The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Extenuating Circumstances? No Mercy!

Posted on | June 13, 2016 | 19 Comments

Oakland, California, Police Chief Sean Whent resigned last week “after a sex scandal that began in his department spread to four other cities, with least 24 officers revealed to have slept with the same prostitute — some of them when she was just 16”:

The woman, who goes by the name of ‘Celeste Guap’, said that she slept with three of the two dozen officers when she was 17. She turned 18 last August. . . .
At least 14 of Whent’s officers had been sexually involved with Guap, whose mother is an Oakland police dispatcher.

When I saw this headline by Ed Driscoll at Instapundit, I was shocked and outraged. Police officers having sex with a teenage prostitute? What kind of decadence and depravity has taken hold in Oakland? We must put an end to this shameless vice and corruption! We must make an example of these officers by imposing the maximum punishment allowed by law! Why would law enforcement officers resort to such wickedness?

The investigation into the officers’ relationship began in September 2015, after married Officer Brendan O’Brien, who had been having an affair with Guap since she was 17, killed himself and named her and several officers in his suicide note.
Since then, two-dozen officers have been revealed to have slept with Guap, some of whom provided her with confidential information.
‘I think cops are fine. They’re cute and all, but it’s like one less officer that’s gonna arrest me,’ she told the East Bay Express.
Under the screen name ‘Superman,’ one officer wrote: ‘Want some advice? Stay off E14 from Fruitvale to 42(nd Avenue) tonight. There’s a UC (an undercover) operation.’
She replied: ‘Thank u daddy I appreciate it (I don’t) wanna go to jail lol.’
Guap told the East Bay Express that ‘Superman’ had put her in a taxi after she approached him drunk and lost. She began having sex with him a week later.

Teenage prostitute ‘Celeste Guap’ and Officer Brendan O’Brien.

Preventing police corruption is necessary, and obviously Oakland’s training procedures will need to be revised. Officers are sworn to obey an oath, to uphold the law. If laws against prostitution (California Penal Code Section 647) are not rigorously enforced, terrible consequences are certain to follow. Readers may accuse me of being puritanical and merciless in demanding maximum punishment for the officers implicated in this scandal and, while you’re at it, go ahead and accuse me of hypocrisy. What would I do, if I were a police officer confronted by “Celeste Guap,” who asked me to disregard my sworn duty to enforce California Penal Code Section 647 in exchange for her, uh, services?

Ah, but this is mere hypothetical speculation, you see. I am a journalist, not a police officer, and hypothetical speculation is high on the list of practices a journalist should be careful to avoid. Also, remember that while the First Amendment protects our rights of free speech and a free press, the Fifth Amendment protects us against self-incrimination. You have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Furthermore, you have the right to an attorney, and to have your attorney present during questioning.

Why would a journalist memorize the Miranda warning? Well, I wasn’t always a journalist. Once upon a time, I was long-haired teenage dopehead — it was the ’70s, man, and I was a Democrat back then — and a juvenile delinquent learns lessons about law enforcement that most journalists probably never learn. One ironic consequence is that I have no pity for criminals, especially stupid criminals who think they can get with their crimes, but then expect mercy when they get caught. (Ken White’s commentary about the Brock Turner case at Stanford is enlightening in this regard.) What shall we do with police officers who think they can get away with having sex with a teenage prostitute? No pity! No mercy!

“Lead us not into temptation” we are told to pray. Perhaps you sinners should thank God you never faced temptation like “Celeste Guap.”

Perhaps God will have mercy on police officers who violate the law, but California Penal Code Section 647 doesn’t mention “mercy.”



19 Responses to “Extenuating Circumstances? No Mercy!”

  1. Harry D Dullard
    June 13th, 2016 @ 10:19 am

    “Her mother is an Oakland police dispatcher”?! And she works the streets when not have sex with a plethora of Alameda County’s finest?
    And I thought I had been numbed to the depravity of modern America. Gesù Cristo.

  2. NeoWayland
    June 13th, 2016 @ 10:36 am

    Maggie McNeill regularly reports on police corruption involving sex workers. She’s another small “l” libertarian. Ms. McNeill and I share the opinion that prohibition creates more crime than the thing being prohibited.

  3. Quartermaster
    June 13th, 2016 @ 10:52 am

    I have long had problems with Cops. Don’t get me wrong as cops are needed, but they arrest people for the very things they often do themselves. The prototypical offense is speeding, which the cops here in the mountains do routinely. No, they are not on a call every time they blow my doors off. Well, perhaps they got a call for some free coffee at Waffle House….

    Still, they shouldn’t be writing tickets, or arresting people, for the very things they do routinely. If they can’t keep their own house clean, they simply need to turn in the badge.

  4. Martin Davies
    June 13th, 2016 @ 11:05 am

    ” Readers may accuse me of being puritanical and merciless in demanding maximum punishment for the officers implicated in this scandal…”

    Absolutely correct. It undermines respect for the law. People are going to think, rightly, that if Cops can’t be bothered to obey the Law, why should I?

  5. robertstacymccain
    June 13th, 2016 @ 11:17 am

    There are CHILDREN in this world, OK?

