Wednesday, July 21, 2010

False rape claims are bad because they waste police time -- and, oh, secondarily, because they put innocent males through hell

There is a scene in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles where Taggart (played by Slim Pickins), the stupid and cruel overseer of the construction of a new railroad, comes upon two black workers, Bart and Charlie, who are standing on a hand-cart that is fast sinking into quicksand. Much to the chagrin of the soon-to-drown men, Taggart throws a rope around the hand-cart and drags it -- but not the men -- out of the quicksand.  "Dang, that was lucky," declares the much relieved Taggart, as the men struggle to keep from going under. "Doggone near lost a four hundred dollar handcar."  (Of course, when Bart, played by Cleavon Little, extricates himself from the quicksand -- no thanks to Taggart -- he takes a shovel to Taggart's head.)

And that's how I feel every time I read a story about a false rape claim where a police officer elevates the police department's expenditure of time on a wild goose chase over the suffering of the innocent man or boy targeted by the rape lie.  I could give you hundreds of examples of this over the past few years.

We need to start protesting such remarks by making our displeasure known to the police officer quoted, as well as to the newspaper where the quote appears. Aside from expressing an opinion that the far greater harm was to the innocent male and that it is grossly insensitive and unjust to think otherwise, it might also be pertinent, depending on the facts, to query why an innocent man or boy was arrested before a thorough investigation on the say-so of a lone accuser who turned out to be a liar?  We might want to add that protection of the public from harm is no excuse to lock up a presumptively innocent male on the mere possibility that he might be a rapist. Police do have a duty to protect the public from harm, but that includes protecting innocent men and boys from the harm that police do when they unjustly deprive the innocent of their liberty by acting as the unwitting instruments of false accusers.