Monsters In Our Midst

One of my regular weekend tennis partners is a guy that has a son that is a nationally ranked high school junior.  Sometimes his son, Dylan, comes along and reminds us older guys what it’s like to be limber.  And fast.  And talented.  We played on Sunday.
Dylan goes to Poway High School, which is one town over from where we live in San Diego County.   If that school sounds familiar it might be because of a young girl, Chelsea King, that was from there was found murdered last month after disappearing while running in a community park not too far from here.  Dylan said that everyone in the school was still really upset and that the atmosphere was “weird” – the students didn’t know how to have fun anymore and if they did, they kind of felt guilty about it.

The Sunday after Chelsea disappeared, a registered sex offender, John A. Gardner was arrested and charged with her murder.   The Beloved and I were out and about that day and were thinking about places to go eat.  One of the places we thought of going was the restaurant where Gardner was arrested.
I found this incredibly creepy.  I mean, Gardner didn’t look sick and depraved – he looked sort of healthy and preppy.  I thought of guys like that hiding out in some “Silence of the Lambs” secret basement, not being out and about.   And I really don’t like to think that there are sex offenders sitting next to me while I’m having a burrito and margarita.

Then a week or so later, the remains of another teenage girl, Amber Dubois, were located in Escondido a year after she disappeared.   Gardner is a person of interest in that case though hasn’t yet been charged.  Part of me hopes it was him because I naively want to believe that there’s only one of these kind of guys in our community at any given time.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past month (you can imagine how it’s been in the local news) and I watched a movie this weekend that really stopped and made me think about the situation.  I was channel surfing on Friday night when I came across the independent film “Hard Candy” which was about a teenage girl (Ellen Page) who tries to turn the tables on a sexual predator (played by the guy who was Night Owl in Watchman).

The story is one of vigilantism and revenge and pretty uncomfortable to watch at some times (which I believe was the point) – and it makes you ask yourself “What do you do with these guys?”  Gardner had been convicted of sexual assault against a minor but was released after several years in prison even though psychological evaluation suggested he was unrepentant and stood a high chance of repeating his offenses.  It’s pretty clear that if convicted Gardner will never see the light of day again, which I’m sure is poor comfort to the King and Dubois families.
This sparked a lot of conversations about whether prison is there to reform criminals or a tit-for-tat punishment for crimes.   And so again, what do you do?  Never let any of them out? Require more monitoring?  (A lot of parents I know have called pretty vociferously for — lets say a surgical correction to the problem – but is that the answer, either?)  And what offenses merit what punishments?  And can we, as a society, find a better way to identify the people that ultimately end up like this? 
When do the scales tip and someone becomes a monster? Too many questions, too few answers, I’m afraid.

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47 thoughts on “Monsters In Our Midst

  1. From everything that I've heard, pedophiles don't get reformed or rehabilitated. I think they're broken in a way that can't be fixed.
    When I was home for Christmas, an 11-year-old girl was abducted and the suspect was a sex offender; it was all over the news for days. She was found dead on Christmas Day.
    It came out that he'd been in jail on and off for various sex offenses (involving teenagers) since 1998. He's my age; we actually went to middle school together, which made everything so much worse and weirder.
    And because Maryland law has it that you can't bring up past arrests and convictions in current trials, he kept getting relatively light sentences and then getting out early for good behavior.
    And then he keeps (allegedly) molesting and raping little girls and now he's (allegedly) killed one.

  2. From everything that I've heard, pedophiles don't get reformed or rehabilitated. I think they're broken in a way that can't be fixed.
    When I was home for Christmas, an 11-year-old girl was abducted and the suspect was a sex offender; it was all over the news for days. She was found dead on Christmas Day.
    It came out that he'd been in jail on and off for various sex offenses (involving teenagers) since 1998. He's my age; we actually went to middle school together, which made everything so much worse and weirder.
    And because Maryland law has it that you can't bring up past arrests and convictions in current trials, he kept getting relatively light sentences and then getting out early for good behavior.
    And then he keeps (allegedly) molesting and raping little girls and now he's (allegedly) killed one.

  3. I don't believe that pedophiles/sex offenders are born that way, mainly because it would imply that God created sin. Everyone ultimately has a choice as to who they become. I read a really good book called The Anatomy of Motive by John Douglas (who created the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI), who has interviewed and studied hundreds upon hundreds of the most despicable criminals our country has ever seen, and he said fewer than ONE PERCENT were so mentally impaired that they couldn't discern between right and wrong.Anyway, I've heard that Ellen Page is phenomenal in Hard Candy, but I know that I wouldn't be able to watch it.

