All Men Are Pervs…Until Proven Otherwise

Hey Readers! Here’s my iiyrsbhfet
in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Eek! A Male! Treating All Men As Potential Predators Doesn’t Make Our Kids Safer

You’ll recognize a lot of the stories from this very blog, so THANK YOU ALL for sending me so many interesting anecdotes and links. Together we are getting the message out: Excess fear does no one any favors — especially kids! — L

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132 Responses to All Men Are Pervs…Until Proven Otherwise

  1. April January 12, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    Wow. A powerful story Lenore. Keep up the good work.

  2. oncefallendotcom January 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    I absolutely love your article! (I finally found a copy of your book in the bookstore, by the way, and got a copy).

    As an individual on the “public registry,” I have to be extra careful for fear of false allegations. For example, when riding the Greyhound, I absolutely refuse to allow children to sit next to me on the bus for fear of false accusations. I go to stores and malls on weekdays during school hours to minimize the chances of running into youngsters (and subsequent false allegations). I don’t date women with kids, and if I do, we severely limit any interaction with her children as much as possible, which typically means we rarely spend time together at all.

  3. oncefallendotcom January 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    Oh, as an aside, women are more likely to kill their kids than men.

  4. Suze January 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    It’s crazy, absolutely crazy. Are rescuers supposed to find the nearest female? And would they trust her?

    OT but can anyone help a grandmother? I was raised free range, as were my kids. But my DIL fears traffic, water, other parents, other kids, pets, bicycles, you-name-it, near her children. I live in a different town from them, and I can’t take the kids to story time at the library. (There might be local pedophiles there.)


  5. Wilson January 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    In our society, we (men) are guilty until proven innocent. There is no such thing as being too safe. This appears to me to not only apply when we deal with children, but with women as well. It doesn’t take a community to raise a child, it take a community of women to do so. Here’s a good article from the Center of Missing and Exploited Children:

    I have a 4-year old daughter and we have a neighbor two houses down with a daughter who is also 4. She often comes to our house to play and it’s no big deal. However, if my daughter goes to their house, the husband is uncomfortable watching her because of a fear of false accusations. So I can watch his daughter, but he can’t watch mine? I don’t understand this behavior.

    Nice piece, Lenore. I would have liked to see some statistics behind this instead of just anecdotes as I believe it would have carried more weight. How many children in the US? How many are explited by people they DON’T know?

  6. kim January 12, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    This conversation keeps coming up in my daily life. We must be the most narcissitic people on earth to think everyone wants our children. I feel like I am the only one in my group of friends who isn’t scared that every man around isn’t a perv.

  7. delurking January 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    I can’t figure out how to email Ms. Skenazy, so here are two stories for your “outrage” files:

    I found them both through The headlines there are funny:

    “Teacher lets students play on sled in the snow. Hilarity ensues”

    “CAUTION: Sledding will kill your children. Take that thing away right now.”

  8. Bill Anderson January 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    I shamelessly promoted your article and blog on my own blog, which has dealt with a number of cases of false accusation. Your article today was spot on, and the unfortunate result has been that hundreds and maybe even thousands of people — mostly men — are falsely accused of child molestation and are in prison.

  9. RobynHeud January 12, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    When I saw that article about the lt. governor pulling those kids from the burning van, and then the grama says she thought he might be a kidnapper, I was like, right, because he’s constantly prowling the neighborhood looking for dangeroous situations to rescue kids from so he can kidnap and molest them. Seems kind of ineffiecient if you ask me, especially considering in cases like that there is usually some kind of police/paramedics/firefighters on scene. Come on grama, get some common sense!

  10. SgtMom January 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    This is so sad.

    My son learned so much from neighborhood fathers about tools and working on cars, since his father was totally clueless about such things (my husband taught the local boys how to catch and pitch a baseball, however).

    He’d go up and down the block to open garages where a Dad was working and strike up a conversation (Ford or Chevy? Craftsman or Snap on?). He repaired my clothes dryer at age 10, and now makes a good living repairing exotic cars – and thanks those Dads of his youth for nurturing his interest and encouraging his abilities.

    Imagine a world where men redirected female behavior and interests (“There’s no crying in Barbies! Let’s set up a budget and see how much Barbie can save for college”. “How many pairs of shoes does Barbie need, anyway?), while actively shielding their daughters from interacting with adult women or allowing them to sit by an adult woman unattended.

    I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a young boy growing up these days. The role models and people they look up to or emulate are all potential sex fiends.

    My admiration and respect goes out to those young fathers today who refuse to be relegated into the shadows of their children’s lives.

  11. Max Schwab January 12, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    I spent two months in jail for something I didn’t do because of the phenomenon you’re talking about. Public indecency. The word of a cute 15 year girl was accepted over that of a 50 something man, even though the 50 something man was truthful and the 15 year old was not. It is a common occurrence, I fear. So I know very well the true cost of “Worst First” thinking. Thank you for having the courage to think independently. Please continue.

  12. Paula January 13, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    Unfortunatly we are living in a world that has blinkers about children being sexually molested. Men are abusers not women we are told. Yet the figures of female abusers are raising quickly because at last the victims are being believed. In 1997 there was a documentry on female child abusers you can find it on youtube
    they found that 86% of victims of female child abusers where not believed. Even now for example a woman who flew across America to have sex with a 13 year old the attitude of a lot of the people posting about this was why was she prosecuted how could it be a crime?

  13. coffeegod January 13, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    Go Lenore!

    @Max Schwab – I am deeply sorry and ashamed of what society has done to you and other men in the name of ‘protecting the young’.

    @Bill Anderson – Great blog!

  14. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    I agree that it’s not a good thing to remove men from the lives the children. However, in your haste to address this problem, you are unfairly dismissing the legitimate concerns of parents.

    The main issue driving the concern about pedophiles is that we, as a society, continue to indulge the dangerous presumption that pedophiles can be rehabilitated, and that the risk of recidivism is acceptable. Many believe that there is no such thing as rehabilitation for molesters, and that recidivism is likely. Honestly, one need only read through resources such as, in which the writer labors mightily to advance his collection of cherry-picked studies to the contrary, to throw the issue into stark relief. The bottom line is that many of us believe that a man who molests a child must be removed from society permanently – that the behavior is indicative of a sickness so profound, and the consequences to the child so damaging, that anything short of proof of 100% rehabilitation is unacceptable.

    The vast majority know in their gut that this is true – that the molester in society remains a sick person. That’s why sex offender lists exist – we know the molester REALLY should be permanently removed from society, but that the law has not yet caught up with the reality of the molester … so the list exists as an inadequate half measure, a nod to common sense in the face of a largely impotent law.

    And so here we are. Many molesters have not yet been caught. Those that are caught are released back into society. Groups like NAMBLA exist to teach them how to pursue their interests WITHOUT getting caught. And parents are expected to absorb this knowledge and rest assured that the risks are low. That’s a bit much.

    If someone is interested in advancing the argument that parents should relax and be a bit more like their forebears, that person might begin with first things first, addressing elephant in the room – that molesters must be removed. Then, parents might be a little less likely to be looking for them around every corner, knowing that at the very least, their ranks were being actively diminished by a rational society that gave priority to the right of a young child to grow up unmolested.

    I suspect that if our parents, and their parents, and their parents before them, had any way of knowing the extent and depth of the twisted psyche that gives rise to molestation, their response would have been quite a bit more like that today’s parent. They simply didn’t know.

  15. KLY January 13, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    Well said and well done, Lenore. The tone of your article was really dead-on. Not too shocking, but the perfect reminder to think twice about the thinking we’re being programmed to do.

    Let’s just hope we can get word out that “worst first” is bad and that thinking sick is not the answer.

  16. Matt Aulbach January 13, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    I regularly go swimming at a local indoor pool and I often wonder if parents look at me with skepticism. I’m 29, not a parent and probably look out of place between the swim practice kids and my parent’s generation swimming laps. I grew up swimming and I just enjoy the workout. The pool is used by many swim teams and sometimes a swarm of boys will enter the locker room to change. If I’m changing at the same time I’m definitely on alert. I quicken my pace and get the heck out of there!

    Maybe nobody even notices me but I still feel the need to keep my head down and stick to myself.

  17. sue January 13, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    I guess that people in Germany didn’t get the message about all men being perverts or potential child rapists/kidnappers. I used to leave my son with my friend’s husband and his two daughters while my friend and I went running together and my husband was out of town. What was I thinking? Just last night I dropped my son off at his Boy Scout meeting. One of the leaders offered to bring my son home so I didn’t have to come back to the meeting site, and I took him up on his offer. It’s Bad Parent School for me for letting my son ride alone in a car with a man.

    My husband also watches friends’ kids by himself and nobody thinks anything of it. He works from home, so he’s the parent who’s usually around when my son has friends over to play. My husband also takes my son and his friends out skiing. The other parents are happy that he’s willing to take the kids for the day. The boys love having a man who’s an expert skier to challenge them. They prefer to have one of the dads ski with them because the moms can’t keep up with them.

    I just can’t imagine the parents here teaching their kids to be afraid of men. Kids here learn that just about all adults, male and female, are good people. Last summer, when my son had a problem with his bicycle when he was riding to the store alone, he asked a man to help him. That man was the closest adult to him and therefore the most logical person to ask. He would have had a long walk if he didn’t ask that man for help.

  18. Michelle January 13, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    I really want to know how our nation got so messed up like this, it’s sad. I was in Target with my 2 year old, and the guy behind us started making funny faces at him, and I laughed as hard as my son did, and loved it! All these fearmongering people just make me ill.

  19. sue January 13, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    @ Miranda O’Sullivan…Most of the people on the sex offender registries are not pedophiles. Many so-called sex offenders are on the registry for things like: streaking, mooning, public urination, or being over 18 and having sex with an underage (16 or 17-year-old) girlfriend. The people that we really have to watch out for probably aren’t listed on any registries. I forgot who said this, but if you really want to find child molesters, the best place to look is the family photo album.

  20. SgtMom January 13, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Miranda O’Sullivan – You statements are patently false on every level. You cannot provide a “cherry picked” study of your own? Just Miranda O’Sullivan’s “Gut”?

    The sex offender lists exist because of the hysterics of people like you, and politicians who gain votes by pandering to it.

    The lists have not shown to have saved one child, crime rates began falling BEFORE lists, and continue just as it does for all other crimes.

    Civilization has existed for ions without resorting to the extremes our “enlightened” society now engages in.

    It wasn’t that long ago hysterical mothers demanded AIDS registries. Remember Ryan White’s family being attacked, their home shot up, mothers protesting outside the school house to prevent him from entering after he contracted AIDs from a blood transfusion? Cooler heads prevailed and that proposed idiotcy was replaced with education. Imagine the bloodbath and insanity that would have ensued if an AIDS registry had been allowed.

    Of course, during that time in history, AIDs and gay bashing prevailed over predator fears.

    Before that our energies and massive wealth was frittered away on drug pushers! The War ON DRUGS, and Prison nation we have now become was the BIGGEST fear of all motherdom. Execute drug pushers! Lock them away FOREVER! We MUST save the children from drugs!

    Quite a dismal failure.

    Are you old enough to remember the Red Scare days, Miranda? Commies were the greatest threat to our beloved little ones. Commies under every rock! Lives ruined, blacklisting, lists, registries, accusations, “we will take over your country without firing a single shot”.

    Preceded by Japanese internment camps. Japs, Japs everywhere, sabotaging, signaling, setting us up for attack! Save the children, save the children lock them all away.

    An enduring favorite was segregation…to “save” our race from theirs.

    The city of Tulsa OK was burned to the ground after a female elevator operator claimed a black man spoke uppity to her. Riots, fires, murder and mayhem – all to protect the womenfolk.

    Then there was the dreaded Okies from the last Great Derpession – familes with starving children “invading” western states, fleeing poverty and drought – beaten, jailed, rejected, hated…much like sex offenders.

    My son was able to obtain a college scholorship because he is a decendant of a “listed” Choctaw indian – we once “listed” native Americans, and rounded them up for death marches. Adolph Hitler got his ideas to round up Jews and other “undesirables” for death camps from OUR American history of treating “undesirables”.

    That’s just the stuff of MY short time on this earth. Who has kept track of all the human stupidity leading back to the GrandDame of them all – a group of 9 year old girls claiming they were posessed by demons leading to the most horrific miscarriage if justice in recorded history? The Salem Witch hunts.

    Miranda O’Sullivan – you are a witch hunter. You are a false accuser. You are an enemy of the Constitution of the United States and all it stands for.

    You promote the hatred, ignorance and superstition that has caused untold misery and harm to innocent children. You have sold your children’s futures to the devil by squandering billions of dollars to “save” them from your foolish fears. You have forsaken everything honorable and righteous this country stands for in exchange for having someone “listed” to vent your fear and hatred.

    Children should be shielded and protected from people like Y O U.

  21. Whitney January 13, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    In another extreme case, I know a man who won’t give his own daughter a bath (she’s three) because his mind has been poisoned by all this paranoia. how sad is that?

  22. Heather January 13, 2011 at 1:26 am #

    Your article is spot-on, Lenore!

    My husband taught the 8 & 9-old kids in church a few years ago (another guy at our church — also a dad — was his co-teacher) and the kids loved him. My husband works as an artist for Disney and usually has a sketchbook with him because (*gasp!*) he likes to draw. As a result, the kids in his class would crowd around him and save him a seat by them in class so they could watch him draw in his sketchbook. Often, it was the girls (one of them is now our go-to babysitter for date nights) who saved him a seat next to them. The sad thing is that he couldn’t help but feel a little nervous, hoping that no one would think it was weird.

    It’s the same with my dad — kids and teens have always gravitated toward him because he’s so much fun and young at heart. He makes funny faces at kids sitting in front of him at church (which usually entertains the otherwise fussy and grumpy children) and he has been a positive influence on lots of the kids I grew up with. It’s so sad that someone like my dad — one of the most positively influential people in my life and one of my very best friends (even as a teenager!) — would be suspected by some as having ulterior motives.

    It’s a sad commentary on the state of our society. Granted, common sense has its place, but when we villify every man, how much are we going to lose? Our boys need positive male role models more than ever, I think. I’m so proud that my husband and dad, among many other good men, are willing to step up to the task.

  23. Donna January 13, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    I’d truly hate to be a man today. We tell them that they can’t go near children until they have children. We treat them as if they are pervs if they show the slightest interest in interacting with children, sometimes even children that they’re related to. We then expect them to step up and take on 50% of the child-rearing responsibility as soon as the baby is born. How? They’ve never been allowed to interact with children.

    I’m curious. Is our obsession with the idea that everyone wants our children completely narcissitic – we have the best child in the world and anyone would want her? Or is it a statement that we as a society find children so distasteful that anyone who wants to be near them must be either a close relative or a pedophile?

