Friday, May 18, 2018

How to hurt victims

Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal (which I called the "Lansing Stale Journal" when I was a student at MSU, I confess....) gives a great summary about why half a billion bucks has 332 victims of Larry Nassar absolutely ticked off.  (H/T one of those ticked off ladies)  More or less, what you have, legally speaking, is an admission of guilt without any evidence of repentance. 

And why so?  Well, Couch is probably correct--as I noted in an earlier post--that part of the problem lies with how civil law tends to work out, and how insurance companies work.  More or less, you have a university with (currently) zero legal liability paying half a billion bucks to...more or less retain the immunity they clearly aren't making very good use.  And in return for (theoretically) paying off this debt, apparently the insurance companies are insisting that the university not admit what the settlement admits; that the university was liable.

If your head is spinning, that makes both of us.  Sovereign immunity is, in its current form, a mess.  But that doesn't explain everything, like how my alma mater consistently chose to insult the victims here.  Sure, there's a place for examining credibility, but when the "evidence" is complete bull... nonsense, what are the ethics in that?

I think it has a lot to do with what's not being discussed in these cases, but which is (implicitly) front and center in the discussion over whether statutes of limitations ought to be extended, and whether government entities ought to lose sovereign immunity.  Specifically, organizations impacted are wondering whether Larry Nassar and Bill Strampel are just the tip of the iceberg.

And, judging by the ease at which I find other examples of wrongdoing in universities, my guess is "yes".  If only MSU were the only bad actor out there, but they're not. 

And no matter how you slice it, when I consider the healing power of a genuine apology and repentance, the current system can hardly be beaten in terms of repeating the abuse that victims have already suffered.  We ought to seriously think about reforming sovereign immunity, practices of civil law, and insurance practices to allow people to admit the obvious, apologize, and invite outsiders in to help clean up the messes.

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