Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Mad Science: The Curious Case of Ryan Lochte

The coverage on this story really annoys me.  Here's what we know:
BREAKING NEWS: Having blue hair damages
your credibility with the press.

1. Ryan & Company peed in public in Brazil.

2. An off-duty police officer pulled a pistol on them.  He was working as a night security guard at the gas station where they peed.

3. Ryan & company left the scene without any money after having had a gun pointed at this.

So.  I get that this is not technically "robbery" in Brazil, but I have no idea what else you might call it.  At best, it's vigilante street justice over the very important matter of public urination--and perhaps property damage if you believe that three American supermen can rip a metal gas station door off its hinges while drunk off their asses.  More likely, it's a crime of opportunity perpetrated against three asshole Americans--albeit very famous ones--because they were drunk, and so they were obviously asking for it.

We all see that, right?  That this is the "she was drunk, so she was asking for it" defense?  Granted, applied to men for once.  Because this video doesn't prove shit.

What this case definitely is not is any sort of example of legally proper due process.  These guys weren't arrested, they were extorted on the street, supposedly because they damaged a bathroom.  We can't see the damage, though, we only have the word of the Brazilian government for that, and if you haven't noticed, Brazil has plenty of reasons for wanting to make Lochte & Company look like a bunch of assholes.  These Olympics were supposed to be a showcase for Brazilian tourism, and instead we've had drama after drama--about the state of the water, both in the pool and out, various Brazilian social issues, cost over-runs, and yes, multiple athletes getting robbed at gunpoint.  Here comes one more, very famous this time, and based on a video that is at best inconclusive, we're not calling this "robbery".  Oh no!  Lochte and his buddies were drunk, so whatever happened here, it was clearly could not have been "robbery".  Still, I don't know what, exactly, we're supposed to call it.

Two swimmers were pulled off a plane and forced to recant their stories before being allowed to leave the country.  They did so, and this is taken as proof.  It may also be, though, that they didn't want to stay in Brazil for six months fighting over a thing that can only hurt them in the long run, that despite a traumatic experience, they would very much now like to get on with their lives.

We've all heard of that before, right?  Especially as it pertains to women who get shamed in the wake of being victimized while drunk?  I suppose that's a uniquely feminine thing?

I doubt that this story is over regardless, but what's astonishing here is the rush to judgement.  I find it interesting that the tabloids have jumped all over Lochte and his buddies about this, but the NY Times, the actual paper of record, has said very little.  What they have said seems to support at least some part of Lochte's story.  As always with journalism, we have to consider the source.

That's all I've got.  Enjoy your weekend everybody.

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