    @ Miranda O’Sullivan – Where exactly are your statistics that say that recidivism is likely? I work in the criminal justice system and recidivism amongst sex offenders is rare. Most of the people on the registry are not sexual predators. As a matter of fact, out of tens of thousands of people on my state registry, less than 30 of them have been classified by the State as sexual predators.

    I wonder how much of that information on the website you supplied is manipulated. Because, it is true that sex offenders frequently end up in prison again. I’ve represented many over the years. However, they are almost always charged with violating the sex registry law – a law so convoluted and technical that I’d have trouble satisfying it, let alone someone with minimal education – or violating some other law and are rarely charged with another sex offense. Most are caught in a system where they can’t find work due to their record and can’t find a decent place to live due to the registry laws, so they find themselves running afoul of either the registry law or some other law and landing back in prison.

  24. Marie January 13, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    Miranda O’Sullivan, you want to help protect kids from child molesters? Teach them to tell a trusted adult. As others have already said, abuse is more likely to come from a trusted adult than a stranger. You can’t prevent all abuse (sadly), but you can see to it that the child knows you will listen and help them should something so awful occur.

    As for me, my daughter has a friend whose dad sometimes calls to ask if he can pick her up after school so the girls can play together. She’ll even go swimming at their house. No problem, I trust him and it’s nice to have the break.

    I’ll admit to one heart-stopping moment when a child molester by the same name was on the news, but it wasn’t my friend (different city, very different in appearance, already in custody). I had to laugh at the coincidence, although I also hope it doesn’t cause my friend trouble with others who see only the name.

  25. Edward January 13, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    Miranda – When you inflict the dangerous presumption on a developing young mind that an entire sector of the human race must be feared and hated, you affect that child’s existence on this planet for the rest of their lives. YOU MOLEST THAT CHILD. You molest them just as surely as if you committed one of those sick physical attacks only a person such as you could possibly come up with. How people such as you are allowed to interact with children is beyond my comprehension.

  26. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    In the midst of all the righteous indignation coming down on my head for having the temerity to state what a significant percentage of the population thinks, one thing stands out nice and clear:

    Not a single one of you seems at all concerned about removing true molesters from our midst. Not the 17 year old caught with his 15 year old girlfriend, not the guy taking a leak behind the bush who gets nailed for public indecency … but the monster who molests children, admits to it, and is released to do it again.

    Not a single voice raised about that guy. And that’s the problem. When purportedly rational adults can’t get it together to respond appropriately, to that monster, it creates an environment in which ANYONE could be that monster.

    How such people – and their implicit defenders (that’s YOU, Edward) – are allowed to interact with children is beyond my comprehension.

  27. Tuppence January 13, 2011 at 3:32 am #


    Let’s keep shouting it from the rooftops —
    Stop picking on men!!

  28. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    SgtMom – put simply, you’re nuts.

    Here’s a clue for you to start with in your pursuit of reality: molesters exist. They’re not imagined phantoms, despite what your fevered brain evidently prefers to believe.

    Your parade of horribles is completely irrelevant.

    As to your characterizations of me, well, I’ll just say that I’ve been called names by people in the midst of a schizophrenic break – and I paid as much attention to their assertions as I do yours.

  29. Lafe January 13, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    Dear, poor Miranda. It seems that you’ve really abandoned your reason to embrace the panic-fueled bogey man hatred of this particular decade. Someone else already outlined the past iterations of this nonsense: the commies, the witches, the friendly black man, Japanese man, or Muslim next-door . . . (Wait. We’re still struggling with that last one.)

    I have to add: What on earth makes people think that specific crimes prove a person is utterly incapable of rehabilitation? There is no science to support this. Many of those people didn’t set out to molest anyone; they got into a rare, weird situation and made a wrong choice. We can say the same thing about a thief, or a person who got drunk and damaged some property. We don’t run around shouting that all drunk persons be listed up, nor do we cut hands off of a thief because “once a thief always a thief”.
    Most of the people who will be caught doing bad things to kids in the future aren’t on anyone’s useless list. They probably don’t even know themselves that they will find themselves in such a situation.
    Most people on the list aren’t a threat to anyone. I knew of a man in our town who was driven away by the mob mentality you are espousing. His own psychologist, doctors, and parole people said that he had been involved in a strange incident with a specific young relative years ago, had paid his time, and been through all kinds of counselling and treatment. They made it clear that he was no threat to anyone. He was also very old. I weighed what I heard, used logic and reason, and I would have let any of my three kids be around him – no problem. But he was on a list, so he was hated and expelled. You would not believe the ignorant questions people asked about him.

    Or maybe you would.

  30. Tuppence January 13, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    @ Sue re. men and children in Germany — you left out the one about how if a little girl is brought to swimming class by her father, he’ll take her to shower in the men’s shower room, (since the father as a grown man can’t go into the women’s showers) where all the men are naked (and private shower stalls in German locker rooms? Ppfff – Don’t be such a fusspot), including her swimming instructor, just at the next shower over, who’ll even have the audacity, when he recognizes her, to talk to her — Well, little one, did you enjoy the class?
    Naked! Forgodsakes! Naked!

    And we’d be remiss not to add that any perv that want to cop a free peak only has to stroll over to any natural body of water here in the summertime. That’s when all the children go swimming and they all do it naked!

    And, last but not least, Sue — where are you? I don’t mean that literally of course, I just mean all the Ami moms I know here have keep their imported, paranoid parenting wrapped tightly round them like a shield of armor, refusing to be “led astray” by the society at large. I can’t meet any cool American moms!

  31. Elfir January 13, 2011 at 4:02 am #

    The article has hit Fark:

    Some of the comments are interesting, in that some Farkers ARE child-fearing males for exactly said reasons.

  32. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    I get that people on this blog are all super-motivated to cut the molester some slack. That molesters are just regular dudes who got in a “strange” situation and made a bad decision – could have happened to anyone, one presumes.

    But then, having a look at, say, the Illinois Sex Offender list at, we see that it lists over 20,000 guys who got in a strange situation with children. About 1/3 of them found themselves in a situation sufficiently “strange” that their “bad decision” resulted in being labeled not just a “sex offender”, but a “sexual predator”.

    At that point, having a look at the list of things that could result in “sexual predator,” one has to wonder. Admittedly, kidnapping seems irrelevant to sexual predation of children. But as to the rest of the list, well, let’s just say that if one’s perception is that these things result from “regular guys” getting in “strange situations” and making “bad decisions,” it weakens everyone’s case on this forum. Regular guys who are capable of these things because they just made a bad decision shouldn’t be around kids at all. Ever. Nor should those of you who think their crimes are no big deal.

  33. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    … and there is no analogy to be drawn between a thief or drunk driver, and a molester of children. There is no conceivable excuse for molesting children. That anyone thinks otherwise is precisely why rational adults are concerned about the adults with whom their children have contact.

  34. April January 13, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    It sounds like “Miranda” doesn’t really feel the “free range” vibe of this blog. I can’t fathom why you are even reading this, unless so stir up trouble.

  35. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    Actually, I was curious to see to what extent the “free range” philosophy reached. I wanted to know, are “free range” parents cognizant of the threat molesters pose in our society, or do they blow off the threat altogether as no big deal?

    The answer, obviously, is clear. Free range evidently stands for, among other things, the belief that even in the case of the worst predators, it’s society’s fault for wanting to come down hard on those poor guys who “just made a bad decision.” I get it.

  36. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    FRKers: It’s irrational to kill all dogs in order to prevent rabies.

    Miranda: You just love it when people get rabies! Why do you want to protect rabid dogs?

  37. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 4:45 am #

    “and there is no analogy to be drawn between a thief or drunk driver, and a molester of children. There is no conceivable excuse for molesting children.”

    Logically, you are saying that there is an excuse for theft or drunk driving. Who is the one with the moral confusion here?

  38. SgtMom January 13, 2011 at 4:55 am #

    Miranda, the majority of “Good Germans” felt that rounding up Jews for mass extermination was a perfectly acceptable way to deal with their problems.

    That does not mean the “Majority” were correct, does it?

    The Constitution was written to protect the minoity from the evils of the majority, Miranda. We wouldn’t need a Constitution if the Majority was always moral and correct.

    No one is defending molesters, no one is suggesting we bequeath our children to them.

    We ARE saying that publicly endangering any fellow human being by stigmatizing them and their INNOCENT children by publicly listing THEM as well is W-R-O-N-G.

    We are saying branding every male citizen as a potential threat to children is W-R-O-N-G.

    California is facing a $25 billion deficit, and guess where the funding cuts are coming from?

    Certainly not the cash cow sex offender fear mongering list. Too many people stand to lose too much $$$$$ investment by admitting it’s a useless farce that does more harm than good.

    25% of young people -mostly male – applying to join the Army are failing the entrance exam. Why? Because the money that should have been used to educate the children of the wealthiest nation on earth was used instead to “protect” them.

    They can’t qualify to protect their own country because their education money was spent protecting them from the hordes of sex fiends that none apparently have been protected from.

    Does that not seem totally stupid to you?

    Miranda, I’m asking you a direct question here.

    We supposedly educate our children about Nazi Germany or Salem Witch hunting “so that it never happens again”.

    We teach our children about the brutality and heroism our forefathers endured for our most precious birthright – The Constitution.

    It seems those who contribute the least price are the ones who want to destroy it the most.

    I’d suggest you consider signing up to serve and protect your National Birthright instead of supporting the destruction of your own rights – but I don’t think you’ve had enough education to pass the entrance exam.

  39. enyawface January 13, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    In this world of “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!” what is a boy to do? I mean, boys might as well be institutionalized at birth because they have a penis. As society sees it, because of that little penis they are doomed to become monsters, perverts, have an unquenchable thirst for “unthinkable” things with children, and should generally be in jail anyhow, because they have a penis.
    I wish i could remember the study, done by a University, that showed, statistically, for there to be the perceived presence of pedophiles that do nothing but lurk around the corner from your child all day long, that would mean that there are over 500,000,000 pedophiles lurking the streets at any given time. In a country with a total population just under 312,000,000.

  40. Donna January 13, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    Miranda, free rangers are indeed cognizant of the dangers posed by child molesters. We simply chose to view them as they are rather than exaggerating them to justify our own fear-mongering. We understand that more than 90% of child molestations are perpetrated by family members so children are statistically safer with strange men than at home. We understand that most child molesters have no sexual criminal history when arrested, making the sex registry completely invalid for determining who is a threat. We understand that most people on the registry pose no threat to children having committed crimes against adults or non- predatory crimes. We understand that there is no substantiation to the belief that sex offenders are unable to be rehabilitated.

  41. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    Pentamom, use your head. Here are some scenarios:

    “I’m starving, and I’m really low on cash … so I’m going to steal that loaf of bread.”

    “I had a few to drink, but I think I can drive the car safely, and after all, home is only 2 miles away … so I’m going to drive my car.”

    And now, YOU fill in the blank, if you think they’re equivalent:

    “……………………………………………….., so I’m going to have this 4 year old perform fellatio on me.”

  42. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    SgtMom, you say you are asking me a direct question, and then of course you fail to ask any question. But I’ll the question you seem to be implying anyway:

    1) Nazis were rounding up, and killing, Jews. Their “crime” was being Jewish.

    2) The Salem witch hunts were about rounding up witches and killing them. Of course, there were no witches.

    Now, what is being discussed here is child molesters. I maintain that unlike Jews, molesters commit real crimes. I maintain further that unlike witches, molesters exist.

    You, on the other hand, seem to be wholly committed to the idea that (1) molesters don’t exist, and (2) even if they did, their actions aren’t a crime.

    And you have the temerity to question MY education? You need to take a break, dear. At this point, I have difficulty believing you can successfully tie your shoe.

  43. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 5:31 am #

    Donna, you might check your assumptions, and have someone explain the proper use of statistics to you as well.

    The number of predators on the list whose crimes were committed against children is large. The fact that there is also a large number of predators whose crimes were not against children is irrelevant. There are a lot of potheads who didn’t commit crimes against children too … but so what?

    Also, the fact that most who commit crimes against children have no prior criminal history is proof of … nothing. Obviously the registries don’t contain them. So what? That’s more an argument for more aggressive pursuit of molesters to remove them from civil society, and support for the proposition that there are many more among us than one would believe, based purely on the crime statistics.

    Talk about misinterpreting data to support one’s preferred conclusions.

    It’s beginning to seem that the “free-range” movement, if it can be called that, is, at minimum, an attraction for those who would minimize crimes against children and engage in far-ranging excuse making for sick individuals. Not sure that’s such an appealing movement.

  44. Jonas January 13, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    I live in a major city which prides itself in having an extensive network of downtown cycling paths. So one sunny Saturday afternoon last summer, I rode my bicycle through the parks downtown, and as you do, after a while I felt like it was time to stop and sit on a bench for a few minutes to drink some water.

    At first I was completely oblivious to the fact that I was sitting on a bench on the edge of a children’s playground. That quickly changed when I realized I was getting very suspicous looks from two young mothers who were entertaining their kids on the swingset on the other side of the playground, maybe 20 yards away from me. They were not just fleeting glances – as I sat there enjoying my bottle of water, they became more and more disapproving and distrustful.

    Now I am a pretty average-looking middle-aged guy, there is nothing menacing about me, as all of my friends, both male and female, would agree. And yet, somehow just sitting there on the bench, on my own, with my all-black cycling shades on, I must have looked like I posed an imminent threat to the kids playing all around me. I mean, think about this for a second – I am minding my own business, trying to stay in shape and riding along the cycling paths in a public park which my taxes pay for, so as far as I am concerned that entitles me to sit anywhere in that park that I please without my motives for doing so being questioned. But no, somehow as an unaccompanied male, it causes suspicion when I do just that and happen to step off my bicycle to rest on a bench that it just so happens is on the edge of a (again, public!!) playground.

    And just imagine for a moment the thoughts that went through my head when I realized what (non-)situation I had gotten myself into: “Oh no… they must think I am a perv… just don’t do anything stupid now… don’t make eye contact, and get the hell out of here”.

    And that to me is just testament to a sick society, in which a male is by default seen as a potential child rapist simply because by some coincidence he sits down somewhere in a public place where children are around.

  45. Donna January 13, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    Actually Miranda YOU need to check YOUR assumptions and have someone explain statistics to you. The majority of people who are on the registry are there for stat rape – willing sex with someone under the age of consent, usually someone close in age who they were dating at the time. These are defined as crimes against children, but the convicted are not predators and pose no threat to anyone else. Combined with the number of people on the registry for “sex” crimes like peeing in public, non-sexual crimes (the guy who robbed a drug dealer who happened to be a minor), and crimes committed against adults, and you have an extremely small percentage of people on the registry who pose any kind of potential threat to children.

