You know the mutant human fluke worm from the X-Files? That’s the mental image I get whenever my boss grabs onto some stupid, meaningless detail and evidently experiences some lockjaw relapse, refusing to let it go, meanwhile avoiding addressing legitimate problems.
“You’re going to meet a lot of people in your life. Some of these people you may not like. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean you have to work against them.”—Tyler Clementi’s father makes plea for tolerance after Ravi verdict
Tyler Clementi’s father, Joe, addressed himself to college students and other young people ….
A jury on Friday convicted a former Rutgers University student, Dharun Ravi, of hate crimes for using a webcam to spy on his roommate kissing another man in their dorm room.
The jury also found Mr. Ravi guilty of tampering with evidence and witnesses for trying to change Twitter and text messages in which he had encouraged others to watch the webcam…
Mr. Ravi, 20, was not charged in Mr. Clementi’s death. He faced 15 accounts of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation, tampering with evidence and a witness, and hindering apprehension. The jury found that he did not intend to intimidate Mr. Clementi the first night he turned on the webcam to watch. But the jury concluded that Mr. Clementi had reason to believe he had been targeted because he was gay, and in one charge, the jury found that Mr. Ravi had known Mr. Clementi would feel intimidated by his actions.
I watched quite a bit of the TV coverage of the Dharun Ravi trial, and for much of that time it was really tough to go with the bias intimidation (aka hate crime) convictions…knowing he could go to state prison for 5-10 years, which didn’t seem appropriate IMO. Because those charges didn’t, the way they were described. That is, until this week, when the meanings behind the charges were fleshed out by commentators (Beth Karas is the best), and the Judge molded the jury instructions. This is a first and there were no precedents to follow, so the Judge had to create the instructions using other relevant law, etc.
Once those specifics were fleshed out, I cringed, knowing that the jurors would have no choice but to convict him of bias intimidation, probably at the highest degree that was charged. (Meaning if they had been able to follow the Defense’s case and closing arguments, of course…I know I wasn’t, and had to rewind a bunch of times and the jury didn’t have that benefit.)
It was strange…in some states, New Jersey included (where the trial was held), jurors can’t take notes during the trial and they weren’t given a copy of jury instructions - those instructions were very specific, and it took the judge an hour and a half to provide them verbally…and that was just the first time he provided them…they almost immediately requested a copy, but since there wasn’t one available, the judge could only re-explain the areas in question.
It was a difficult, sad, frustrating, anger-inducing trial. And although I despise Ravi, some part of me feels a little sorry for him for being such an idiotic douchebag asshole. And the moron almost slept through most of the Judge’s jury instructions…dude is so full of class and good-sense.
A common heart disease drug may also alter subconscious racial attitudes, a new study has found, leading scientists to suggest that racism is based on fear.
Tests on volunteers who took the beta-blocker propranolol showed they were less racially biased than those who took a placebo, the Independent reported.
Propranolol acts on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions such as heart rate, as well as those that govern the part of the brain involved in fear and emotional responses. For that reason, it is also used to treat anxiety and panic.
AAP cited experimental psychologist Doctor Sylvia Terbeck, from Oxford University, who led the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, as saying: “Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias. Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality.”
According to the Associated Press, two groups of 18 volunteers were involved in the study, with each being asked to undertake a “racial Implicit Association Test” (IAT) one to two hours after taking propranolol or the placebo.
Asked to categorize positive and negative words when shown pictures of black and white people on a computer screen, more than a third of the volunteers taking propranolol had a “negative” IAT score — effectively, they were biased towards being non-racist at a subconscious level.
The same result was not seen in any member of the placebo group.
Co-author Professor Julian Savulescu, from Oxford University’s Faculty of Philosophy, reportedly said: “Such research raises the tantalizing possibility that our unconscious racial attitudes could be modulated using drugs, a possibility that requires careful ethical analysis.
"Biological research aiming to make people morally better has a dark history. And propranolol is not a pill to cure racism. But given that many people are already using drugs like propranolol which have ‘moral’ side effects, we at least need to better understand what these effects are."