Readers have the benefit of more information as they peruse this; at this writing, the Kavanagh accuser had just agreed to testify.

The issue is inappropriate sexual advances alleged to have taken place more than 35 years ago during a high school party.

The case is lining up interestingly, because both accuser and accused are credible, with lots of support on both sides. This is a case that deserves a hearing; lawmakers can determine whether it happened, and if it happened, is it enough to disqualify and derail Judge Brett Kavanagh’s Supreme Court nomination?

This is interesting because of the strong denial by Kavanagh, and his statement that he wasn’t even at the party where his accuser says the sexual misconduct occurred. The span of years will make it hard to prove with certainty, but it seems that Kavanagh’s friend, identified by the accuser as an eyewitness, has denied that it happened. However, at this writing, he was unwilling to testify. Perhaps a subpoena has changed that.

This is more than “he said, she said,” because it rests on a verifiable foundation; he was at the party or he wasn’t, his friend either saw something, or can testify he didn’t.

What is bothersome, in addition to the act itself, if he did it, is that he now lies. If he didn’t do it, good for him for the vehement denials; he is innocent until proven guilty.

If he did it, his course of action might have been a “mea culpa” and frank talk about his party-boy past with a sincere apology. The women standing up for him include former girlfriends, coworkers, subordinates and others – all are firm that Kavanagh is not a predator and is a decent person with high moral character. That said, if he doesn’t have the integrity or humility to apologize for over-the-top, boorish activity, lying instead, that should disqualify him from this lifelong position on our highest court. Standing up and being honest is the backbone of a judge, not the opposite.

Most of us consider ourselves honorable and would hope others would come to our defense if something like this arose.

Looking back at high school, there are moments considered “not my finest.” Two stand out.

One was killing a squirrel with a BB gun, and then sawing off one paw to wear around my neck. After shooting the poor animal, I was unable to cut off the paw; my hunter friend did it for me. I put it in formaldehyde for several weeks, then put an eye-screw into its bone and wore it around my neck like a rabbit’s foot. Also on the list, years earlier, was throwing a frog high into the air, the frog hitting the pavement to a most unpleasant fate.

One hopes that karma is based on a body of behavior, not moments in a misguided youth’s life. Peer pressure and finding your way in the world can come with moments when bad decisions get in the way of common sense and decency. Never would I have done that to a cat or a dog, but there was no personal attachment to these random animals; not until the moment of my decision.

Anyone who knows me well might find it hard to believe. Many might come to my defense if I denied it happened, telling you the truth, as most people know it; I cannot kill a fly. I’m the one who rescues the spiders from the shower. My wife has to set the mouse traps and put lobsters in the pot. The squirrel was the paradigm change; even though I wore the necklace with apparent pride, it helped me realize that all life was precious and killing for sport didn’t fit who I was or wanted to be. These were not rites of passage; rather a misguided attempt to fit in and be part of a tribe.

Judge as you see fit; there is shame in telling the story. It wasn’t an accident like the time as an adult I hit a deer and wanted to drive over it to put it out of its misery, and couldn’t. I can eat deer meat provided to me by others, but not that deer. The neighbors took it.

My point is that Kavanagh could be both the boorish young man who accosted his accuser and an upright, righteous man; lying about it is the place where judgment comes in.

You don’t have to wear it on your sleeve, but you have to hit it head-on if it is truth. They say the truth will set you free, but first it might make you miserable.


“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

— Leonard Cohen, musician and writer (1934-2016)