    Further, I’m not making assumptions. I work in the criminal justice system so I have actual first hand knowledge and am not relying on propaganda. Our jurisdiction has never had a single stranger child molestation. I’m not denying that they occur, but they are extremely rare. Mom’s boyfriend/husband is by far the largest perpetrator, followed by uncles, cousins and close friends of the family. Dad, grandpa, teachers, coaches make the occasional appearance but probably don’t all add up to mom’s boyfriend/husband.

  46. Lafe January 13, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    I’m not addressing this to any particular person, because the thread is descending into attack mode.

    There are obviously sick people in the world – no one says they don’t exist, and no one says they should not be addressed in some way. I’ve never noticed anyone on this site expressing anything other than genuine, deep sadness and support for families who experience a real tragedy.

    Many of us believe, though, that as rare as those people are (I will not call them ‘monsters’ because human beings should not call other human beings such things in a civilized society), there is no reason for the media to instill blind fear in people as if there is stranger danger in every neighborhood and school.

    We’re sick of that mentality. It’s false. It starts with a grain of truth, but blows it up a million times to keep people afraid. I’ve been to other parts of the world where this sort of nonsense is not practiced. I really recommend visiting such places. Being immersed in American culture constantly, this sort of fear seeps into your bones and no amount of discussion will change your viewpoint. You just need to go experience what ‘normal’ is somewhere else.

    As for me and my family, we choose not to enslave ourselves to that fear. We know that danger exists, but we aren’t advocating killing all dogs because some (very very few) have rabies, even if someone starts making a list of all dogs who have ever drooled and might be dangerous.
    (Good comparison, whomever that was.)

    Someone just popping onto this site and viciously attacking people must be a person who is not familiar with most of the discussion that takes place here month after month.

  47. coffeegod January 13, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Methinks someone had a heaping bowl of Purina Troll Chow for breakfast.

  48. erica January 13, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    great story.

    sad and true.

    my husband loves sports and coached recreational baseball all thru high school and college. a few years ago he tried to volunteer with a good friend to coach their son’s little league team, and the league wouldn’t allow because my husband didn’t have a child participating.

    and i too passed judgement toward a young man that taught my son’s 2-yr old daycare class. turned out to be one of the BEST teachers they had!

  49. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    I think the rabies analogy is apt.

    I think one might consider, however, what we do with dogs who get rabies.

    And further, what the consequences would be if PETA, for instance, successfully lobbied to have them released back into society because it was the “humane” thing to do and they couldn’t help it that they got the disease.

    Finally: the fact that anyone would find it uncomfortable to call someone who molests little children a monster is quite telling.

  50. Donna January 13, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    “I’m starving, and I’m really low on cash … so I’m going to steal that loaf of bread.”

    This scenario is exceedingly rare, while theft is exceedingly common. Most thefts are “I’m a junkie and need stuff to pawn to buy my drugs.” Not exactly a ringing justification for crime.

    “I had a few to drink, but I think I can drive the car safely, and after all, home is only 2 miles away … so I’m going to drive my car.”

    Wow, I’m sure that the family of the child killed in this scenario agrees with you that this was certainly a legitimate excuse.

    As for sex crimes (true cases) –

    Dad finds sex diary of his 14 year old daughter – she admits to wanting sex and making advances at them. (Several of the many guys are on the registry now).

    Kid has sex with girl in his own grade. Sadly, he’s a year behind, she’s a year advanced and mom insists on pressing charges because she doesn’t want her daughter doing black boys. (Luckily not convicted and allowed to just take a sex ed class)

    Boy meets girl in a bar and has consensual sex. Girl was there on a fake ID and is under the age of consent. (On registry)

    Girl and boy are dating with parents permission. Girl gets pregnant and goes to get welfare. Welfare reports the dad, against the wishes of the girl and parents, to police. (Many on registry).

    Boy and girl are dating. Police catch them having sex in the car. Girl and parents don’t want boy arrested but police bring charges anyway. (On registry).

    Guy showering in his own fenced in backyard. Kids look through fence and see him. Convicted of child molestation. (On registry).

    Guy robs his drug dealer, who is a minor. Absolutely no allegations of sex or that this was a sexually motivated crime. However kidnapping charge involving a minor lands him on the sex registry (not a sympathetic guy but shows the idiocy of the sex registry).

    Guy goes to a party and girl willingly gives him a blow job. He’s 17. She’s 15. He goes to prison for 10 years. Case is successfully appealed and leads to an overhaul of the Georgia sex laws, but only after he spends several years in prison.

    Let’s not forget the McMartins and numerous other people who have been convicted, spent years in prison only to be released because, not only did they not commit the child molestation but the child molestation never occurred and the conviction was a result of suggestive interviews of the children.

    Yes, there are some evil people who do awful things to children. Luckily those individuals represent a small percentage of the sex registry. There are also people convicted of really stupid crimes against children as well as people convicted of crimes against children that never occurred. As someone who experiences the sausage factory that is our criminal justice system every day, particularly in this witch-hunt area, forgive me for not being willing to toss everyone convicted of a sex offense into the “unfit to ever exist in society again” category.

  51. HSmom January 13, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    Thank you for keeping this conversation going. Our homeschool co-op employs teens as classroom helpers for the younger classes (nursery, preschool and kindergarten). Of our five teens, two are boys and they are just WONDERFUL! I’m so glad we have them as role models for our younger kids. I want my two sons to see kind, polite, fun young men interacting with children in a positive way. Hiring boys (vs. all girls) has never been an issue. We look for teens who are interested in the job. Period. My son loves babies and would love to have a classroom helper job in a year or so.

    Our co-op also employs one dad as the gym teacher… and guess what? The kids’ favorite game is dodge ball. They play it all the time.

  52. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 6:53 am #

    Donna: I notice you conveniently ignore the scenario I posed, instead offering a bunch of alternative scenarios that support your point.

    Such dodging is a variant of the straw man argument. You set up stuff that you then proceed to knock down, and offer the totality as a refutation of an argument you’ve not even touched.

    I understand, though. If you were to apply yourself to the actual question asked, you’d have to concede the point that there are some molesters who are so evil they must be removed.

    And that, for some reason, you can’t admit. I get it. I know there are people like you out there. I don’t know what motivates you, but I do know that you will work endlessly, and tirelessly, to avoid reality.

  53. Bruce Hansen January 13, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Every time I read an article that makes me think, “Holy cow, here’s somebody who actually has some common sense!” it turns out to be written by Lenore Skenazy.

  54. DJG January 13, 2011 at 7:22 am #

    Please stop feeding this troll. She has taken her position, dug her heels in deep, and is reveling in your indulgence. She stated her fundamental assumption in her opening comment:

    “The bottom line is that many of us believe that a man who molests a child must be removed from society permanently – that the behavior is indicative of a sickness so profound, and the consequences to the child so damaging, that anything short of proof of 100% rehabilitation is unacceptable.”

    All of her arguments since that statement have been based on that fundamental assumption. The problem is that her assumption is based, as she admits, on a “belief”, not on fact. That said, I actually agree that there are almost certainly men (and women) out there who are sexual predators and who will be impossible to rehabilitate. I do not believe that all men who have molested a child fall into this category, or that most of the people on sex offender registries fall into this category. However, this person has shown that she does not brook compromise or partial agreement. Anyone who does not agree with her wholeheartedly, anyone who questions any aspect of her argument, is somehow protecting molesters or refusing to believe that they exist.

    You cannot battle non-logic with logic. The necessary valid points have been made against her statements, for the benefit of anyone else reading. However, you are not going to convince her. She’s not here to be convinced. Time to let it go.

  55. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 7:40 am #

    Actually, DJG, aside from what I consider to be unfair characterizations of me personally, I agree with everything you wrote. I believe you are the FIRST responder who has acknowledged that there are some molesters who commit such heinous crimes they cannot be rehabilitated.

    I agree that even among those listed as having committed crimes against children, not all the people on the registries are such people.

    I further agree that not all the people on the registries for offenses against children have committed crimes that any reasonable person would consider molestation.

    But if you look at what I wrote, I never suggested otherwise. Nevertheless, everyone jumped to offer an absolutist defense, not bothering for a moment to consider the central proposition, as you did. And that’s telling.

    My central point is that until we as a society are willing to confront the fact that there are crimes so heinous their perpetrators cannot be allowed in civil society, it is premature to ask parents to “relax a bit.” I think the responses on this very page prove my point. The effort, it seems, is all directed at ignoring and avoiding this reality – a reality I would hope would be rather obvious and uncontroversial.

    As to who you believe is applying logic and who isn’t, well, I think my posts stand sufficiently on their own. I’d like to think you might reflect upon your core observation and read the thread with that in mind, but that might be a bit much to ask in this forum, I guess.

  56. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    And to all of you, here’s a tip:

    Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll. You diminish yourselves by relying on such a weak, facile dodge.

  57. SgtMom January 13, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Miranda, I will repeat once again – since the inception of the sex offender registry, sex crime stats have not altered one iota. They were already declining 20 years ago, and have continued declining at the same rate that ALL crime is declining.

    Before we once again take that “sex offenders don’t exist leap, I will head you off at the edge of the abyss by saying sex offenders DO exist – that our perception that we are “doing” something effective about does not bear up.

    Sex offenders have existed from the beginning of time, just as haters, liars, cheaters, thieves, murderers, gossips and silly dither heads have.

    No amount of chicken little fear mongering will rid society of any of these ills.

    Certainly turning our precious husbands, fathers,and sons into “guilty until proven innocent” potential perverts does nothing to eliminate molesters from our ranks.

    We haven’t eliminated drug pushers or users from our ranks in all these years of prison building and “they can’t be cured” prognosis.

    The drug problem, if anything has, in fact, only gotten worse.

    As will the “molester” problem.

    Not many of us have your God-like insight to decide who needs to be “removed”. A LOT of mistakes have been made in the past for those playing God.
    I’ve named more than a few, you’ve ignored them all.

    I can’t think of any human endeavour to “remove” undesirables among our midst that didn’t blow up in our collective faces.

    I don’t expect to see the name Miranda O’Sullivan go down in human history as the genius who Saved The Children From Molesters.

  58. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    That is a massive fallacy.

    Your central argument seems to be that because a problem cannot be solved conclusively or eradicated in the entirety, we need not bother trying. I guess we can be thankful you have little (hopefully nothing) to do with criminal jurisprudence.

    How about the guy who says, upon being charged with sodomizing the 4-year-old: “Yes, I did it. I’ve done it before. If you don’t lock me up, I’ll do it again.” I guess you’d rather let that guy walk, because maybe he’s lying, huh? Or confused? Or paid off? Or suicidal? I’m sure you can come up with something.

    Look, if you were merely advancing the notion that in practice, difficulties exist, and in practice, the law is imperfect, I’d concede that point. And that further, allowances at the margins have to be made in deference to that imperfect reality. I’d concede that as well.

    But that’s not what you’re saying. You’re saying, since we can’t know exactly what the truth is in all cases, we shouldn’t bother with any effort at protecting society against people who treat the innocent as their prey. We may know they exist in theory, but we can’t do anything about it because we live in world of imperfect information. I suppose we shouldn’t have sentences like “life without parole”, either, for murderers. Right?

    You’re way out on the edge, honey. As relating to the philosophy of criminal jurisprudence, you’re denying, as a practical matter, the very existence of crime and the rule of law. You need to check yourself.

  59. Donna January 13, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    There certainly are people who commit crimes so heinous that they should be locked away for life. Amongst them are rapists, child molesters, murders, child abusers. I don’t recall that anyone denied that fact at all. We’ve simply said 4 things:

    (1) Not all people who are convicted of rape, child molestation, murder, child abuse or any other particular crime in the history of crime are not able to rehabilitated. Some are and some aren’t. There are people convicted of relatively minor crimes, such as theft and DUI who prove themselves to be completely unrehabiliatable while murders and child molesters prove themselves rehabilitated by never committing a crime again.

    (2) Very few men actually molest children.

    (3) Children are in far more danger from inside their homes than from strangers so this fear-mongering of all men is misplaced. The vast majority of crimes against children are committed in their own home. That is where they are most likely to be raped, abused and murdered. The worst child molestation case I’ve dealt with to date was the father who repeatedly video-taped himself raping his own daughter (he’s been sent to prison and isn’t eligible for parole for about 400 years and nobody is crying over him). Our jurisdiction has never had a case of a child raped, abducted or murdered by a stranger (outside of vehicular homicide or similar non-intentional type crime). This is not surprising since there are only about 120 or so of those cases a year in the entire country.

    (4) We are not free range parents because we believe that there is no evil lurking in the world. We are free range parents because we realize that the odds of the evil coming to roost on our family is miniscule. We believe that the benefits of learning self-reliance and not treating people who have done nothing wrong like convicted child molesters simply because they possess a penis outweigh the miniscule risk that our children will fall prey to some evil.

  60. Lafe January 13, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    In any society, look for the people who are being called ‘monsters’. Gypsies, Jews, witches, homosexuals, Jack the Ripper, black people, child molesters . . . The people chosen for this treatment are different in different times an places. Some of them are real criminals and pose some real danger, some are just guilty of being different, or in the wrong place af the wrong time.

    When you see people being dehumanized in this way, look for the reason. Someone is always doing the dehumanizing of that group for a reason: to grasp or retain power, to manipulate large numbers of people, etc. They serve themselves by denying the humanity of others. This has been shown to be the case time and time again throughout human history.

    People, even criminals, are people.
    This is my strong belief, and I hope that it is ‘telling’. What it should ‘tell’ you is that I’m a decent human being.

  61. sue January 13, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    never fight with a moron..they’ll argue you down to their level and beat you with experiance. also it’s not polite to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is so obviously un armed.

  62. ebohlman January 13, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    I must say I was dismayed at the quality of the comments on the WSJ site: I quit reading after about one page. It seems like everyone wanted to use Lenore’s article to advance their own pet causes, regardless of how loosely those causes were connected to what Lenore was writing about (what the hell does the existence of the Federal income tax have to do with our attitudes toward men?).

    Of course, the comments on just about any mainstream media article on the Web tend to be pretty crazy.

    I think the daycare cases from the 80s were really what caused this sort of universal suspicion. Prior to them, most of the general public (correctly) understood that child sexual abuse is an extremely secretive act; it is extraordinarily rare for it to happen in a public place in the presence of onlookers. The daycare cases involved allegations of multiple offenders simultaneously molesting multiple children in places that parents could walk into at any time, in other words molestation in broad daylight in front of others.

    Needless to say, none of this actually happened, but the impression that it could stuck, and now parents worry about molestation in public, even in scenarios where the alleged perp would have no physical opportunity to do anything. It’s as if we assume that child molesters have supernatural powers (and most of what was alleged in the daycare cases could only have happened if they did).

