They call themselves the Spur Posse and they are studs. Eight of them used to be called alleged rapists, juvenile alleged rapists, but that's been all but dropped. Only a single charge of lewd conduct against one of the boys remains.
Most of the Spurs go to Lakewood High School, but you probably already know that. Their sexual exploits (nee felony assaults) are national news.
In the heat of an investigation that he thought was actually going someplace, one of the Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators talked for attribution about "the tip of the iceberg." He called the case unique in his 21 years of enforcing the law. He sounded gung-ho, and he sounded aghast.
I was too. What the district attorney now calls "lewd conduct" involved a 10-year-old girl. The Spurs' defenders called her, and others, a liar and a slut.
The tip of that iceberg may be buried again, but it still gives off a chill.
Said a 15-year-old freshman girl on hailing the return of the Spurs to school, "There are so many girls out there who want to sleep with these guys. They are so fine. They wouldn't have to rape anyone."
Because, stupid, only losers rape. Yo, Mike Tyson! Hand that girl a beer.
If you call these sexual encounters one-night stands, you might be revealing your age. Lots of teen-agers call them "hook-ups."
I am imagining a virtual reality type thing, fast and flashy, seemingly real, awesome and discombobulating at the same time. Alienating, the intellectuals would say. Points, say the studs.
One hook-up equals a point. No girl may "count" twice.
The way things are going, maybe somebody's already working on a new game show for syndication later on. Score to beat? How about Wilt Chamberlain's 20,000. To the Spurs, Wilt's a super stud.
And, naturally, the "points" are trash.
The highest reported Spur total is 66. But this 19-year-old would like to make further comment on that. He's been telling everyone who will write it down that his score would be even higher if it weren't for the girlfriend he's got hanging on his arm. This means he loves her, I guess.
Oh, and this young man buys his condoms at Price Club, in the econo size. This, I imagine, is supposed to mean he's a responsible kind. The guy knows how to shop.
The parents of these teen-agers have been quoted widely in the press. One father boasted of the "virile specimens" he has for sons. Another shrugged off the scoring as something that boys have always done.
A Spur mother found it "sad" that the girls "have such low self-esteem that they would do this." What about her son? "It's a testosterone thing," says Mom.
HEY! Will someone please call time-out?
Or if that doesn't work, how about lining all these people up in front of a fire hose?
Forget all this "oh well" blather about a '90s sexual revolution, a youthful revolt against the prudish and the cautious in the age of AIDS and other sexually transmitted ills.
What is happening at Lakewood High--and who knows where else--is sexual pollution. And it smells.
Naturally, among those who really do "get it" there has been a considerable amount of hand-wringing and tsk-tsking about family values in decline. Lakewood High is being seen as a symbol of far too lenient times, of youth going with the flow even as it casts them adrift.
If nothing else, it shows once again that the parental "Do as I say, not as I do" approach has never worked.
But what do you do when even parents encourage their kids to "get as much as they can?"
That is, of course, if they are the parents of boys.
Don't try to figure out this social equation by the new math. Double standards never compute, even if they still rule.
No, I'm not saying that girls should set up their own score cards, even things out, as I've heard some teen-agers suggest. Regardless of who racks up "points," sexual competitors--or should that be sexual predators?--are destined to lose.
Only it doesn't look that way to the Spur Posse right now. They were the big men on campus before, and these days they're literally getting cheered.
But not by everyone, of course. Many are angry that the district attorney didn't seem to take the original charges serious enough. Confusion is rife. Were girls raped or just angry about being relegated to points?
The deputy district attorney assigned to the case, while still investigating more serious charges against some suspects, says maybe she could prove charges of consensual unlawful intercourse with a minor, technically a felony in the eyes of the law.
Except she says the district attorney's policy is not to file a charge if the boy and girl are of similar ages and social experiences.
"We feel that is better left to the parents and churches and social organizations (to handle the issue)" she said.
But what happens when these pillars of society just throw up their hands?
Look to the Spur Posse for a clue.