  4. I don't believe that pedophiles/sex offenders are born that way, mainly because it would imply that God created sin. Everyone ultimately has a choice as to who they become. I read a really good book called The Anatomy of Motive by John Douglas (who created the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI), who has interviewed and studied hundreds upon hundreds of the most despicable criminals our country has ever seen, and he said fewer than ONE PERCENT were so mentally impaired that they couldn't discern between right and wrong.Anyway, I've heard that Ellen Page is phenomenal in Hard Candy, but I know that I wouldn't be able to watch it.

  5. This is seriously one of my greatest fears with having kids. If I had girls, that something like this would happen to them. For my boys – heaven forbid, that something happens to them in thier life that they become a monster like this. I seriously have nightmares about it. What is sad to think about is these men each had moms that (most likely) looked at them adoringly and loved them like I do M & G. I know some come from messed up family situations but still. Ugh. Must go think about rainbows and kittens now. Good subject, tho, Steve, had to actually log in to Vox after months and months to comment ;)

  6. hard questions on a most difficult subject.what do do about pedophiles? what to do with them?something to consider is that a majority of pedophiles were themselves victims of sexual abuse at an early age. at home. by a trusted adult figure.so much abuse can and should be prevented but there are so many obstacles – including denial and coverups within the family.we have not yet (and may never) come with a way to discern who among pedophiles is capable/inclined to violence….and then there are those, who for lack of a better term, are "bad seeds", "wrongly-born", psychopaths – those who cannot be rehabilitated or cured or saved.

  7. I think mariser summed up everything I think better than I ever could've said.It's truly a horrifying, frightening subject. I wish there were a clear solution, and more than that I wish there were a way for the victims of the families to find peace and comfort–and of course, no solution offers it.As Erin said: must go think about rainbows and kittens.

  8. I think mariser summed up everything I think better than I ever could've said.It's truly a horrifying, frightening subject. I wish there were a clear solution, and more than that I wish there were a way for the victims of the families to find peace and comfort–and of course, no solution offers it.As Erin said: must go think about rainbows and kittens.

  9. Hi Steve! Look, I remembered my Vox login.As the parent of two (very small) daughters, I was also quite disturbed by these stories. I had a hard time moving on, but interestingly, one of the aspects that I couldn't stop thinking about was John Gardner's mother and how devastated she must be. Like Erin said, no one wants to see their little boy grow up to be a rapist. I do not at all blame his parents- surely at 30 he must be responsible for his own actions. But still, something clearly went very wrong for him.All of the solutions being proposed don't really stop the problem, because they all wait for someone to commit that first crime (and get caught). They also pose some really difficult questions for a society that presumes innocence and a court system that relies on plea bargains, particularly in cases with underage victims whom no one wants to put through the ordeal of a trial.I'd like to see the community provide more support to parents, because I suspect the answer lies with helping the parents of those little boys, and it may be that the children who are most difficult to parent are the ones who need the best parenting. Parenting is a hard job, with really delayed feedback. We parent largely in isolation, in a society that is quick to judge, but not so quick to offer help. So after a bit of time fixated on the story, my response was a blog post of my own and some money donated to Home Start, my favorite local charity that helps parents.

  10. Hi Steve! Look, I remembered my Vox login.As the parent of two (very small) daughters, I was also quite disturbed by these stories. I had a hard time moving on, but interestingly, one of the aspects that I couldn't stop thinking about was John Gardner's mother and how devastated she must be. Like Erin said, no one wants to see their little boy grow up to be a rapist. I do not at all blame his parents- surely at 30 he must be responsible for his own actions. But still, something clearly went very wrong for him.All of the solutions being proposed don't really stop the problem, because they all wait for someone to commit that first crime (and get caught). They also pose some really difficult questions for a society that presumes innocence and a court system that relies on plea bargains, particularly in cases with underage victims whom no one wants to put through the ordeal of a trial.I'd like to see the community provide more support to parents, because I suspect the answer lies with helping the parents of those little boys, and it may be that the children who are most difficult to parent are the ones who need the best parenting. Parenting is a hard job, with really delayed feedback. We parent largely in isolation, in a society that is quick to judge, but not so quick to offer help. So after a bit of time fixated on the story, my response was a blog post of my own and some money donated to Home Start, my favorite local charity that helps parents.

