Operation Roll Red Roll or: Steubenville’s shame

I’ve been wondering what the  Anonymous Operation Roll Red Roll is/was all about. And, I wondered, where’s Steubenville and why has its football website has been  repeatedly hacked?

(YouTube  post)

The world’s media have been full of the disgusting gang rape in India.

“Five men accused of raping a university student for hours on a bus as it drove through India’s capital were charged Thursday with murder, rape and other crimes that could bring them the death penalty,” says the Toronto Star.

Will they now similarly pick up on the even more horrifying gang rape which took place in the Ohio town  of Steubenville?

And the crime may not have come  fully to light had it not been for Anonymous.

“It’s Monday, and ominous-looking clouds are pushing over Harding Stadium as dozens of football players in practice jerseys prepare to take on Cleveland’s Benedictine Bengals,” says the Cleveland  Plain Dealer, adding:

“But this day two key players are missing from the field.”

“Police had arrested two sophomore starters just days before and charged them with kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old girl from a town just across the river in West Virginia.

“One of them is also accused of taking a nude photo or video of the girl.”

But that wasn’t the worst of it, as the video shows …


And more than 2 people were involved

Update Also see  Bob Cook’s Forbes post, to wit »»»

Slowly, then swiftly, reaction to formal rape accusations brought in August against two members of the Steubenville (Ohio) High School football team have moved from locally produced or of-interest-in-Steubenville-only tweets, Facebook posts and emails to a truly World Wide Web phenomenon. So much so, the groups Anonymous and KnightSec claimed credit for hacking a team fan site not once, but twice, and have called for an IRL march on the local courthouse at 1 p.m. local time, Sat., Dec. 29, to protest local authorities’ handling of the case, a rally that is expected to attract at least 700 people.

It’s hardly unprecedented that unsavory behavior by local athletes combines with small-town wagon-circling (especially in a dying steel whose population peaked in 1940, and whose current total of about 18,000 is below the level it reached 100 years ago) to create a situation that causes tension locally. Of course, as The New York Times reminded us (in a story that caught Anonymous’ attention), the apparent crime itself unfolded over social media with various pictures, tweets and video showing pieces of the party itself that is the center of the case, or reaction to it. Apparently, as often happens, no one thought putting up this stuff for the world to see, theoretically, would result in them seeing it, in practice, thus result in a big-paper story that exposes many of the ills the people in town would rather not talk about with outsiders. Live by the tweet, die by the tweet.

Anonymous and KnightSec have added  a big dimension to this, with its threat to reveal every bit of personal information it can find on everyone it identifies as a culprit in the rape case (which, formally, involves two players who will face trial on Feb. 13) by Jan. 1 if those folks don’t reveal themselves and apologize to the high school girl identified as the victim. Anonymous already has its own site that reveals all sorts of stuff about these folks, though I’ll let you find that yourself, what defamation lawsuits already out and about (even if they haven’t all been successful) filed against those who posted what the plaintiffs said was false information.

Hopefully, what happens on account of all this excitement is that those who truly committed a crime are brought to justice, and that anyone who feels they have to protect the football team on principle, no matter what, change their ways. Or, the scenario where the hardest core of football supporters dig in, and those who aren’t respond with silence out of fear of rocking the boat. Which, presumably, is why the case will be actively followed online, and pressed by those who don’t have to worry about living with, or under the thumb of, anyone who lashes out against those perceived as a threat against the exalted status of a high school football team designated as the shining beacon of an otherwise fading town. Of course, there is also the possibility that all sorts of innocent people get wrongly slimed in an emotional reaction to an awful situation. After all, legally speaking, no one has been convicted of anything yet.

I think the lesson here for everyone is:

1. Whatever you put online lives forever, and can be seen by anyone

2. Just because you put on a uniform doesn’t make you king of the world

3. If you’re a nice person and do the right thing, issues No. 1 and 2 probably don’t matter

Jon Newton — myblogdammit

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10 thoughts on “Operation Roll Red Roll or: Steubenville’s shame

  1. I heard there are death threats against the victim. Is there anyway a legitimate foundation for the victim can be started and solicit donations? That way, she can relocate and have her education/ college paid?

  2. @Gina:

    I hadn’t heard anything about death threats or about donations, although they might be a good idea depending on her personal circumstances.

    Meanwhile, “Approximately 150 people showed up in support of the Operation Roll Red Roll protest in downtown Steubenville, says a local TV station (http://www.wtov9.com/news/news/local/operation-roll-red-roll-holds-protest-outside-jeff/nThmS/)continuing:

    “They gathered in support of a teenage girl who is involved in the Steubenville teen-rape investigation.

    “People were armed with signs, some with the anonymous masks gathered around the Jefferson County Courthouse.”

  3. “Will they now similarly pick up on the even more horrifying gang rape which took place in the Ohio town of Steubenville”

    I am curious, by which criteria do you judge the Steubenville case as “even more horrifying”? Obviously they are both horrible, but the Indian rape case included violence and murder.

  4. @Mister T:

    They didn’t piss on the girl in India, and the American rapists believed they HAD killed their victim: they were even joking about it. And if their attack wasn’t violent, how would you describe it?


  5. @jon

    I don’t know all the specifics of what went on and I don’t think either of us really do either, I’m not sure the guy in the video literally believed she was dead. I think it may have been an exaggerated description of the state she was in. Horrible in any case.

    I did read that in the Indian case, the girl was beaten, raped for hours by six guys including with a metal rod and then dumped out of a moving vehicle. The driver of which then attempted to run her over. She later died of her injuries. Like I said, without knowing all the specifics of the other case I would hesitate to say which is “more horrifying” but you have obviously taken a position on that. I was just curious as to why, given the level of savagery that took place in India and that it ended in a death.

  6. I haven’t been following the case in India to the extent you obviously have. But at the least the young girl in Steubenville is still alive, although it’s highly doubtful she’ll ever completely recover or get over the degradation.

  7. I want to know what church the members of the football team were raised in and what church the victim was raised in. I suspect that the boys were part of an attempt to punish the girl’s father. What does her father do or what did he do to incur such treatment of his daughter. The football team members refer to her father in the video.

    • @ ethel bramble, I’m not sure, but at least on of the photos that appeared on Instagram with #sloppy was sent to the girl’s father as well.

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