    Not wanting to feed the troll, but I’d just like to point out that repeat offenders who have already served their sentences account for at most 1 out of 50 cases of child sexual abuse. Effectively all the problem would still be there if they all disappeared. The biggest bottleneck in preventing and punishing child sexual abuse isn’t the way the criminal justice system handles it; it’s getting it reported to the authorities in the first place (and note that while mandatory life without parole for CSA would solve the 2% repeat offender problem, it would make the reporting problem substantially worse since a reporter would have to want to completely ruin someone’s life rather than get them help. It would also make prosecution much more difficult by eliminating guilty pleas and forcing every case to come to a full trial, the outcome of which would ultimately depend on “he said/she said”; in most cases it would involve 12 people having to decide which party to a bitter divorce/breakup/custody battle was telling the truth).

  63. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Miranda, I didn’t say they were equivalent. I said that you were wrong to say that there was no analogy, and to imply that there was an excuse for theft or (especially) drunk driving.

    Things do not have e to be identical or equivalent to be analogous. In fact if they are, they aren’t analogous — they’re the same thing.

  64. B.S.H. January 13, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    O.M.G. So I was at the park for the first time in about 3 years, and I was ‘unconsciously’ sizing up all the men in the area! There was a ‘scary’ old guy walking his dog and I thought to myself, ‘whats that guy doing at the playground- he doesnt have a kid’. And then I gasped because I realized that even though I am a total free ranger and read this blog EVERY DAY, I fell into the trap! Thank goodness I realized it and stopped my ‘all men are evil’ thinking!

  65. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    “Finally: the fact that anyone would find it uncomfortable to call someone who molests little children a monster is quite telling.’

    That would indeed be terrible.

    Now, find me one person on this thread who has done that, or has even come close to it.

    Your “FRKers believe that molesters don’t exist/aren’t so bad” is a figment of your severely logic-challenged imagination. No one has said that.

    What we have said that is regarding all men as molesters is itself criminal, and that not everyone on the sex offender list is a child predator. THAT IS ALL.

  66. Cheryl W January 13, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    A child is playing with a cat. The cat doesn’t like to play with children, and puts back it’s ears, and hisses. The child persists. The child get scratched.

    As a parent, based on the above, should I never let my child play with a cat, or should I teach my child how to tell when the cat is going to act innappropriately so that they can avoid the situation happening? Or, should I tell them that all cats will hurt them, never trust them, and never go near them?

    Me, I am going to teach my kids how to avoid grooming situations, to say no, and come tell me when things are not right. I teach them about what areas can be touched by others, and which should only be touched by them (and occasionally the doctor.)

    There is a slim chance though, that despite all my teachings about cats, that a mountain lion might attack and hurt one of my kids while we are hiking. Just like there is a slim chance, that while walking down our private road with their sibling that a car will pull up and try to pull one of them into the car at gunpoint.

  67. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    Lafe: perceiving there to be any equivalency between the molester and the “witch” tells me nothing more than that you are inaccessible to reason.

    Sue: I see that you are ill-equipped to address yourself to anything substantive. That makes you, typically, a name-caller and nothing more.

    Donna: your points are well taken. And if your voice, or DJG’s, for instance, were the most strenuous advanced in “defense” of the molester, I’d say there’s not a whole lot of disagreement among us.

    But that’s not the case. You can see for yourself, right among these posters, a number of people whose positions are so detached from reality, so cavalier in the face of incomprehensible evil (such as Lafe, or SgtMom) – that they themselves inspire very real terror in people such as myself. Their positions are in no way rational, reasonable, or defensible. They essentially suggest that the status of “molester” is a fiction devised to do nothing more than oppress. That’s a peculiar insanity. When NAMBLA advances their arguments, at least I know why: it’s because they are deeply, deeply twisted. When “regular folks” do something similar, I’m at a loss.

    I gather that earlier today I stumbled into some sort of “community” and that you’ll all circle the wagons against this purported troll. But in your quieter moments, Donna, DJG, you might give some consideration to the claims advanced by people such as Lafe & SgtMom, and whether you feel comfortable being associated with the same.

  68. LisaS January 13, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Miranda, I think you misconstrue the intent. Not all molesters are men; not all men are molesters. We can’t label half the human race as being suspect just because they have a penis. For one thing, about half of our children are male. When do they become rapists-in-waiting? at 10? 12? 16?

    But seriously … I’ve mentioned this in comments before, but several of my friends were molested by their fathers. THEIR OWN FATHERS. Does this mean that all women should treat their husbands as sperm donors & kick them out as soon as the baby is born? Of course not, then we’d all be Evil Single Mothers.

    Innocent until proven guilty. Most people are nice, a few are evil. Trust your instinct . Don’t go into a room with a closed door with anyone you don’t want to be intimate with–good advice for anyone, any gender, any age.

  69. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    That’s not all, pentamom. Read through the thread … from Lafe:

    “Many of us believe, though, that as rare as those people are (I will not call them ‘monsters’ because human beings should not call other human beings such things in a civilized society)”

    Also, you’re still dodging. Just because you find the exercise in making the equivalency argument explicit (therefore revealing it as absurd) inconvenient doesn’t mean you can reject it as purposeless because it’s logical. That kind of circularity will only get you far with certain people like Lafe.

    Everything else you wrote could be true, and it still wouldn’t be relevant to my core assertion – we do not deal appropriately with the molester. Period.

  70. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    LisaS: all valid points. I agree with everything you wrote.

  71. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 9:29 am #

    Cheryl: agreed. And when that mountain lion attacks, we put it down. Because that’s it’s nature, and human life is worth defending against the true predator.

  72. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    “Everything else you wrote could be true, and it still wouldn’t be relevant to my core assertion – we do not deal appropriately with the molester.”

    I do not find that assertion objectionable in the least and I doubt anyone else here does. What I find objectionable is your misunderstanding-based slander against the posters here, accusing us of wanting to shelter molesters and/or deny that they exist because we really don’t think they’re so bad. If that is what you are taking from what is being said here, you are either jumping to conclusions or choosing not to pay attention.

    Lafe explained himself pretty clearly, but you chose to take it your own way without paying attention to his evident meaning. His point was clearly that heinous as molestation is, molesters are still human beings. It’s not incompatible with a desire to restrain and/or punish molesters, to believe that their humanity remains intact. In fact, some of us would argue that only a human being should be punished for evil acts — “monsters” can’t help it.

  73. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 9:40 am #

    “because we really don’t think they’re so bad”

    I’d better clarify this — it’s not that we don’t really think they’re so bad, it’s that you seem to think that because we don’t want to broad brush and “deal with” the molester problem by not worrying about things like who’s actually a threat and who’s not, we don’t think they’re so bad.

  74. Donna January 13, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Miranda – I’ve been reading the comments of Lafe and SgtMom on this blog for awhile now. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever being associated with them and agree with much of what they said. I agree with Lafe that we should not call human beings “monsters” regardless of how repulsive we find their actions. I agree with SgtMom’s point that this country is currently persecuting “sex offenders” the way that we’ve persecuted the Japanese and the Nazi’s persecuted the jews. We fail to judge them based on their individual acts, preferring to lump them all in as evil and not capable of rehabilitation. Some, indeed, do meet that description and I’ve never once read Lafe or SgtMom to say otherwise in all the months we’ve been posting here. But all don’t deserve that categorization. We’re willing to accept the difference and not jump to the conclusion that someone poses a threat to all children simply because they appear on the registry. And none of us want to make the leap that all men pose a threat to children simply because they have a penis.

    You, I have no interest in being associated with. You have done nothing since coming here today but insult people who don’t agree with you and intentionally misconstrued what was said so that you could continue to insult them. You haven’t wanted to engage in conversation. If someone said something that you disagreed with, you simply attacked them personally rather than debating the topic. You failed to provide a single piece of validation for your points and instead personally attacked those who asked you to do so. And, frankly, I’m still not sure what your point was. Is it that child predators are not sufficiently punished? Fine. Many here would agree, but that is also completely irrelevant to the point of the article that started this thread – that men are being treated as child predators without having committed a single crime.

    This isn’t some circling the wagons against some troll. I do think you’re a troll but I wouldn’t defend anyone here if I truly disagreed with them. And I do sometimes disagree with people who frequently comment here. We’re just able to do so in a civil manner without devolving to personal insults and I’d prefer to keep it that way.

  75. Mom of Boys January 13, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    I fear I have been one of THOSE people. I limit the neighborhood children to my front yard over 75% percent of the time – the remainder: I have the gate WIDE open! I send children HOME when they must use the bathroom and my husband knows that the girls are NOT allowed in the house without me home! We do NOT do sleepovers! My boys are not allowed in any neighbors HOME or BACKYARD – I am truely CAGING children! I need to RETHINK this!

  76. sue January 13, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    to miranda..i call them as i see and read them. you accuse others of suporting criminals because that’s not your point of view. even when others have attempted to explain their comments, you insist that they are wrong without truly considering what they are saying because that would mean you would have to consider yourself open to debate. the fact that you turn all comments sidesway and ridicule them is a definition of a bully and in my experiance politness is wasted on bullies. you did not truly consider my comment and only repeat yours. why don’y you try a new approach if you think you are so correct instead of using the “they must be stupid but if i say something over and over again loudly they will realize i’m right
    ‘ approach” . most if not all here are open to reason, not bullying.

  77. Dragonwolf January 13, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Miranda –

    Let’s start with your comment about the number of people on the Illinois sex offender registry. You state that there are 20,000 on it, so I’ll go with that number.

    Illinois has, according to Wikipedia, about 13 million people. Assume that the male:female ratio is the typical 50:50 and cut that number in half. That leaves us with 7.5 million.

    20,000/7,500,000 = 0.00266666667
    0.0026 x 100 = 0.26 or 0.26% of the male population.

    One quarter of one percent of the male population of Illinois has been convicted of a sex crime in general. And that doesn’t include weeding out the statutory, and just-plain-stupid cases.

    Yes, sex offenders exist, but they aren’t lurking around every corner like TV would have you believe.

    Also, statistically speaking, while you’re busy watching your neighbor to make sure he’s not oogling your 7 year old, your husband, boyfriend, or brother is actually fondling your kid.

    Regarding the likelihood of sex offenders to re-offend. From what I can find, there isn’t much in the way of conclusive stats. Some say that sex offenders are most likely to reoffend, while others say they’re least likely to reoffend, and others say they go back to prison because of other crimes. Because of that, I can’t say conclusively whether sex offenders as a whole can be rehabilitated.

    However, consider this:

    Prison for a child molestor is hell, even by prison standards. Many of the inmates don’t take kindly to someone that would consider harming their child (yes, I know, they’re in their for harming other people, it doesn’t mean they don’t have their own twisted version of morals or honor). Child molestors are often put in a form of solitary confinement for their own safety.

    I’m not asking you to pity them or sympathize with them. They deserve neither. They did something wrong and are serving their time. However, if you were that sex offender, would you really want to get locked back up with people who probably want to beat you to death?

    Also, the sex offender registry, by definition, provides you with the information on people who have complied. The register is useless for keeping track of those that don’t comply. In other words, the compliant ones are reporting their wherabouts to the government and police. They do this knowing full well that if a child comes to harm in a five mile radius, they will be at the top of the neighborhood suspect list, even if their offense had nothing to do with a child. They also do this knowing full well that their chances of getting a job are severely diminished, nearly to the point of impossibility. Many of them do this if for no other reason than to stay out of jail.

    The problem with the sex offender registry is that it brands people a sort of “untouchable” class, to continue to be ostracized to the point that at least some resort to such crimes as theft just to get by (or others, after not being able to get a job to live somewhere, end up in violation of their release and end up back in jail on what amounts to a technicality).

    This isn’t the first time this matter has come up. If you look in the archives, I think there was another pretty lengthy discussion about this very same thing this past August. In it, a commentor suggested a better solution than the sex offender registry. Said solution included specialized rehabilitation programs and testing to see if the person is a continued danger to others. Those that prove to be a continued danger stay locked up, while those that prove to be rehabilitated are released, having served their time. Get rid of the sex offender registry, institute longer prison sentences if the case warrants it, and provide rehabilitation tailored to sex offenders. Keep those that can’t be rehabilitated out of society, and let those who can be rehabilitated back in. (And no, disagreeing with the Registry does not equate to agreeing with, or “protecting” sex offenders.)

    The larger problem, and the point that Lenore is trying to make, is that the thought that “there are Bad Men out there!” is so pervasive, thanks to things like TV (crime shows, the news, etc) and the registry (and its postcards), that we take that one-quarter-of-one-percent of men who have done something bad, sexually, to someone else and apply it to all men, unless they somehow can prove that they’re not like that. In this case, for the vast, vast majority of men, their “crime” is being male.

  78. Cheryl W January 13, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Miranda, a mountain lion is not a human. While I agree with putting it down, like dogs that attack humans, don’t agree with following that argument to the end.

    A human being, if allowed to live, has a chance to change and to do what he (or SHE) can to redeem themselves to society. (Yes, a female acquaintance of mine from years ago went to jail for molesting a neighbor boy. She has two boys, it may still be important for them to have a mother on this planet, even if they only get to see her in jail.)

    Oh, and as for that mountain lion, we rarely hike without protection, By KNOWING and being prepared, (and acting in sensible ways) we reduce our chances of that mountain lion even coming near us. Same goes for the perverts.

  79. Larry Harrison January 13, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I choose, for the most part, to participate in positive thinking, showing thanks to people who don’t think I’m a pervert because–oh my, I’m a man!

    Take it up with God, He gave me a penis, and it’s not your place to cut it off, all of you Lorena Bobbitt wanna-bes.

    Among the positives is the neighbor of my mother-in-law, whose 4-year old daughter observed me photographing my kids, and came over into the yard wanting me to photograph her myself. I did so, knowing full well someone else might freak it, but to heck with it–and got this photo (among others):

    The mother, in her 20s, didn’t have a fit, acted like it was the most normal thing in the world (it was), and so I printed an 8×10 of the shot, framed it, and gave it to her–and specifically thanked her that she didn’t think I was a pervert because God saw fit to make me a male.

    Contrast that with the people in the park a mile down the road, screaming “don’t take photos of my child, you pervert!”–while I was photographing the ducks on the lake.

    My reply–don’t worry, I only take photos of things that look good. (Translation: you have one ugly ass kid!)

    Some people out there, maybe some of you reading this thread even, need to learn from the neighbor’s example, not the freaks at the lake.


  80. SgtMom January 13, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Q:”How about the guy who says, upon being charged with sodomizing the 4-year-old: “Yes, I did it. I’ve done it before. If you don’t lock me up, I’ll do it again.” I guess you’d rather let that guy walk, because maybe he’s lying, huh? Or confused? Or paid off? Or suicidal? I’m sure you can come up with something.”

