A Little Too Willing to Forgive the Excesses of Youth

In his Washington Post article this week, Jason Horowitz writes of the following now well-publicized incident: “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.”  Several commentators have stated that this event should not weigh in consideration of the man Romney is today, and that most of us have done things at a similar age that we now regret.  Romney himself has apologized, though he professes no memory of  doing it.

Indeed there are many similar incidents in the personal histories of many men – fraternity hazings being a prime example.  But too, let us not ignore the simple truth that such an act is criminal.  Restraining a person and cutting his hair would be  false imprisonment and battery, crimes in any state.  If this had happened in a public school, instead of a private one, I can imagine that a police report would have been filed.  So I leave it up to the conscience of the reader and the voter whether to weigh this incident in deciding on Mr. Romney’s fitness to be president.  But let us not move on by simply claiming that “we all did things of which we are not proud.”  Neither I nor my friends every physically attacked a high school classmate.

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