Category Archives: Law

Sack This Judge

 

Enough said.

 

Let’s get this straight: “Mad Men” is fiction. It’s an historically based TV show. The mid-20th century is in the past tense.

 

Got that, Judge Nigel Peters?

 

Even in “Mad Men” times, 13-year-olds were recognized by British law as too young to give informed consent. They could not sign contracts, were not allowed to drive, and could not consent to sexual contact. Even back then, Judge Peters.

 

And now?

 

With all the research results fully available via the internet, all the articles, you would think someone with a law degree, who now sits behind the bench, would have bothered to inform himself of the very great differences in experience and brain development between a 13-year-old girl and a 41-year-old man.

 

Apparently, Judge Peters is ignorant. Even more than that, he’s dead wrong.

 

If he had bothered to educate himself over the past few years, he would have learned that the human brain undergoes enormous transformation in the adolescent years. A 15-year-old’s brain is different from a 25-year-old’s brain. One huge difference is in the frontal lobe, the decision-making part, which undergoes the enormous transformation that enables adults to make healthy, rational decisions.

 

You know, like the ones the 41-year-old predator, Neil Wilson, should have made to counter his porn obsessions: Don’t associate with children and teens as though they were your equals. Do not have them in your house unprotected by a responsible adult. Do not have sex with them. Take responsibility for your actions. Remember, a healthy man your age stays away from girls.

 

Wilson failed to make the correct decisions, and he allowed a child to be called a predator in court by the prosecuting attorney (not the defense, the prosecution). A child! That’s horrifying behavior.

 

Unfortunately, Judge Peters agreed with both the defendant and the prosecutor in a “men know best” cabal, and that behavior is just as depraved. Especially when we learn that “police also found images of child abuse and bestiality at Wilson’s home in Romford, Essex. Wilson, now living in York, admitted two counts of making extreme pornographic images and one count of sexual activity with a child.” How could any sane judge ignore that evidence and blame the victim?

 

No sane judge would act that way.

 

No judge who was not overtaken by his own misogyny would act that way.

 

Even if the 13-year-old had acted in a way more akin to a 30-year-old, it was up to Wilson, the adult, to stop it.

 

The judge apparently did not agree. “When in doubt, the female temptress is to blame, the old Eve – or in this case, a very young one. The little vixen had led astray a 41-year-old man found to have images of child abuse and bestiality on his computer . . .,” as a Guardian writer put it.

 

One commenter noted, “How anyone, let alone a judge, couldn’t understand that that sort of behaviour in a child was a massive indicator of prior abuse is beyond me. One of the worst examples of victim-blaming I’ve ever seen.”

 

The 13-year-old is still a child. Her brain has not fully formed. For Wilson to perversely take advantage of her is disgraceful, and for Judge Peters to essentially collude with Wilson – in a demonstration of Misogyny 101 – is a travesty.

 

As a spokesperson for a children’s charity expressed it this way: “Children can never truly consent to their own abuse. It is plain wrong to imply in any way that the experiences of sexually exploited children are something they bring on themselves. It is difficult to imagine the torment experienced by the vulnerable victims of crimes such as these. Many turn in on themselves and have feelings of shame and even self-loathing on top of the psychological scars inflicted by the abuser. It takes immense bravery for these young people to relive their ordeal in a court of law and we must not forget that it is the abuser who is guilty and not the victim.”

 

Over 4,000 people have signed a petition to have Wilson’s wrist-slap of a suspended sentence reviewed so that it may be increased, and over 30,000 petitioned through Change.org to have the prosecutor, Robert Colover – the originator of the “predatory 13-year-old” comment – disciplined. (He has since been told he will be barred from working on future sexual abuse cases.) Many of the signers are survivors of abuse about which, at the time, they were not allowed to speak. Back in “Mad Men” times.

 

It was a time without the internet, sans mobile phones and airbags. No one really wants to return to it. Even Judge Peters, I suspect, would be grateful to be saved from the worst effects of a head-on road collision.

 

This collision, however, the one between his interpretation of the facts and the reality, he created all by himself.

 

Increase Wilson’s sentence and make it custodial. Sack Judge Peters. Replace him with a judge more likely to be well-informed.

 

Keep in mind, the year is 2013.

