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May 10, 2012

Rape of the Lock: Mitt Romney's Vicious High School Prank Against A Likely-Gay Classmate Led Inexorably To The Victim's Death By Natural Circumstances 46 Years Later

That's how I read the Washington Post's article about Romney.

The article attempts a Life of Two Men structure, documenting Romney's rise and his victim's fall. Most egregiously, it contrasts the very-much-later-in-life award of a Distinguished Alumni honor for Romney with this guy's death, both in 2005, as if these things are related.

Along the way it also notes there was some "veiled racism" at the school -- a football coach gave the nickname "Kamikazee" to a Japanese player --which doesn't have anything to do with Romney.

Oh, right, it was the "culture that shaped him." Also known as "America in 1959." I guess Obama wouldn't have had that insidious influence as a youngster, being off in Indonesia and such.

Anyway, here's the Vicious Prank that led to this man's Downward Spiral and eventually his Slow-Motion Death By Hazing in 2005.

Yes, he died in 2005. But by the way this article is written, it seriously attempts to suggest, between the lines, that his death by natural causes (at age 58 or thereabouts) was somehow all traceable back to Mitt Romney and the One Vicious Prank they could dig up.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

...

“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” said Buford, the school’s wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was “terrified,” he said. “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.”

“It was a hack job,” recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. “It was vicious.”

“He was just easy pickins,” said Friedemann, then the student prefect, or student authority leader of Stevens Hall, expressing remorse about his failure to stop it.

The Washington Post continues on like this, documenting Romney's pranks, attempting to make them seem sinister. Like, when he poses as cop and rousts some fellow students for having bottles of alcohol in their car, they talk about the "terror" of the incident, because, you know, the students could be expelled for having alcohol, and that terror hangs over them.

Until they find out it's a gag, of course. But the Washington Post underscores that "terror."

One thing they only mention later: Romney was a senior at an all-boys school, and high in the unofficial leadership of it.

Now, what happens when boys are in that situation is that they engage in hazing and power-plays. In British schools, older boys will often rape younger boys. It usually has bad consequences to put boys in charge of other boys. Look at any fraternity during Hell Week.

However, this seems to have been the only mean thing Romney did in his high school career.

Did I mention this was high school?

Anyway, back to how this One Prank destroyed this man's life forever and led to his Suicide By Natural Causes 46 years later.

After lights out, John Lauber often left his door open....

“He was very quiet, not a jock,” said Steph Lady. “Very soft-spoken. I know nothing, probably gay, but who knows. We were so stupid and naïve. I know there was homosexuality there but we didn’t even have a word for it. And there was homophobia then, too.”

Victim. Oppressor. Writes itself, doesn't it?

On an overcast Saturday, David Craig, a senior prefect and day student, drove his car down Martell Drive along the school grounds and saw a figure duck into the hedges. He thought the person might be trespassing and stopped, only to find Lauber puffing on a cigarette. In a move that he said he later regretted as an excess of the “dorm trooper” mentality instilled by Cranbrook, Craig reported Lauber to the headmaster. Soon after, Lauber was expelled.

“He just disappeared,” Lady said.

Sudden disappearances at Cranbrook were not unheard of. Students might pass a dorm neighbor on the way to class and come back hours later, with all their belongings gone and their beds stripped by maintenance staff. Bad behavior and bad grades were not tolerated.

Yes, a strict private school is similar to the Soviet gulag and should be discussed using similar language.

...

On June 12, 1965, Romney concluded his Cranbrook career at a commencement ceremony at the Christ Church, in which his father delivered a keynote address reported on by the local papers.

“This is a special occasion for us as a family,” George Romney told the gathered boys before emphasizing that religion and “the one girlfriend whom you finally take the greatest interest in” and good health habits were critical for a successful life. So, he said, was character. “Developing character is going to be more important than your education from now on.” The ceremony concluded with all the boys singing a final rendition of their school song, “Forty years on.”

“Forty years on, when afar and asunder

Parted are those who are singing today,

When you look back, and forgetfully wonder

What you were like in your work and your play,

Then, it may be, there will often come o’er you,

Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song –

Visions of boyhood shall float them before you,

Echoes of dreamland shall bear them along,

Follow up! Follow up! Follow up!”

See, this is the bridge used to connect 1959 with 2004/2005. After all, Romney once quoted a poem called "Forty Years On." So he admits they're related!

Forty years on, Mitt Romney accepted the school’s 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award.

A year earlier, John Joseph Lauber died at a Seattle hospital.

From Advanced Forcible Haircut Trauma, but no newspapers ever reported that.

Mitt Romney has now apologized for pranks which "might have gone too far."

And yet John Joesph Lauber, the Human Seamus, remains dead.

None of your apologies will bring this shattered man back to life, Governor.

You murdered him with those scissors. The wound just needed 46 years to claim its victim.


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posted by Ace at 12:35 PM

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