Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lenore Skenazy, Common Sense, and Modern American Hysteria

The United States once was a country known for entrepreneurship, bravado, and at least some common sense and a deep sense of justice. Today, the USA is a land of people who are subservient to bureaucrats, openly jealous of anything good that happens to others, and wallowing in fear of just about everything.

Lenore Skenazy, the woman who became famous because she permitted her nine-year-old son to ride alone on the New York Subway in the middle of the day, has an opinion piece in today's Wall Street Journal that exposes the hysteria that exists whenever a male is near children. She begins the article:
Last week, the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, Timothy Murray, noticed smoke coming out of a minivan in his hometown of Worcester. He raced over and pulled out two small children, moments before the van's tire exploded into flames. At which point, according to the AP account, the kids' grandmother, who had been driving, nearly punched our hero in the face.


Mr. Murray said she told him she thought he might be a kidnapper.

And so it goes these days, when almost any man who has anything to do with a child can find himself suspected of being a creep. I call it "Worst-First" thinking: Gripped by pedophile panic, we jump to the very worst, even least likely, conclusion first. Then we congratulate ourselves for being so vigilant.
And it is not just in the USA. Her blog deals with incidents of hysteria in Canada and New Zealand, and the British also have weighed in, as she explains here:
Given the level of distrust, is it any wonder that, as the London Telegraph reported last month, the British Musicians' Union warned its members they are no longer to touch a child's fingers, even to position them correctly on the keys? Or that a public pool in Sydney, Australia last fall prohibited boys from changing in the same locker room as the men? (According to the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, the men demanded this, fearing false accusations.)

What's really ironic about all this emphasis on perverts is that it's making us think like them. Remember the story that broke right before Christmas? The FBI warned law-enforcement agencies that the new Video Barbie could be used to make kiddie porn. The warning was not intended for the public but it leaked out. TV news celebrated the joy of the season by telling parents that any man nice enough to play dolls with their daughters could really be videotaping "under their little skirts!" as one Fox News reporter said.
This has been a godsend for prosecutors, police, and CPS workers who have taken this media-driven hysteria and used it to pursue false prosecutions and throw innocent people into prison. Not surprisingly, juries mostly have been compliant, willing to swallow the kind of nonsense that our forebears would have rejected out-of-hand as, well, nonsense.

The Tonya Craft case was an exception, as mostly males are accused, but nonetheless, the same kind of mentality that has driven thousands of false accusations against men was in play here. We should not be surprised that LMJC DA Buzz Franklin has made "child molestation" prosecutions front-and-center during his reign of terror, and for a long time, the strategy worked.

There would be an accusation made in connection with a child custody case, crooked investigators like Tim "The Fabricator" Deal would help push things along, and the Children's Advocacy Center would supply the "experts" who would make fantastic claims in court. This was a scam, and a scam that I contend has been understood by the principals such as Chris Arnt, "judge" brian outhouse, Len Gregor, Franklin, Deal, and CAC goons like Holly Kittle, Stacey Long, and Suzi Thorne.

Unfortunately, the scam has worked, and even when the supposed molested children often would recant post-conviction, the courts were deaf. The tag team got its wrongful conviction, the media treated them as heroes, and the wrongly convicted could rot in Hell, for all they cared.

Like Skenazy, I believe that the results have been tragic, and she notes one situation in which the consequences were deadly:
In England in 2006, BBC News reported the story of a bricklayer who spotted a toddler at the side of the road. As he later testified at a hearing, he didn't stop to help for fear he'd be accused of trying to abduct her. You know: A man driving around with a little girl in his car? She ended up at a pond and drowned.

We think we're protecting our kids by treating all men as potential predators. But that's not a society that's safe. Just sick.
I could not agree more. That is the world that the Arnts, Gregors, and Franklins want us to have: a sick society where people live in fear of being falsely accused so that others can pretend they are society's saviors when, in reality, they are nothing but destroyers.


Doc Ellis 124 said...

Thank you for writing this.

Doc Ellis 124

Trish said...

A sad comment on society indeed!!

maria said...

Great post! And soo true, like my husbans who spend many hours volunteering with less unfortunate children and who has received several awards for helping these children. But that too was seen as him being a pervert and now we are dealing with the consequences and he may lose his freedom forever if it's up to our great catoosa good ole boy system.

Anonymous said...

You change man or men with law enforcement officer or prosecutor in Skenazy's post and that would be a good representation of every post you make. I just exposed the hyteria you try to conjur up with this venom you type. I'll close with a quote from Skenazy. You "jump to the very worst, even least likely, conclusion first".

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:01. Welcome to the party. If you wrote that post in say 1982 I might agree with you, but you need to wake up and smell the PC coffee brewing. This country is quickly turning into one that creates crimes, to create criminals therby promoting those in power at the expense of those with none.

Anonymous said...

Great job last night Bill! I got the sense that you could not say everything you wanted because of time constraints of tv. It was a great illustration of how a few minutes of dialogue, though useful, should not substitute for research, reading, and full discussion on a subject. Thankfully, we have your blog as a rich source of information and discussion.

@12:01, it helps to have fundamental typing, grammar and editing skills if you are trying to make a point. Was it a snow day? lol.

liberranter said...

What Ms. Skenazy is actually portraying is a society that has been conditioned to fear everything and everyone. This is no accident. After all, a cohesive society based on communities of individuals, having established trusting relationships amongst themselves and voluntarily interacting with one another, is a direct threat to the Almighty State. It is therefore in Leviathan's best interest to plant and nurture seeds of hatred, distrust, and alienation. A society that fears and distrusts itself is helpless before the power of the Omnipotent State.

Rob said...

Anonymous at 1/13/11 12:01 AM:

Hello once again, I believe. Until shown otherwise, I'll assume you're the same person I've debated elsewhere on Dr. Anderson's blog.

You write:

"You change ['man'] or ['men'] with ['law enforcement officer'] or ['prosecutor'] in Skenazy's post and that would be a good representation of every post you make. I just exposed the hyteria [sic] you try to conjur [sic] up with this venom you type. I'll close with a quote from Skenazy. You 'jump to the very worst, even least likely, conclusion first'."

More bare assertions, I see. Perhaps you'd like to explain how Dr. Anderson necessarily "[jumps] to the very worst, even least likely, conclusion first". Note that this would require clear probabilistic reasoning on your part.

Are you up to the challenge? Given your track record elsewhere on this blog, probably not. Oh well. Until we "meet" again.

Rob said...

I'd also like to note how the trumped-up threat of "child molesters" is the domestic equivalent to the trumped-up threat of "terrorists". Just as literally anyone could be a "terrorist", in the logic of paranoid hysteria, so can literally anyone be a "child molester". Add in the zero-tolerance mentality and the logical conclusion one must reach is that everyone must be confined forever. Prison Nation? Welcome to Prison Planet.