    Actually in at least TWO high profile cases sick individuals HAVE asked for help – and recieved NONE!

    And yes, they did go on to harm a child.

    Rather than providing help for those who have recognized their illness and BEGGED for help, in all the billions of dollars wasted chasing teen lovers and tree pee-ers, NO help or money has been allocated to actually provide help for those who actually ASK for it.

    When Richard Allen Davis asked not to be released from prison knowing he was not fit to be out, he was released anyway – to harm again. Just as he told them he knew he would.

    Somehow, providing help for those who ask is eschewed in favor of running about, Chicken Little style, and repunishing the THOUSANDS of people on the registry that did NOT commit another crime.

    Mailing postcards and posting “creepy” guy pictures on the internet serves only to titillate the Miranda o’sullivans of this world. No molesters are “removed”, no children are “saved”.

    In all the BILLIONS of dollars we have sold our children’s futures to foreign countries in borrowed debt, there NO programs for those who voluntarily come forward and ask for help.

    NONE whatsoever. Not one single one…it just doesn’t feed the machine.

    As far as “jews didn’t commit a crime” goes, my historically challenged friend, you apparently don’t recall the “then they came for me” poem. In Nazi Germany, they FIRST the came for the sex offenders – they castrated, they mutilated, they tortured. They moved on to gays, gypsies, Trade Unionists, so on and on…it started with sex offender hysteria.

    Sex offender panic had reared it’s insanity yet again – it’s gaping maw devouring streakers, tree pee-ers, teen lovers, sexting, grabbing children’s arms, custody embattled fathers, graduating to terrorizing countless innocent day care workers, “recovered memories” by bad therapists (remember the “forgotten” memories phase?), “strange men” in public places – and now just any male in general .

  81. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    A common theme seems to be that I showed up out of nowhere (true) and began attacking people on this page (not true). If you have a look at my first post, you’ll note that aside from my commentary concerning oncefallendotcom (who has not made an appearance since), I didn’t make a comment about anyone.

    Yet I was immediately attacked from all quarters, evidently because I presented ideas so odious they struck all of you as personal attacks. Given their uncontroversial nature, I think the response speaks volumes about the responders.

    I know the desire to participate in revisionist history is commonplace among individuals engaged in groupthink, but really … in this case, the history is right there for anyone who cares to see. But whatever. You guys can keep talking to yourselves about how right you are, and patting yourselves on the back for being enlightened.

    The rest of us will stick to the business of protecting children until the law is made sufficiently strict.

  82. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    As for you, SgtMom, I suspect something else may be going on. You seem to have a whole persecution-laced weltanschauung thing going on. The entire history of the world, all its greatest horrors, its genocides and holocausts, can be explained in terms of the pursuit of the guy peeing behind a tree.

    OK. But you really need to flesh that out so as to include Stalin and Pol Pot as well (to do the theory justice).


  83. Larry Harrison January 13, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    I wasn’t going to jump on the “Miranda tangent” postings initially, but having read them all, I think I will.

    Miranda I have not read yet one posting here that states real molesters aren’t a problem or that they don’t exist The only thing that I see people saying is that (a) molestation, especially by strangers, is not anywhere near as common as the media would have us believe and (b) men should not be presumed guilty until proven innocent of molestation tendencies.

    What you seem to be saying is: until we all agree that molesters are incapable of being reformed and should never see the light of day, no matter what changes in behaviors have been observed regarding them, that we in society are supposed to have this chicken-little mentality about our child’s daily life because, apparently, the threat of molestation is just so dominant that it’s impossible for a parent to rest easy otherwise.

    What Lenore Skenazy is arguing, both in the postings here and in her book, and what we followers are arguing in agreement with her, is simply that sex predators, pedophiles etc do exist but that they don’t exist at anywhere near the level the media likes to make it sound, to where parents have a moral obligation to shield their children from society at large because the world is just too dangerous.

    And no, we don’t need to come to the place where we agree with you that molesters are incapable of reform and should never see the light of day ever again in order for our children to have a normal childhood and we parents to have a normal life as parents.

    That is NOT to say that I, for one, am disagreeing with you about a pedophile’s unlikelihood of capability of reformation, I’m not taking a stand there one way or the other–but simply that, regardless, society isn’t so crazy that we need to be participating in the chicken-little mentality unless all predators are locked up. They simply aren’t that prominent–not saying that they don’t exist or that the incidents which occur are anything besides horrible, NO ONE here is arguing either–just simply that it’s not as prominent as the media likes to make it sound.

    More relevant to Lenore’s post, though, is that paranoia is so gripping this country, for no good reason, that simply being a male in this country, too often, means bad presumptions are made about you–automatically, you’re a predator unless you prove otherwise. That is outrageous. It’s no less outrageous than we presuming that a woman can’t do a man’s job because she’s a woman, unless she proves otherwise, or that a Hispanic must be an illegal alien until they prove otherwise (although I am for immigration reform, but that’s another matter), or that someone from Germany must be into Neo-Nazi practices until they prove otherwise, or that people from the south must be racist hillbillies living in cabins eating possum-stew until they prove otherwise.

    It’s all outrageous.

    As a man, I resent going to the park to take photos of the ducks on the lake (I’m a hobbyist photographer) and having some hysterical person scream “don’t take photos of my kids you pervert.” What did I do to deserve that response? Tote a camera in public? That’s legal. Go to the park alone? That’s legal. Take photos of the ducks on the lake? That’s legal. Heck, if I had taken photos of her kids, turns out–yes, that’s legal.

    She had no business pre-judging me based on me being a XY chromosome vs a XX. That’s the point of this thread, period. It has nothing at all whatsoever to do with what you’re going off on.


  84. Jessika January 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    As a side comment. There was another article/column in the wall street german written by a “chinese mother”. It’s about how you can force your children to achieve. I read with a growing sense of disbelief but apparently she meant every word.

  85. Steve January 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    Hi Lenore,

    I totally agree with your point that so there are so many men in this world (including myself :D) are not perverts, child molesters, kidnappers, kiddy killers, or anything of that nature. I hope that the point of your article that “men can be trusted” catches on. 😀

    Kudos for you Lenore.

  86. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    I’m just saying that there are two problems to be dealt with:

    (1) Molesters get a slap on the wrist and sent back out to molest.

    (2) Innocent men are presumed to be molesters until proven otherwise.

    I’d rather fix the first problem first. Adult men can absorb unfair presumptions. Little kids can’t do a damn thing but get damaged.

    And it just might be that by putting first things first, the second problem will take of itself.

    They are related.

  87. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    And I should have mentioned, here in this little community, between (1) and (2), all the sympathies lie with the adult men. In fact, most posters seem to have to be dragged kicking and screaming to an acknowledgment that (1) happens.

    That strikes me as more than a bit perverse.

  88. Emily January 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I have debated replying to your comments all evening long, and they have finally struck enough of a chord with me that I can no longer remain silent. I am not going to specifically address the comments of those who have come before, except to say that a recurring theme of your replies seems to be that your point is not being heard. So, let me begin by stating: I hear you. Or, at least, I think I do.

    To recap: there are people who do terrible things. They molest and hurt children. They have “monstrous” thoughts. These thoughts are so pervasive, so embedded within these individuals’ psyches, they cannot be rehabilitated. Because these folks are such a threat to children and to society, they should “be removed” permanently. (Whether this is accomplished through incarceration, being shipped to a penal colony, locked forever in a psychiatric institution, or put to death, is unclear.) Our society, however, does not do this – does not permanently remove all child predators, either convicted or as-yet-undetected – from our midst. Thus, we know there are convicted child molesters, as well as unreported/undiscovered child molesters, walking among us. They are dangerous. They could hurt our kids. It’s scary. And lots of these predatory folks are men.

    That seems to be the beginning of your argument.

    And so far? I agree. There are people put there who do really bad things. I, personally, find acts perpetrated against children to be so heinous, I go a bit nutty and want the perpetrators to be shown absolutely no mercy. I think many of us, free rangers included, feel that way, even if it may be illogical and irrational on some level.

    The next part of your argument doesn’t hold water for me, though. If I’m reading you correctly, you seem to say that because these predatory individuals are not all locked away, and because they may be roaming the streets right beside you, the logical reaction, therefore, is to resort to fear and condemnation – especially of men, all and any men, because predators are more often male than female. That’s where your logic falls apart for me – and it is, in fact, exactly the kind of rhetoric that Lenore wrote her piece to dispel.

    There are bad people out there. Some cannot be rehabilitated. They live among us. They could hurt our children.


    Now, of course, I don’t mean “so?” as in, it doesn’t matter to me. I don’t mean that there aren’t times to be concerned, or that all people can be trusted all the time, etc., etc. But the idea that, because there *might* be a predator lurking around the corner means that we should believe there *is* one, and should react accordingly (i.e. with fear, accusations, and mistrust of all “strangers”), is simply not okay. Not for me, any way. Because here’s the thing: there just aren’t that many predators. There simply aren’t. Yes, even one is too many. But living your life based on the assumption that the extremely unlikely event is not only possible, but probable, leads to the crazy levels of panic, distrust, hovering, and general nuttiness that Lenore chronicles here.

    I disagree that people today are wary of men because they know that un-rehabilitated perverts are living among us. I don’t think that the prevailing mindset is, Well, we know that our government hasn’t locked away all of the predators – they’re still out there! – so we should be extra cautious around unknown males. And I especially disagree that, had our forbears the same “knowledge” that we do today, they would not have been so trusting.

    Well, maybe I kind of agree: it’s true that our ancestors didn’t have the “knowledge” we have today. But that so-called knowledge comes in the form of CNN breaking news headlines of 13 year-old girls being snatched from sleepovers, and of every local news channel leading off with the ways your child could be watched by a pedophile. Our ancestors were blissfully free of the media hysteria that fuels the predators-are-everywhere fire. *That’s* why they were more trusting of others, even (gasp) strange men: because they didn’t have network ratings influencing how they got their information, and distorting the facts so that fear replaces logic, and blind following replaces informed thinking.

    Do I wish that all molesters were locked away? Absolutely. But I don’t think for one minute that, with that threat removed, American society would suddenly be more trusting of “strangers.” Instead of fearing predators, we’d fear those with black hair or those over age 65. And, of course, there will be black-haired guys and over 65 year-old gals who perpetrate horrendous crimes… But that doesn’t mean that we, as a society, should be afraid of every dark-topped senior citizen. It makes no sense.

    Other commenters have made great points about the (absurdly flawed) sex offender registry, the actual number of crimes committed by molesters, etc. And your point about actual predators still roaming the streets is valid. But one of the main points of this site, and Lenore’s book, is that it’s absurd to believe, simply because a threat exists, that it’s LIKELY to happen… and living your life as though it will – with little thought going into your “reasoning,” and few to no actual facts to back up your actions – is crazy-making.

    Yes, molesters and predators are out there. But assuming that every man is likely to be one, simply because those predators exist, is just plain wrong. That, in a nutshell, was Lenore’s point – no more, no less, no “hidden elephant” molesters included.

    (Used an iPad, for the first time ever, to type this… Errors may abound – ack!)

  89. Larry Harrison January 13, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Well Miranda, where I really beg to differ is the idea that #2 is somehow just part of what men like me are supposed to tolerate because #1 hasn’t been perfected yet.

    Sorry, but “adult men can absorb unfair presumptions” is absolutely offensive. If that’s the best sympathy you can muster for someone having to tolerate this climate, frankly–that’s pathetic. The idea that we, I guess what you’re saying anyway, that we have to have a society of 0 molesters that aren’t behind bars until men can reasonably be expected to not be presumed guilty until proven innocent–that’s blatantly offensive on every imaginable level.

    Look at the stories you read about people who swore they were innocent but were found guilty, and after some 30 years in jail having been falsely accused, are finally free due to DNA exoneration. Not saying there should be no jails or prosecution because of risk of error, just saying–there is a huge price to pay for being presumed guilty when you aren’t, and although these sorts of situations may not rise to that level, they’re still outrageous enough in their own right.

    I don’t know what your deal is, but frankly it sounds like you and John Walsh need to get a room–you sound totally made for each other.


  90. Edward January 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Good Heavens! The things that happen while you’re out chipping ice from the driveway and then taking a nap.
    Lenore’s WSJ article shed a bit more light on what seems to me to be a clandestine attempt to blame all men for crimes against children.
    For the record: I have never read or heard a word from Lenore Skenazy “defending” crimes against children.
    For the record: I have never defended such “monsters” either.
    Now I must respond to Miranda’s statement, “Not a single one of you seems at all concerned about removing true molesters from our midst.” I’m no good at fetching and fighting with statistics so I must use another method.
    Imagine you’re a 12 year old boy, I mean sit down and really think. Your class has just been given a presentation by your teacher, your parents, a law enforcement officer, a lawyer, and a judge. It has ended with the collective conclusion that when the boys in the room turn 18 they WILL BE considered child molesters – no matter that they marry or stay single, have kids of their own or not. Nor will it matter whether or not they actually committed a crime or are simply accused by someone.
    Are you still that 12 year old boy? Is there a question you want to ask – possibly through some tears – “WHY?”
    I’m 53 years old. I still cry when I ask it.
    When you inflict the dangerous presumption on a childs mind that all men are monsters you scar that kid for life!
    Not concerned about “true” molesters, Miranda? I’m VERY concerned.

  91. Larry Harrison January 13, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    PS–Emily, exactly. You said it perfectly. What else to say?

    Except to reiterate my closing line–yes, frankly, at the risk of bringing myself down to a pathetic name-calling level–I can’t help but observe that “Miranda” & John Walsh really should get a room, because they do really sound made for each other.


  92. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    Emily, I liked your post and agreed with the vast majority of it.

    I maintain my position, but it’s not because I remain unconvinced. It’s not about convincing, really. It’s about the balance.

    I worked in advertising for some time and I know the power of the media to persuade, and yes, to deceive – even if only by implication. I also know a bit about the flaws in the law. The flaws that lead to innocent men being stigmatized, and the flaws that lead to monsters (yes, I said it) going free.

    I know you’ve heard the stories of the falsely accused guy. And the stories of the horrific molester that was released. Or was wrongly presumed to be rehabilitated.

    Perhaps you’re right that there aren’t that many of the latter. But perhaps you’re not. The truth is, none of us really know. This isn’t about living a life of fear. This is about prioritizing problems. The latter problem is, in my estimation, a bigger problem. It isn’t about the numbers. It’s about a society that isn’t taking something seriously, for reasons that are of dubious merit (many of which are in evidence on this very page).

    In effect, not only am I asked to absorb those “reasons” for not taking what I consider the biggest problem seriously, but I am further asked to ignore it altogether because, after all, it’s not that likely to occur. To check myself, as it were, because I’m the person with the problem. That’s the implicit message of Lenore’s piece.