  11. I don't know why people do what they do… The world's a scary place and when I think about the young people who suffer (as those two young girls did) I wonder why I ever procreated… Sometimes I think that if the punishment was harsher (like surgery) people would control themselves a little more… but then what do I know? I don't know what kind of lives these people had… Yet at the same time, I can't help but think of the many, many people who lived through painful things yet did not become raping, murdering sons of bitches … It's hard to have sympathy for these people.I thought Hard Candy was REALLY good. I watched it before Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson were well-known and because of that movie I LOVE both those actors. It's too bad that Juno was the movie that Ellen Page became known for because while I liked Juno, the script got kind of annoying at times. Just a little *too* hipster.

  12. I don't know why people do what they do… The world's a scary place and when I think about the young people who suffer (as those two young girls did) I wonder why I ever procreated… Sometimes I think that if the punishment was harsher (like surgery) people would control themselves a little more… but then what do I know? I don't know what kind of lives these people had… Yet at the same time, I can't help but think of the many, many people who lived through painful things yet did not become raping, murdering sons of bitches … It's hard to have sympathy for these people.I thought Hard Candy was REALLY good. I watched it before Ellen Page and Patrick Wilson were well-known and because of that movie I LOVE both those actors. It's too bad that Juno was the movie that Ellen Page became known for because while I liked Juno, the script got kind of annoying at times. Just a little *too* hipster.

  13. Wow, a compelling read. Sorry to hear this stuff is going on in your community. A town near us had dozens of arsons at one point, it really shakes our sense of normalcy.
    If you beleive the tv crime shows, some people may be relatively normal but end up in a situation that got "out of control" quickly. In that case, it is scary how already bad situations (older guy dating younger girls) can get turn ugly; it makes more sense to warn young women that when we fall for guys, we tend to idealize and put way too much trust in them – the message: don't spend time alone with a guy you haven't known for a long time. Ever.
    That movie looks fantastic. When we thought about moving to Canada, I read about towns there that don't put up with this crap. Some guy causes trouble, he'd better expect trouble. I'm sure it's more romantic on paper than in reality, but I'm all for united communities. The police can't be everywhere. And close communities have all sorts of benefits besides just safety.

  14. Wow, a compelling read. Sorry to hear this stuff is going on in your community. A town near us had dozens of arsons at one point, it really shakes our sense of normalcy.
    If you beleive the tv crime shows, some people may be relatively normal but end up in a situation that got "out of control" quickly. In that case, it is scary how already bad situations (older guy dating younger girls) can get turn ugly; it makes more sense to warn young women that when we fall for guys, we tend to idealize and put way too much trust in them – the message: don't spend time alone with a guy you haven't known for a long time. Ever.
    That movie looks fantastic. When we thought about moving to Canada, I read about towns there that don't put up with this crap. Some guy causes trouble, he'd better expect trouble. I'm sure it's more romantic on paper than in reality, but I'm all for united communities. The police can't be everywhere. And close communities have all sorts of benefits besides just safety.

  15. don't spend time alone with a guy you haven't known for a long time
    (That is to say, when one can control the situation. In the case of joggers, I think rough justice as a deterrent is the only way – martial arts can only take us so far if the murderer has the element of surprise on their side)

  16. don't spend time alone with a guy you haven't known for a long time
    (That is to say, when one can control the situation. In the case of joggers, I think rough justice as a deterrent is the only way – martial arts can only take us so far if the murderer has the element of surprise on their side)

  17. Steve – as I said on Twitter earlier, very thought provoking post! One aspect of criminal punishment that I wish our court system implemented is the concept of restitution. Chuck Colson discusses this some in his book "How, Now Shall We Live?", so I won't bore you with all the gory details!

  18. Hard Candy – ye gods and little fishes, but that is a difficult movie to watch. You can sympathize with what she is doing, but the how and the why are more than a little scary. Another amazingly scary movie on the topic is Mysterious Skin, which details two of the ways that people cope with being abused as children.As to pedophiles, the truly scary thing is that most of them are people that you already know; children are far more likely to be raped by a family member or close friend than by a stranger [1]. All that a parent can do is to watch their kids for any changes in behavior that might indicate a problem.And of course, there are the changing mores of society. Until recently, it used to be legal to marry a girl as young as 13 in some states [2]. And many countries still practice "child marriage" in which girls as young as nine are forced to marry much older men, though this practice is becoming less common as women gain equality in the society.John[1] Though that does happen, as the case of Dean Corll; however, please note that his accomplices knew the children that they brought to him.[2] Ask Jerry Lee Lewis about that one.

