The web has been buzzing over the past few days with news of a horrifying gang rape outside a high school homecoming dance. The details of the crime are absolutely staggering: as many as twenty male students watched as a 15-year-old girl was raped and beaten for over two hours.
This event comes just a few months after the 10-year anniversary of the Columbine massacre. I remember watching the news of that event unfold ten years ago, and thinking what we were probably all thinking: How in God’s name could a thing like this happen? What is wrong with the world, that something so evil can take place?
But now I look back ten years and think that Columbine was a lot easier to understand than this. Although the damage Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris wrought was many times more grievous than that in the current California case, at least their actions could be dismissed as the actions of a couple of wackos. A couple of sick, sick teenagers who operated outside of normal society.
But that’s not the case in today’s case. Twenty people — twenty! — watched the assault, and although they are not criminals in the legal sense, in the moral sense they are. In this case it’s not just a couple of individuals who are sick, but rather an entire community.
So what’s that sick community, is what I’m asking myself. Is it Teens Today, or California, or 21st-Century America? Could it be as small as Richmond High School, or as big as Humanity itself?
A lot of people have been decrying the fact that there is no law under which the observers of the rape can be charged. And while I, too, would like to see them punished, I have to ask: what does it matter? Because if not one of those twenty young men had enough compassion in his heart to help that girl, what good are laws going to do us?