Over 26,000 people were on the live stream of the feed from the rally today. Many are from outside the United States, and may not have the background to understand some of the events. I’m not an American either, but my interest in law enforcement means I know a bit.
If I’m wrong at any point, please comment. I’ll post links where possible.
Sheriff Fred Abdalla attended the rally
Which was a good move on his part. However a lot of people may not understand all the reasons why he attended. Obviously I don’t know ALL of them, but I can guess about some.
- Sheriffs in Ohio are elected. Yes, he’s a politician, and politicians have to win popularity contests (in the case of Sheriff every four years). Considering the number of people I saw on the live stream at the rally, he didn’t have much choice. While he is a politician he does have to meet certain requirements including holding a ‘Basic Peace Officer Certificate of Training, so he’s a cop as well. Full details of the requirements to be elected Sheriff are here.
- A number of women, and a few men, told of their experiences with sexual assault/rape. It is quite possible that the Sheriff did not really know how endemic the issue is. The next few sections link to information on statistics.
- From Wikipedia, Rape in the United States – Statistics: Rape prevalence among women in the U.S. (the percentage of women who experienced rape at least once in their lifetime so far) is in the range of 15%–20%, with different studies agreeing with each other. (National Violence against Women survey, 1995, found 17.6% prevalence rate; a 2007 national study for the Department of Justice on rape found 18% prevalence rate.)
- From Wikipedia, Rate of Victimization: Rapes are rarely reported to law enforcement. The 2007 report for the Department of Justice shows only 18% cases of forcible rape reported in the general population sample (even less so for drug-facilitated rape, 10%; numbers for the sample of college women are yet lower, with 16% reporting for forcible rape.) One factor relating to this under reporting may be the misconception that most rapes are committed by strangers.
Sheriff Abdalla may have been horrified by what he was hearing, and responded. Since none of us are mind readers, we don’t know.
Attorney General is also an elected position
It sometimes seems like Americans elect everything including the local dogcatcher. Attorney General is another elected position, where it would be an appointed position in most countries.
Not seeing the Attorney General at the rally wasn’t a surprise. The Sheriff is responsible for Jefferson County, a relatively small portion of the State. with a population of about 70,000 people. The AG is responsible to all 11,500,000 people in the state.
Steubenville Ohio and the Rally
The City of Steubenville has a population of 18,700, or about 26.7% of the population of the county. My ‘Wild Ass Guess’ was that about 1,000 people showed up for the rally. An Anon that was there claimed 1,300. Having a crowd 0f between 5.3% to 6.9% of your population show up for ANY rally is unusual.
Really unusual. I live in a small town, and I know what it is like.
There were people in town who were in denial about the rape. I can guarantee that there are less people in denial about it now.
I can also guarantee that the dinosaurs will be furious.
Doxing the Sheriff
Someone doxed the Sheriff (and no, I’m not providing a link to this). The specific allegation was that he had a homosexual liaison, apparently with a consenting adult.
Get real. If he did, so what?
If he had a relation with a non-consenting adult, that would be important. The Sheriff’s sex life is his own, as long as he doesn’t break any laws.
You want to Dox him on something illegal? Fine. I don’t know if gambling is illegal in Ohio, if it is, going after him for that is fine. If it isn’t, the only reason to go after him over gambling is if it interferes with the performance of his duty.
Remember, the Sheriff isn’t directly responsible for this case, William McCafferty, the city Police Chief is. The City Police do seem to have problems with corruption, from Wikipedia:
Over a period of 20 years the city lost, or settled out of court, 48 civil rights lawsuits involving its police force. The city paid out more than $800,000, $400,000 of which was between 1990 and 1996. As a result, the city’s police force became the second city in the United States to sign a consent decree with the federal government due to an excessive number of civil rights lawsuits. The decree was signed on September 4, 1997 under the “pattern or practice” provision. Under this agreement, the city agreed to improve the training of its police officers, implement new guidelines and procedures, establish an internal affairs unit, and establish an “early warning system.”
The U.S. Department of Justice doesn’t go to the trouble of forcing a police force to sign a consent degree just for fun.
Hit the Right Targets
There’s every reason to raise hell about the situation. Some of the comments made by citizens in the news articles were totally awful, and totally absurd. Yes, some people are backing the athletes involved. I have to admit that if one of my sons was accused of something like this, I’d have a hard time believing it too.
But how many people at the rally were locals? I’ll bet most. It’s 5 hours drive to Columbus, 7 hours drive to Cleveland, 11 hours to Dayton, 4 1/2 hours to Pittsburgh, 4 3/4 hours to Canton…
Yes, Steubenville is rather out in the boonies. So most of the people at the rally were probably locals, and ARE ON OUR SIDE. They want justice too. As Traci Lords said on Twitter
Saturday January 5, 2013