  19. Wow – just a few things to ponder on this Tuesday morning!Really a good post though – very thought-provoking. I just hate that this type of stuff even happens, but unfortunately we live in such a fallen world. Ugh!

  20. Kelly — as someone that works in the media, do you find that you get inured to these kinds of stories? I think this one really hit home, because there was essentially one degree of separation between them and us. There's no way to hear that story and say, "Oh but that doesn't happen here." I drive by that high school often.

  21. Jen — it's an interesting concept that no one should be born with a "defective" moral center. People are born with birth defects all the time — could this be something like that? Or does this have to be learned behavior? I don't really believe in the "Bad Seed" concept either, but it's interesting to think about — though I don't think I could abide "My genes made me do it" type of defense. Ultimately, I believe we rise above our biology.

  22. .erin. — i'm glad you logged in! You've been missed around here. You hear statistics that most offenders come from a past where they've been abused by a family member — parent, older sibling, uncle — or other authority figure (priests being the most notorious these days).

  23. mariser — one of the monsignors from the church that i grew up in was involved in sexual crimes against boys. I think about how many families of the children that he abused have been affected — and have those boys, now men, passed it on to their kids?

  24. The strange part is that the threat of capital punishment doesn't seem to be a deterrent for this kind of behavior, and so while that sort of punishment fills a certain need for retribution, I'm not really sure that it helps the problem at large with the behavior.

  25. Emmi — I think one of things that's really hard for folks to deal with about the King case is that she didn't partake in any high risk activity. I mean if a teen dies while driving drunk, it's a waste and tragic, but in a way the kid brought it on themselves. Here's an honor-student girl that went for a run afterschool — not at night, not in a bad area. And she even had a system with her folks that said "if I'm not back by a certain time, something's wrong" — from what anyone can tell she and her family did everything right — and yet, this seemingly random and terrible things still happened.

  26. Emmi — I think one of things that's really hard for folks to deal with about the King case is that she didn't partake in any high risk activity. I mean if a teen dies while driving drunk, it's a waste and tragic, but in a way the kid brought it on themselves. Here's an honor-student girl that went for a run afterschool — not at night, not in a bad area. And she even had a system with her folks that said "if I'm not back by a certain time, something's wrong" — from what anyone can tell she and her family did everything right — and yet, this seemingly random and terrible things still happened.

  27. Yes and no. Living in a major city, we hear about crime all the time. There are shootings almost literally every day. When I first moved here, it was like, "HOLY CRAP!" because I come from a town where our yearly murder rate is, like, five.
    And here we can have five people getting shot a day. (That's rare, but it happens.)
    So most of the time, it's like, "Oh, somebody got killed today."
    But there are cases that definitely get to you. I imagine the Chelsea King case is like that for your local media people. Last year there were two murder/suicides in a row (I think only one or two days apart) and that was a hard week. And right now we're covering a baby who was found buried in the park, and that's hard. (Two months old and he died of blunt force trauma and police say his mom buried him last month some time; the dad finally came forward Sunday to tell police what happened.)
    And the Sarah Foxwell case back home, that was hard. My mom's friend's grandson went to school with the murdered girl and I had gone to school with her accused killer, so that was just unreal for us.

  28. Yes and no. Living in a major city, we hear about crime all the time. There are shootings almost literally every day. When I first moved here, it was like, "HOLY CRAP!" because I come from a town where our yearly murder rate is, like, five.
    And here we can have five people getting shot a day. (That's rare, but it happens.)
    So most of the time, it's like, "Oh, somebody got killed today."
    But there are cases that definitely get to you. I imagine the Chelsea King case is like that for your local media people. Last year there were two murder/suicides in a row (I think only one or two days apart) and that was a hard week. And right now we're covering a baby who was found buried in the park, and that's hard. (Two months old and he died of blunt force trauma and police say his mom buried him last month some time; the dad finally came forward Sunday to tell police what happened.)
    And the Sarah Foxwell case back home, that was hard. My mom's friend's grandson went to school with the murdered girl and I had gone to school with her accused killer, so that was just unreal for us.

  29. J — I think the hard thing about capital punishment is that it doesn't seem to be a deterrent for these kinds of crimes (in the way a harsh fine might make you or me ease off the accelerator) — and so, the need for retribution is fulfilled, but little else. I also have the issue that the irreversible nature of the punishment leaves no room for the conviction to be incorrect, which does happen often enough to make me have a hard time supporting it.

