Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Slugging it out—The Florida (in)justice system

By now the event has pretty much blown over, well, for the media anyway. With Donald Trump hogging the airwaves, not much else is covered in the media for more than a few seconds. The event I’m referring to is a Florida State football player hitting a woman at a bar. No, this is not another side-step by The Thurber Brigade, because this really does involve The War Between Men and Women.

I don’t mean physically of course (the war), although this event is physical. What this blog looks at is the inequality of the Florida justice system that seems to say it’s okay for a woman to hit a man, but not the reverse.  In this case, De’Andre Johnson is accused of hitting a woman while in a bar in Tallahassee in June.
Let me state that I’m not saying he did not hit the woman. I think that’s clear on the video (although for legal reasons I guess I should say “Allegedly”). What gets me is that she also clearly hit him and yet she has NOT been charged with misdemeanor battery as he has.  

 Is it because he hit harder than she did so she doesn’t get charged? Is it because she’s female and well, we guys are told never to hit a woman? Or is it because this happened in the South and it’s a BLACK man hitting a WHITE woman?  I have a feeling it’s the latter, but won’t discuss that here.

First off, let me point out that any time you go to a crowded bar, rowdy rock concert or the Austin City Limits Music Fest you should realize that you are going to get bumped here and there and quite regularly. If you don’t like getting bumped into, don’t go to those type of places!
Of course, good bars should have a dedicated spot to order your drinks. You know, like the Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery here in Austin who brew some great beers, serve very delicious food and yes, have a spot where you order your drinks and don’t have to worry about muscling up to the bar. No, I’m not getting paid to say that, I just like the place and wanted to mention it here as it seemed relevant. Sort of.

  Anyway, here’s what happened at that busy Tallahassee bar on that June night.  Johnson wanted to order a drink and asked a woman who already had her drink if he could take her spot and move up to the bar to get his.

She agrees and lets him in and so he moves to the bar but accidentally bumps into the alleged victim. Note how he has his hand on the bar attempting to get that spot before someone else does. That's a typical ploy to get up to a crowded bar because it's so difficult. It’s tough getting one of those spots, as someone who has had to fight his way to bars for years, I can tell you it’s not easy.
The victim gets angry at being bumped by Johnson. Is it because she’s not used to being bumped in a crowded bar, or is it because he’s a big black man? Well, since we men do not have ESP I can’t say for sure (but yes, that’s my opinion). Of course, she might have been drunk already and just in an angry mood. Who knows?
The alleged victim (okay, I keep saying alleged not for legal purposes, although my lawyers wish I would, but because I’m being snide because she seems to get away with this while he does not) seems to be cursing Johnson out (some witnesses say she used racial epitaphs) and raises her fist to make a point that she can take him out with one blow. Okay, that’s not why she raised her fist, but I thought it sounded funny. Plus, we small guys (compared to football players) know better than to threaten bigger guys because if we exchange blows, we know it won’t be very equal. For some reason, I don’t think this woman learned that while growing up.
Johnson attempts to stop her from hitting him by grabbing her arms. Although he’s probably incensed by the racial slurs and threats, he has been taught not to fly off the handle at a slight provocation like this. She becomes even more enraged and so knees him in the groin!
Johnson doesn’t leave even though he’s been cussed out and kneed, so she decides to up the ante. She slugs him! 
I think that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back as he slugs her back. I’m not showing that picture because you have seen it maybe 1,000 times since the news media likes to focus on that aspect and not what leads up to it.  

So that’s the event. Two people in a bar slug it out. However, only one person gets charged with a crime! Yes, it’s the man. 

I believe strongly in equal rights. I believe women should get paid the same as men for doing the same job if everything else is the same (that’s another story), I am really happy women got the vote and wish they would do so more often and stop electing idiots like George Bush, et al. As noted before I like watching women’s sports as much as men’s.
However, you can’t pick and choose what will be equal and what will not. 

Personally, I don’t think this is the type of event that should involve charges. If the woman wants to take him to civil court, let her, but don’t make it a crime to have a fight. If you do make it a crime, then make it equal.
Florida either needs to drop the charges against Johnson, or charge her too.

As we guys always like to say when we explain to our parents about a fight we got into, “Well, she started it!”
(Sorry, I just had to include one JAMES THURBER cartoon and since it's set in a court, welllll)

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