    Jonah Goldberg has remarked that all libertarian arguments end, once children are involved.

    Is there any decent parent who wants their children to grow up in a neighborhood infested by porn shops and strip clubs? No, of course not.

    Let us extend the argument further and ask, do parents want their children exposed to pornography or lured into prostitution? Answer again: Of course not. So if we wish to protect young people against these evils, we cannot just wave our hands and say “victimless crime” and expect that this libertarian tolerance of vice will have no consequences. Oh, sure, maybe we can protect our children from these dangers, but somebody’s daughter is going to be turning tricks, and somebody’s husband is going to be infected with diseases, and if you think this evil will never harm you or your family, you had better think again.

  6. NeoWayland
    June 13th, 2016 @ 11:31 am

    All right, it’s going to be one of those discussions, isn’t it?

    Is a child more damaged by the presence of bars and liquor stores in the neighborhood? Undeniably a major source of domestic violence, right there in front of the children.

    Gun stores, selling bullets and actual guns in the neighborhood. How many shootings were there last week? How many more until we wake up to the danger?

    And then there’s banking. Why, your own Book says that the love of money is the root of all evil. All those banks, offering people cheap credit cards, sub-prime loans on houses, and ATMs on every street corner. Obviously the very foundation of a Materialistic Socieity.

  7. NeoWayland
    June 13th, 2016 @ 11:39 am

    In all my time here, I’ve never made any secret that my views about nudity and sex obviously do not match the “societal norms.”

    Nor have I insisted that those norms be changed to accommodate me and my beliefs.

    All I have insisted on is that people are free to make their own choices, but that means accepting responsibility for those choices.

    When it comes to sex, my first big rule is consenting adults.

    I’m willing to accept the age of consent as a working compromise even though I know a child has been exposed to sexuality pretty much since the day they were born. You can’t be human and avoid it. We’re wired for it, we long for a simple touch when don’t have it.

  8. NeoWayland
    June 13th, 2016 @ 11:47 am

    Now I could point out that that many problems brought about by bootleg liquor were caused not by the liquor but by it being illegal. How it was made, if it would blind you, what had been added to it, these things happened because there’s no quality control if it’s illegal and doesn’t have to maintain a reputation.

    Something very similar happens with most illegal drugs today.

    What you’re objecting to is the exchange of sex for money. Given your beliefs, I can understand that. But why should your beliefs apply to anyone else?

    Yes, there are sexual diseases. But if prostitution was legal, sex workers and clients would be screened. Insurance companies would insist on it.

  9. NeoWayland
    June 13th, 2016 @ 11:52 am

    The thing that is missing here is not morality, it’s responsibility.

    We don’t wall off the liquor stores and bars. We tell people drink responsibly. We don’t bar people from buying a gun. We tell them to use it responsibly. We don’t take credit cards from people before they can use them. We tell them they are responsible for paying the bill.

    Vice laws remove people’s responsibility. Vice laws tell people that we don’t think they can be adults. Vice laws say that no matter what, certain people are never going to be “good enough.”

  10. julie
    June 13th, 2016 @ 12:00 pm

    Notably, this girl started her career at the age of 12. But hey, some 12 year olds apparently are cool with having sex for cash, and she has been pretty successful at it for at least six years now. It’s practically victimless and making it a crime just creates more crime. [/sarc]

  11. NeoWayland
    June 13th, 2016 @ 1:06 pm

    As I said, when it comes to sex, my first big rule is consenting adults.

    My second one is if you promised to be someone’s “one and only,” you’re off limits.

    I’m not going to speak for this young woman. I am going to say that the prostitution laws in this country are very screwed up and cause FAR more problems than they solve.

    And by the way, some cops use their “authority” and power to get free sex. The woman doesn’t even have to be a sex worker.

  12. Finrod Felagund
    June 13th, 2016 @ 1:54 pm

    I’ve long been of the opinion that if police officers, judges, or lawyers are convicted of a crime, the penalty should automatically be doubled.

  13. Finrod Felagund
    June 13th, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

    I once came up with a compromise proposal regarding prostitution: it should be illegal only if one of the parties is under the age of consent, or if one of the parties did not get consent from their legal partner (and in the latter case, the crime only applies to the one who did not get consent).

  14. Finrod Felagund
    June 13th, 2016 @ 2:00 pm

    Technically, the more accurate translation is that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

  15. NeoWayland
    June 13th, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

    Yes, you’re right.

  16. Kirby McCain
    June 13th, 2016 @ 4:58 pm

    It’s not who you know…

  17. mole
    June 13th, 2016 @ 6:41 pm

    Id go a step further, all people who make the laws should be under surveillance 24/7 and every infraction of the law they do punished immediately and with the maximum penalty automatically.
    After all they cant claim ignorance of the vast plethora of laws they require joe Citizen to abide by can they?

    This would lead to such a bonfire of petty regulations you could see it from the moon.

  18. DeadMessenger
    June 13th, 2016 @ 11:13 pm

    “See it from the moon” BAAAHAHAHAHA!

  19. Quartermaster
    June 14th, 2016 @ 8:16 am

    You left out the ‘w’