“Oh Arnold Layne. It’s not the same. Takes two to know. Why can’t you see?” — Syd Barrett
Those that live in the Houston area are well aware of the Deshaun Watson situation. Commenting on these cases is always difficult. He has been sued by 22 women. Two of those 22 women have gone to the police and filed criminal complaints. We learned yesterday that there were five additional women that the principal attorney, Tony Buzbee, chose not to pursue. For his part, Watson’s attorney came to the party with 18 women that had given Watson massages and reported no incident. I’m not so good at math, but 22 + 5 + 18 equals at least 45. This is in addition to whatever staff the team has. That’s a lot of massages,
We know only a few things. We know that Watson regularly gets massages. We know he has gone to Instagram to find therapists. We know what the women have all said. We know that he has denied it. From there, it’s all conjecture. The first woman to file a suit spoke yesterday. Her emotions were raw and real. It’s difficult to watch and listen and come away believing Watson. Then again, Watson hasn’t come out in public and made a statement.
We introduce all of these caveats to say this. there are a number of alarming things with these cases. We can extend it beyond Watson and include Matt Gaerz and Andrew Cuomo if we want to be balanced and thorough. However, we could include any high profile potential abuser in this discussion. Watson’s opening statement on Twitter seems innocent enough by itself, but when taken in concert with the overwhelming amount of accusations and the repetitive nature of the modus operandi.
Notice the line in the middle. “I have never treated any woman with anything but the utmost respect.” This was actually following the first filed lawsuit. 21 further lawsuits have come. On the one hand it is predictable. It was almost as if Watson were daring those other women to come forward. We see this behavior frequently from famous abusers and it is all too predictable. The huge question comes in what they believe themselves.
Does he honestly believe that he is treating all of these women with respect? Is he saying it just because he feels like it is in his best interest to say it? In some cases, you can see the wheels spinning in their head. Some people are duplicitous jackasses. They know very well what they are doing. Cuomo and Gaetz have certainly been painted that way for good reason. With Watson I’m not so sure. I’m guessing a large part of him has been caught off-guard with all of these accusations. I’m sure a large part of him still believes he has done nothing wrong.
That’s the scary part of this whole deal. Most of us know monsters exist in the world and we’ve made our peace with it. There are all kinds of monsters. There are people that routinely do evil in the world. Not much can be done for them. We often call them sociopaths or psychopaths. They know right and wrong and see human weakness. For whatever reason they have chosen to exploit weakness instead of protecting and nurturing it. Fine. The world is made up of all kinds of people.
There are also normally decent people that occasionally do horrible things. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know I have blurred the lines a time or two in my life. Like most other people it wasn’t an overt decision to blur the lines. One decision or circumstance led to another decision or circumstance. Suddenly you look at where you are and start getting the cold sweats. Maybe some of us were lucky in that we had someone that cared that told us we were approaching the line. Nine out of ten us didn’t cross it. When we saw ourselves getting close we retreated immediately.
The ones that cross the line can be put in two groups. The sociopaths and psychopaths couldn’t give two craps about the line. They want to be gratified and see something they want. They recognize there is a line and they always know where it is so they can stay out of trouble. They just won’t let it stop them. They just cross the line. Those people are easy to understand once you admit to yourself that some people have no conscience.
The ones that always get me are the ones that seem to be ignorant of the line. When you have 20+ women accusing you of some form of assault or abuse we aren’t talking about stumbling over the line once on accident. This is a compulsion. Yes, we don’t know all of the facts, but we can probably put a picture together in our head. At the very least, it appears Watson has a compulsory need to recreate the same situation over and over. Yes, in isolation that situation might be perfectly legal, but when repeated and done purposely it is abuse. The fact that he may not know this is frightening.
Many of us go through the world always worried that we will do something to offend others. I am always checking myself and scrutinizing my words and deeds to determine if I am doing or saying the right thing. Sometimes I fail. I’m human. The thought of doing something so horrible to someone else without knowing is truly frightening. I couldn’t imagine doing it to 20, 30, or even more. Maybe that’s the difference between normal people and predators. Maybe he knows and just doesn’t care.