Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Even the Losers Get Lucky Sometimes

Normally, on the day after the Baseball Hall of Fame announces its incoming class, The Common Man would dutifully go through who deserves the honor (Rickey Henderson, oh God, Rickey Henderson) and who does not (Jim Rice, oh...my...God, Jim Rice). But The Common Man simply couldn't let the day go by without chronicling an amazing story out of Alaska.

Alaska, as you may have learned while Sarah Palin was still relevant, has the most rapes and sexual assaults per capita of any state in the union, likely stemming from a disproportionately male population (why doesn't the DNR let Governor Palin thin the herd from a plane like with wolves?), long and depressing winters, and excessive drinking (because of the long and depressing winters). Indeed, Alaska's problem with sexual assault has reached epidemic levels, as more than 77 women, per 100,000 reported being raped in 2007. A study out of the University of Alaska-Anchorage found that the average age of more almost 1,000 sexual assault victims between 2003 and 2004 was just 16 years old, and that the average age of the offender was 29. It is frightening to think of the culture in which young Alaskans are raised, where such behavior has become normalized.

In an effort to raise money to aid victims of sexual abuse, Standing Together Against Rape, a non-profit group out of Anchorage, sponsored a lottery drawing in conjunction with the Lucky Time Pull Tabs company. The estimated jackpot came to $500,000. And, remarkably (or perhaps predictably) the contest didn't exactly get the winner it hoped for. CNN reported this morning that "Alec Ahsoak, who according to the state sex offender registry was convicted in 1993 and 2000 for sexual abuse of a minor, came forward Saturday with the winning ticket for the $500,000 Lucky Time Pull Tabs jackpot."

Lottery officials, of course, are flabergasted. The group's executive director, Nancy Haag, dryly told CNN, "It's not how we had envisioned the story going." Indeed. She added, "With a ranking that high, it's ironic that the person who wins is a convicted sex offender." Normally, she'd be right. But perhaps, in this case, it's entirely appropriate, and something that should shame and stir Alaskans into action to protect their daughters and wives and sisters. To create a culture in which rape and sexual assault are not the norm.

Either way, this is the saddest funny story The Common Man has ever heard. And he hopes that, if nothing else, all the attention that has been paid to Alaska's sexual assault problem will spur the state and its people to some kind of action, since the women of Alaska have had to suffer in relative obscurity way up there before this.

As for Mr. Ahsoak, it would be nice if the lottery or the non-profit could refuse to give the money to him, redo the drawing, and give it to someone who doesn't have multiple convictions for sexual assault on their resume. Despite President of Lucky Time Pull Tabs' assurances that Ahsoak has decided "to buy a house and said he was going to donate part of it to God, and, you know, charity," The Common Man doesn't expect anyone believes that this stain on the great name of manhood and masculinity will be at all altruistic with his new wealth; and he expects that the money will stay in Ahsoak's possession until he blows through it, or it is taken from him. But The Common Man is certain that witholding the prize is not feasible or legal. Refusing to pay up, or returning the money he used to buy the ticket would probably be grounds for a lengthy and expensive legal proceding that the charity and the pull tab company would not win. Better to pay the bastard and hope that he freezes to death on his new snowmobile or something. One would hope that Mr. Ahsoak's victims could get a little of that money too, before all is said and done, and it's all pissed away.

1 comment:

Zach Sanders said...

Damn. Didn't see that coming.