What SAE fraternity and the Oklahoma City Bomber have in common

There is nothing so great as watching someone truly awful get what they deserve (occasionally with a side helping of getting skewered by the court of public opinion). If there is justice in the world, the skewering will be swift, merciless, and as enduring as the results of a glitter bomb. Unfortunately the caveat exists that, as awful as someone is, there will be someone just as awful who is willing and able to help them try to get away from the punishments they so richly deserve.

A few weeks ago, a video surfaced on youtube of two members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma leading their fratmates in a chant that was racist, offensive, and in no way shape or form acceptable conduct. Public opinion rose up and the frat was eventually banned from campus, with the two alleged ringleaders being expelled. One of the ringleaders did give a rather half-baked apology that makes it sound like he would have done it, and would continue to do it, had he not been caught.

If the story ended there, it would be a good story. The good parts of this story include the national chapter of the SAE disavowing all knowledge and ties to the Oklahoma chapter and taking their charter away into the bargain. The excellent version of this story (in a perfect world), would end with the disbanding of the fraternity and academic suspension and/or expulsion for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, the fraternity has hired a lawyer in an attempt to reverse the judgment rendered on them. And the lawyer, Stephen Jones, is very good at what he does. The man has a history of representing clients who are awful people, the most notable example being Timothy McVeigh (the Oklahoma City Bomber).

Stephen Jones is someone you hope looks like a mustache-twirling villain, cackling and rubbing his hands together. Instead, he looks rather normal and a bit like that one grandparent you don’t talk about unless it’s to groan. His current repertoire of excuses for why the men of the fraternity acted the way they did include the usual finger-pointers (helpfully supplied by outside sources): rap and hip-hop are evil and corrupted the minds of pure, innocent young men. Naturally, they are not to blame for anything they said or did. A song called ‘Waka Flocka’ is taking most of the blame, despite being an injured party in this case.

The parents of one of the men expelled from the university say that he is a good boy and that he will live with the consequences of his actions. Unfortunately, society being what it is, he and his fellow expellee will eventually be remembered by the press as misguided young men who made some bad choices and were unjustly punished by a society that didn’t understand them. Sadly, this is not a new thing: young white men are caught being racist, called out on it, and the young men will be defended by the press as misguided youths corrupted by the new trifecta: rap, hip-hop, and violent video games.

If there is justice in the world, Stephen Jones’s push to get the fraternity reinstated and the expulsions overturned will fail.

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