't have the mental flexibility to understand why this is valuable information, why this was evil, or why it's foul to criticise the victim - particularly on the spurious grounds they've thus far chosen to focus on.

No, I understand people enough to know that they would have to go through this to grasp those concepts, and I wouldn't wish that nightmare on anyone.
posted by batmonkey at 11:12 AM on July 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


what batmonkey said. in fact, it bears repeating.

I know someone who survived something along the lines of what Ritcheson went through, even after his assailants crippled him and left him hanging from a noose. Reading over the nauseatingly glib comments made by some of the more fortunate souls here makes me wish that we could somehow share the soul-destroying terror and suffering that this kind of evil wreaks on a person, particularly if they're just resilient enough to keep going after such egregious violation of their person and humanity.

But I know people well enough to be sure that this wouldn't wipe the self-satisfied smirks from the faces of those who don't have the mental flexibility to understand why this is valuable information, why this was evil, or why it's foul to criticise the victim - particularly on the spurious grounds they've thus far chosen to focus on.

No, I understand people enough to know that they would have to go through this to grasp those concepts, and I wouldn't wish that nightmare on anyone.


i, too, know someone who survived a horrific event like this. my friend has burn scars over 60% of his body and ended up with over 20 surgeries. and, he's attempted suicide. twice.

i'm nearly as sickened by the posts i've read here as i was by the original attack on my friend.

it's a fucking shame. i read the comments because, oftentimes, people include interesting links or further information on the topic there. well, no more. there are too many disgusting cretins here.

batmonkey, you are a better person than i. after reading all this righteous callousness, i WOULD wish Ritcheson's nightmare...on EACH AND EVERY ONE of the prigs in this thread.
posted by CitizenD at 11:30 AM on July 3, 2007


There has been massive local attention to these events here in the Houston area when they first happened, again at the trial, and again now that David has died. I can understand why he felt that "the whole world" knew about him, especially from his teenage perspective.

The thing that really got to me about the incident wasn't just the brutality of it. It's that the drug-fueled "party" was going on in someone's back yard with one of the parents inside the house, and she was there all throughout the assault. Hear no evil, see no evil... The kids who lived there finally woke her up and told her about it the following morning. Sheesh.
posted by Robert Angelo at 11:34 AM on July 3, 2007


I'm not sure how he could possibly be expected to survive well through that kind of trauma at that age without some kind of professional help.

Christ, I'm not sure how anyone could be expected so survive well through that.
posted by the other side at 11:51 AM on July 3, 2007


availablelight, I wasn't aware of this, and I appreciate the post. Remembering an atrocity like this might be the first step in keeping this kind of thing from happening again.
posted by misha at 11:53 AM on July 3, 2007


i'm nearly as sickened by the posts i've read here as i was by the original attack on my friend.

The comments blaming the victim are sickening, I agree with you about that. But merely saying that this isn't a good post is not callous or sickening.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:04 PM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


he would seem to be just another dude who got drunk, made an ill-conceived pass at a girl, and got his ass whupped because of it. Not the first time a teenager beat up another, and hardly the worst reason.

Yeah, I remember that time I saw a dude at a party get beaten up. I must have missed the oh-so-common deep cutting into his chest, organ-rearranging pole sodomy, and the traditional pouring of bleach. Seriously, I can only hope you're a misguided troll; otherwise, I'm afraid you are a very, very broken human being.
posted by the other side at 12:06 PM on July 3, 2007


"he response to his attempt to kiss the girl goes far beyond anything that can be construed as reasonable. NO ONE deserves to be treated the way he was treated. "

Although if he had succeeded and had sex with the 12 year old girl, in another thread we might be calling for his head on a pike. Or, some other internet forum would. Look at how people that even look at a girl under 18 sideways are treated these days.
posted by drstein at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2007


i WOULD wish Ritcheson's nightmare...on EACH AND EVERY ONE of the prigs in this thread.

