Thomas Sowell

Nothing should be surprising any more about the Duke University rape case. Still, it is a little staggering that, after all these months, District Attorney Mike Nifong has still not interviewed either the accuser or the accused.

Rape is a felony with serious consequences for all concerned. You might think that the District Attorney would have some interest in determining whose story is credible and whose story is full of holes.

But that is only if he is interested in seeing justice done. This column predicted, months ago, that Nifong would let this case drag on until the public loses interest in it and then let it quietly fizzle out after the media spotlight is gone.

After all, the case has already served his purpose in getting him his party's nomination for District Attorney. It has also served the purposes of local racial activists by giving them an occasion to march, shout, denounce and threaten.

It has served the purposes of the Duke University faculty by allowing them to come out on the politically correct side of the issue by condemning the upscale white guys and showing solidarity with the black accuser.

Why ruin all this by getting bogged down in facts?

While the law enforcement officials have apparently been too busy to interview either the accuser or the accused, they have had time to spend hours grilling a black cab driver who said that one of the accused was in his taxi, going to an ATM, at the time when he was supposedly committing rape.

Bank records corroborate what the cabbie said. But being hassled by the cops when he would rather be out working to earn some money may make him less ready to say it again to the media.

Such harassment can also serve as a shot across the bow of anybody else who might be thinking of coming forward with facts that undermine the District Attorney's version of events.

While District Attorney Nifong is at the heart of this tawdry perversion of the law, many others have joined in the rape of justice.

A local newspaper responded to the recent "60 Minutes" expose of how phony the rape case is by editorializing that the Duke lacrosse players are not model citizens. Their neighbors have complained about their playing loud music and one of them got into a brawl somewhere.

Surely no one is so feeble-minded as to believe that playing loud music or even getting into a brawl proves that you are a rapist. But it shows how desperate some people are to take sides instead of wanting the truth to come out and see justice done, whatever that might turn out to be.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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