The Short Version: Brock Turner & Sexual Assault

The Short Version: Brock Turner & Sexual Assault

The point of it all is to break down the headlines, determine why an issue is important and reveal the best arguments on each side of the story. The most recent debate was fundamentally about “Universal Basic Income.” If everyone’s basic needs were covered, would they become couch potatoes or innovate? Would they create more economic value than they receive? This week’s blog is also about wealth and its privileges, also gender and race – and a coda to this story, impeachment.

Note: If you have missed any of Cleo’s blogs, just go to our Home Page, type “The Short Version” into Search (magnifying glass icon) and poof, like magic, all her blogs will appear.

Cleo Constantine Abrams of the “Short Form,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.

Cleo Constantine Abram of the “The Short Version,” offering densely packed spins on issues of

What’s happening?

A sexual assault case at Stanford has become a flashpoint in the already-controversial (to put it mildly) national debates around criminal justice, gender, wealth, and race.

On January 17th, then-Stanford student Brock Turner and a young woman visiting the school attended a frat party. By the end of the night, the woman was rushed to the hospital and Brock Turner was pinned to the ground by two other male students.

What happened in between is the subject of the highly charged case. The two witnesses say “the girl clearly wasn’t moving,” and Turner was “aggressively thrusting his hips into her.” The woman also recounted her experience during the court case in a statement worth reading in full.

Turner was convicted of felony sexual assault.

But that’s just the beginning of the controversy. Turner’s conviction carries a potential 14 years in prison—but he was sentenced by Judge Aaron Persky to only 6 months in county jail. The judge believed “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.”

Why is it important?

The conviction, which came down in March, inspired some news. But the sentence, delivered on June 2nd, prompted public outrage.

Many argue that Turner’s sentence was an unfair result of his status as a white, wealthy, All-American athlete. There’s a lot to unpack: a sympathetic image for a white judge, the ability to hire the best lawyers when many go without adequate representation, a media narrative about lost potential, and much more.

People across the country are calling for Judge Persky’s impeachment. One petition alone has over 1 million signatures. That’s more than the population of San Francisco. The petitions themselves are hotly debated—when should a judge’s ruling lead to his removal from the bench? Should judges be held accountable in the court of public opinion?

Popular memes like this one compare Brock Turner and Cory Batey, a former Vanderbilt football player, who is expecting 15-25 years in prison for a similar crime.

Debate it!

Should Judge Persky be impeached for giving Brock Turner a 6 month sentence?

Why “The Short Version” on TIO:

Eight+ years ago, Telluride Inside…and Out began as a lifestyle webzine. Today, in the full knowledge that Telluride is a window on the world, we continue to bring the “zazz” (short for “pizzazz) of the region to a local, national, and global audience by covering everything from Telluride’s robust cultural economy – major events and festivals – to health and fitness and outdoor adventure. When Telluride travels, we write about places to go, people to meet too. (That’s part of the “Out” part of our handle, the other, obviously, Outdoors.)

And now, this new weekly column, “The Short Version,” which offers simple summaries of issues of national and global importance. (Though we won’t go political, or rather we won’t show bias in the upcoming election.)

“The Short Version” is written by Cleo Constantine Abram, the daughter of Telluride locals Eleni Constantine and Jonathan Abram (and therefore an honorary local and regular visitor) and a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm.

Why “The Short Version”? Because, though we live in Shangri-La, our bubble is not impermeable and the rest of the world is only a click away. Because there is no inconsequential action; only consequential inaction. And because information is power in a moment so many of us are feeling powerless.

More about Cleo Constantine Abram:

Cleo Abram 2

Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.

Cleo is a digital strategist at Precision Strategies, a political consulting firm born of the Obama 2012 presidential campaign.

Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.

She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.

Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.

Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski!

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