Have We Lost Our Minds?

Have we lost our minds? In McMinnville OR, two middle school boys have been charged with five counts of felony sexual abuse after being observed swatting some of their female classmates on the butt. They were arrested and jailed. The District Attorney, Bradley Berry, has pledged to have the two boys registered for life as sex offenders. Mark Steyn has the story here
This is just plain nuts. It’s an example of PC run amok. We have lost the ability to make distinctions. The boys need to learn some manners, but this is ridiculous.
I certainly hope the statute of limitations applies to cases like this. I must confess that when I was in 8th grade in Fallbrook, CA, the way we impressed the members of the fair sex with our charm was to snap the bras of girls sitting in front of us on the bus. Oh it was great fun. We were very funny boys. The way we learned that this was not appropriate behavior was when one of the girls, tiring of the adolescent game, smacked one of us. Of course, under today’s rules, she would be standing in court right beside the male sex offener, charged with assault.
For those of you who listen to country music, there is a recent song that gets to the heart of some of today’s silliness. It by Bucky Covington and is entitled “A Different Life.”
We were born to mothers who smoked and drank
Our cribs were covered in lead-based paint
No childproof lids
No seatbelts in cars
Rode bikes with no helmets
and still here we are
Still here we are
We got daddy’s belt when we misbehaved
Had three TV channels you got up to change
No video games and no satellite
All we had were friends and they were outside
Playing outside
It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world
School always started the same everyday
the pledge of allegiance, then someone would pray
not every kid made the team when they tried
We got disappointed but that was alright
We turned out alright
It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world
No bottled water
We’d drink from a garden hose
And every Sunday,
All the stores were closed.
It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world
It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world
It was a different world

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Rhody
Rhody
13 years ago

I agree that throwing these boys in jail was a little drastic, and that this situation could’ve been resolved short of that.
But let’s face it, these kids were bullies. I just don’t accept the argument that trying to stop kids from bullying is too PC and anathema to American values.
I’m not one to advocate that the girls deal with bullying the way Dylan Klebold did (or Jeremy did in the famous Pearl Jam tune). But as long as conservatives are cool with bullying, they better be just as cool with the inevitable response when somebody gets pushed just a little too far.

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

As society has abandoned any coherent moral code (i.e., the Ten Commandments, or similar faith-based precepts), it will inevitably replace those codes with variously absurd and cruel substitutes.
Thus, society ridicules those who would try to teach chastity to these 13 year old boys, but then our culture imposes a foolishly harsh penalty for what is plainly “horsing around.”
Public parades that display lewd and offensive sexual conduct — that’s ok. But smoke a cigarette in public? That’s now against the law in many places.
How about all of the public reaction to the allegations of animal abuse by Falcons QB Michael Vick? Awful as the alleged conduct is, if the victims were unborn human infants, rather than dogs, Vick might well be winning an award from NARAL or the ACLU.
These are all symptoms of a very sick culture.

mikeinRI
mikeinRI
13 years ago

Rhody, how do you know they’re “bullies”? According to news articles, “butt-slapping” had become pretty common at the school, particularly on “butt-slap Fridays.” Both boys and girls claimed to have participated.
Were mistakes made? You bet. But be sure to watch the video of the two boys before you brush them off as bullies. The video url is here:
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/video/index.ssf?LC_11SPAN122
Read the full article, and it becomes pretty clear it’s not the boys who are the bullies, but the prosecutor.
article here:
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1185040507206380.xml&coll=7&thispage=1

tcc3
tcc3
13 years ago

Welcome to feminized Amerika…Maybe they should just drug up the boys on Ritalin as has been done to others. While I don’t necessarily condone their actions, this appears to be a case of “boys will be boys”.

Thomas
Thomas
13 years ago

Oh my. I’ve fallen into an episode of the Rush Limbaugh show, or something weirder.
tcc is saying “Amerika”. That’s because he’s a member of the SDS? Or did disrespecting the name of our country become a conservative virtue when I wasn’t looking?
Brassband is worried that this episode illustrates our abandonment of the 10 commandments and faith-based morality. I’m not sure which of the commandments the prosecutor violated, though. Anyway, “our culture” is imposing a foolishly harsh penalty on these boys. And we should really stop talking about Michael Vick and start talking about abortion instead.
Here’s my suggestion:
This are stupid kids, following a stupid fad with their stupid herd-mentality (Butt-smack Friday!). The prosector is a moron too.
That’s it. There’s nothing more here. Stop trying to prove more with it because you’re only buying into their stupidity. This country is *full* of morons- tree-hugging morons, NASCAR morons, Christian morons, Muslim morons, atheist morons, republican morons, democrat morons. You can use any of them to prove any point you want.
But don’t, please, because it’s a waste of all our time.

