An 18-year-old Floridian is facing two felony charges of “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16″ due to a relationship with a 15-year-old girl:
“These people never came to us as parents, never tried to speak to us… and tell us they had a problem with the girls dating,” Kaitlyn Hunt’s mother, Kelley Hunt-Smith, wrote in an statement posted to Facebook. “…They were out to destroy my daughter. [They] feel like my daughter ‘made’ their daughter gay.”
According to Hunt-Smith, police arrived at the family’s home Feb. 16 and put her daughter in handcuffs. Local news website TCPalm.com listed Kaitlyn Hunt’s arrest for “lewd and lascivious battery” on Feb. 18, and the girl’s mug shot is still easily accessible on the Internet.
But the trouble didn’t stop there. The other girl’s parents repeatedly tried to have Kaitlyn, a senior, expelled from school. Despite the Sebastian River High School administration’s denial of their request, and a judge’s order allowing Kaitlyn to remain in school (so long as the girls had no contact), the 15-year-old’s parents successfully petitioned the school board to have Hunt removed from school weeks prior to graduation.
On the one hand, it’s outrageous that Hunt has been charged, but it’s oddly re-assuring that even though it’s a lesbian relationship, it’s being dealt with exactly the same way that a comparable heterosexual relationship would be: treated as a sex crime. And yes, in either case it’s absurd that teenagers are being classed as sexual predators for relationships that would have been considered quite ordinary a decade ago.
In sp!ked, Frank Furedi examines the recent phenomenon of “nice guys” turning into terrorists:
… homegrown terrorism is viewed as a problem of ‘radicalisation’, where young people are seen as having effectively been warped by some imam or ideology promoter. So within days of the Boston bombers being identified, a local mosque was blamed for radicalising Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Others have looked for alternative sources of radicalisation, such as jihadist courses on YouTube or extremist Islamist websites. The theory of radicalisation is based on the premise that the lure of jihad politicises otherwise disgruntled individuals and transforms them into hardened militants.
Yet it is not clear what exactly constitutes the lure of jihad. Young people who are attracted to jihadist websites rarely adopt a new worldview. In fact, their perspective is very similar to numerous non-Muslim Westerners who visit nihilistic websites and become fascinated by destructive themes and image. Those who visit jihadist sites are choosing a fad rather than a coherent ideological outlook. In this regard, it is worth noting that some radicals arrested for terrorist activities in Europe are neither religious zealots nor political idealists. A study of ‘The Mujahideen Network’, a Swedish internet forum, discovered that its members’ knowledge of Islam was ‘virtually non-existent’ and their ‘fascination with jihad seems to be dictated by their rebellious nature rather than a deep ideological conviction’ (5). In other words, these people seem to have been driven by their estrangement from society rather than being pulled by a vibrant and dynamic alternative.
[. . .]
In fact, there are formidable cultural forces that denigrate the West’s historical achievements and its traditional belief in progress and enlightenment. Some commentators argue that the West, finding it difficult to believe in itself, faces a moral crisis. In such circumstances, is it any wonder that many young people feel deeply estranged from the Western way of life? Fortunately, only a handful opt for the nihilistic course of action taken by the Boston bombers. But the real problem is not to be found in the impressionable minds of youths but in the failure of society to inspire these young people with positive and forward-looking ideals.
Young people are not being seduced by mystical jihadist ideologies; they are being driven away by a society that fails to lead or enthuse or move them. There will, of course, always be a handful of confused and disturbed individuals who opt for acts of violent destruction. But as long as their community believes in itself, the damage they cause will be contained. The experience of the post-9/11 world shows that winning the arguments for an open society is the most effective answer to the threat of terror.
His participation in the incident was to wrestle the loaded revolver out of the hands of the football player who was threatening to shoot another player:
A 16-year-old Cypress Lake High School student, who wrestled a loaded revolver away from a teen threatening to shoot, is being punished.