Well, if nothing else, you've at least illustrated how this sort of vile hatred can infect others.
posted by hermitosis at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Call me a bleeding heart liberal (I'm not) but I don't think any human being deserves this: "[they] strip[ped] him and beat him into submission, using steel-toed boots. They made deep slashes into his chest, investigators said. Then they drove a sharpened plastic PVC pipe into his anus so deep that his internal organs were damaged"; and "[they] stomped and burned [him] with cigarettes, and his attackers poured bleach on him before leaving him for dead." I furthermore don't believe that a human being that has been treated in this fashion deserves to be left lying, naked and bleeding, for 10 hours while the party continues. What, they thought he was already dead, so why bum out the mood with police and ambulances?

I don't give a shit if this kid was a mass murderer, human beings don't deserve to be treated like that. And until just the other day, he was a living human being. Bringing "what was he doing there" or "what did he do to provoke it" or any other victim-blaming crap does not change the fact that he was a human being.

If you think this is an appropriate way for humans to treat one another, I do hope you are next.
posted by ilsa at 12:13 PM on July 3, 2007


For you newbies here who are declaring your $5 wasted...

Mefi can actually be quite an interesting and hospitable little place filled with a lot of good people who make some very cool posts and comments. Since there's no screening process, there are a few assholes who spent $5 to be here too. We didn't send them invites, they just showed up. So don't judge the whole site based on what you've read in here or on the people who occasionally say things that make you wonder about the human race. Just note who they are and remember that they've already proven themselves to be insane as you pass over their insane comments in the future.

Sometimes it's best to just shrug, be happy you aren't them, and find something else on here that's more enjoyable. Don't judge the entire site based upon what a couple of insensitive assholes decided to write. They are the minority, albeit admittedly a loud one at times. The non-assy people tend to keep a more low key presence... but there are more of them.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:26 PM on July 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


To repeat what I posted in the MeTa, I am sickened by those who called the victim's original 'transgression' to be "borderline child molestation". Stop watching the "Catch a Predator" show and return to the real world. Speaking as one with someone very close to me a victim of heinous child sexual abuse, you have trivialized her suffering and life-long damage as much as you trivialized David Ritcheson's.

Shove a flag up your ass and move on. (And by that, I wish to make clear that you do it yourself, and not that someone else do it to you. That would be wrong.)
posted by wendell at 12:27 PM on July 3, 2007


I don't think any human being deserves this...

...human beings don't deserve to be treated like that.

If you think this is an appropriate way for humans to treat one another, I do hope you are next.


At least make up your mind.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:38 PM on July 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Delmoi: I would make a distinction between "assault" and "torture" and call this torture.

Yes. And torture is permitted only under relatively extreme circumstances in the U.S.
posted by sour cream at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2007


Emotional reaction to heinous, inhuman acts tends to strip some of the humanity from us all. Some realize it before they hit the "Post Comment" button, some don't. I, for one, would consider it more tragic than ironic if his attackers suffer similar fates to his (and in 30 years at a 'PMITA' prison, they just might).
posted by wendell at 1:55 PM on July 3, 2007


Obviously the white power idiots are evil.
I think the victim here, however is - was - a weak individual. He had problems and I agree with some of the others here who criticised him.
Sounds like he did have some character flaws and a substance abuse problem.

That very minor element of this thing aside - the point of society, of any society, is to protect the weak.
And indeed, to protect you when you become weak - you WILL get old, you WILL get sick, you WILL fail and fall or make a bad decision, perhaps a whole series, or succumb to temptation or any number of other damned failings humans are heir to and when you do, you WILL need help from other people.

That’s the point of being a strong individual - in fact that’s what makes someone “strong” - you share that strength with those who maybe need a little help right now, you protect those who are getting beat on by miscreants, you take care of those who can’t make the right decisions for themselves right now - you show them the right way and you don’t lay your judgement on them.

