Monday, October 02, 2006

Up on My Soapbox

In 1982 a 12-yr old paperboy was abducted from my hometown. His name was Johnny Gosch. As the years have gone by, his mother, Noreen, has never given up the search for her son and even though a few years ago a grown Johnny came to her door and spoke to her, he cannot come home. He isn't safe. Her life-long committment to her son's plight has touched a nerve. You can read all about it on her website.

I bring this up now because it seems there has been a huge interest in the pedafile in our society. Dateline NBC has their "to catch a predator" series, and it was highlighted on Oprah the other day. I've noticed more of the Law and Order shows dedicated to this topic, and a huge upswing of general talk about it.

As a parent of grown children I am so thankful that they grew up safely. As a child growing up in the midwest I felt insulated from this kind of thing. Occasionally we would hear about "weirdos" in the area - I had an 8-yr-old friend who was "flashed" on the way to school one day - but other than that, we lived pretty insulated lives. I remember the day I heard about Johnny Gosch being abducted. I had three children, 7, 5, and 2. I was stunned to think this happened in the community where I had lived and gone to school. Further stunned when another paperboy was taken a couple years later in the same town, the same way. Now, many years later, I read on Noreen's site that there was yet another 12-yr-old boy taken a couple years after that and it never even made the news!! I just don't understand this apathy being shown by the police department and the news media in these cases.

Noreen has hired private detectives over the years and has linked the previous chief of police to an infamous pedefile ring that was broken up in Omaha, Nebraska, a few years ago. She's found proof of links to high ranking officials in law enforcement, media and our government.

I believe it. I believe it all. I've watched the NBC show catch all levels of society trying to meet up to have sex with minors. They've busted the upper-echelon to the middle-class to the most trusted members of our society, teachers, principals, and even a rabbi! We've all heard the stories of the Catholic priests. A few years ago a school board member and well-respected local businessman was caught in bed with his own daughter, a minor. We find out he's been doing it for years - and with more than one daughter. My own daughter had been to their home to spend the night, and bless her heart, trusted her instincts when she said, "Mom, he's creepy". Yes, he was.

People try to blame it on the internet. No, folks. It's not the internet. Yes, the internet has probably made it a bit easier for the creeps, but they've always been there and they will always be there. The internet has just made it more obvious to those of us who live in relatively sheltered lives that this is "out there". This is way more prevalant that most of us know, or want to know, but you can't close your eyes to it. I hope these people keep getting caught. I hope they are not treated like "ill" individuals, but the criminals they are. I have no sympathy for them. The children's lives they have ruined with their "illness" will follow them for the rest of their lives.

Children shouldn't have to live in fear.