A few decades ago I was in one of my favorite pubs in Seattle. I eventually made my way to the lady's room, which had signs posted in the stalls and by the mirrors: "There have been several rapes & attempted rapes this week. Please be careful."
Well, that's good to know. Travel in packs -- it's safer. Some poor woman may get attacked if she strays too far from the herd. Bam! Raped. Should have kept up, Missy. It's just Nature. So National Geographic.
I'll admit to some liquid courage, but I walked into the men's room to check. No signs. Nothing.
I made a few of my own and hung them up.
"There have been several rapes and attempted rapes this week. Please don't rape people. If you see someone being raped -- stop it."
It seemed then, as it does now, ludicrous that we blame the victims of crime. Oh, there's plenty of "caution" to be taken but ultimately a crime is committed because someone chooses to do the wrong thing.
I overheard an argument this week. It was a echo of what we've heard over and over for the past few weeks. The George Zimmerman court case would have been more accurately referred to as the "Trayvon Martin" trial. What kind of kid takes Skittles to a gun fight?! Black kid in a hoodie. He had it coming. The punk.
Had Mr. Zimmerman been a black man and young Martin an Hispanic kid in khakis, penny loafers and a blue blazer, well, I'm sure he wouldn't have avoided charges or been granted bail.
So now there's a teenager dead for absolutely no reason. And there's a smug, middle-aged coward walking around with a gun to help him feel less frightened. There are plenty of dead teens and smug thugs but we only know the names when the news media decide to grace their stories with coverage.
The pathetic picture painted by the trial was of some Americans' willingness to see the gun-toting perpetrator of the crime as the victim, and the victim as the perpetrator. Who are we rooting for? The bad guys? Good grief. Haven't these people read Louis L'Amour? The bad guys suck. The good guys work hard to be good guys, and they're supposed to get the girl AND the horse she rode in on.
Culturally, we blame the poor for being poor. I'm sure it has nothing to do with 10 of our 50 states choosing to spend more on prisons than on education. Detroit just declared bankruptcy. Pensioners are going to get 10 cents on the dollar. We'd never let that happen to a big bank or a hedge fund. But close schools? That works.
To raise yourself from the bottom of the barrel is harder now than it used to be. If someone is unemployed, it must be his fault, right? I mean, "Get a job, loser!" Oh, sorry, the factory you worked in just moved to India? Can you say, "Welcome to Walmart?" Great. Now fill out the paperwork for food stamps because your new job is part-time, you'll qualify and you'll most likely be hungry at some point.
Legislation is being passed across the country to punish victims of rape and incest. Texas just voted down an amendment to exempt women impregnated as the result of crime from their abortion prohibition. Really? I'm afraid so.
I wonder: Did white, male Texas Republicans make those signs for the ladies' room? I'm so tired of seeing a bunch of men get together and decide women aren't smart enough to manage their own bodies and lives but somehow are ready to be wonderful mothers (because any idiot can be a great mother, apparently).
I guarantee you this kind of nonsense would be over in a New York minute if men could get pregnant. "Oh, I made a mistake -- like getting drunk, or raped -- so now the government should force me to give birth ..."
Yeah, I can see a lot of men lining up for that program.
I'm telling you, these guys are our homegrown Taliban. This is misogyny in the guise of religious principle. It's really about blaming women for human nature.
I have yet to see one of these ayatollahs-in-cowboy-boots offer to amend their lady-hating laws to say "Zero Parental Rights For Rapists." Think that's a joke? You're wrong. In 31 states a rapist has custodial rights over the child that results from his crime.
Is this fair to the victim?
Who cares? She's a woman.
Maybe we need to start making some other signs to hang. Different messages than we get from compassionless conservatives like Texas hair-do Rick Perry.
"Don't make life harder for folks having a hard time already."
"Don't start fights with kids and then shoot them when they fight back."
"Don't rape people."
As Pop Moore has pointed out: At some point, folks who don't like being walked on -- the poor, the oppressed, the raped, the profiled -- get up off the floor.
Can't happen soon enough.
Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio. Her weekly TV show airs at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays on ABC.