 

 

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Filed under Abuse, Assault, Brain, Guardian, Law, Misogyny, Pain, Porn, Rape, Rapist as parasite, Sexism, Sexual assault

Why Huma Can’t Leave, And Why She Should

Huma Abedin in presumably happier times

 

 

Let’s set aside ambition. Although Huma Abedin, the wife of Anthony Weiner – currently regarded as manna from heaven by late-night comics who regard Weiner’s continued sexting with his self-chosen handle “Carlos Danger” as unbelievable fodder for gags – is no shrinking violet, she lacks the rip-the-baby-from-the-breast mania of Lady Macbeth. Ambitious, yes. For herself, not so much these days, when she’s riding her husband’s soiled coattails.

 

Let’s also put away, for the moment, the history of embarrassed American political wives. Hillary Clinton was not the first First Lady – when can we alter that to the useful First Spouse? – to stand by her man. American political newspapers, television, and now Twitter-sphere have been littered with the wreckage of broken marital vows and betrayed hearts. Huma Abedin is following in those women’s footsteps in pronouncing herself “supportive” of her ridiculously immature husband – a bad move in the 21st century, as we will see below – but she need not. Jenny Sanford of South Carolina did not do so, thank goodness, after her then-governor then-husband was discovered not on the Appalachian Trail but in another nation entirely. In 2013, one need not follow a script dictating that one trot oneself out and publicly “forgive” the jerk one married years before.

 

So, back-burnering ambition and American custom, let’s look, instead, at Huma’s past. As therapists know, what we grow up with is incredibly influential in how we make decisions as adults.

 

Huma’s parents were from South Asia. Her father, Syed Zainul Abedin, born in India in 1928, received his first college degree from Aligarh Muslim University, southeast of Delhi, and later earned a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He was an Islamic scholar, founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (consulting and advising where Muslims are a religious minority, as in India), acted as a consultant to the Muslim World League, and died in 1993 when Huma was a teenager (her father was 48 when Huma was born in 1976).

 

Huma’s mother, Saleha Mahmood Abedin, was born in northwest India (now Pakistan) in 1940. Twelve years younger than her husband, she met him at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a PhD in sociology in 1977. For many years she has taught sociology at Dar Al-Hekma College, a women’s college in Saudi Arabia.

 

Not long after Huma’s mother finished her PhD, the family packed up and moved to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Huma was two years old, and did not live in the US again until she attended college at George Washington University.

 

If it’s me reading the signs, here’s what we have:

 

Both parents from South Asia but with a desire to experience a purer form of Muslim life in Saudi Arabia. Willing to put their only child under the heavy strictures that Saudi Arabia imposes on girls and women. An Islamic scholar father, much older than his wife. Perhaps dictatorial, certainly deferred to. A man whose power was backed up by Saudi law.

 

In Jeddah, Huma’s father would have been entitled to up to four legal wives. There’s no evidence that he married anyone other than Huma’s mother, but no evidence that he remained monogamous, either. Considering his work, he might have been ridiculed by other men had he not taken additional wives.

 

At least one writer regards Huma’s mother as an “influential sharia activist” who has, in her writings, provided justification for the legal subordination of women to men, and appallingly, female genital mutilation (FGM), which pre-dates Islam (it was inflicted in ancient Egypt) and is slowly losing ground – due in part to its demonstrated harm to women’s reproductive lives. (In that context, it’s worth wondering if as a child Huma herself was subjected to cutting, and if her health has been imperiled as a result.)

 

In addition, Huma herself was raised, not in India, but in sectarian, dogmatic Saudi Arabia, with its strictures on females of all ages. It would be ridiculous to assume that she only experienced societal limits after menarche. In fact, Saudi girls routinely watch their mothers, aunts and older sisters being inhibited and punished, and they hear from friends about their own families. Secrets are kept, but the truth also emerges.

 

If in Saudi Arabia, Huma’s father had sexted a young woman, if he had promised her an apartment to be shared as a lovenest, if he had held lewd conversations with her (all of which Anthony Weiner has done, in an incredible display of hubris and power-wielding), how would Huma’s mother have acted?

 

What would Mommy do?

 

Mommy would have grinned and borne it. She would have let it go. She would have regarded it as one more thing permitted to husbands in a society where being male confers incredible license. She would have remembered that under Saudi law, divorce might see Huma legally snatched from her mother and deposited with her father, forever.

 

Most of all, Huma’s mother would feel relieved that her husband was merely using social media, not taking to wife a newer, younger woman who would perhaps turn the husband against the mother of his child.