    Larry, I get where you’re coming from. But here’s the bottom line: because society will not deal with the molester appropriately, parents are left with literally no alternative but to try to handle it all themselves – to prep their kids for what they might encounter. The truth is, when the specific cases of molesters are grossly mishandled by the state, nothing is left but the broad brush.

    For anyone to turn around and say that such protection amounts to child-abuse is truly perverse. Here’s what you are saying to the parent, in effect:

    1) The state doesn’t deal with molesters appropriately.

    2) However, we don’t believe there are really all that many of them.

    3) If you do the only thing available to you to protect your child against the molester – to instruct with a broad brush – you are scarring your child, if not abusing them.

    4) Therefore, unless you accept (1) and (2) and avoid (3), YOU’RE the problem.

    I think not.

  93. Miranda O'Sullivan January 13, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    I meant that post for Edward, not Larry.

  94. timkenwest January 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    Would you like to know which group of people I distrust above all others? Which one I eye suspiciously, react to defensively, brace myself against when nearby?


    God damn do I distrust people behind the wheel. Tail-gaters. Speeders. Cell-phone-chatterers. Crosswalk-plow-throughers. Red-light-runners. Farking drunk fracking drivers!

    They are everywhere. You think I’m joking but I’m totally serious. Every figgin’ day I marvel that there isn’t more death and dismemberment in light of all the idiocy I witness on the road. A day – an hour! – can’t go by without some horrible story about yet another person – child, even – who unnecessarily lost their life because of something idiotic like following too close to properly react or speeding down the highway during a blizzard.

    And yet…

    I live with a driver. I, gasp!, am one myself. I let my child go off alone with grandma & grandpa, two other – you guessed it – drivers. Believe me, my thoughts flash to horrible places, thinking of all the madness and risk out there (and my mother’s legendary lack of driving skill.)

    Yet for some crazy reason, I still get in to my car every day. Even worse, most of the time it’s with my kid strapped in the back seat. Shite, I’ve even driven on L.A. and Toronto highways and *really* enjoyed it!

    It’s a wonder that I am able to relax at all and willingly surround myself by all those damn vehicle operators. Someone could be drunk! Someone could be not. paying. attention! Would I feel better if every nitwit who refuses to grasp the danger of tailgating was permanently removed from the road? You bet. But until then, I guess I’ll have to rely on my well-honed defensive driving skills.

  95. timkenwest January 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    * just in case it wasn’t clear, my “well-honed defensive driving skill” for dealing with driving risks isn’t giving all drivers the stink eye (well, I might do that a little bit : ) and refusing to allow myself or my child to interact with them. It means I take measured precautions.

    My point is that I am WAY more concerned about the likelihood of a heinous crime committed against my family by some drunk idiot who ran a red light then I am about the likelihood of a heinous crime committed against my family by a man working at my daughter’s day care. We all should be. But I don’t see myself or the majority of North Americans refusing to drive – and thus refusing to interact with other drivers – any time soon.

  96. sue January 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm # just keep proving my point. you say you’ve worked in advertising so you must know that clobbering people over the head with your message just turns them off. yet even in the face of reasonably replys and counters to your arguement you just dig your heels in and repeat the same things. yes there are horrible people in the world and for God’s sake no one wants a child hurt but labling half the race prospective rapist is ridiculous. if you have a daughter and your teaching her this world view how do you expect her to EVER be able to have a close relationship with a man? or as one poster said do you consider men only as sperm donors and child support makers? if you have a son when he reaches puberty will he be a prospective rapist in your eyes and be removed from the household? extremeism in anything is an ugly thing almost always leading to violence. is this what you want? reading some of your posts this is how you come over. being aware of something and taking precautions is not the same as living in fear. we here are all aware, what we are not doing is living in fear.

  97. Donna January 13, 2011 at 9:15 pm #


    I’ve gone back and read the thread and not a single person ATTACKED you. We did DISAGREE with you. There is a difference between a personal attack and disagreeing. If you don’t know the difference then you should probably stay off of blogs. The only person in this entire thread who has issued personal attacks on anyone has been YOU.

    But to your point:

    “I’m just saying that there are two problems to be dealt with:
    (1) Molesters get a slap on the wrist and sent back out to molest.
    (2) Innocent men are presumed to be molesters until proven otherwise.

    I’d rather fix the first problem first. Adult men can absorb unfair presumptions. Little kids can’t do a damn thing but get damaged.”

    First, your first assumption is patently false, at least in my state. Child molesters are not given a “slap on the wrist,” unless if what you mean by that term is that everyone accused of child molestation is not immediately sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole. Sentences for convicted child molesters are pretty steep in my state.

    Second, the problem with your thinking is that there will always be a small number of evil people who do heinous things to children free in society, even if we sentenced every single person convicted of child molestation to immediate death with no possibility of appeal. Most people accused of child molestation come to court with no prior criminal record. “Minority Report” was science fiction; we can’t actually stop crime before it happens. And, people who are so deranged as to be unable to be rehabilitated (those you fear so strongly), are not going to be deterred by the harsh penalty. So, problem number two cannot be resolved by curing problem number one since child molesters will always exist in free society no matter how harshly we judge them.

    You may be okay with men always being stigmatized because a small number of them commit heinous acts. I’m not. I’m not okay with my daughter growing up to fear all men since I’d actually like grandchildren one day. And why this one particular heinous act? Should we not stigmatize all women since they commit the most child murders?

  98. Dave January 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Good article. This battle will only be won by speaking clearly into the world of fear over and over again. I can not thank you enough for pick this battle to fight. Our future is tied to overcoming this senseless fear.

  99. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    Good point, Donna — if we could gain access to the brains of every existing molester, and infallibly and securely convict and them punish them….

    there would be new ones tomorrow. Every year, there will be new people born that will some day offend. That’s human nature, not a failure of either the will or the ability to effectively deal with a certain class of crime. To claim that the problem of molestation exists because of a lack of will to punish the offenders is like claiming that there are still murders because we don’t have a strong enough opposition to murder, which is patently ridiculous. People will always find a reason to murder; people will always abuse children. In both cases we hope the numbers are small and do our best both to punish and prevent, but in neither case is it legitimate to assume that it happens because we don’t try hard enough to stop it.

  100. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    “I’m not okay with my daughter growing up to fear all men since I’d actually like grandchildren one day.”

    And has been pointed out probably ad nauseum, not only is it reprehensible on many levels to teach children to fear men in general, it also *robs them of the ability to protect themselves* because they are no longer able to recognize real danger when they see it. If your training tells you the smiling dad in the grocery store is as dangerous as the guy following you down the street, and your reason and experience tell you the guy in the grocery store really doesn’t seem to be a threat, how will you be able to judge that the guy on the street is?

  101. pentamom January 13, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    “I’d rather fix the first problem first. Adult men can absorb unfair presumptions. Little kids can’t do a damn thing but get damaged.”

    “all the sympathies lie with the adult men.”

    First, as others have pointed out, “It doesn’t matter if we perpetrate societal injustice against half of society if it protects a small number of other people from harm” is just plain offensive. It IS the same thinking as the Japanese internment camps. The only difference is, instead of locking up all men, we expect them to live and function in a society where all women are taught to fear them, and they’re taught to hate themselves from childhood. Big improvement.

    Second, and more to the point, what Lenore and the rest of us have emphasized all along is that it *hurts children to be taught to hate and fear all men.*

    What does it do to girls, growing up, if they learn that men are the enemy?


  102. Dragonwolf January 13, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    I know you’ve heard the stories of the falsely accused guy. And the stories of the horrific molester that was released. Or was wrongly presumed to be rehabilitated.

    Perhaps you’re right that there aren’t that many of the latter. But perhaps you’re not. The truth is, none of us really know. This isn’t about living a life of fear. This is about prioritizing problems. The latter problem is, in my estimation, a bigger problem. It isn’t about the numbers. It’s about a society that isn’t taking something seriously, for reasons that are of dubious merit (many of which are in evidence on this very page).

    One quarter of one percent of men, according to the one link you’ve provided with anything close to stats, have been convicted of a sex crime.

    Google “male privilege”. You know what one of the biggest things that “feminazis” (wing nut feminists who seem to think all men are evil) say? “Men don’t have to walk down the street, fearing for their own safety against others.” I kid you not. The idea that all men are guilty until proven innocent is so pervasive that the lack of fear for their safety and very lives is considered a “privilege of being male” by many women.

    That thinking hurts everyone, more than the actual predators out there, because it disempowers both men and women.

    As for the references to things like the Japanese internment camps, and current treating of Muslims, it is largely the same thing.

    A small subset of a group of people did something terrible.

    Therefore, all members of that group of people get discriminated against in various large-scale ways.

  103. SgtMom January 14, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    Note: Women are “curable”, men are not. Women’s sex crimes aren’t “that damaging” men’s sex crimes – not matter how minor – ruin lives forever.

    Girls are good, boys are bad.

    It never ends.

    Comparisons Between American and Nazi Sex Offender Laws

    A myriad of similarities can be drawn between American sex offender laws and those laws imposed in Nazi

    Table 1: Comparison between Nazi and American Sex Offender Laws and Practices

    Nazi Germany Laws and Practices

    Increased age of consent to 21

    Broad definition of sexual deviancy “lewdness”

    Dangerous Habitual Criminals and Measures for Protection and Recovery: Mandatory or
    “consensual” castrations

    Gestapo ordered registration of “asocials”

    Gestapo given power to round up suspected sex offenders without a conviction and shipped to
    concentration camps

    Sex offenders branded with pink triangles or label Paragraph 175

    ”Re-education programs,” increased mandatory penalties for sex offenders, and indeterminate

    Women sexual deviants rarely punished, encouraged instead to be more feminine: Women can be
    cured, men are incurable

    Propaganda: “Weeding out inferiors” necessary to promote society and children

    Economic exploitability of sex offenders: civil forfeitures, cheap labor in camps

    Public fear, sex scandals, media propaganda, and use of informants to obtain registries

    American sex offender laws and practices

    Increasing age of consent to 18 in most states

    Broad definition of sexual abuse for minor acts

    Various states have allowed judges to impose chemical castration on child victim or repeat sex
    criminals (LaFond 2005)

    Megan’s Law: public registration of sex offenders

    Ohio passes first “Civil Registry,” allowing people to be registered as sex offenders without a
    conviction and subject to penalties

    Alabama sex offender licenses with the words “Sex Offender” in red letters

    Civil commitment programs, increased mandatory penalties for sex offenders, and indeterminate

    Female sex offenders receive lighter sentences and seen as less severe; all male sex offenders are

    Banishing sex offenders is “necessary for safety of our youth”

    Economic exploitability: Billions in grants for agencies and private businesses dealing in sex
    offender monitoring

    Public fear based on misinformation of statistics, sex scandals, media propaganda, and registries
    make all registrants a suspect class

  104. EricS January 14, 2011 at 12:56 am #

    Like I said before, the people who think like this are more perverts than the men THEY fear to be “perverts”. Who thinks like this?! Oh yeah, CRAZY, DELUSIONAL people. If it smells like crap and looks like crap, then you can be sure it came from an a-hole.

    Women are just as bad as men, some even worse. I’ve read stories of atrocities done by women towards children. Makes some stories I’ve read about male pedophiles look tamed. There should be a law against people who defame others because of their own paranoia and ignorance. As well as those that go along with them. There is no room on this earth for the ignorant. People like this are the dirt, debris, and cogs in the wheels of life.

  105. Markus January 14, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    I think the message here is clear. *Miranda* is a man, possibly a child molesting man, and he’s come here as a call for help. I will help you, Mr. “Molester” Miranda…

    That thing between your legs that you’ve had since birth? EVIL! It’s destiny is to abuse it’s victims with violence and shatter the innocence of youth. It’s a weapon, just like a gun, but WORSE. You cannot be trusted by ANYONE! Warn everyone around you that you may, someday, maybe even right now, have uncontrollable urges that will involve children and perverted acts. Go buy T-shirts that say “possible pedophile” and wear them in public. Every man you encounter, tell him that he is just like you, especially if he’s in public. Tell the women that their kids look like victims. Every little boy, tell them that they will grow up to be just like you and hurt people, and you might just hurt them now. Tell all the little girls that you could rape them right there, and point at the nearest bush. Do this and then decide whether the environment you create is really the kind of place that you want to live. After all, this is the title you must wear, the presumption you must absorb, because someone, somewhere may decide to actually rape someone and they’re not in jail yet.

    FYI, this is a joke post. This kind of world is what we gather here to try and fight against. Unfortunately, this is what the media pushes out sometimes and what Lenore is commenting against.

  106. Jenne January 14, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    Honestly, I really suspect that one of the big things about American society nowadays is that they blew off run-of-the-mill sex crimes for a very long time, and when they began to take an interest, the people who pushed the policy were mostly women, usually mothers, with sexual-abuse induced PTSD. As a result, very real, very important concerns get addressed in a PTSD way. So, while society is now addressing sex crimes in a way they never did before, there is also a major helping of non-logical stress-biased thinking involved. To turn the tables on Miranda, while there’s no denying that sexual abuse happens, we need to put a lot more resources than we currently do into appropriately helping survivors, and figuring out how to make our kids better able to cope if something bad might happen. Because, logic asserts, kids are much more likely to get hurt by someone they know– even someone they are related to– and suspicion of strangers doesn’t help those kids.

  107. Jenne January 14, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    Oh, and the comments on the WSJ site are really, really scary. Too many net trolls out there who think that the bear-like attitudes of modern moms toward men are some kind of *modern* feminist plot, as opposed to a backlash against lack of sexual abuse protection and prosecution in the past.

  108. Miranda O'Sullivan January 14, 2011 at 3:57 am #

    Here’s the central flaw in most your reasoning. You think that the logic runs like this:

    1) If a person takes cognizance of the fact that molesters are not handled appropriately and removed from society when necessary, then

    2) That person will consider every man a molester.

    But that’s not how it works. It works like this:

    1) If a person takes cognizance of the fact that molesters are not handled appropriately and removed from society when necessary, then

    2) There are more molesters among us than there need be, and

    3) A person should be vigilant and on guard against behaviors that suggest prurient interest, and

    4) Work to fix problem (1).

    There’s nothing wrong with this. We apply this logic all the time. Prior to 9/11, we were blissfully unaware of the terrorists among us. Post-9/11, we now go about our daily business knowing that however small the number may be, there are some terrorists here. We are instructed to, at minimum, be aware of what’s going on around us, and take note of peculiar behavior. We are expected to manage this without:

    1) Cowering like intellectual and emotional cripples at the very thought of their presence, and

    2) Treating every single person we meet like a terrorist in hiding.

    We also do the above realizing that there will always be terrorists among us, but that it is worth effort to diminish their ranks, as opposed to throwing up our hands because we can’t rid ourselves of them entirely.

