This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I went to BYU years ago. I don't recall signing an Honor Code. It's possible I did; it's one of those things a guy like me would have immediately forgotten about.

My time at Brigham Young University was limited to a few random night classes until I finally took the right one. A professor introduced me to something in such a way that it seized my interest and never let go. I dropped out, went home, and eventually turned up here.

Although my stay in Cougarville was short, I nevertheless managed to run afoul of authority on several occasions. I don't believe my sins were reported to the Honor Code Office. Maybe they were. If so, it never made any difference of which I was aware.

The first time was a parking ticket. This could be construed as a violation of my personal honor. I was a cop in a nearby city during my time at the Y and I had deliberately parked my family car in a permit-only lot. I got a ticket that cost enough to re-gild the Angel Moroni. But since it was my intentional bad, I paid it without whining.

Then there was the time I was asked to stop bringing a gun to class. Normally, I kept my off-duty gun and badge under wraps. But one evening I forgot and stood up in class without my jacket.

This was back in the '80s, at a time when BYU asked all off-duty officers of various agencies not to go about campus armed lest it offend some of the finer sensibilities there. Nobody wanted anybody believing BYU wasn't perfectly safe.

Being a cop, I knew better. When the gun-in-class incident developed into a formal request to leave my job at home, I refused in a manner that was an Honor Code violation. Again, nothing ever came of it.

Finally, there was the speeding ticket incident. One evening a student recognized me as the cop who had stopped him a few months prior. Reason: 55 mph in a 20 mph school zone. I remember this particular detail only because the matter ended up in court. He lost.

He was still upset about it when we encountered each other in the hall one evening. He wanted to process an outraged appeal then and there. Maybe he was pre-law.

He got nasty when I explained that the matter was over as far as I was concerned and he should go bother someone else. He followed me to class, badgering me with the nonsense that I was off-duty and therefore not technically able to tell him to stop bothering me.

A short and completely verbal exchange occurred. I managed to convince him that being off-duty substantially altered the rules of engagement in my favor. Maybe he was pre-med, because he took off.

He beefed me through official channels. If it went anywhere, I didn't hear about it. By then I had dropped out of BYU and gone home to beat a manual Royal typewriter into a new career.

All of these incidents were more or less dishonorable depending on how you regard honor. Human beings aren't very good at that. For centuries, we shot, stabbed, and beat one another to death in idiot duels over a misplaced sense of what honor meant.

What I find dishonorable is heaping guilt on top of the agony that survivors of sexual assault already feel.

Maybe I'm just a poor judge of honor. When I interviewed rape survivors as a cop, it never occurred to me to consider them as suspects regardless of how much their behavior may have put them at risk. It was my honor to catch the real criminal.

Robert Kirby can be reached at or