Billy Llewellyn, of Hanover Va., holds a sign in front of the Virginia State Capitol Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Credit: Steve Helber / AP

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What is to be done when students in a public school perpetrate sexual violence on a peer? It’s complex in order to protect the alleged victim at the same time authorities must protect the rights of the accused. Two Maine high school youths allegedly assaulted a male student with a bottle. I guess we should ban bottles. That will end that behavior for good! “No,” people say? It’s an inanimate object and will harm no one. It was the perpetrators perverting its use that caused the damage. Oh, I see. It was the people who offended, not the weapon itself, then. I understand now.

So help me out here, please. How should we apply that distinction when people use other objects to harm others? Inanimate objects are innocent things used to do bad. Well whose fault is it then when an inanimate rifle is the weapon? Oh, if that is different, please tell me more.

How is a rifle more to blame when it does harm than a bottle which also injured someone? I have to suggest we ought to think about this some more.

Dawn Coffin


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