A lot of people are now officially pissed off about State Rep. Kathleen Passidomo's statement from last Tuesday, defending Florida's "sagging pants bill." (Which is a mostly fine bill, by the way.) Just because I can still hardly believe it myself, here's that quote once again:
There was an article about an 11-year-old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she dressed up like a 21-year-old prostitute. And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it's incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas won't happen to our students.
Jesus! No matter how much I read it, it never stops sounding crazy!
The Buzz was the first news organ to report the quote, and I'm pretty sure we were the second. The Juice's story on the subject has now been quoted at The Huffington Post, RawStory.com, and ThinkProgress. (New York Magazine picked up the story, too, but declined to mention us.)
On the evidence of the comments generated by those stories, Kathleen Passidomo's received quite a few angry letters today. (If you think she deserves a few more, you may submit them here.) She's got a pat response down, which she neatly summarized for NaplesNews.com:
The blame is solely on the boys for what occurred. Those kids were going to find somebody. They're predators. They're going to be dealt with in the judicial system. But the young girl has to deal with this for the rest of her life. My whole comment was, how do we protect kids from these predators?
Well, no, that wasn't her whole comment, but let's let that pass. According to ThinkProgress, Passidomo has also insisted that her controversial remark merely parroted this New York Times article. "Thank you for your concern," Passidomo allegedly wrote, "I was not referring to my own opinion to the cause of the rape, but to the cause implied by a March 8th article of The New York Times." Fair enough, if Passidomo is copping to being an unthinking automaton who regurgitates whatever hare-brained idea the media foist upon her. Except that the Times story in no way suggests that the 11-year-old was raped because of her clothes. Not once. That notion was Passidomo's invention, no matter what she says.
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