    No matter how many shots are thrown at me on this board, some central truths remain, from which no rational person would back down:

    1) There are men who molest kids.

    2) We don’t do a very good job of identifying them, or securing ourselves against them once they are identified.

    3) Knowing (1) and (2), it is only prudent that we teach our children that this is a danger that exists, and what the appropriate response is.

    In practice, that means teaching them that the vast majority of men are good people and are not looking to hurt them. But that there are a few who are NOT good men and ARE looking to hurt them – and how to be prepared as best as possible in light of this reality.

    This is uncontroversial among rational adults. The fact that it is so offensive in this particular venue is astonishing.

  109. Dragonwolf January 14, 2011 at 4:30 am #

    You seem to be ignoring me, but I’m going to respond, anyway.

    Your logic is flawed, Miranda.

    You mention:

    Post-9/11, we now go about our daily business knowing that however small the number may be, there are some terrorists here. We are instructed to, at minimum, be aware of what’s going on around us, and take note of peculiar behavior. We are expected to manage this without:

    1) Cowering like intellectual and emotional cripples at the very thought of their presence, and

    2) Treating every single person we meet like a terrorist in hiding.

    But you know what? Number 2 is exactly what we as a society are doing, at least in an airport setting.

    Despite the fact that either a) the terrorist bringing bombs on came from US-bound international flights; or b) used the plane itself as the weapon, our airports are now equipped with backscatter (“porno xrays”) machines and half a dozen TSA agents at each checkpoint, giving invasive “enhanced patdowns” at random intervals or when they see someone “suspicious” (including those refusing to go through the backscatter machines). They are effectively treating everyone like terrorists.

    The same problem exists for men and sexual deviance.

    Again, I recommend Googling “male privilege,” and you’ll see that men supposedly have the “privilege” of walking down a dark street or going to a party without fear for their well being.

    No one here is denying that one of the ways to solve this problem is to teach kids to look out for those that are seeking to do them harm, but where the disagreement seems to come is that we’re also advocating that they know they can come to another trusted adult even when it’s an adult in authority doing the harm, because that is who is statistically most likely to abuse a child. Not the homeless guy teaching kids to play chess in the park.

  110. Jenne January 14, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    *snort* Miranda, you’re barking up the wrong tree:
    “In practice, that means teaching them that the vast majority of men are good people and are not looking to hurt them. But that there are a few who are NOT good men and ARE looking to hurt them – and how to be prepared as best as possible in light of this reality.”

    IF we are teaching them that– and I hope we are– good on us.

    HOWEVER, what we as a society are teaching MOTHERS is that ALL MEN, nay all people, are to be regarded as potential kidnappers and child molesters. And as part of that, we are teaching the public that men ought to expect that MOTHERS will treat them as potential child molesters. Trust me, I’m a mother; we all do it, EVEN those of us who have gotten stinkeye for smiling at or talking to someone’s kids when we were single.

    Dogs are stolen every year, right? But do we combat that by telling dog owners that they should report anyone who talks to their dog or displays an interest in dogs to the police as a potential dog thief? We do not.

    But media and other mothers try to teach us mothers that anyone, especially any male, who displays an interest in our child or children in general without having a kid with them should be treated as a suspected kidnapper/molester.

  111. Emily January 14, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    *note: this response was begun hours ago, but i have been unable to finish and post it until now. If others have already made the same points, and if i’m beating a dead horse, I apologize!

    Miranda, I’m really not sure what to say on this one, except to say that I guess we’ll just have to disagree. If balance is what you’re looking for, I can think of little that is more UNbalanced than a society that regards all males as potential predators simply because they possess penises. (Well, I can actually think of lots of other, even more UNbalanced things.., but I’m just talking about things within the scope of this discussion.)

    And, as far as prioritizing goes, I prioritize a) treating the general male population with respect, kindness, dignity, and fairness faaaaar above b) going after potential child molesters. I do not believe that the latter represents anywhere near the threat you seem to think that they do, and I’m sure as heck not willing to condemn half of the world population because of it. True child molesters do enough damage as it is; allowing them to taint the way we, as a society, view all men, gives them power far beyond what they should possess, and only serves to produce even further damage… Not only to the molested child, but to all of us.

    No, I’m not likening NOT pursuing potential predators with child abuse. I’m not saying that we “abuse” our children when we teach them that people with penises are bad. But there IS damage that comes from that way of thinking, and to presume otherwise is false.

    And I’m not “sympathetic” to perverts and predators, either. The things that I believe should happen to them are even more heinous than the acts they commit. Their acts disgust me, and I hold fewer people with greater contempt and even hatred. I take molesters very seriously.

    So does society. I cannot think of a single person I know who “sides” with child molesters. The real ones… Not the maybe ones. Molesters are punished. Maybe not in the way we’d always like, but they ARE punished – often very severely (thank God). And, anecdotally, anyway, there are few imprisoned persons more likely to be treated with vitriol and to be shunned than those imprisoned for hurting a child; even criminals seem to know that child predators have perpetrated unspeakably awful acts, and treat them accordingly. Society is not brushing a hidden predator problem under the rug, nor is it ignoring an unrecognized danger that could spring upon our children at any minute.

    And here’s where you and I seem to further disagree: I believe that most people are inherently good. The vast, vast majority of them, in fact. Now, if you were privy to my inner dialog, you might not believe this (considering the number of folks, on a daily basis, I view as “idiots” or “morons” or “jerks” or words that I don’t care to type here)… But it’s true. I think people are good. At the very least, I don’t believe that most men are potential child molesters, simply because of their chromosomes.

    Yes, there are “statistics” to back this up (in quotes because, really, using statistics to prove inherent “goodness” is, I realize, kind of absurd). Crime stats and psychological studies and the like. But far beyond that, there is simply human history, which shows me that people are good. ALL people? ALL the time? Dear God, no. But, looking back, I cannot recall a time when there was a great Child Predator Problem. Which isn’t to say that it hasn’t existed, nor that it, sadly, won’t continue to exist for as long as humans do. But you think we’d have heard by now if children being preyed upon was a tremendous threat to a society throughout time. That’s an awful thing, and a pretty sensational one too; surely it would have made the history annals. Or surely it would be present in other cultures; humans as a species would view predatory men as a great threat, if indeed they are.

    I understand that one of your points is, simply because we don’t have *proof* of a greater predator problem, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. }I agree: we don’t know. Maybe there are greater numbers of molesters and perverts out there.

    But I really don’t think so.

    I understand that you do, and that is certainly your prerogative. If you feel that, because there are unknown predators at large, one of the best ways to protect yourself or your children from them is to automatically assume all (most? many?) men to be predators, and to treat them accordingly… Well, that’s your prerogative, too.

    But expecting the rest of society to feel the same is unrealistic and unfair at best, and potentially awful and harmful at worst. Your predators-among-us belief is not based in any kind of reality, by which I mean that there is nothing concrete to back up your line of thinking. It isn’t rational – it’s a belief, a feeling.

    That doesn’t make it wrong to feel that way. We all have thoughts and feelings that can’t be “supported” by reason. It’s part of what makes us human. But one of the reasons I enjoy this site so much is because I wind up thinking about WHY I feel the way I do, and try to recognize which of my beliefs are rooted in truth and which are rooted in misinformation or fear, or have been shaped by my own experiences so strongly that “truth” doesn’t matter. It doesn’t necessarily mean I psychoanalyze my every move, nor that I change what I think once I’m suddenly “shown the facts.” but it *does* mean that I at least try to recognize which of my beliefs and practices are irrational.

    This belief that predators abound is irrational. It simply is. For whatever reason, it has become a big issue for you, and you hold your beliefs so strongly, no amount of “logic” will make you change your mind. I get that. And, if I may be so bold, I suspect that you’ve had your own negative experiences with child predators or molesters, either personally or through a loved one. If that is the case, that’s terrible; I’m tremendously sorry for you.

    But that does not make your beliefs any more rational, and I also find it tremendously sad that you’re so willing to damn the male population because of it. And I find it surprising that you not only feel comfortable doing so yourself, but that you also are frustrated with a society that – as you see it – does not place the same emphasis you do on these irrational thoughts.

    As I’ve already said, I think that society *does* take the “bigger problem” seriously. Accused molesters are prosecuted and, where sufficient evidence is found, incarcerated. No, many are not put away for life – which, frankly, I agree with you isn’t okay. But rather than allowing your irritation/horror/outrage (that the re-admittance of these predators into society) to lead to an all-men-could-be-predators-and-should-be-treated-as-such mentality… Why not use that outrage to start a grassroots effort to fix the broken (as you see it) legal system when it comes to dealing with convicted abusers, molesters, etc.? If that’s truly the problem, misguided fear and condemnation is not the solution, nor does becoming irritated with those who don’t share your outrage help fix things.

    As for this blog and Lenore’s piece… Well, you’re right. One of the implicit messages *is* to check yourself; as I mentioned, above, it’s something that I find myself doing on a regular basis as a result of this blog and Lenore’s book (I heard her speak, too, and found myself asking even more questions). No, I’m not some Lenore Skenazy worshipper, nor do I feel that I’ve drunk the Kool Aid and can no longer see another point of view. I simply find her pieces to be thought-provoking in ways that, I feel, make me a better person and parent. I also happen to agree with a majority of her positions, as do the other regular commenters and readers; it’s why we come here, because we share common beliefs, and want to discuss them.

    Among those beliefs, and contrary to what you believe, is that numbers DO matter. And, yes, when the numbers/statistics do not support a community or society’s commonly held “truths” (Biking to school is dangerous! Children can not be left alone even for a minute! It’s so much more dangerous now than when we were kids! Children are kidnapped and killed every day! *All unknown men may be sexual predators so you’d better never allow your kids near one!*), the free range approach is to encourage using common sense instead of giving in to irrationality or hysteria. And also, yes, if an event is unlikely to occur, the free range approach is, indeed, to ask you to ignore it – or, if not ignore it, to at least get the facts, understand your own beliefs (when possible – certainly, in some situations, there is no time to do a mental fact check or attempt a deeper psychological evaluation of one’s beliefs), and then act with thoughtfulness and common sense.

    And finally… Yes. Many of us who call ourselves Free Range *do* believe that, if you (and I actually mean the general, societal “you,” although in this instance, it will inevitably be applied to you as an individual) don’t follow this way of thinking… If, instead of attempting to employ reason and common sense, you consistently give in to irrational beliefs… If you are unwilling to view people as individuals, recognizing that a Zero Tolerance, one-size-fits-all belief set is foolish at best and dangerous at worst… Then, yes, you are part of the problem – that of a society so quick to blame, to sue, to not accept responsibility… To hover over our children, believing that by shielding them from disappointment or failure or hurt, we are acting in their best interests… To believe that danger abounds everywhere, despite piles of evidence to the contrary, and to be unwilling to take risks… To treat unlikely occurrences as probabilities, and to be willing to sacrifice the 99.999% for the .001%, often in the name of “safety”…

    In short, to employ worst-first thinking, as Lenore said. Working to avoid such thinking is one of the hallmarks of being free range, and one of the entire reasons this site exists is because we who consider ourselves free range are sick and tired of living in a worst-first society. We are, in essence, trying to start our own grassroots movement to get rid of this mindset, and replace it with common sense. And, yep, therefore – by definition – if you don’t agree, we feel that you’re part of the problem.

    Perhaps that’s harsh. Unyielding. Stubborn. But this *is* the Free Range Kids website. Those of us who frequent it do so because we agree with this line of thinking, which by its very nature includes using reason, facts, and numbers to support our beliefs. This is not to say that we don’t disagree, or that everyone approaches each issue in the same way… Far from it. But when arguments and discussions are had, they are generally done by providing supporting “evidence,” if you will, rather than relying solely on feelings or putting emphasis on beliefs that are not rooted in any kind of fact.

    If, in attempting to make your points, you wind up saying things like “numbers don’t matter,” or if you express frustration that you’re “expected” to follow a particular line of thinking… You can expect frustration in return. It would be like attending a meeting of Pepsi Pride, attempting to show why Coke made more sense, and then becoming agitated when the Pride members grew annoyed with you! Certainly, here, dissenting views are okay. But, given the forum, if you’re espousing extremely un-free range ideas (and then attempting to support your points with still more un-free range thoughts) I think it’s only fair to expect push back.

    As to the original topic: The “good” news (which, for me, is depressing news… But still…) is that the majority of the American population seems to agree with you. As we see time and time again, men are regarded as potential perverts, and no amount of “logic” seems to change people’s minds. I still don’t think that society behaves that way because they truly believe that there are oodles of un-rehabilitated perverts among us – I believe that, in large part, an over saturation of doomsday news stories leads to irrational thinking – but the result is the same.

    As a free ranger, I am working to change that mindset, both within my family and within my community. But, until then, you have a lot of company!

  112. sue January 14, 2011 at 6:04 am #

    well put emily

  113. Donna January 14, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    “No matter how many shots are thrown at me on this board, some central truths remain, from which no rational person would back down:
    1) There are men who molest kids.
    2) We don’t do a very good job of identifying them, or securing ourselves against them once they are identified.
    3) Knowing (1) and (2), it is only prudent that we teach our children that this is a danger that exists, and what the appropriate response is.”

    Actually, I disagree with point 2. Short of making “Minority Report” a reality we, as a society, do the best that we can at identifying pedophiles. Being a free society, we can’t lock people up until a crime is committed. We can’t know a crime has been committed unless a victim reports it. I have never heard in the 21st century of a victim’s report of child molestation getting blown off and going uninvestigated. I can’t think of ways that we, as a society, can get more victims to report; that is a personal/family decision that society can’t make for them. Considering the vast majority of victims are related to their abusers, the promise of harsher sentences is not going to increase reporting and family support of reporting.

    “In practice, that means teaching them that the vast majority of men are good people and are not looking to hurt them. But that there are a few who are NOT good men and ARE looking to hurt them – and how to be prepared as best as possible in light of this reality.
    This is uncontroversial among rational adults. The fact that it is so offensive in this particular venue is astonishing.”

    Wow, either you’ve been reading a completely different Free Range Kids blog than I’ve been reading all these months or you have a reading comprehension problem. There is not a single, solitary person on this board who doesn’t believe the above statement.

    That we simply don’t let the fact that a few men and women in a world of billions seek to harm us – in many, many ways and not just molestation which is not even the most heinous way they can harm us (not saying that molestation is not awful; just that I’d sure as hell rather have a molested child than a dead child) – control our lives seems to be the only place we differ.

  114. Craig Sauer January 14, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    This post reminded me of the HBO movie: Indictment, about the McMartin trial about ritual child abuse. I don’t think you’ve mentioned this in your book or blog. Have you seen the movie? I think it really helps explain how our culture of obsession with child safety had its genesis.

