Now I'm going to get all freaky conservative on you...
Driving home from work last night, the whining tones of the EBS interrupted Guided By Voices on the radio. The south of town was black with a hellish looking thunderstorm, so I assumed the weather was the topic of the warning. Instead, it was the first time I'd heard the EBS used for an Amber Alert.
My heart stopped, my palms sweaty on the steering wheel, the sound of my own children in the back drowned out by my focus on the report. A four-year old girl snatched off the street in Denver in broad daylight, be on the lookout for an early model red Ford Bronco.
Fortunately, the girl was found, safe, unharmed, unmolested, the freak must have gotten skittish after the Amber Alert went out and thank god for that. Still, I can't imagine the terror that little girl endured much less her parent's panic. No amount of hell could outstrip those kinds of terrors.
My two babies played out front today while I kept a close eye and although the news that the little girl in Denver had been found safe gratified me, I was no less disconcerted. Reading, writing, doing housework, I made sure both were immediately locatable and even a second out of sight sent me flying to find them.
I find myself yearning for a simpler time when it was safer to let my children run free but I then wonder if there really was a safer time or whether we're not just crammed in more together, if the media just makes us more aware. Literature tells us child molestation and murder has not been uncommon thoughout human history.
So what do we do?
There's a brilliant essay by Hunter S. Thompson* that spells out the basis of my argument:
The difference between an outlaw and a war criminal is the difference between a pedophile and a Pederast: The pedophile is a person who thinks about sexual behavior with children, and the Pederast does these things. He lays hands on innocent children, he penetrates them and changes their lives forever.
Being the object of a pedophile's warped affections is a Routine feature of growing up in America, and being a victim of a Pederast's crazed "love" is part of dying. Innocence is no longer an option. Once penetrated, the child becomes a Queer in his own mind, and that is not much different than murder.
Treat child rapists like murderers. Put them away for good. Given DNA evidence or a confession, child molesters should get locked up for good, no parole, no second chances. If children are our most precious resource as a country, we can start by putting away, for good and all, the people who would destroy our kids, our future.
A good start but consider what, if indeed we believe that our country's future resides with our children, we must also do. Yes, lock up child rapists with no chance to ever breathe free air but also give them a decent education, bring back music and the arts for our kids to enrich them and renew their sense of wonder. Bring back decent afterschool programs and provide our kids with safe places to play. Make sure our kids are healthy by giving them the best healthcare this country can provide. Logic demands consistency and if we're going to incarcerate scum until they die based on the assumption that our children are a vital resource, we must respond with whole-hearted support.
Considering the fact that the chances of a child being abducted by a stranger in the US is one in one miliion while one is six children is living in poverty, it seems like the matter of roving child molesters is a might bit overblown. Unfortunately, the media will give us much more coverage of abducted white children (and zero about abducted black or brown children) but I can't recall the last time I saw a report on a child living in poverty. Liberal media, indeed. However, we'd need a dozen more 24-hour cable news outlets if they were to all cover every child living in poverty and give those stories the same time of explosive, sensationalist slant that they gave to the tragedies in Florida and Iowa the past couple of months.
I still maintain we should lock up child rapists for the rest of their lives. I believe that's an easy solution and I believe it would carry a formidable detterent. However, it's obvious to me that there are more pressing issues in protecting this country's most precious resource. If we're going to really protect our children, our country needs to quit half-assing the issue.
* Thompson's essay is mostly political but you really should go read it since the logic is similar to what I've stated here.