On Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards (Oscar) weekend, here’s a lawpsyc sequel for you — a few more “Where are they now?” items:
Dharun Ravi — Remember the Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his roommate secretly took video of him having a sexual encounter with another male student and allegedly broadcast (or tried to broadcast) the video back in 2010? Where is the roommate, Dharun Ravi, now? On trial, facing multiple charges including committing a hate crime and obstructing justice (apparently by trying to destroy/hide evidence). Good. This was no “joke.” The defendant actively tried to hurt the deceased (via public humiliation) as I see it, and if so, that merits severe punishment, regardless of the deceased’s sexual orientation. (As you know if you’re a regular reader, I don’t like “hate crimes” laws because they imply that we should actually hold back some punishment when hate isn’t a motive so that we’ll have extra punishment to give when it is. That’s illogical as I see it. If someone gets beaten up, for example, I’m not less upset with the attacker if the motive was theft than I am if the motive was hatred of the victim’s demographic profile. I want the maximum punishment in both cases.)
Hemy Neuman — Remember the mysterious guy in the hoodie who ran up and shot a father in broad daylight in front of an Atlanta area daycare center back in 2010 and then fled the scene in a rented minivan? Where is the shooter, Hemy Neuman, now? On trial for murder, and guess what his defense is? Insanity. Months after his arrest, he apparently “figured out” that it was an “angel” (who supposedly looked like singer Olivia Newton-John) and a demon (who supposedly looked like the late singer Barry White) who made him unable to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the shooting. OK, so that’s Hypothesis #1. Hypothesis #2 is that Neuman was in love with the victim’s wife (who just happens to have worked for Neuman, apparently to have received love messages from Neuman, and maybe even to have engaged in an affair with Neuman). Now guess which hypothesis I’m inclined to believe? That’s right, #2, and the whole thing with the wife doesn’t even matter that much to me. Regardless of all that, this insanity story doesn’t hold water, and here’s why: If Neuman didn’t know that what he was doing was wrong (and remember, “wrong” here means “wrong” by society’s standards, i.e. illegal — we don’t each get to go around deciding what we think is right and wrong and then just go do whatever we think is right regardless of what the law says), then why’d he rent a minivan to drive to and from the murder scene instead of driving his own car? Why’d he try to make himself unrecognizable at the murder scene? And why’d he flee the scene afterward? Those kinds of behaviors clearly demonstrate consciousness of guilt. Oh, and the “Olivia Newton-John” and “Barry White” descriptions? Real psychotic people usually don’t say stuff like that. People also don’t often hold down management jobs at companies like G.E., as Neuman did, while being homicidally psychotic outside of work.
The N.Y. “Tic” Kids — Remember those students in rural New York who’ve been displaying mysterious, ambiguous, medically-unexplained “tics” in recent weeks? Where are they now? Still right there in their supposedly-environmentally-contaminated town, and reportedly…getting better. Yes, thank goodness, for a number of them at least, the symptoms seem to be fading away. No significant environmental contamination has been detected, and no, I don’t believe that “fracking” — fracturing rock thousands of feet below the surface to release trapped oil and gas so that it can be sucked up to the surface through fully-encased pipes — in the area has anything to do with it (being in oil and gas country here in Kansas, I know a fair amount about fracking, and I think that some N.Y. environmentalists who just don’t like the petroleum industry disingenuously tried to use these kids’ “symptoms” to further that agenda with no demonstrable empirical linkage whatsoever). One doctor even noted that the kids’ symptoms have seemed to fade away as national media attention has faded away from them. Hmmmmm. Wonder what the doctor makes of that? What I make of it is that there’s a giant bogus factor to this whole thing. It reminds me of that “Crucible” play that we all read in high school where the teenage girls start acting possessed amid mass hysteria about witchcraft back during the Salem witch trial days. Wonder if these students read that recently?