Monday, November 14, 2011

Penn State, the State Pen and a Political Penchant

If you thought the child sexual abuse allegations flowing out of Penn State were beyond comprehension, you ain't seen nothin' yet. The thing to keep in mind right up front is that 2012 is a major year for political elections.

Convincing government representatives to face the UFO issue head-on seems all but impossible, but you put an issue out there with the word child in it, and legislators at all levels of government become instant champions and prostitutes, writing and selling their new, individually-crafted child protection legislation, all prettied and perfumed up, in exchange for votes. Watch the news programs -- it's already happening at several levels. But it's not about the children, it's all about the money. When has it not been about the money? Money leads to power and power to money.

I'm willing to suggest, in a nation already rife with enough criminal law to deal with pedophiles a hundred times over, that most child protection laws were proposed and passed by whoring lawmakers who knew only too well that anytime you can couple even a hint of child welfare legislation with the if-we-can-save-just-one attitude, applause, kudos and votes, votes, votes and increased power over the people will magically appear. Trouble is, once we start piling similar laws upon more similar laws, the thumbscrews already applied to adults, children who will become adults one day and, indeed, all of society are turned even tighter. In the bigger picture, a plethora of legislation of any kind destroys society's fabric with resultant regimentation and fear.

I'm trying to keep a calm and rational mind here, but if you've read my previous stuff you know that doesn't always go so well for me.

So we already have child protective laws out there -- so many, in fact, that if you're an adult and don't fear the power of neighborhood youth and their litigious parents, you're not looking at the new world. And it doesn't matter whether you have your own family.

There are times I've thought of applying for substitute teacher positions at public schools, but then current observations creep in, casting that idea to the wind. How would it go in the classroom for me? Well, let's see. . .

What if I'm in a classroom and happen to say something "offensive," causing a student to go running home to tell an already hysterical parent about the episode? What happens if neurotic little Cathy or Caleb, already high on medications prescribed by the school psychiatrist, misinterprets a facial expression I toss their way? Or, arghhhhhhh! What if I accidentally brush by or touch a student in a crowded hallway and the child just happens to be cleverly psycho and all-knowing about causing tons of trouble for teachers he or she doesn't particularly like?

And here we go. . .based on merely the whisper of an accusation, The Authorities -- a growing and I believe quite comfy cottage industry of public-payroll child welfare agents, sex police, attorneys representing all sides, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and even the pharmaceutical representatives -- jump into a fetid mix they construct themselves, and before I know it I'll be poked and prodded and questioned and interrogated and damned-near water-boarded while investigators explore my trash, my files, my computer, creditors, bodily fluids, potential gallstones, kidney stones, dust bunnies under the bed and the interior of my vehicle. Then they interrogate my friends, family members (probably both living and dead -- they have their ways), current pets and the beasts in the field.

When all is said and done to death -- even though I'm innocent of all charges -- I'm marked, branded for all time somewhere in somebody's paperwork or computerized notations. Innocence doesn't matter -- the investigation matters. The tiniest appearance of impropriety matters. The money matters, the big money matters. Power over us matters.

When there is a sexual crime, obviously a horror story in itself, when does the investigative industry become as bad or worse than the action in question? I'm still trying to get my hands around Homeland Security going after international child pornography rings, when I reasonably expected the agency was formed to protect us from terrorists, and had plenty of work to do in that area.

Or, as Hitler's Gestapo was fond of telling people before searching homes against their will, "If you haven't done anything wrong, you shouldn't object to our coming in and having a look." Aren't we already there? Guilty until proven innocent. Guilty after proven innocent. Remember the McMartin Preschool sex abuse furor a few years ago over, ultimately -- nothing? Lives ruined.

So the public agonizes over Penn State and The Very Idea of what transpires every day in the country, in the world, and even as I write this I can put my ear to the ground and hear the distant tapping of screenwriters creating scripts for the certain-to-be motion pictures and TV episodes. And legislators are busily tapping out new child laws. That's what they do. It's the money, stupid.

