20060913

JonBenet Ramsey

So we know that there are bad people in the world.

In fact, we know that there are people find children sexually attractive. Worse, there are even worse people who choose to act on those feelings.

Fine.

Now, if molesting children is a compulsion, it's possible it can be controlled. However I reckon it's difficult to control in a country with child beauty pageants.

Let us address the creepiness of the child beauty pageant. When I was 9 or ten or so, getting up on stage and singing "The Good Ship Lollipop" while people at least five times my age glowered at me would have been terrifying. I say would have been because it was the furthest thing from both my mind and the mind of my parents. Being a boy I had even less cause to worry about such things. The girls my age at that time were equally not bothered by such things. Soccer practice, sure. Music practice, of course. John Wayne movies and Saturday morning cartoons, that was all for me.

Essentially, from age 1-13 I was busy being a kid. That was my job for the most part. It was very nearly full time with pauses to occasionally pay attention in school. I really believe that if I had to do anything like a child beauty pageant in addition to being crazy I would also be a miserably superficial asshole.

Now let's assume that at best, being a child beauty pageant contestant is not harmful in and of itself. It still gives a very young child a public persona, it makes them into a sort of celebrity, see? They become famous in circles that hold and enjoy child beauty pageants.

Now, we've all heard of normal people stalking adult celebrities. Imagine an adult stalking a child because of that child's particular celebrity. Unless one of the parents is Jack Ryan, John Clark or Jesse Ventura or something, then your average motivated stalker will probably find a way to get to that child. Kids are notorious for their capability to elude their parents. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, but they do it. Now, put those two thoughts together. Innate ability to disappear from the person who's job it is to protect the child plus another person who wants to harm that child=sad, sad statistics.

In general, I find the idea of displaying children in such a fashion repugnant. It really appears to me that something more for the parents than anything else.

I was watching the news with my pop one afternoon. He muttered, in his world weary way, that if children in and of themselves aren't entertaining enough then you need psychological help. This is of course a reference to blood pressure rises I would cause as a very wee lad, and the shouting matches and fights we had when I was a teenager to the complete non-communication we had when I was a younger man. At this point things are good between us, and that's probably because we stopped treating each other as humanoid variables that were more a bother than anything else and starting acting like we were people.

I love my pop, mostly because he never insisted I get on stage until I was 18.

20060909

When was the last time you heard of a drive by stabbing?

Apparently in Scotland stabbings have become such a problem that they intend to ban knives.

Now, naturally this makes sense in that band-aid on a sucking chest wound kind of way. The problem is not the weapons or the ease with which people get them. It is with violence. It is the perception of violence as a solution.

Weapons, of course, can turn an altercation that is merely violent and injurious into something fatal. Even a small blade can make a slight a bar-room disagreement into a manslaughter charge, but then there are the martial arts; if enough people were killed using tae kwon do, would they feel justified in banning tae kwon do? Probably not, because those people who used tae kwon do to kill made the decision to kill in the first place.

And there you have it. They made that decision. You could ban everything and wrap people in cotton their entire lives, they'd still make poor decisions.

The real agony of government being so mind blowingly intrusive and spend millions of dollars on law enforcement, legal prosecution, prison and so on is that they could spend half of that on education and teach people not be so cruel to each other, and that generation would pass those lessons along to their children and in a generation or two the numbers of stabbings would plummet.

That's a great idea but there's a problem: politicians, in a perfect world, represent the people. If the people have had to deal with knife violence their entire lives, they will be so fed up that they will want an immediate solution. Immediate solutions for social problems, almost without fail, look great in newspapers and on TV and actually don't do anything except pacify people enough for them to think the problem is solved and they relax. When they relax, the problem comes back, sometimes worse, and they want their immediate solution again. The vicious cycle begins anew.

Long term solutions never feel as good as short term solutions, but they work better. Now perhaps the knife banning in Scotland, is a long term solution but it's a solution that bends society