This kid got NONE of that. His attackers are sick bastards. But he was - it seems - ostracized by his community.
Perhaps he really wasn’t, but it’s how he said he felt.
It doesn’t look like anyone really confronted him. And he certainly should not have felt the notoriety from this. Certainly he’d get some and people will talk, but he should have had some slack from it.
There are a number of ways to deal with someone who is different - for whatever reason. Buddy of mine in college was blind. People used to tense up when I’d call him a “dufus” or something if he said something I thought was stupid (he’d typically pretend to look around then flip me off). But we were friends exactly because I treated him like anyone else.
Now, it’s an easy excuse to say this kid was victimized because he was drunk or did whatever. Sure - he wasn’t the most squared away guy around. Maybe he had an addition problem. Maybe he was the biggest fuck up in the world.
That does not have anything to do with his vicimization, that’s just him.
People make bad choices all the time. And they are who they are.
We can choose to do several things in response: help them, ignore them, or prey upon them. Those are OUR choices.

Pretty damned obvious where people stand sometimes.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:01 PM on July 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Smedley, he was just a kid--it's not fair to call him "weak", especially if you've had to undergo 30 surgeries over a senseless and exceptionally brutal attack. The ones who were weak were the attackers. They should have it all done to them as punishment, and we'll see how tough they are.

He was tough enough to testify before Congress publicly, and i'm proud of him. I hope he's at peace now.
posted by amberglow at 3:07 PM on July 3, 2007


“The ones who were weak were the attackers.”

Unquestionably. And indeed central to my point.
I do wish you would read more closely, but I concede “weak” might be too inflamatory a term.
The point being - whatever noble acts he took after the beating aside - I’d grant that the kid had flaws. And that those flaws pre-existed the attack on him.
Those flaws - whatever they might be - are irrelevent in terms of one’s response.
The fact that someone is victimized does not blind me to whatever character issues they might have.
Neither does that obviate my compassion for them, nor does it imply sympathy for an attacker.
What I do recognize is that often those feelings find moral or intellectual justifications for our responses and that a look of sympathy can be just as damaging as a look of contempt.

So I’m not implying a valid response would be some sort of tough love. I’m saying he needed to be engaged without all the above baggage.

And it goes without saying I oppose the eye for an eye punishment philosophy, however I may viscerally empathize with it.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:25 PM on July 3, 2007


Well, now. That was a sad story.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:01 PM on July 3, 2007


Reminds me of the fraternity I was once in before I quit along with 15 other guys due to the gang rapes going on. I am not making this up.
posted by BillsR100 at 5:18 PM on July 3, 2007


I cried a little when I heard the news about him killing himself. Maybe that makes me a big soggy coddler, but any human, who had been through what he'd been through would be at risk for asking, and not finding the answers to the big questions like "Why?", "Why Me?", and "What now?".

Bless his heart, I hope there was peace on the other side of the waves.
posted by dejah420 at 7:42 PM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Girl says she heard Ritcheson talk about jumping from ship

The story goes on to say that in conversation the day before, his friends discouraged him from doing it. One dismissed the idea as "too dangerous." The mother of the girl who overheard this also dismissed it as "idle teen talk." Apparently no one sought to intervene until David was actually climbing onto the instrument deck.
posted by Robert Angelo at 7:54 AM on July 4, 2007


CitizenD:
I'm not sure I'm a better person. Wishing it on someone else just seems to endorse the very evil I'm so opposed to, and I'm not okay with that.
posted by batmonkey at 9:58 AM on July 4, 2007


This deeply saddens me. What a horrible, horrific thing. I can't even imagine what this boy had to go through mentally as well as physically, or what ongoing, lifelong problems he was facing as a result of the incredibly vicious attack he endured. I, too, hope that he has found some peace now. I wish he could have survived this. He might have found valuable, fulfilling work helping others. Judging from some of the commentary in this thread, we can use all the assistance we can get. The milk of human kindness runneth devastatingly low these days, it would seem.

It's been said already but it absolutely bears repeating: no human being should have to endure this. I am glad that his attackers got very long sentences.

.
posted by perilous at 10:46 PM on July 4, 2007


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