Thomas
Thomas
13 years ago

Oh yeah, I forgot….
PLEASE tell me that Bucky Covington is not telling us that we were somehow better off before seatbelts, because that line “and still here we are, Still here we are” obviously doesn’t include the thousands of people who where hurled through windshields for lack of a belt.

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

Thomas —
The issue is not that the thirteen year olds are acting like thirteen year olds . . . the issue is that a powerful public official (i.e. a prosecutor) is treating this as a serious criminal act.
By the way, the answer to the original question is that yes, we have lost our minds.

tcc3
tcc3
13 years ago

Thomas,
“Amerika” was a reference to the ABC miniseries from 1987.
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0092316/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amerika_(TV_miniseries)
-tcc3

Thomas
Thomas
13 years ago

Brassband,
I’d say they are acting more like 7-year olds. If I found my thirteen-year-old was doing this, I’d let him know it was inappropriate and he should stop. Perhaps I’m just overly conservative in my ideas about how children should behave.
I agree that it’s a problem that the prosector reacted this way. Fortunately, public opinion rose up and he was forced to back down. It’s a shame the boys had to go through what they did. I’d want to know more before I say the prosecutor should be disciplined or fired, but that doesn’t seem absurd.
What I can’t agree with is using this incident to draw all the henny-penny conclusions I have seen: “we have lost the ability to make distinctions”, “symptoms of a sick society”, “we have lost our minds”, or, as someone on another blog put it, “another reason to homeschool”.
Remember after 9/11 when another powerful official, Gov. Carcieri, endorsed enforcing an old and obviously-unconstitutional law banning the display of any flag other than the Stars and Stripes? What should we conclude? That Rhode Island is a police state? That America has lost its way? That all Republicans are fascist crazies?
It seems to me that these kinds of reactions just make it harder for reasonable people to talk with one another about real problems.

brassband
brassband
13 years ago

It seems to me that if a number of objects fall from the sky, some of them blue, some of them puffy white, a reasonable person (hen?) might begin to wonder whether the sky is, in fact, falling.
There are many examples of incidents/episodes that give us reason to be very concerned about the health of our culture. Treat them all in isolation if you like, but there comes a time when one cannot avoid discerning a pattern.

Thomas
Thomas
13 years ago

Brassband,
First, thank you for the wonderful mental image of the “reasonable hen” evaluating falling objects.
Second, your point is well-taken that individual events may (or may not) represent elements of a pattern, and the pattern matters.
I just worry about how people (not just liberals or conservatives!) tend to assume the pattern because it fits their worldview. This case reminds me of the McDonald’s hot coffee case. Everyone remembers the enormously high jury award and many drew the conclusion that our tort system was out of control. Fewer remember that the award was dramatically reduced on appeal and even fewer actually look at evidence from tort filings generally to ask whether the pattern was real or this was an exteme outlier.
Public officials do stupid stuff sometimes. Some are stupider than others. The lesson I prefer to take from the “butt-smacking” case is not that we live in a world of “PC run amok”. In fact, this case was not a commonplace event, but was remarkable enough to make the national news. Reasonable people called the prosecutor on his over-reaction and forced him to withdraw the most serious charges. My guess is that they will be further reduced, perhaps to nothing. That won’t undo the damage already done to the boys, however.

Rhody
Rhody
13 years ago

I suppose if we all had daughters, all this butt-slapping, butt-pinching, etc. in the local schoolyard would ne considered just fine and dandy. If one of these budding thugs took some liberties with my daughter, I suppose I should deal with it by suing the ACLU or the teacher union, right?

Thomas
Thomas
13 years ago

Rhody,
It’s worth noting that, according to the opinion piece linked by Mac, two of the girls who were victims of the boys charged had themselves engaged in the butt-smacking.
However, given the tone of the editorial, I am not all that confident that we’re getting the entire story, and it may well be that these two boys went far beyond what other children did. For instance, one report says one of the boys grabbed a girl’s breasts.
As the father of a daughter, I’d want to see this kid at least get suspended, and you can bet I’d be talking to his parents. If school administrators condoned the butt-slapping, they should be disciplined or removed. But felony sexual assault? I don’t think so.

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