  30. All very understandable concerns – which I share. The problem I have, though, is that too many people view crime and punishment with the state and the convict as the only two players in the mix. The effects on society – not just the victim(s), but the rippling cumulative effect crimes of a horrible nature have – are very real concerns as well. We look at older civilizations as being less "civilized" for capital punishment in instances of rape & abuse (and I'm not advocating cruelty and torture!) – but the stability of social and moral order was at stake (and, in the long term, the stability of society as well). The West has definitely come a long ways in many respects in how to deal with crime, but the nature of man has not changed since those earlier cultures. The main difference is that we are much more prosperous, which (some would argue, and I agree) allows us the 'luxury' of not addressing crime as directly and unequivocally as it should be. In older cultures, a rape would not only scar someone for life, but potentially prevent that person from ever having a family of her own. In a culture at or near subsistence level, that is a huge deal (often life or death). So, while we're obviously not at subsistence level in our culture, how many future leaders, artists, inventors, stable dads & moms, etc. have had their lives destroyed and potential devastated because of these crimes? All of these people are integral to the health of our society as a whole, and we are the worse off without their contributions. This is part of why I think the concept of restitution is important – punishment for crime needs to tie the criminal to the real world consequences of somehow paying back (even if symbolically) those they have wronged. But it's also why I think a gloves-off-no-nonsense approach needs to be taken by the state when it comes to serious crimes. We should make every effort to never let cases get so far as to wrongly convict someone, but that is, in my opinion, no reason to abandon the strongest punishments altogether and allow a much larger group of criminals more leniency and latitude.

  31. I can't imagine it being family members as well – it's the ultimate betrayal of trust and authority! I think it was Bono who said " I was a complete and utter pacifist, until I had children and realized that if somebody tried to take them out of my hands….."

  32. I look at it as research that will help us figure out how to do a better job of reforming people who show early signs of pyschopathic tendencies…. maybe we can teach/train people how to find other "rewards". Also, we could start to work backwards and try to figure out what leads to the overactive reward system, and maybe give parents some tools to try to prevent that.I'm an optimist, what can I say?On the "my genes made me do it" thing- my opinion is that the a genetic predisposition to this sort of behavior is just that, a predisposition, sort of like having a predisposition towards heart disease. Whether or not you actually get heart disease depends at least in part on your own actions. Unfortunately, for the case of anti-social behavior, it may be that whether or not it develops depends on the quality of parenting you get. This is why I think it is so crucial to try to support struggling parents. I imagine that a kid with a genetic predisposition towards aggressive behavior, for instance, would be very difficult to parent, but that if he is parented well, he might learn to channel those aggressive tendencies in socially acceptable ways. Or it could be that the predisposition is latent until some bad event triggers it. There is some research to support this latter idea- the studies on the monoamine oxidase allele that seems to predispose towards aggression, but only if there is a triggering event like child abuse. But in the end, I still think a 30 year old man is responsible for his own actions, regardless of his genes or what his parents did or did not do.

  33. I look at it as research that will help us figure out how to do a better job of reforming people who show early signs of pyschopathic tendencies…. maybe we can teach/train people how to find other "rewards". Also, we could start to work backwards and try to figure out what leads to the overactive reward system, and maybe give parents some tools to try to prevent that.I'm an optimist, what can I say?On the "my genes made me do it" thing- my opinion is that the a genetic predisposition to this sort of behavior is just that, a predisposition, sort of like having a predisposition towards heart disease. Whether or not you actually get heart disease depends at least in part on your own actions. Unfortunately, for the case of anti-social behavior, it may be that whether or not it develops depends on the quality of parenting you get. This is why I think it is so crucial to try to support struggling parents. I imagine that a kid with a genetic predisposition towards aggressive behavior, for instance, would be very difficult to parent, but that if he is parented well, he might learn to channel those aggressive tendencies in socially acceptable ways. Or it could be that the predisposition is latent until some bad event triggers it. There is some research to support this latter idea- the studies on the monoamine oxidase allele that seems to predispose towards aggression, but only if there is a triggering event like child abuse. But in the end, I still think a 30 year old man is responsible for his own actions, regardless of his genes or what his parents did or did not do.

