Criminals are not victims, they are criminals

Art Burmeister
Opinions Editor

With all the media centered around Steubenville, OH lately, I’ve developed a question; what is going on in this world? The two young men who were found guilty of rape and distributing nude photos of a fellow class mate last Sunday were tried as juveniles. That previous sentence had three things wrong with it.
First, what happened in the minds of those teenagers that caused them to think that taking advantage of a drunken young woman was all right? The two young men were reported to be football players for their high school, but I doubt that means they can do whatever they want. I can perhaps find such a thing more believable if they had been drinking too, but from all the reports I can find, the two young men hadn’t had anything to drink. I don’t understand their thinking. I simply cannot comprehend it.
Secondly, not only did they take advantage of her, but the two then took pictures and uploaded them to various social media sites, including Twitter. The messages that were posted along with the pictures were ones of celebration, like they had won a prize. There are no words that I can find to describe just how terribly wrong that is.
Lastly, they were tried as juveniles when they should have been tried as adults. The crime they committed was not terrible only, but when they tweeted pictures, adding to the humiliation the young woman felt, they lost the right to be considered juveniles.
Even the sentence handed down from the court was ill fitting. They were collectively given three years in a juvenile detention hall. That’s it. No hard jail time. Compared to the punishment being found with any kind of illegal drugs, which can be up to 20 years their sentence for rape is a joke. Such a light sentence is appalling when compared to the severity of the crime they committed.
The icing on the cake is what one CNN reporter said when the judgment and sentencing occurred. She sympathized with the now convicted rapists claiming that the “promising lives” of those “poor boys” were over. What about the young woman whose life they ruined with their crimes? She is already being teased and receiving threats through Twitter. So many in fact that the police have started to monitor Twitter to crackdown on anyone that even hints at a death threat. Where is the sympathy for her? I’d love to see someone send tweets out trying to console her instead of blame her, protect rather than threaten her.
The two young men will be able to live down their crime in time, but their victim will always have those pictures that were shared on Twitter haunting her.