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18 January 2015

As the media-reading/watching half the world has seen of late, Prince Andrew has a friend with dubious tendencies. The media and some others too, seem to think that if your friend is a pedophile, then firstly you had to know, and secondly you must be one too. There are times when I sigh for the logic of the human race. Most pedophiles don’t go around telling all their friends and acquaintances of their proclivities. They may tell one or two, IF they are very certain that those proclivities are shared. But then too, if you happen to be a rabid rugby fan and are well aware that a good friend has absolutely no interest in rugby in any way shape or form, you usually shut up about it to them. People tend to compartmentalize. And since when did having a friend into rugby automatically mean that you must yourself (no option) also be a rugby fanatic?
On that system I am, to begin with, an attempted murderer. Back in the ’80s I worked with someone I liked. They subsequently left that employment and some years later were charged and convicted for attempted murder. I then ‘became a murderer’ when, a decade or two later, another friend of earlier times committed murder and was convicted. Except of course, that no one thinks I’m a killer just because someone I knew did that. So why is there an assumption that Prince Andrew must have known what his friend did, and, worse still, that he must have participated? I liked both people, even attempted-murderers or murderers can be likeable. In fact both had a number of friends, that hardly means that all of us are secret killers too. Yet over and over the media and others appear to believe that if a man is a pedophile then anyone who knows him has to have known that and joined in his activities. Oh, please. The average pedophile keeps such preferences very very quiet.
Then too, in this case Epstein’s activities during Prince Andrew’s visits seem to have occurred in a gray area. In most countries, sex with a woman over sixteen is legal. Why would any man accepting her apparently enthusiastic cooperation assume that there was illegality involved when he ‘knew’ her to be of age? The woman in question says that she was compelled to have sex with whomever Epstein nominated. But was there any reason for a man with whom she had sex to know this? Did she tell them so, appear desperately reluctant? It now appears that in the area of America where this occurred she was underage. Would any man involved with her at that place and time have known that – particularly if he wasn’t American?
I’m not saying that Prince Andrew did have sex with the woman in question. What I am saying is that IF he did, then he may have had no reason to believe that he was acting illegally and in most other areas of the world, he wouldn’t have been. Having sex with a consenting woman of seventeen is legal in Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and much of the USA. How was he supposed to know that in this particular geographical area in the USA, it wasn’t? And that’s if he had sex with her. There seems to have been a huge rush to judgement, based on disapproval of his friendship with Epstein as in “lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.”. I would remind anyone reading this of another saying, “all crows are black, but anything black is not necessarily a crow.’”
I had a friend who was a murderer, that doesn’t make me one. I have friends with money, that neither makes me rich nor involved in stockbroking. I have friends who are crazy about rugby, that doesn’t make me a rugby fanatic. Just because you know someone, doesn’t automatically mean that you know every single secret they have ever had. If the secrets are discreditable they are likely to keep them from you, wishing to retain your friendship and knowing they’ll lose it if you find out. What I’m saying is that association is not always contagious, and that IF Prince Andrew had sex with the lady, he may have genuinely believed it was legal and consentual and that she did nothing to inform him otherwise. How far does that go? Are we all now supposed to make any sex partner take a sobriety test, a lie-detector test and sign a form agreeing to the encounter? And still, how far will that cover someone if the person comes back twenty years later and says that – completely unbeknown to you – they were blackmailed or terrorized into it? Take this far enough and if you can’t risk sex without a 100% guarantee, the human race is going to die out because no one can ever be 100% certain. I don’t know the answer, but the questions and some assumptions drawn from them are getting dangerously illogical and unjustifiably hazardous to reputation and livilhood.

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