Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wendy Murphy's 'logic' on Penn State sex scandal will make your head spin

TV legal commentator and adjunct law professor Wendy Murphy has chimed in on the Penn State sex scandal with an other-worldly logic that will make your head spin. 

Murphy starts out with a proposal to force states to adopt laws that require all adults with reason to believe a child has been abused to file reports with child welfare agencies. Failure to report would be a felony.  That's a point that can be fairly debated.

But wait, she isn't finished -- Murphy's about to enter the Twilight Zone, so make sure you're sitting down before you read the next paragraph:

"Some argue that ramping up punishment for non-reporting is dangerous because of the potential for false reports, but this myth-based concern has no basis in reality. In fact, people will likely be more cautious about filing only credible reports when the consequences are more serious."

Read it again, because you are a witness to history: Murphy has actually invented a logic heretofore not utilized by rational, carbon-based beings. Let's analyze.

First, Murphy says that concern about the potential for false reports is a "myth-based concern [that] has no basis in reality."  But of course!  What did we expect from a woman who once famously said this: "I never, ever met a false rape claim, by the way. My own statistics speak to the truth." That comment was in reference to the Duke lacrosse case. Remember how that one turned out?

But then, in the very next sentence, she posits the following assertion that gives new meaning to "astounding": "In fact, people will likely be more cautious about filing only credible reports when the consequences are more serious."

Whoa!  Wendy Murphy just gave me whiplash! In one breath she mouths the radical feminist mantra that false rape claims are a myth; in the very next, she asserts that people are currently less cautious about filing "credible reports" than they would be if the consequences were more serious. Meaning that people currently make false claims (she's right about that), but that her proposed law would change that.

So in Murphy's world, people never, ever make false rape claims, except when they do.

Get it?  Neither do I.  Let's hope they don't let Murphy teach anything that involves rationality or logic in that law school where she's an adjunct professor. 

Put it this way: either the paragraph referenced above is colossal misprint, or Wendy Murphy is a congenital idiot.  Let's have a show of hands.

Even putting aside the lapse-in-logic-of-Biblical proportions noted above, Murphy's suggestion that making failure to report the sexual assault of children a felony will actually reduce false rape claims is absurd beyond words.

But -- now let's get serious -- that doesn't mean the idea should be dismissed out of hand.  Murphy's proposal, stripped of her lunacy about false rape claims, merits a serious dialogue about best how to strike a balance between keeping children safe, on the one hand, and protecting innocent adults from false charges, on the other. Murphy suggests the following:  "For lawmakers who want more protection against false allegations, they could add a provision that allows for the prosecution of individuals who make false reports in bad faith."  We get the idea: if the report was intentionally false, it should be punished.  We might add, such offenses need to be punished both seriously and consistently, something not currently done with false rape accusers.

But Murphy, being Murphy, can't help but to add the following: "Better to protect thousands more children from real abuse than to worry about the occasional adult being burdened by a false accusation." And Blackstone just flipped over in his grave. Repeatedly.

What's interesting is that even nitwits like Murphy -- who claim false rape claims are a myth -- seem to grudgingly admit that there's a balance that needs to be struck between keeping children safe and protecting innocent men accused of rape. Murphy, however, would tilt the balance too far and unreasonably risk harming innocent men. 

If we ever are to have a serious dialogue about striking a proper balance, zealots like Murphy can't be part of it. Only rational adults without a TV show or a political axe to grind need apply.