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From the Editor


Sometimes there is too much equality, sometimes not enough.


There are two interesting stories in the newspaper today (21 May 1997) on which I cannot resist
commenting. A continuing and very serious issue is that of Lt. Kelly Flinn, graduate of the Air Force
Academy and first female B-52 bomber pilot. She is charged with adultery, lying, and disobeying an
order – all felonies in the Air Force. Another issue, also serious, but so simple as to be silly, is the case of
Melissa Raglin, 12, who has been forbidden from playing catcher on her Babe Ruth baseball team
because she refuses to wear a protective cup.

When I was a girl, I could not play Little League because of concern that girls might injure their
reproductive organs. This was despite the obvious (but I guess not to everyone) natural protection of skin,
fat and muscle. I guess it was accepted that reproduction was our only function, thus no risks could
be taken. For the boys however, apparently reproduction was less important because a "cup" (where did that name come from, anyway?), was considered adequate protection for their reproductive parts which, um, hang right out there. I thought this backward mentality was long behind us until I read that Melissa was playing outfield because she refused wear a cup. James Stewart, Babe Ruth commissioner for the Southeast Region, was quoted in an AP newspaper article as saying, "It's for her protection. A blow there to a young girl could have devastating long term effects. It's no different than her mask." Uh huh. Well, I think there are problems with this analysis.

First, there is the anatomical mismatch between the location of the cup (but I've never worn one, so I could
be wrong) and the location of certain delicate tissue in the female anatomy. Second, I have seen men who got hit in the groin (even those wearing cups) fall to the ground and spend minutes in near paralysis
eventually get up and walk away with no permanent damage. I guess women do not have this recuperative
ability.

This whole controversy is just stupid. Since the men in authority can't see the complete illogic of their
decision, I can only conclude that they are thinking only with that part of the brain governed by instinct
rather than intelligence – their lower brain. Perhaps very low. Since there are men in the world who still
can't get past the minor hangup of having girls play "boys' sports" then it's no wonder that cases such as
the Flinn case are still common.

If you don't know about the Kelly Flinn adultery/lying/disobeying-an-order case, then you
have been observing in Antarctica. While this case is much more complicated than the Raglin case, my
bottom line is simple: I wonder if she was set up.

At first, I tended to have sympathy for Flinn – the guy she slept with was supposedly her first love, and
she had a lapse of judgement. Being in for the first time certainly compromises one's personal judgement.
However, this was a darned big lapse, especially considering she's an Air Force officer, and as such, she
should have been aware of the consequences. But apart from her problems with judgement in this
situation, what kind of an officer was she? What was the quality of her record in the Air Force?

Flinn was the Air Force's superstar woman - Academy graduate and first female B-52 pilot. Impressive. The
Air Force made her their poster girl. Then, she committed adultery, a felony in the Air Force. It is
reasonable to assume, and the press has widely reported that, many (male) Air Force officers have
committed this same crime. (A friend of mine commented, "I thought that adultery was a requirement for promotion!') But the public hasn't heard about these other cases with nearly the same volume as this case. Reportedly, male officers in this situation typically receive a reprimand and a fine, not a court martial. If Flinn was an exceptional officer until this incident, why the aggressive, atypical prosecution of her?

Is the Air Force's staunch pursuit of her case part of an effort to show publicly that women are guilty of
sexual misconduct too? With all the attention to Tailhook and the Aberdeen sexual misconduct
incidents, does the military need to target a woman's sexual misconduct to show that both sexes misbehave
and are prosecuted equally? If Flinn was a bad officer– disobeying orders and lying - how did she get to be
such a superstar? Surely all officers slip up once in a while, if this is the first time for her, why such
aggressive pursuit? Why couldn't they give her a fine and a reprimand like they have done for so many
other officers?

These inconsistencies don't make sense to me. That's why I wonder if she was set up: the Air Force's point
being that women simply can't be trusted – even the most outstanding female in the Air Force chose not to
abide by Air Force law. The taxpayers paid millions of dollars to train her, the Air Force supported her
and touted her publicly as a superstar. But, her conduct is so egregious that she could be court martialed. Even the best of women is not good enough to be in the Air Force. I just wonder.

Last update before going to press (23 May 1997): Raglin is back at catcher, wearing some sort of female
jock strap. The Air Force has announced that it will grant Flinn a general (as opposed to honorable) discharge, in lieu of a court martial.

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