Tuesday, August 14, 2007

No News is Good News...

(This is so lame, but until just now, I never noticed how that can be read in two ways... the lack of news is, itself, good news, or, as in this case, there is no news that is good news. How did I never notice that?)

Anyway, a news round-up: A homeless man in Cincinnati is shot to death when he asks a passerby for money. The woman who shot him is being charged with a hate crime. I'm not really sure where to fall on this one- I absoultely think that it's wrong to shoot someone because they ask you for money.

On the other hand, according to the article, the victim was known to use an aggressive style when asking for money "pushing on people" etc. A 62 year-old woman, alone at night being pushed by someone, I think, might reasonably fear for her safety. It may not justify her shooting the guy, but it makes it a hell of a lot more complicated than "he asked for a quarter."

Which makes the the article interesting, too, for the way that it tries to revoke sympathy for either party- they can't decide who they want to blame: a black woman with a gun, or a homeless dead guy. You're told about how the victim was homeless and used violent/aggressive means to ask for money, but then they describe the situation as a man being "shot to death... over a quarter" and the headline is "Woman Killed Man Over Spare Change" as though she was so outraged by his request for a quarter that she had to blow him away. I can't watch the video yet, but it certainly sounds, so far, like it was probably more about feeling threatened than about the quarter. What do I know, though? Regardless, it's a sad situation, all the same.

This story needs a trigger warning of some kind... I'm just not sure what. It's weird and disturbing... so... you know, be warned, I guess?

Our story starts roughly a year ago, when three men hatched a "scheme" to... dig up a woman's body to have sex with it. One of the men saw the woman's picture in the obits, and... I don't even want to know what he was thinking at that point, honestly. It's all just so fucked up and wrong. Anyway, the long-story-short version: They're caught digging up the grave and promptly arrested and charged with attempted sexual assault and robbery.

As if that wasn't bad enough, at the end of July an appeals court dismissed the attempted sexual assault charges, saying that Wisconsin doesn't have laws against necrophilia. The point of contention was a provision that states that penalties apply: "whether a victim is dead or alive at the time of the sexual contact or sexual intercourse." The court ruling argues that the provision is intended only to cover cases where the victim is raped and murdered in close succession, such that it can't be determined whether the victim was alive or dead at the time of the sexual assault.

It remains to be seen whether they're going to pursue any other charges against the men involved. Seriously? They dug up her fucking grave to rape her corpse, and they're not necessarily being charged with it?! And their smarmy defense lawyer has the unmitigated gall to say that a criminal ban on necrophilia isn't needed because "the instances of it are so rare that I'm not sure that it's worth the time, money, resources and efforts of the Legislature to create that".


Sheelzebub said...

Isn't it a crime to mutilate a corpse? Isn't it a crime to dig a corpse up--I mean, if the authorities do it, they usually need the family's permission.

Gross. That's just, um, foul.

Autumn Harvest said...

Whether there's a specific law on the books against mutilating a corpse probably varies from state to state.

The court isn't saying that there's nothing these three men can be charged with; just that the sexual assault statute doesn't apply. The men were also charged with theft and destruction of property, and I'm sure the prosecutors will press on with those. The comments in the article that the prosecution might not bother to continue with the lesser charges come solely from the defense attorney, who is hardly going to be reliable on this.

assembling words to armory, she waits... said...

something is amiss with that cincinnati story... i don't know what, but that article certainly seemed, um, lacking. and while you're right about its strange unevenness, there's definitely something else that's off. hmm...

Radke said that he and the Grunke brothers stopped at a Wal-Mart to buy condoms on their way to the cemetery
if the story wasn't so blatantly disgusting, that would've made me laugh pretty hard. i mean, they're DIGGING UP A CORPSE. oh, and that article was written on my birthday, btw. *shudders*

and WHAT?!? just because she's dead, and necrophilia doesn't happen often, it's not a crime? remind me to be cremated, please... good gods.

Jai said...

I totally didn't know Necro was not illegal in WI :P. And I live here.

Musta been from all the beer.

And I dunno why you guys are so outraged about the fact that they wanted to have sex with a corpse...yes its sickening and disgusting...but makes people mad? They have a word for it so its not like its that enraging.

More like its just major lulz. Def too much beer on us Wisconsinites part.

Roy said...


Are you really trying to suggest that, because there's a word to describe something, it can't possibly be worth anger or outrage?

That's interesting, because there was, as I recall, a number of people who were rather up in arms over a woman's (mis)treatment of her son, yeah?

But, see, there's a word for that, too- abuse? Neglect?

What makes me angry is: 1. That they tried to do that to the woman's body at all. 2. That they're going to have to be charged with a lesser charge.

Kristen said...

The second story really illustrates different perspectives on the importance of the body after death. Personally, after I'm dead, I really truly don't care what happens to my body because I don't think its part of me at that point. I have no fixed idea where we go after death or if we go anywhere, but I'm pretty certain whatever happens after we die...our consciousness is not in our bodies.

So I hesitate to call what they did "rape" because I don't see the body as a person. Sure, I think they are sick, weird, freakish bastards. What they did should be illegal because her family is undoubtedly harmed by their actions, but I'm not sure the rape label works for me.