As usual, once the legal system dispenses with the actions of a Penn State coach, the cure will be money. Money for the victims, money for the lawyers, money for the psychiatric industry. Yes, money, the curative herb for all ills. "Damages," it's called. Funny how permanently damaged people can so often be fixed and healed with money.

One interesting aspect of the Penn State cacophony is the way so many other lives will be destroyed by the actions of one man, the perpetrator. Everybody's guilty. What now? See something, say something? Really? Or just shut up because the official investigative scalpel will destroy you, too? You can't win. It's a veritable domino effect.

During the years I served in Air Force hospitals, I cared for more children than I can remember, dependents of active duty personnel, and I prefer to think I did a lot of good things. In fact, over on my Air Force blog I posted a letter of gratitude our clinic received from a teenage girl. Those were less complicated times in the sixties and seventies. When I operated my own clinic for a time, I treated lots of women and children -- in various stages of undress -- at the end of a long hallway in rooms where I had no female chaperones. Nobody at all. Today? May as well play Russian roulette if somebody isn't witnessing your every move, for legal reasons.

But it's 2011. I feel uncomfortable even walking on the same side of the street as a child. I doubt that I would tie a kid's shoelace or even say hi. You can look into a parent's eyes and often see the apprehension, the suspicion of potential "danger stranger." So I stay uninvolved, I must. Can't put a band-aid on a cut. Can't give directions. Can't warn children of problems. No way can I teach other people's kids anything or try to impart common sense. Would I even call 9-1-1 in a child emergency, or just run home and cut up my shoes so even footprints can't be traced to me? Everybody is a suspect, all must be punished purely for being there, somewhere, anywhere.

Parents and society's professional manipulators blaze hysterical now, bonkers-grade adults at the ready to call authorities for any reason whatsoever at the drop of a hat. No longer is there an expectation that children, like adults, must share in that life thing called risk, and in the process the children become wussies and little more than electronic device-motivated zombies. Forget the sex part, there's worse going on out there. There's destruction of the top and the decay can't help but progress on down to the bottom.

But some wonder -- how is it that men experience sexual relations with children? Where does this come from?

Well, here's the pièce de résistance, though in no way am I writing this to condone what happened in the showers of Penn State: Years ago, when I wrote occasional articles and book reviews for a newspaper, I was assigned (and reviewed) a superb, highly-recommended book entitled, The Spirit and the Flesh, by Walter L. Williams (1986). Dealing primarily with Native American cultures which look upon gender and sex far differently than the rest of Western civilization -- for which they were often destroyed, usually by, um, good Christians -- Williams also explores other parts of the world which see things differently.

(Okay, readers, this is the WARNING! part where you stop reading, unless you can handle the truth. Can't pretty this part up very much, sorry.)

Specifically, Williams references parts of Melanesia, singling out portions of New Guinea and nearby islands, where it is believed that both human breast milk and semen are important for a boy's growth into manhood. I'll spare my readers the details, but as things generally go, the male child between ages seven and thirteen is raised by an older man, generally the wife's brother, who takes him for several months or several years. During this period, the boy is routinely administered semen through active oral and anal sex, or by a "rubdown" -- and this assures his growth into manhood. Period. There is apparently historical and, arguably, biological precedent for such behavior. Is this an innate practice among humans? Since we humans just love looking up our roots and ancient origins from which we developed, try those humble Melanesia beginnings on for size, where apparently the word predator didn't make it into their child-raising vocabulary.

The Penn State shower incidents, it seems, wouldn't cause a batted eyelash in some cultures -- places which nurtured and evolved long before we. Our justice system works well when it works, but it's about to go nuts now as potential legislative stars struggle to be reborn squeaky-clean and noticed across the land. This society simply wouldn't have it any other way, and its yearning minions will always have one hell of a good dysfunctional time trying to legislate morality. The money. The power. The university endowments. The money. The. . .children? What children? Anybody say something about children?