The student grappled the gun away from the 15-year-old suspect on the bus ride home Tuesday after witnesses say he aimed the weapon point blank at another student and threatened to shoot him.
The student, who Fox 4 has agreed not to identify and distort his voice because he fears for his safety, says there’s “no doubt” he saved a life by disarming the gunman. And for that he was suspended for three days.
[. . .]
The teen we spoke to and authorities both confirm the Revolver was loaded. According to the arrest report the suspect, who Fox 4 is not naming because he is a minor, was “pointing the gun directly” at another student and “threatening to shoot him.”
That’s when the student we spoke with says he and others tackled the teen and wrestled away the gun. The next day the school slapped him with a three day suspension.
“It’s dumb,” he said. “How they going to suspend me for doing the right thing?”
According to the referral, he was suspended for being part of an “incident” where a weapon was present and given an “emergency suspension.”
“If they wouldn’t've did what they had to do on that bus,” the teen’s mother said, “I think there would have been a lot of fatalities.”
H/T to Charles Oliver for the link.
At the Wall Street Journal, Stephanie Banchero reports on recent tests of vocabulary that show US students are not as well-informed as expected:
U.S. students knew only about half of what they were expected to on a new vocabulary section of a national exam, in the latest evidence of severe shortcomings in the nation’s reading education.
Eighth-graders scored an average of 265 out of 500 in vocabulary on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, the results of which were made public Thursday. Fourth-graders averaged a score of 218 out of 500.
The results showed that nearly half of eighth-graders didn’t know that “permeates” means to “spread all the way through,” and about the same proportion of fourth-graders didn’t know that “puzzled” means confused — words that educators think students in those grades should recognize.
Most fourth-graders did know the meaning of “created,” “spread” and “underestimate.” At eighth grade, most students knew “grimace,” “icons” and “edible.”
The new vocabulary test was embedded in the biennial national reading exam, known as the NAEP. Last year’s scores were in line with those posted in 2009, the first time vocabulary scores were broken out, but the latest results are the first to be made public. Experts noted that the results mirror the performance on the national reading test, which has yielded fairly static scores for a decade.
James Delingpole discusses his niece’s exposure to religious education at her school, and discovers that one religion is exalted above the others:
My brilliant niece Freya was talking to my brother the other day about the religious education curriculum at her predominately white, middle-class state school in a pretty English cathedral city. She happened to mention ‘Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him.’ ‘Eh?’ said my brother. ‘It’s what we’re taught at school. After we mention “Mohammed” we have to say “Peace be upon him”.’
[. . .]
Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him? I suppose it would make sense for a non-Muslim to use that phrase were he, say, trying to persuade his Islamist terrorist captors in Mali perhaps or the Yemen not to cut his head off. But since when did it become necessary for white, notionally C-of-E-ish English kids in a middle-class school in a pretty cathedral town?
I mean it’s bad enough — as I’ve argued — to teach kids to think that their country’s religious traditions no longer really matter. But what is surely unforgivable is simultaneously to teach those same kids that there is one particular religion which matters so much that even when you don’t subscribe to it you must still treat it with the reverence, fear and awe of those who do.
Why? You can imagine the fuss if at every mention of the name Jesus Christ all children of whatever creed were forced to raise their arms in the air and add ‘Our Lord and Saviour, He is risen, Alleluia’. We ought to be equally appalled, I would suggest, at what children at Freya’s school are being forced to do with regards to the prophet of a rival religion.
As usual, Gregg Easterbrook manages to squeeze in lots of non-football items into his weekly NFL column:
The entertaining aspect of the fizzled Newt Gingrich presidential campaign was that Gingrich still blames the 1960s for everything. The 1960s were half a century ago. In the year 2012, blaming the 1960s makes about as much sense as someone during the 1960s blaming events on the 1910 appearance of Halley’s Comet.