 

All of the above help us understand why Huma has chosen a path that made the New York Post front-page, in its frustration, “What’s Wrong With You?”. If the Post were published in the Arab world, however, it might be blazoned with “Fantastic Job, Huma!” or “Setting a Good Example for Girls”. Even when her husband, at last count, now admits to sexting three different women since resigning from Congress, layering lie upon lie, and when according to polls his political stock among voters has taken a nosedive.

 

The problems with Huma’s approach go to the heart of why she ought to choose a different path: she no longer lives in Saudi Arabia, and she’s not married to a strict Muslim husband – though Weiner’s brash sense of entitlement and arrogance seem to fit him for the role. She lives in the US. She might have political aspirations of her own. If she does, she’s going about this all wrong. Huma is playing 21st-century politics with an old-fashioned game plan.

 

Plus, she’s setting her son up to be an abuser, and any future daughter (or daughter-in-law) to be abused.

 

As a Guardian reader commented: “… Would anyone out there want to see their daughter in Huma’s position, defending a man with zero understanding of his problems, shrugging off these incidents as if he was caught shoplifting instead of texting nude shots of himself to a young woman whom he not only wanted to set up in a Chicago apartment but declared his undying love for?” Answer: no, not in the US.

 

Huma, listen up: In America, smart women aren’t doormats. We don’t put up with abuse. You’re a very intelligent woman, but IQ does not equal EQ, and on this subject, you’re bog-standard stupid. In five years, or ten, or twenty, whenever you feel like running for office yourself, do you really think American women will praise the memory of your getting up there and defending your abuser? Puh-leez! We’re much more likely to say, oh, here’s that idiot, the woman who knew her husband sexted under the handle of “Carlos Danger”, who knew he lied about it, who did not insist on ongoing therapy, and stayed with him. And excused him, and encouraged us to excuse him, too.

 

Vote for Huma? Not on your life.

 

Do you get it? Gut the oldie-goldie behaviors you learned as a child. If your mother’s suggesting you stay with your abusive husband – when the rest of the US is aghast – figure out what you want. Do you want to run for public office? Want people to vote for you? The path you’re taking will not lead to success, not these days.

 

The New York Post suggests Huma might have a “pathological need to be publicly humiliated”. What she has looks like, instead, a pathological need to be regarded as a perfect wife according to outdated and harmful models, the models she learned as a child.

 

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child.” It’s time for Huma Abedin to speak like an adult. Otherwise, we the people will infer that she and her husband richly deserve each other.

 

 

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Filed under Abuse, Anthony Weiner, Cruelty, FGM, Guardian, Huma Abedin, India, Law, Menarche, Mental health, Mental illness, Misogyny, Muslim, New York City, News, Pain, Politics, Relationships, Sexism

He Didn’t Look Pathetic When He Did It

Stuart Hall in 1988

 

It’s true, 83-year-old men look a little sad and worn. Even the famous ones, like Stuart Hall, who was recently convicted in the UK of historic sexual assaults on a string of girls, one only nine years old. The retired sports and TV announcer was sentenced, however, to a laughable stint: only 15 months for all crimes. That sentence, which brought widespread outrage, is under review.

 

Poor thing. White hair, an octogenarian, why bin him up with career criminals?

For one thing, because he is a career criminal. What he did was a crime – yes, even in the olden days when Hall’s hair was blond (see photo above) – and he did it more than once. Probably, there are more women who did not want to come forward, women whose memories carry Hall’s hands, his voice, his tongue. Ewww.

 

Another reason to bang him up with men like him is that for so long, he got away with it. Just like Jimmy Savile, he threatened the girls: no one will believe you, people will hate you, I’m too powerful to be touched. If you tell, I’ll kill you. Pathetic lies, those of a con man, but of course he wasn’t playing on a level field. He coerced children. He got away with his deceptions. The children did not. They have carried fear, shame and trauma for decades. Hall thought he got off scot-free . . . until the allegations began. Then he blustered. His accusers were lying, they wanted money, he was no Jimmy Savile, until suddenly, at trial, he reversed his tack and admitted the now-grown women were telling the truth.

 

Clearly he felt the evidence against him was overwhelming. He hoped the judge would be lenient. So far Hall has gotten off lightly. But he should not.

 

His victims, the survivors, kept silence most of their lives. That’s an enormously heavy weight to place on a child. No wonder they had nightmares. They thought they would grow out of it, be able to forget, but trauma can seal memories so they recur at odd moments. The girls were never really free of Hall’s odor, his smarminess, his searching fingers.

