Democrat Congressman Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) was elected to Congress in the Democrat wave year of 2006. Prior to serving in Congress, representing California’s Central Valley, he was an engineer working in the energy field. He was also an aspiring novelist.
His single work, “Terrorism and Fear: Enter the Third Level,” was published in 1994 and paints a dystopian vision of nuclear war and its aftermath. At a critical point in the novel, one of the lead characters, a college student named Sandra, is brutally raped and murdered. But that isn’t the most disturbing part.
In the aftermath of the attack, a neighbor of Sandra’s struggles to understand the events that have just unfolded. An authority figure, a veteran police detective weirdly opines on evolution and rape.
The officer answered, “I’m not convinced that’s the real reason [to hunt and fight] men are stronger. Look, how come a man has enough strength to force a woman into have sex? I believed men evolved enough strength precisely so that a man could take a woman against her will. In hunter gatherer societies, men from one group would steal a woman from another group and you can bet she wouldn’t willingly submit, at least at first. It was a way to help insure that that small groups wouldn’t become inbred. And, in fact, if the propagation of the species depended on the willing participation of both parties, you would have fewer species around today.”
Kind of odd, isn’t it? I had never before heard the theory that man evolved for the express purpose of raping women. Nor had I heard the notion that rape was critical to the survival of our, and presumably other, species. And this theory isn’t advanced by some crank character but a character with authority, a homicide detective with 25 years experience.
And the detective isn’t really much of a character in the novel. We don’t even learn his name, so it isn’t like McNerney is drawing out the complexities of a major figure in the book or exploring various parts of his character. Rather, he is a very minor character who seems to have been introduced for the sole purpose of advancing this strange theory about evolution and rape.
Obviously, this is a novel. And authors should have all the latitude in the world to explore even the more heinous parts of the human condition. It’s not only how art advances, but how we can come to understand or at least cope with things that seem beyond comprehension.
That said, it’s a weird theory McNerney is advancing. As he stands for reelection, his Democrat party has bizarrely tried to push the issue of rape into the political debate. He might want to answer whether he really thinks rape is vital to the survival of the human species or if that bit was just a bit of artistic license — something to spice up an otherwise turgid novel.
(An excerpt of the novel, containing the rape scene is below.)