aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, October 13, 2006
The politics of sex offenders
Live by the sword, die by the sword. Jeanine pumps the numbers:
In press releases she issued over six years, Jeanine F. Pirro, the Westchester County district attorney, trumpeted the arrests made in Internet sex stings that her office ran.
By the time she left office at the end of 2005, that undercover pedophile operation had snared 111 men, including a Roman Catholic priest, a private-school headmaster, a New York City detective and a former Brooklyn prosecutor.
Now, as the Republican candidate for attorney general, Ms. Pirro has made her pursuit of these sex predators a central theme. Her campaign Web site says that the sting operation, which she started in the summer of 1999, led to the arrests of “over 100 pedophiles - with a 100 percent conviction rate.”
While Ms. Pirro’s press releases repeatedly pointed out that the crimes were felonies punishable by up to four years in state prison for each count, a review of the cases shows that the overwhelming majority of people received sentences that let them avoid extensive jail time.
It’s all about scare politics and faux public safety. Meanwhile the serious, legitimate and difficult problems we’ve got regarding the sexuality and sexualization of our young people and our culture get short shrift.
The public’s along for the ride ‘cause it seems like no one’s got a clue what to do.
We might start by getting real with the threat, real with the numbers, and take a real, hard, honest look at the problem. Here, for example, is a far different view:
Most sex offenders, says one therapist who works with sex offenders in a state prison system, are “Gentle grandfathers who made one mistake in judgment years ago and fondled their grandchild. Or lonely, geeky gay men--teenagers some of them--who sought mutual sexual release with adolescent boys. Or young female teachers who succumbed to the wiles of handsome adolescent boys or girls. Or young men who got drunk and pushed their girlfriends over a line that is now called date rape.” Yet the media, police, prosecutors and politicians continue to insist that children are in dire need of protection from serial rapists and murderers. Two-thirds of parents surveyed said they feared their children would be kidnapped and or murdered by strangers. Facts simply do not matter when hysteria is involved.
Pride protests from coast to coast
Anti-homosexual slurs flew through the air, as did the gay-pride rainbow flag, during an emotionally charged meeting of the School Reform Commission yesterday.
High school students, teachers and activists, some with emotion-filled voices, spoke out in support of the school district’s decision to recognize October as Gay and Lesbian History Month on school calendars for the first time.
Opponents said recognizing the month was an attempt by the district to indoctrinate students to the homosexual lifestyle. They said it was an insult to equate gay rights with the struggles of African-Americans for civil rights.
Some angrily asked the reform commissioners what group would they recognize next: Adulterers? Fornicators? Prostitutes? Pedophiles?
Over the last 18 months, Sacramento Russian-language church members have picketed gay pride events, jammed into legislative committee meetings when gay issues were on the agenda and demonstrated at school board meetings.
Incited by firebrand Russian Pentacostal pastors and polemical Russian-language newspapers, the fundamentalists turn out en masse for state Capitol protest rallies.
Last June, urging readers to attend a massive rally, the Russian newspaper the Speaker told them:
“Make a choice. It’s your decision. Homosexuality is knocking on your doors and asking: ‘Can I make your son gay and your daughter lesbian?’ “
In most instances, the Russian-speaking demonstrators far outnumber representatives from all other anti-gay groups combined. Anti-homosexual rallies that a few years ago attracted a few dozen participants now regularly draw hundreds and sometimes thousands, many with a heavy Russian accent.
Sounds like if we have any gay power, we better use it.