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Thoughts on Prison

November 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Back in 2000 I attended a lecture one evening on the failure of the U.S. prison system to truly rehabilitate criminals. The lecturer talked about how high re-offense rates are, but she also talked about the massive amounts of money being spent by the prison system and the overcrowding in many prisons. She did not compare our country with any others.

Last night I was watching a show about the San Quentin prison and the narrator was talking about how the prison, rather than rehabilitate criminals, actually creates a networking platform for them. Many times criminals come out of jail with more contacts and increased criminal know-how; not to mention the fact that many inmates spend a majority of their time working out and getting fit. It would seem that our current system is producing super-criminals: stronger, meaner and more connected.

I know that I am making generalizations of massive proportions, and that some people do come out of jail changed and ready to embark on a new life, but there also appears to be a large problem with they way we punish and rehabilitate.

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Categories: Society, Thoughts

Monticello High School Custodian Charged w/ Sexual Misconduct With a Minor

August 18, 2007 Leave a comment

Possibly my biggest fear as a parent is that my kids would, in some major way, be affected by the pervasiveness of sexual sin in our culture; the scale and scope of which is almost beyond belief.*

This morning I was reading the local newspaper online and I came across a sickening story about a male high school custodian charged with sexual misconduct over a 3 year period with a teenage male. If I was more naive I would have thought something like this couldn’t happen in my town; nonetheless the story is sickening and shocking. I have to warn you that the details laid out in the article are quite disturbing and graphic. Read the article here.

As if the report wasn’t appalling enough, take a look at the response of our legal system.

Although the Sherburne County prosecuting attorney described Larson as a “danger to the community” and “a risk to flee” during the time period leading up to his Sept. 19 hearing, Yunker gave Larson the option of $100,000 unconditional bail or $5,000 bail with the following terms and conditions attached: that he have no contact with any individual mentioned in the official court complaint; that he have no contact with any individual under the age of 18; that he remain law abiding and make all future court appearances; and that he inform the court within 24 hours if there is a change in his address.

Reading that made me so freaking pissed. Please excuse the language, but when you read the report of the case, the judges ruling for conditional bail is absolutely ludicrous. This sicko should be jailed until trial and, if found guilty, he should spend the rest of his life there. The psychological damage done to the accusing teenage boy will be vast and long-lasting.

Lord Jesus please protect my kids from evil. Lord God please protect all our precious children from predators and those who would sin so horrifically against them.

– One last piece of interesting information…the following statement in the article would lead me to believe that ‘Dad’ was not in the picture of this poor kid’s life.

It is also documented that Larson discussed with the alleged victim’s mother the possibility of acting as a mentor to the child.

Our world needs DADS more than ever. We need strong men who will protect and nurture their kids, who will sacrificially and faithfully serve their spouses, and who will take responsibility for their homes.

Jesus make me one of these men, and raise up a generation of males who will manifest the Heavenly Father’s love on earth.

*Lest we get too worried that our times are worse than another, it could be argued that today’s sexual sins are not without historical, Biblical precedent, see Leviticus 18

Categories: Men, news, Parenting, Sex, Society

Facebook and MySpace Highlight American Social Class Divisions

August 14, 2007 Leave a comment

I have never really got into the whole MySpace thing. There is something I don’t like about the customization and wallpaper pieces. I think MySpace’s generally end up messy and disorganized and ugly. Plus, I always felt the majority of people who use MySpace are somewhat different than me.

This morning I read an article in Newsweek that reiterated and somewhat validated the thoughts I had.

A few weeks ago, [Danah] Boyd—who has done extensive ethnographic work on online behavior, blog-posted an essay tentatively sharing her (admittedly nonscientific) findings after months of interviews, field observations and profile analysis. Generally, she contended, “The goodie two shoes, jocks, athletes and other ‘good’ kids are now going to Facebook. These kids tend to come from families who emphasize education and going to college.” MySpace is still home for “kids whose parents didn’t go to college, who are expected to get a job when they finish high school.”

Boyd’s ideas about the two online social networking sites have come under heavy criticism with critics pointing out that many people use both MySpace and Facebook, and in a society that vehemently hates the idea of labeling people groups and classes, Boyd’s findings are risky to document. But I agree with Boyd and my own experience, albiet very non-scientific, confirms what she writes. “What I was doing was showing the caricature, not arguing that everything boils down to one versus the other.”

I have not yet read Ms. Boyd’s entire post but you can access it here.

Categories: Blogs, news, Society, Technology