  34. I unequivicolly agree that she didn't do anything foolish, in fact she was, on the surface, in a perfectly safe routine. But after having jogged alone at my Lake for this many years, there's a few things I've learned.
    Everyone is really friendly out there. We all say hi, nice day! to each other. A few times though, people have seemed a bit too interested in being nice. One guy who I said hi to, chatted with me in the parking lot, then followed me to my car. I told him about my boyfriend, blah blah blah, that didn't seem to deter him.
    After that I'd see him just standing at his car, and he'd run up to me when I appeared. He was totally creepy and it seemed like he had convinced himself that I was interested in him as well. Fortunately I didn't have a regular routine, so he only spotted me a few times. If King had a regular routine, she could have unwittingly made herself a sitting duck.
    That's just my guess – I may have missed part of the story, but running alone is risky, no question. I tried to convince myself otherwise all these years, but there are times when I'm out of breath, tired, and if it becomes obvious to the wrong person, I don't know exactly what I'd do.

  35. I unequivicolly agree that she didn't do anything foolish, in fact she was, on the surface, in a perfectly safe routine. But after having jogged alone at my Lake for this many years, there's a few things I've learned.
    Everyone is really friendly out there. We all say hi, nice day! to each other. A few times though, people have seemed a bit too interested in being nice. One guy who I said hi to, chatted with me in the parking lot, then followed me to my car. I told him about my boyfriend, blah blah blah, that didn't seem to deter him.
    After that I'd see him just standing at his car, and he'd run up to me when I appeared. He was totally creepy and it seemed like he had convinced himself that I was interested in him as well. Fortunately I didn't have a regular routine, so he only spotted me a few times. If King had a regular routine, she could have unwittingly made herself a sitting duck.
    That's just my guess – I may have missed part of the story, but running alone is risky, no question. I tried to convince myself otherwise all these years, but there are times when I'm out of breath, tired, and if it becomes obvious to the wrong person, I don't know exactly what I'd do.

  36. I can't imagine it being family members as well – it's the ultimate betrayal of trust and authority! It isn't family members as well; child rape and abuse is overwhelmingly done by family members. According to a STOP IT NOW! questionnaire, 937 out of 955 respondents to a survey on abuse were raped by a family member or family friend. This happens simply because these monsters have more opportunity to abuse the children than strangers do.Other statistics are equally scary: some believe that as few as 10% of child rapes are reported, typically because the child is afraid that they will get into trouble [1]. And perhaps as many as 1/4 of all girls will be abused before they turn 18.John[1] The Catholic Church's policy of blaming the victims and moving the priests has not helped this perception.

  37. I can't imagine it being family members as well – it's the ultimate betrayal of trust and authority! It isn't family members as well; child rape and abuse is overwhelmingly done by family members. According to a STOP IT NOW! questionnaire, 937 out of 955 respondents to a survey on abuse were raped by a family member or family friend. This happens simply because these monsters have more opportunity to abuse the children than strangers do.Other statistics are equally scary: some believe that as few as 10% of child rapes are reported, typically because the child is afraid that they will get into trouble [1]. And perhaps as many as 1/4 of all girls will be abused before they turn 18.John[1] The Catholic Church's policy of blaming the victims and moving the priests has not helped this perception.

  38. Intriguing…Must give some thought. We must also be careful of kneejerk reactions lest we fall back into what happened at the Salem Witch Trials as well. A bunch of girls crying wolf and havoc running amok.

  39. Intriguing…Must give some thought. We must also be careful of kneejerk reactions lest we fall back into what happened at the Salem Witch Trials as well. A bunch of girls crying wolf and havoc running amok.

  40. We must also be careful of kneejerk reactions lest we fall back into what happened at the Salem Witch Trials as well. You don't even have to go that far back. Remember McMartin Preschool, Fells Acres, Wee Care, and Country Walk? Child abuse is one of those crimes that is so heinous that even to be accused is to be found guilty, no matter how flimsy the evidence. And the real tragedy is that each of these false accusations makes it that much harder to bring to justice those who really do prey on children.John

  41. We must also be careful of kneejerk reactions lest we fall back into what happened at the Salem Witch Trials as well. You don't even have to go that far back. Remember McMartin Preschool, Fells Acres, Wee Care, and Country Walk? Child abuse is one of those crimes that is so heinous that even to be accused is to be found guilty, no matter how flimsy the evidence. And the real tragedy is that each of these false accusations makes it that much harder to bring to justice those who really do prey on children.John

  42. Yes, so terrible is even the accusation that when the oldest son and his women parted ways via courtroom antics, her attorney brought that vague implication into court about the oldest son. Now that pissed me off to no end. And yet, today, everyone else in the family has forgotten all the rotten things she did back then and want to be her friend again.
    Some things are damn near unforgiveable in my book. Turning against family in that manner is one.

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