Friday, January 04, 2013
What Lies Beneath
Today's piece for the Daily Banter takes a look at the rape case which is coming slowly, piece by startling piece, to light in Steubenville, Ohio -- and what it says about kids, insular towns and what happens when you peel back the layers and expose the rot.
Here's the opening shot:
"One of the first stories of local intrigue that I covered extensively during the early part of my career was the murder of Bobby Kent. For those who don’t know details of the case — it was so chock full of shocking teen corruption and decadence that it actually did manage to gain publicity beyond the confines of South Florida, even eventually inspiring the 2001 Larry Clark film Bully — Bobby Kent was a teenager from the Broward County suburb of Hollywood who was killed by seven other kids in July of 1993. Kent had apparently been a raging sociopath, appearing thoroughly harmless and ingratiatingly charming to adults but ruling over his small group of friends with tyrannical cruelty. On a steamy summer night out on the edge of the Everglades, those friends took their revenge, stabbing and beating him over and over then leaving his body in shallow water, assuming the alligators would get rid of it for them. The problem, of course, is that none of these kids was a criminal mastermind — they were basically all bored suburban white trash with a lot of time to kill and parents who were practically non-existent — and the murder they committed wound up coming apart in short order. Once the layers of the crime began being pulled back, though, and the details of what led to the night of the fatal attack on Bobby Kent bubbled up for all to see, what police, journalists and community leaders were left with was a truly sordid and surprising tale of youth gone mad that involved sex, betrayal, bullying, gay porn, teen pregnancy and a hapless 20-year-old 'hit man.' It was honestly one hell of a story, one that startled simply because it revealed, David Lynch-style, the rot that often remains hidden just beneath the idyllic surface of suburbia.
While the kids of Steubenville, Ohio are a far cry, both in distance and general disposition, from the South Florida teens involved in the Bobby Kent murder — all seven of whom did or are still doing time for the incident — the story of what they’ve been up to and the adults that have apparently been ignoring or enabling their bad behavior immediately brings me back to the Kent case."
Read the Rest Here