Tuesday, May 17, 2005

If P, Then Q; P, Therefore Q

Listening to: Tom Waits, Bone Machine

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.


chip said...

I'm in agreement with you, Jim. Basically, I think that mainstream media play up this kind of thing in order to instill fear into us. Fear is a very powerful weapon in the hands of those in power. It's the best way to get our minds off of things like poverty, injustice, etc.

It makes us withdraw into our own little shells. Especially the way they manipulate and create fears about our children. Fear is a powerful tool that the crazy right-wingers are using to stop us from thinking about all those kids in poverty. Exactly.

Mamacita said...

I agree with you, as I usually do. There is nothing lower than a person who lays any kind of violent hand on a child. Lock them up and never let them out again. Ever. EVER.

And, I wonder how many little poor kids are manhandled and nobody ever hears about it. . . .

The thought of a little child living in terror like that is almost too much for me to deal with.

Yes. Lock them up forever. Give them just enough food to maintain life. They gave up their claim to humanity when they harmed an innocent child.

lu said...

Right on, Chip.

"... 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."


Moore's "Bowling For Columbine" is a brilliant commentary on our panicked society gorging itself on fear and more fear. The media says open up wide, and we greedily eat it up.

Jim, even "freaky conservative" is hella-sexy on you.

vicki said...

I always find it a "conundrum" (Hoss's word of the day): trying to help your children feel that the world is a loving and caring place while you tremble inside for all the possible harm that might come their way. It's an important balancing act. Wonderful post. Thank you again.

P.S. Say (very loudly and with great energy) YES to Tom Waits. I love Tom Waits- plus my son does some studio sax for him. :-)

panthergirl said...

It's not conservative...it's just right. ;)

There is no reason for a convicted pederast to ever walk the streets as a free man again. They cannot be rehabilitated.

And we are definitely fed a message that things are worse now than they ever were, when frankly it's just that (because of technology) we just KNOW more.

I often write about my own loss of innocence, sexual and otherwise (like today, for the "otherwise"), so I know firsthand that this IS something that happened in the "good ol' days".

Karen said...

I agree with you totally. Any sex offender should be castrated and then thrown in jail without parolle.