  115. gwallan January 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Newcomer here but surprised and pleased to see a few familiar names.

    I’m a board member with a statewide rape crisis and counselling service in Australia.

    Time for a reality injection.

    Men are responsible for three quarters of the instances of child sexual abuse. However due to a greater male propensity to commit multiple offences the gender ratio among perpetrators is, in fact, much closer to parity. It is quite likely that women constitute a third or more of the perpetrators.

    Males abuse girls two thirds of the time. Females abuse boys about nine times in ten. Girls are abused almost always by men. Boys are as likely to be abused by either gender.

    Overall there are about as many boys victimsed as girls. Girls are the more likely victims in the home setting. Outside that setting it’s actually boys who are at greater risk.

    As an example…

    Demographics relating to perpetrator relationships to their victims show that among female perpetrators nine percent are teachers whilst for males it’s fewer than one percent. In a school setting it’s some three times more likely that a teacher who molests a student will be female. A boy victim is about four to five times more likely than a girl. I don’t have the data readily at hand for child care workers but the outcomes have similar ratios.

    As a man I detest the way men are treated by the existing community prejudices and it is important to discuss this. But as an advocate for victims it troubles me even more that these prejudices leave our children vulnerable in ways that go unrecognised. Boys, in particular, are far more vulnerable than virtually anybody realises.

    But it’s not just boys who are more vulnerable either. Some may recall the 2009 rape and murder of eight year old Sandra Cantu in California. The woman responsible for this attrocity, Melissa Huckaby, had been interviewed by police in relation to a another missing little girl a few months earlier but who was, fortunately, found albeit with something clearly amiss. When little Sandra was reported missing NOBODY looked to Huckaby even though she lived right nearby. They were all just too busy looking for a man.

    It may very well be that that little girl died for the sake of maintaining our foolish prejudices.

    My thanks go to Lenore Skenazy for being a voice of sanity in an otherwise perverted wilderness.

  116. Donna January 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    Let’s also not forget the way the law and society is stacked against men, making them defined as sex offenders far more than women.

    Many states, including my own, continue to define rape as solely committed by a male. Georgia definition of rape:

    “A person commits the offense of rape when he has carnal knowledge of:
    (1) A female forcibly and against her will; or
    (2) A female who is less than ten years of age.
    Carnal knowledge in rape occurs when there is any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.”

    This is similar to many states in that not only can a woman not commit the crime of rape, a male cannot be a victim of rape, even a male child. The state does define other sexual crimes that can be committed by a male or female. However, under Georgia law it is not a crime for a woman to force a man to have intercourse. It is also considered a lesser crime for a woman to force a young boy to penetrate her vaginally. If a man forces a girl under 10 it is rape, punishable for a minimum of 25 years without parole. If a woman forces a boy under 10 it is only child molestation, punishable for a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 20 years in prison and available for parole at any time.

    Also, most of the people on the sex registry are there for stat rape. The different maturity levels and social constructions mean that men will be prosecuted for this offense FAR more than women.

    First, male high school seniors dating female high school freshman is much more socially acceptable than the reverse. This is partially because males mature, physically and emotionally, at a slower rate than girls and partially because of custom. Therefore, far fewer females are going to be in a position of being convicted for having sex with their under the age of consent boyfriends.

    Even in the rare cases where girls are dating younger boys, the boys parents are not worried about their son’s virtue. The father of the son doesn’t sit at home with a gun threatening the girl to treat his boy right. If an underage boy has sex with his slightly older girlfriend, the parents of the boy are much less likely to seek prosecution. A 15 year old boy who has sex is treated at worst as “boys will be boys” and at best is patted on the back as a stud. The older girl is never blamed. The parents of the 15 year old girl who has sex with the 18 year old boyfriend are much more likely to press charges.

  117. SgtMom January 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    Donna – Point #1 is the #1 point you should be disgreeing with.

    Thank you gwallan, you beat me in pointing out that WOMEN MOLEST CHILDREN.

    Somehow they are given a pass in the being-held-accountable department.

    Whenever I encounter a woman ramping up the sex offender hysteria, I can’t help but wonder if they are truly THAT irrationally terrified, or if they are not smoke screening their own inner demons.

  118. Donna January 14, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    I’m opposed to both points in different ways. First that rape is defined as a male-perpetrator only is just wrong. Second, I’m opposed to the idea that teenage girls are considered so much less in control of their choices and sexuality than boys that they are viewed as just pawns of their slightly older boyfriend. I’m certainly not arguing that more girls should be convicted of stat rape. I believe that society should accept that some teenagers, male and female, want sex and voluntarily engage in sex and that stat rape should be wiped off the books as a crime at all.

  119. Matt L. January 15, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    Emily, your points are reasoned and excellent. I keep wondering as I read these posts whether any of the commenters realize that the registry and criminal punishment do not prevent our children from being abused.

    By building a community we can establish a network of people looking out for each other. None of the above discuss prevention or evasion of attacks. Children need to know that they can trust their “gut” and get out of situations that don’t feel right before it is too late. For example, when I was little my parents taught me to ask anyone for help but to only stay in a populated area with strangers. As I got older this changed and obviously I started to judge situations I wanted to be in and those I did not. I would give directions to people in cars but not leave the sidewalk.

    I taught swimming lessons at a local pool and would usually try to arrange my schedule to not end up in a locker room full of kids when I needed to change, when a more open “family” locker room opened I would typically use that as there were glass doors and private rooms for changing. I was never really worried about anything but it seemed like a reasonable prevention step (some here say nuts or too far but it is life). The thing is my family believed wholeheartedly in the rule of 3 either 2 kids to one adult or 2 adults to one kid in any private situations, I think this came from boy scouts (it was as some of the scandals were breaking in the 90s). It seems reasonable to tell your kids to always be in groups or at least in public. Sure someone could forcibly grab and abduct them but I think that is so rare.

    It is funny to me that I often hear that burglars are startled by the sound of a barking dog or motion sensor lights, 2 simple effective prevention steps but when it comes to our kids there are no suggested simple steps just the more convoluted hysterical steps that could fail and leave you completely unprotected.

  120. Dragonwolf January 15, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    One of the WSJ comments had an interesting link: 10 Myths About Sex Offenders. It has great points about the Registry, recidivism rates, the “stranger danger” idea towards offenders, and a bunch more good stuff. Really worth the read.

    Donna – As far as I know, my state, Ohio, isn’t that bad, at least not technically, but we do have our own stupidity.

    For example, in the case of stat rape, it doesn’t matter if the older person actually even knows how old the younger person is, or is led to believe that the younger person is actually older. The older person is still guilty.

    This means that, according to the law, if you go into a club that’s adults only and checks ID at the door, and a teenager comes in with a fake ID, and you two hook up, you’re guilty of raping that person.

    Then, there’s also the general idea that “women are never guilty” that some law enforcement people seem to believe. My cousin has been in and out of juvie and therapy for committing sexually inappropriate acts with younger kids, brought on by the fact that his older stepsister raped him and is off scott-free in Texas somewhere, because the local law enforcement decided “oh, she’s just a girl, it’s not a big deal” (thankfully, the chief ripped them a new one, but he was on vacation when that happened, and when he got back, it was too late and she was already in a different state, for some reason, they can’t get her shipped back up, though).

  121. Don Saxton January 15, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    Thanks for this Lenore. Dad’s get the same “Eek!” in “family court” 90 percent of the time. That now affects half of kids before they are 18. You would think judges supposedly focused on “best interests of kids” to know better, but no-ooooo…. To give another side effect Dept of Ed found that absence of Dad is a full point drop in GPA. Or from A to B, B to C, C to D, to drop out, to uneducated nation, to bad economy, to no one to fund my retirement. EeeK!

  122. Donna January 15, 2011 at 5:55 am #

    “However, under Georgia law it is not a crime for a woman to force a man to have intercourse.”

    Actually, I take this back. It can be a misdemeanor punishable by less than a year in jail and would not require registration on the sex offender reigstry.

    “For example, in the case of stat rape, it doesn’t matter if the older person actually even knows how old the younger person is, or is led to believe that the younger person is actually older. The older person is still guilty.”

    I believe that that is the law in all 50 states. Stat rape is one of the very few strict liability crimes. You only have to intend to do the act (intercourse), you don’t have to intend to do it with someone under the age of consent or even have knowledge the person was under the age of consent.

  123. Miranda O'Sullivan January 15, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    Miranda: “there are men who molest kids”

    SgtMom: “but there are women who molest kids too!”

    Sigh. Some people are just completely committed to always missing the point. I stand by my assertion that something else is going on with SgtMom.

  124. sue January 15, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    just in case you missed it she was trying to say sinceyou insist on viewing all men as prospective rapists you might what to be aware that most are also rapists. so according to your theory, all people are potential molesters, i guess that means no contact with anybody. good luck with that.

  125. sue January 15, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    corration[hit submit with checking] ment to say that women not most are also rapists.

  126. Dragonwolf January 15, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    Donna – That wouldn’t surprise me, but I only know Ohio law, so I wasn’t going to assume other states were the same way. 🙂

  127. SgtMom January 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    What IS your point, Miranda? That if someone calls you on your BS “something else” is going on?

    The only “something else going on” is perhaps your blowing smoke?

    Without any truth or facts to back up your hate statements, you go the veiled implications and false accusations route?

    What a surprise.

    Why don’t you cowboy up and say what you mean, Miranda?

  128. Staceyjw aka escaped to mexico January 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    I want to start off by saying that all sexual predators should be removed from society, and repeat offenders or others found not to be fixable should be permanently detained. In CA, we have this. If someone is jailed for serious sex offenses (not stat rape, peeing, etc) esp against children, they are reviewed when their time is up. If found to be a danger, they are committed, indefinitley. And people ARE detained, it is not theoretical. While this seems unconstitutional, this is the current solution. Thinking or acting like no one is doing anything to keep violent repeat offenders off the streets means you are not paying attention. We do many things, most of which is not helpful, but thats another post.

    As for my opinion on the issue:
    When it comes to prioritizing problems, I just don’t see child molestation as a top worry. Its not super common, the percentage of perps is tiny, its not totally unavoidable, and society as a whole IS aware of it and doing things to at least punish the offenders.

    This is unlike other horrible things that can and do happen to kids, like: auto related fatalities/ permanent disabilities, cancers and other painful and fatal diseases, murder, poverty (of the 3rd world type) leading to starvation, dysentery, infanticide, child soldiers, war, etc.

    I don’t think that saying “there are worse things” is the same as ignoring the problem or minimizing it. I do think it helps to put it into perspective, as looking at the stats does for me.

    The above stated .25 of 1% really was an eye opener, as I wouldn’t have thought the number was so small, even though it is only the convicted, and many are not child predators. Assuming most are never caught and tripling the # still doesn’t even make it 1%- and THIS is what we are damaging society over? We are effectively barring men from interacting with children because less than 1% of them are sex offenders? We are banning normal affection and relationships between kids and care takers and other adults because of LESS THAN 1% of the male population? If we add in women, it becomes even SMALLER % of the total population.

    If you haven’t yet realized it, this means we are letting a fraction of a percent, the lowest, most disgusting part of the population, basically change the way we relate to others. We live in fear because of this itty bitty minority? As horrible, danferous, and sick as child predators are, we are more than willing to let them influence normal society. Isn’t this backwards? Why is it OK to PERVERT normal people- and this is exactly what is happening when a normal mom thinks about sex abuse every time they see a man near a kid.

    THIS is SICK. We are willingly allowing KIDS and SICK SEXUAL ACTS to be linked in the minds of, and in the forefront of the thoughts of, normal, healthy adults. When the first thought that comes to your mind when a man smiles at your kid is “I bet he’s a sicko”, YOU have been infected with this dirty way of looing at everything. And it is not healthy. Kids will pick up on this attitude, and this leads to an atmosphere of distrust- exactly the opposite of what is needed to get kids to report abuse!

    Knowing your kids, making sure your kids know they can come to you with anything, keeping them away from people/ situations that are actual threats, and teaching them about healthy relationships and sex is the best defense. Making it easier and less harmful to report offenders would be a good offense, in addition to continuing to jail and monitor dangerous offenders. Getting rid of the current registries (or at least changing what warrants posting) and the rules that make it impossible for past offenders to live as normal people would be a step in the direction of correcting wrongs committed in the name of “protecting the children”.

  129. SgtMom January 17, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    Staceyj – Lets take a little step back to another time when this country lost it’s moral compass and shat on the most perfect gift ever given a civilization: The Constitution.

    Once upon a time, Japanese Americans were rounded up and imprisoned in internment camps because it was decided it was OK -just this once! – to ignore it.

    70% of the United States agriculture was provided by Japanese farmers who were now in prison.

    What to do? What to do?

    They first tried giving the Japanese’s stolen farms to the Okies, the LAST group who’s Constitutional Rights were trampled.

    There just weren’t enough Okies to fill the void.

    So what solution did the We-Know-Better geniuses come up with?

    They brought in poor Mexican peons to work the farms, with the understanding they would simply GO HOME once the work was done.

    All these generations later you hardly EVER hear anyone claiming Japanese Americans are the evil downfall of our country.

    Do ya?

    Now we hear of building fences and border patrols, murder and mayhem.

    I grew up in the segregated South where colored people were not allowed to share a bathroom or drink from a public fountain, because it was believed they harbored germs and diseases the rest of society would “catch” if allowed to interact.

    People who spoke the truth about that situation were called ” n***** lovers, and their lives endangered for speaking the truth.

    The comparisons between nazi Germany sex offender laws and American sex offenders laws are undeniably similar.

    So are comparisons between Jim Crowe laws and Sex Offender laws.

    Remarkably so. Frighteningly so.

    As a kid growing up in the ’50’s, I NEVER dreamed one day a “colored man” would be the President of the United States. I never dreamed women would out number men in college or the work force. I never dreamed two men would romantically kiss each other on “regular” TV.

    I’m not even 60 yet and those unthinkable things came to pass in my lifetime.

    Someday, with our selling our children’s futures to “protect them” at the expense of their education and mental well being, the harm of all this will come home to roost.

    Someday – and it probably will be in my lifetime – sex offenders will be the LEAST dangerous threat our children will face. They will join the ranks of Japanese, Communists, hippies, druggies, gays and negroes as horrendously stupid mistakes we make when we “outsmart” our Constituion.

    The biggest thing we have to fear is allowing ourselves to be duped yet again.

    Sheer madness…

  130. Dragonwolf January 18, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Sgtmom – Where did that come from? Did you read Staceyjw’s whole post? If you did, then we’re reading two completely different things, considering your response suggests you only read the first paragraph. You might want to go back and read her response again…

  131. SgtMom January 19, 2011 at 1:49 am #


    My comments weren’t refuting or chastizing Staceyjw.


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