Moore booed, rapist cheered
War is an act of violence. Rape is an act of violence. This past Sunday night, both came together at the Academy Awards ceremony.
Angie Austin, the morning weather person on Channel 2 in Denver, brought it to my attention.
The discussion was about Michael Moore’s comments condemning President George Bush during Moore’s acceptance of his award. It was big news on Monday. You either loved it or hated it. Most people hated it. There were a lot of boos and negative reviews by the press.
Then Angie pointed out that Roman Polanski had received a standing ovation from the audience when he won best director honors for “The Pianist.” She felt it was ironic a convicted rapist was getting a standing ovation from a bunch of people wearing peace symbols.
Either you are against violence or in favor of violence. How can you be against a war when you give a standing ovation to a convicted rapist?
For those of you who may be too young or have simply forgotten, Polanski was arrested, charged, indicted and convicted of sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl in 1977. A few days before his sentencing, he decided to run away to his home country of France to avoid going to prison. He has remained out of the United States for the past 26 years to avoid further prosecution. He is a rapist. He is a violent person.
Fifty-six women have come forward at the Air Force Academy, alleging they were raped while they were cadets. Statistically, only one in three rapes is ever reported. If this holds true, possibly 168 women were raped at the Air Force Academy.
One of the women actually was told by a commanding officer that her behavior invited the sexual assault. In my many years as a law enforcement officer, I would have fired anyone who said that.
I remember many reported instances of academic cheating at all three of the service academies. I also remember it was not tolerated and the offending cadets were dismissed for this shame of shames. How dare they violate the cadet code? Let’s get rid of the swine and not let them become officers and gentlemen. They obviously never understood honor.
The rapists were not even investigated. At the same time the cheaters were driven out, this major act of violence was disregarded. Many of the women victims were humiliated to the point they left the academy while their rapists were allowed to graduate and go on to careers as officers.
I am a veteran of four years in the Air Force, 1960-64. I have a hard time understanding the lack of comment or outrage from the graduates. I would think from the four-star rank down, a long line of officers would be asking that this matter be fully investigated. They should be demanding that the commanding officers who looked the other way be asked to resign and to lose their pensions for their lack of action.
At deadline for this column, the news was that the top brass at the academy would be replaced, and the Senate Armed Services Committee could begin hearings on the matter by Monday.
Sen. Wayne Allard and Rep. Tom Tancredo have both asked the leadership of the Air Force Academy to step down. Allard, to his credit, has led an effort to acknowledge the allegations of rape and to do something about them.
While men and women are performing heroically in Iraq, some of their brothers are sexual predators, and no one is doing anything about it.
And, at the same time, we give a standing ovation to a convicted rapist.
Columnist Gary Lindstrom appears in this space on Thursdays.
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