March 16, 2012

Dharun Ravi

How do you feel about Dharun Ravi’s guilty verdict? Here’s background from the New Yorker, and the recent announcement in the Atlantic.


  1. Deron Bauman on March 16th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Link? I don’t know the story.

  2. Casey Cichowicz on March 16th, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Whoops. Updated original post with some info.

  3. Joel Bernstein on March 16th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I don’t like what he did, but I’m having a hard time thinking of why standard don’t-use-webcams-to-secretly-watch-people-kiss laws weren’t sufficient.

  4. Sheila Ryan on March 16th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I have been following Ravi’s case and have been thinking about it a lot. Like Joel, I don’t like what Ravi did. I really don’t like what he did, and the after-the-fact attempts to portray him as having relaxed and chilled out over having a gay roommate and not really being an asshole have always struck me as disingenuous.

    That much said, like Joel, I have a hard time with nailing Ravi for crimes over and above photographing/recording private activity and publishing what he recorded without the consent of those he photographed/recorded.

    I’ve long been troubled by “hate crime” laws that levy special penalties on deeds that are already crimes. They seem to open the gateway to murky areas involving intent, which is already a muddy enough matter to prove. And they trouble me in other ways as well.

  5. Sheila Ryan on March 16th, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I hate sounding as though I am defending the jerk, but I also hate the implication that has hovered over this trial: that Ravi was responsible, even if indirectly, for Tyler Clementi’s decision to end his own life. Ravi has a lot to answer for, and I would never argue, as I believe his defense did, that he simply made a mistake. Nor would I dismiss any connection between Clementi’s suicide and what Ravi did by painting Clementi as an unstable individual whose death was solely the consequence of his own disordered mind.

    But this verdict bothers me, and I hate to say this, but I hope that it is overturned on appeal.

  6. Joel Bernstein on March 16th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Yeah, that’s another aspect of it. I’m against anything that paints suicide as an effective avenue of revenge against bullying.

  7. Sheila Ryan on March 16th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    It’s actually the hate crime conviction that is most difficult for me to think about, as I have been so troubled for so many years over the proliferation of hate crime laws.

    Yes, the determination of intent is critical to judging the nature of a crime. We distinguish murder from manslaughter, and we distinguish between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

    And I really don’t know the theory behind hate crime laws. Of course, I understand the emotions behind them. I share many of those emotions. But I remain uncomfortable with special categories of crimes that hinge so critically on the contents of people’s hearts and minds.