S-s-s-s-stretch those ethics muscles!
(although, to be fair, the items today don’t require much stretching…)
1. Rosie Ruiz, unethical icon, has died. Rosie Ruiz got her 15 minutes of fame—well, infamy—by briefly fooling officials and the media into believing she had won the 1980 Boston Marathon. “She jumped out of the crowd, not knowing that the first woman hadn’t gone by yet,” a source who Ruiz had confessed to told The Boston Globe. “Believe me, she was as shocked as anyone when she came in first.” She wasn’t even a skilled cheater.
Nonetheless, Ruiz maintained publicly that she had been robbed of a genuine victory, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. She even displayed her first place medal whenever possible.
Ruiz is an excellent example of how signature significance works. It would be nice to report that she went on from this one, impulsive, foolish scam and became a beloved and tireless worker for the common good. Uh, no. Cheating in a major athletic competition isn’t something anyone does who has functioning ethics alarms. Ruiz was charged in 1982 with grand larceny and forgery, accused of stealing cash and checks from the real estate firm where she had been a bookkeeper. This got her a week in jail and five years’ probation. In 1983, she was arrested on charges of attempting to sell cocaine to undercover agents at a hotel in Miami and spent three weeks in jail.
2. “Shocked…shocked!” One more institutional icon has been punished by a culture that knew about and tolerated his crimes and misconduct far too tardily and mildly to help his many victims. From the New York Times:
George H. Morris, the foremost trainer in equestrian competition and a former coach of the United States Olympic team, was barred for life from the United States Equestrian Federation on Monday as a result of an investigation into “sexual misconduct involving a minor,” according to the published details of the suspension. The permanent suspension…is the most severe meted out by the United States Center for SafeSport, an independent investigative body charged with examining sexual misconduct in Olympic sports, according to Dan Hill, a spokesman. While SafeSport does not publicly announce its findings in order to protect victims, Mr. Hill said that the designation of a permanent suspension was “reserved for the most egregious cases.”
Talk about too little too late: Morris is 81. Although the ban resulted from the facts of one case, Morris had many victims, and his story is a nauseatingly familiar one. Michael Cintas, who coached equestrians for the United States Olympic modern pentathlon team in 2008, was trained by Morris, and he said Morris’s reputation for having sexual relationships with the boys he would scout and train on his farm was common knowledge among students and staff.
“Many people saw what was going on, knew what was going on, and no one said anything,” Cintas said. The Times notes that Morris’s protege “now acknowledges” that what Morris was doing to boys on his farm “was wrong.”
How perceptive of him!
The United States Equestrian Federation said it could act only if a claim of abuse was filed. None were received until 2012. Still, dozens of former students and professionals told The New York Times that they had long been aware of Morris’s sexual relationships with minors, but were afraid that his power as an equestrian “kingmaker” could destroy their chances to win ribbons in the horse show ring if they came forward.
Easy call, I guess: stopping a sexual predator vs. staying on his good side.
It is not as if Morris was especially careful: in his published memoir, he described trips to places like Studio 54 with underage boys, and estimated the number of his sexual partners to be “10,000 and counting!” Individuals interviewed by the Times confirmed Morris’ relationships with underage students throughout his career, but said that his behavior was shrugged off at the time as “acceptable,” or the boys themselves were blamed.
Even now, defenders of Morris are protesting his ban, arguing that “times were different.” You remember those times when it was considered “acceptable” for teachers to sexually molest underage students, don’t you?
3. Another “Pity the illegal immigrant” story. As the news media, and especially the New York Times, has decided to do what it can to spread emotional pro-illegal immigration propaganda, the illegal immigrant sob story has become a virtual genre.
Today the Times headline in my paper is “Deported to a Country He’d Never Seen, He Couldn’t Survive. “The web version is “ICE Deported Him to a Country He’d Never Seen. He Died 2 Months Later.” NPR and other outlets are carrying the same story. Compressed version: Jimmy Aldaoud was officially an Iraqi, and entered the United States legally in 1979 at the age of six months. He never bothered to become a citizen. Aldaoud was ordered removed from the United States in May 2018 after at least 20 criminal convictions over the previous two decades, including assault with a weapon, domestic violence and home invasion. He was sent back to Iraq, where he did not know anyone, and did not speak the language. He had a bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, clinical depression and diabetes. In two months, he was dead.
This story is a useful test of where one’s mind is regarding U.S. obligations to non-citizens. I’m sorry Jimmy suffered, but the fact that he did was entirely his own fault. He was destructive and a habitual criminal in a country where he was officially not only a guest, but one who had deliberately over-stayed his welcome. He had no right to remain here. Americans have no obligation, compassionate or otherwise, to accommodate and care for non-citizens and predators who do not respect our society.
I do not understand or sympathize with Times readers who see this story and feel that it shows that the United States is cruel and unjust. Every citizen has an obligation to know the nation’s laws that affect him or her; every non-citizen likewise. Actions have consequences, and should have consequences. The Times and other news organizations want to make Jimmy into a martyr or a victim. They are promoting unethical and irresponsible standards.
4. Today’s “Facebook is a menace to society and not just because it bans Ethics Alarms” note... Facebook denies it participates in the practice called “shadow banning,” blocking a users’ posts or comments from everyone except the user who made the post or comment. Under oath in April, Facebook executives denied that it shadow-banned in congressional testimony but the company has filed a patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) claiming to have invented an automated system that would “receive a list of proscribed content and block comments containing the proscribed content by reducing the distribution of those comments to other viewing users” while continuing to “display the blocked content to the commenting user such that the commenting user is not made aware that his or her comment was blocked.” The application is for United States Patent 10356024.
We literally cannot believe anything Facebook says.