 

Floating out there are ideas for products to “prevent” rape: hairy stockings, a fishhook-supplied gizmo . . . that one guaranteed to earn its wearer a beating from an enraged rapist. The truth is, nothing prevents attack, not the victim’s clothing, not age, not condition or place or habits. Nothing can prevent rape except rapists. Should they choose en masse not to rape, bingo. But absent such a revolution, or a way to alter their brains so that rape – that crime of domination, humiliation, terror and  control – becomes repugnant, we as a species are sort of stuck with punishment.

 

Which is why punishment is important. Just because Stuart Hall made it past his 80th birthday is no reason why he should not be forced to pay back the years of pain he caused. His pain footprint is large enough. He was given years of success, money-making, respect – while the girls he assaulted tried to move past their dread.

 

We don’t know what it was like when he attacked, but we can imagine. Back then, Hall was no white-haired dodderer. He was a muscled ex-amateur athlete, strong, determined (Crystal Palace FC once offered Hall, then at university, a contract to play). He outweighed each girl by many kilos, was much taller than they.

 

The intervening years have changed his appearance, yes. They should not be used as an excuse.

 

We often see defendants when they look a bit pathetic. It is the defense attorney’s job to make clients more sympathetic-looking, someone the judge and jury will feel empathy for, even pity. We rarely see them as they appeared to their victim: reckless, heedless, cruel, conniving, enraged, perhaps drunk. A recent example is George Huguely, convicted of murdering his small-boned on-off girlfriend Yeardley Love. Here is George Huguely as he appeared after his arrest, hours after Love died. Heavyset, just coming off the alcohol that often made him a mean drunk. Here is a photo of the cleaned-up George at trial: he’s lost weight (no alcohol or steroids in jail), his shorter hair is cut in a little-boy fringe, and he wears a Bambi-caught-in the-headlights expression. He doesn’t look like the same man who terrified Love and brutally beat her and left her to die. But he was.

 

Stuart Hall has been allowed to be carefree and respected for too long. It is his victims who were imprisoned. It’s time to remember what he was like when he was a serial assaulter, how terrifying those assaults and threats must have been, and clap him in prison for much longer than 15 months.

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Filed under Assault, Children, Cruelty, Jimmy Savile, Law, Pain, Pain footprint, Rape, Sexual assault, Yeardley Love

Blaming the Victims, Yet Again

The most recently convicted gang of torturers

 

In England, this time in the golden academic city of Oxford, the site of so many triumphs at its renowned university and by the fictional detective Endeavor Morse, where the gentle Isis winds its watery way among overhanging trees, a fourth gang of adult men has been convicted for running a torture ring that targeted girls as young as 11. This time, the men numbered seven.

 

All the men, in all the convicted gangs, were Muslim, and most were of Pakistani ancestry.

 

All the girls were white.

 

Of course, organized rape and torture (besides being raped by multiple men, the girls were beaten, bitten, and burned, as well as forced to ingest drugs that could have killed them) is not limited to Muslim men, even in the UK. Yet this targeting of victims by their racial characteristics is too startling to ignore.

 

The criminals did not simply brutalize their victims by themselves. They also offered them – for a fee – to other Muslim men across the UK. Using cellphones and computers, they drew in male customers from many miles distant, men who were happy to pay a fee that allowed them to torture girls younger than their own children, girls too young to give willing consent, who were kept drugged and drunk.

 

The gang members had, of course, groomed the girls beforehand. They made themselves seem fun, hip. They used nicknames, so the girls never knew their real names.

 

The girls’ parents, mad with worry, pleaded for help from social services, which rarely, weakly, responded. Something about the girls being “tearaways”. Something about cultural sensitivity. Something that was not help, that made the continuing torture officially unnoticed.

 

Now, if my daughter left the house at night and returned bruised and bitten, I would not simply wash her up and send her to school. I would assume that animals had brutalized her, and we would be off to the police instantly (before washing, so they could check for DNA samples, even if at the time I had no idea she’d been raped).

 

That’s what these parents should have done, and social services should have been on high alert at the repeated victimization they were told of. Plus, the police should have notified all parents of the gang of men targeting little English girls. Because part of the attraction, what drew the gangs’ attention, was the girls’ appearance.

 

These girls were under sixteen. Their bodies were still immature, their brains were still forming. What we know of brain development is that, from about age 10 to at least age 21 (and possibly four years beyond that), the human brain undergoes enormous change. It literally re-forms itself. While that process goes on, the brain is wholly different from an adult brain, and functions differently, as anyone who has raised adolescents knows.

