The Dharun Ravi Case Goes to Jury

The prosecution offers its closing argument:


"He didn't like that he had a gay roommate. He was going to use it to his advantage, to expose to other people Tyler's sexual orientation, to allow him to be shown to be different," Ms. McClure said. "And the one thing that you don't want to be in your first three weeks of college is different."  

She concluded, "The defendant's actions were mean-spirited, they were malicious, they were criminal."
I neglected to state this clearly in my last post on the subject. I don't think Dharun Ravi should go to prison for ten years. I'm not even sure I think he should go to prison at all. Prison is an awful place, where truly horrible things happen. In my mind, it should be used, mostly, to protect society from dangerous predators. I don't think Dharun Ravi qualifies. I think even arguing that Ravi is responsible for Tyler Clementi's death is a difficult case to make.

I do think that Ravi is a bully, who attempted to use the societal weight of homophobia to humiliate Tyler Clementi, a weight which Clementi was likely already feeling. I also think there is substantial evidence that Ravi knew he'd done just that, and made a cowardly attempt to cover his tracks. Beyond that, it's disturbing that Ravi had attempted to spy on other people before he got to Clementi.

But I'm not convinced that cruelty, alone, is enough to mandate a prison bid. The only reasons I can muster to support such a notion are retributive. That isn't enough for me. 

For the facts of all of this. Read Ian Parker's exceptional piece.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in National

From This Author

Just In