I Can’t Relate

Is everybody a victim these days? It’s kind of hard to find someone who doesn’t have something to complain about and I want to feel empathy, but it can be hard. Some of these “victims” just don’t seem very victimized.

Yes, I know I’m complaining about people complaining. I couldn’t write this column every week if the world wasn’t filled with irony. But perhaps you can empathize with my lack of empathy.

Case in point: a lawsuit filed the other day in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of a “John Doe” challenging his expulsion from the University of Southern California. It seems the petitioner got booted out after his father got indicted for making payoffs to get the kid into the college. The kid’s application said he was a star athlete. He wasn’t.

(Side note to counsel here and those of you may represent similar clients: I’m being intentionally vague on the details here because I know how to do that. If you want to keep your client’s name secret, don’t submit a 58-page petition with lots of back story. It took me about a minute to figure who the kid was.)

The student, at least according to his lawsuit, didn’t know about the phony application. Imagine his surprise when they handed him a uniform.

I admit I have a little trouble believing this, hard-hearted cynic that I am, but let’s give the kid the benefit of the doubt. Suppose he had nothing to do with the fraud. Should he get to stay in the school if he might not have gotten in otherwise?

The petition says the student didn’t get a fair hearing because the standard for expulsion was never explained — i.e. whether or not it mattered that he didn’t know about or should have known about the phony application.

So what we have here is a rich kid whose dad got him into school and may and may not now be paying a lot for lawyers to file what could become expensive litigation. I admit the kid may be having a hard time, but I’m feeling hard-hearted about this.

Maybe all that money should be going toward therapy.

I’m a terrible person.

I’m also a terrible person because for some reason I can’t believe all those many, many groups with wonderful aspirational names are really fighting for us. I’m so darn cynical.

Take, for example, an alleged outfit called Center for American Liberty. I say alleged because — as I’ve noted many a time before — any yahoo in a basement wearing pajamas can claim to be a movement and get publicity. This Center may be for real but check out their website yourself — it sure seems like just three people boasting about filing two lawsuits.

One is against Antifa (i.e. anti-antifa, something that should be a Jamaican relative) and the other is a pro-Covid suit against the governor of California.

Their other boast is that their founder has appeared on Fox News. You can make of that what you will.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that but I’m having that empathy problem again. Is this what American Liberty is all about? Maybe it is.

I came across the Center because it has filed new lawsuits against the City of Los Angeles and Alameda County. Much as I hate to admit it, the Center may have a good point. All it wants is public records of the scientific data used to justify assorted Covid-19 orders.

You wouldn’t think a group (or three people) who want to open up the schools would care that much about science. You’d think there’s a lot of real science readily available about Covid that would satisfy their curiosity. But what’s wrong with educating these people?

Instead, if the lawsuit is to be believed, all the Center got from Los Angeles after making a request was a bunch of pages with links to the city’s postings on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Nextdoor and the Emergency Management Department website.

Among the link titles: “Burning Out on the Pandemic? You’re Not Alone;” “Friendship Line California;” “Price Gouging”; “Interpersonal Violence” and “Free hot lunches from DOD.”

Science isn’t what it used to be.

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