Since Gingrich put the 1960s into play, note that during that decade the mainstream media advocated what was then called “free love,” and looked down with scorn upon those who backed traditional views of marriage and lovemaking. Yet today when people engage in free love, graying Boomers who run the MSM get all squeamish.
Here, The New York Times treats as shocking that an unmarried yoga instructor had “a penchant for women” and liked “partying and fun.” Man likes women — arrest him! The unmarried instructor faces “accusations of sexual impropriety,” which means “yoga’s enlightened façade” is tainted by “scandal.” And the scandal is what? That unmarried adults are having consensual sex. This “penchant” must be stopped — it can lead to fun.
Worse, yoga can “promote sexual arousal” by causing “emotional closeness” that leads to “increased blood flow” which makes “pelvic regions more sensitive,” resulting in “debauchery.” Who wrote this, Queen Victoria?
All news organizations, including ESPN, sometimes publish ill-thought-through articles. What’s compelling about this one is the sociological change reflected. When they were young, the Baby Boomers who now run big news organizations extolled free love and mocked the older generation’s conventional expectations about sexuality. Now that the Boomers have aged and are not getting any themselves, they evince shock that younger people are fooling around.
People are generally sensible, but even sensible people can demand bad laws get passed by their governments. Child porn laws in the United States are an example of not merely bad laws, but insane laws. Rick Falkvinge follows up an earlier article:
A common protest to my article was that prosecution of people who record evidence of child abuse, or of teenagers doing things voluntarily, “would absolutely never happen”. The arguments went along these lines:
It would be absolutely insane for the law to say this, and since the law can’t possibly be that insane, you must be wrong. Therefore, you’re an evil person for writing this opinion.
The problem is that I agree with these people: it would be absolutely insane for the law to say the examples I gave, and that the law says exactly that, so the law is indeed that insane. I understand the disbelief, so I’ll be returning to that shortly and list how it has already happened. But first, let’s take a look at what happens when you document evidence of a couple of types of very serious crimes:
- If you film a police abuse situation to get evidence and show it to the world so the power abusers can get caught, you’re a hero to the level that your film can cause riots.
- If you document a genocide in enough detail that your evidence can bring perpetrators to justice, you’re a worldwide hero.
- If you film wartime killings, people will risk their lives — and sometimes die — to bring your evidence and documentation to news studios.
- If you risk being beaten up by covertly filming a street battery and assault, you’re welcomed with open arms by the police when you hand over the evidence you produced. (I personally did this, for the record.)
- If you film something as serious as a presidential assassination, people will watch the film over and over and over again and your name will go down in history for centuries.
- If you film a rapist of a minor to get evidence in order to bring the sick, twisted bastard to justice, you’re the bad guy and will get a worse sentence than the rapist you attempt to bring to justice and jail.
[. . .]
As I described in my last post, these laws were constructed by Christian-fundamentalist pressure groups with the intent of criminalizing normal teenage behavior, and the side effect of protecting child molesters from prosecution, under the pretext of protecting children. I find that completely unacceptable. Outrageous, actually.
This is from a discussion that took place on the Lois McMaster Bujold mailing list the other day (list info here) that explored some interesting notions. I emailed Ms. Bujold to ask her permission to use a quote from one of her posts, and she asked me to provide a bit more context as she wasn’t sure the portion I’d asked to use was sufficiently informative. The topic of discussion was the anima/animus mental model of what is “right” about the opposite sex many (most? all?) young people use to determine what it is to be male or female. A subtopic of that was the use or misuse of that mental model to judge potential dates/mates and the problems that that might entail.
It seems to tie in with my own notions of gender-identity formation in adolescence being principally accomplished by heatedly deleting everything seen to be associated with the opposite gender, and maturity being the slower process of regaining or recovering same to once again become a complete human being.
[. . .]
I might direct your attention to the large preponderance of “alpha males” as romance novel heroes. Very much the embodiment of those very assertive or practical qualities that adolescent women delete (or repress, if you prefer) in themselves, much to their later sorrow when they have to cope with real life, alas.
