This far into an election year, it is more than past time to revive the old “Dumb Ass Hall of Fame” feature. Why have I waited so long? I’ve been busy with a lot of non-blog related work, for one thing. Then, given that the early election cycle was clogged up by foaming mouth idiots like Rick Santorum and the other 15 or so candidates that were jammed into the Republican Clown Car, followed by a month of “douchebags on the range” out at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (I’ve been there, by the way–it’s nice, you should go once all the piles of shit those guys left around are cleaned up), I was quite literally overwhelmed by idiocy. Time to get back on the horse–indeed, there is actually, at present, a backlog of of Dumb Asses waiting for enshrinement.
Our newest inductee is Bingham County (Idaho) County Sheriff Craig Rowland who, in response to a new piece of state legislation that creates a “a statewide system for collecting and tracking DNA evidence of sexual assault,” ranted that it was unnecessary for a statewide system because most rapes are false reports.
“I really believe the Legislature needs to take a strong look at allowing law enforcement to do their job and not try to dictate what we need to do. I think they’re trying to help, I really do,” Rowland said, in a televised interview, adding, “They need to let us decide if we’re going to send the kit and when we send the kits in. Because the majority of our rapes— not to say that we don’t have rapes, we do—but the majority of our rapes that are called in, are actually consensual sex. “
Where the hell do I start with this one? Oh, how about the absolutely chilling effect this must have on victims of sexual assault not just in Bingham County, but anywhere? Victims of sexual assault stay quiet for numerous reasons, among them fear of their attacker coming after them again, in retribution, and fear of not being believed–and Rowland has just shown that those outcomes are entirely possible. A woman has to be thinking, “if I go and make a statement, and they don’t believe me, will the attacker be waiting for me when I go home?”
The new law mandates that all alleged rapes will be tested, and all kits will be submitted, while under the current system law enforcement agencies have the right to determine the necessity for a kit and, by extension, the validity of the assusations–without actually processing any evidence. It’s simple to imagine all the stereotypes of powerful and/or connected alleged perpetrators benefiting from their status at the expense of less influential victims. And these hypothetical attackers wouldn’t necessarily be big shots. If I’m a cop, it is quite likely I’d give a benefit of a doubt to my cousin’s step son, or maybe the guy from my bowling team, or my preacher, or another cop. Under the current system, I don’t have to do a rape kit–I can just say, “this allegation isn’t believable,” mark the sexual encounter (if I even accept that it happened) as consensual, and send everyone on their way. If the bill passes, the cops will be required to send the process and sent the kit.
Now, forget for just a moment about the effects on the victim, or about the fact that potential attackers who hear his words are likely to be emboldened by them, and think for a minute about a Sheriff who, in these days of police video scandals, is actually stupid enough to look into a camera and say, “most rape victims are lying about it.” He’s not exactly winning the self-awareness competition, is he? Even if he had data on his side, the guy has to be an utter idiot to not consider the attention he would get. And yet he is The Law. Go figure.
Of course, after a world of media attention rained down on Rowland, he went back to television, briefly blamed the station for misrepresenting his words, then offered up a boilerplate apology in which he admits that his words were misinterpreted–note the passive voice–then complains that since the initial interview he and his family have been threatened and cyber-bullied. Or so he says. In my opinion, most incidents of Dumb Ass Sheriffs alleging bullying are not true.