Your typical bad-boy alpha-jerk high-achieving rich hero is pretty much a grocery list of survival qualities discouraged in women, in fact.
Granted, women need to be socialized as sharers to a high degree, or their infants would never survive un-murdered. It’s a near thing as-is. (Says the experienced mom.)
Strategy Page outlines the most recent major problem the US military is facing: the bloat of potential recruits (not in numbers, but in individual mass). While the number of new recruits needed is declining, the pool of potential recruits to draw from has been declining even faster:
The problem is that Americans have, in the last two decades, become very fat and out-of-shape. There are 32 million male Americans of prime military age (17-24). But because of bad lifestyle choices, only 13 percent of them (4.2 million) are physically eligible for service. Each year, the armed forces have to recruit 150,000 new troops. The military is allowed to waive some physical or mental standards, and this means that only about 20 percent of those 32 million potential recruits qualify. Each year, recruiters have to convince about two percent of those eligible that they should join up. It’s a tough job, made worse by a generation that eats too much, exercises too little and doesn’t pay enough attention in school. You not only have to be physically fit enough to join, you also have to be smart enough and have no criminal record.
The enormous growth in computer entertainment, and subsequent massive reduction in exercise teenage boys get is the major reason for the body fat percentage crisis. As a result, one of the biggest problems American military recruiters have is unfit young Americans trying to enlist. Some 57 percent of potential recruits are not eligible because they do not score high enough on the aptitude test the military uses to see if people have enough education and mental skills to handle military life. Many of those who score too low do so because they did not do well at school. A lot of these folks have high IQs, but low motivation. Most of the remainder are not eligible for physical reasons. But get this; the most common physical disqualifier is being overweight. Nearly a third of the people of military age are considered obese. Many of these big folks are eager to join, and are told how much weight they have to lose before they can enlist. Few return light enough to sign up.
Computer gaming and other forms of indoor entertainment certainly bear some of the blame for the obesity problem, but other issues should also be included: helicopter parents who don’t dare let their kids go outside to play without full-time parental supervision, schools that have reduced or eliminated physical education for budget or liability reasons, and the huge increase in availability of low-priced, high-calorie fast foods.
Following up from yesterday’s amusing story about the Sun News stunt of dressing an underaged teen in a burka and successfully buying booze at the LCBO, Chris Selley gets to the real reason the stunt worked:
Debates about face coverings in this country almost always boil down to policy, not people. Should people wearing burkas have to unveil to vote? We went pretty crazy about that issue, a while back, and probably will some day again (especially if Sun News has anything to say about it). Should Quebecers have to unveil to take a government-run French class? Quebec went a bit crazy about that, and eventually said yes. What about to board an airplane, or to get a driver’s license? Controversies along these lines pop up every now and again and get thrown into the coliseum of Canadian debate, where the right’s and the left’s gladiators battle it out.
Meanwhile, off to the side, you’ll usually find representatives of the miniscule number of Canadian women who actually wear burkas explaining that they have no problem unveiling in circumstances where it is logically required. But they’re largely ignored, because the left wants to fight for a woman’s right to wear the veil (even if she doesn’t feel it’s being impinged upon) while the right wants to take that right away (on grounds of “liberating” Muslim women).
[. . .]
Again, this wasn’t the Sun’s angle. But it seems reasonable to speculate that those LCBO clerks looked at the veiled customer, realized what they ought to do, and didn’t do it for fear of winding up in their supervisor’s office, the newspaper or some kind of human rights court. That’s not healthy at all, and there’s no point blaming Muslim immigrants for it. In pursuing a harmonious, egalitarian, rights-conscious society, longer-established Canadians may have created a fear of making reasonable requests of fellow citizens who aren’t superficially “like” us. That drives people apart, not together. It perpetuates precisely the sort of nonsensical backlash that the Sun’s critics worry about.