 

Children in adolescence can make good choices – sometimes. They can reason through problems – sometimes. Given enough guidance, they can decide between black and white, good and evil. However, their brains are hijacked by stress, pain, drugs, alcohol . . . all of which were present in these cases. Adolescents, like adults, can also be victimized by Stockholm syndrome, identifying with their captors and tormentors.

 

That’s why every reasonable nation has laws protecting underage children, who are rightly regarded as too young – too unformed-brain – to give consent to sexual activity. That is why sexual activity with them is rightly regarded as rape.

 

So they cannot be blamed for being victimized.

 

Yet that is what some of the irresponsible, unprofessional people in social services and the police are doing.

 

It’s reprehensible.

 

We all need to get this out in the open, so it can be tackled. In Britain, the Muslim and specifically Pakistani communities must fight rape and torture. Finally, imams in Britain will be preaching against the sexual grooming of children (the executive director of the Islamic Society of Britain recently stated, “I’m not sure the Muslim community’s response has been good enough.” Gee. Ya think?). It’s also time for men to tackle this issue head-on. Bleating about cultural differences is ridiculous. Rapists know what they’re doing. They just don’t want good men to know. Men of goodness, who would never rape, need to realize that they know rapists: they’re their colleagues, neighbors, friends, brothers. Just because you’ve never heard them mention rape doesn’t mean they haven’t done it. (In this recent musing, a writer believes he has no adulterers amongst his acquaintance because he himself has stayed faithful. Like they would tell him. He simply hasn’t investigated enough.)

 

Finally, we need to get real about evil/mental illness/emotional immaturity. Whatever you call it, unchecked, it creates a huge pain footprint. The girls who suffered through this agony which was not their fault (they’re supposed to be protected, remember?) will never be able to retrieve their lost years, their lost innocence. They will never be able to remove the scars, physical and emotional, and if they create any kind of healthy life for themselves, it will be only with the help and empathy of others.

 

Prevent this horror from happening again. Imprison the criminals, forever. Sack the incompetent, uncaring police officers and social service workers on every level of their hierarchies.

 

And stop blaming the victims.

 

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Filed under Abuse, Assault, Cruelty, Domestic terrorism, England, Gang, Harassment, Law, Misogyny, Pain, Pain footprint, Pakistan, Rape, Rape is torture, Sexual assault, Torture, Trafficking, Violence

The FBI Missed These Clues

The Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan on the right

 

The investigation into the two jihadist bomber brothers whose homemade IEDs killed and maimed at the Boston Marathon is ongoing. As I write this, the US is angry at Russia for not disclosing more about the Tsarnaev brothers, including wiretaps on their mother in the Russian region of Dagestan, when she spoke to her eldest son and apparently conveyed messages to him from more Islamists. By the end of this week, more may be revealed.

 

What we already know is more than enough to convict the younger brother, now resting in a federal medical detention center, his small cell barred with a steel door.

 

We know that the elder brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, became radicalized after his boxing dreams faded. We know he went to Russia and returned more Islamist than ever, creating angry scenes in his mosque. We know he was, as his uncle described, a “loser” who collected welfare after his American-born wife gave birth – she went out to work up to 80-hour weeks, he stayed home and looked after their child.

 

We know that he was abusive to his wife, throwing furniture at her and calling her a “slut” and “prostitute”.

 

Wait a moment. Who in their right mind does that to their wife? No one.

 

That  is the clue that the FBI should have picked up on. Long before the bombs, long before his YouTube postings and mosque rants, Tamerlan was exhibiting behavior characteristic of an aggressive, unrestrained, respect-no-boundaries man. It doesn’t take much to anticipate that his behavior in one sector of his life would be replicated in other sectors. Once repeated in other sectors, it’s only a hop-skip-jump from wife abuse plus angry outbursts in the mosque to attacks on other people.

 

Life is not a waffle, every square separate and walled-off from every other square. Instead, life is linguini. Each strand touches other strands. People who abuse their spouses are likely to be doing other nasty things that require the same arrogance and rules-breaking. They cheat on income tax, perhaps, or force sex on children or trafficked people. They speed through red lights or embezzle from work or drink too much before getting behind the wheel. Or they decide to make homemade bombs and set them off by remote control behind crowds at the Boston Marathon.

 

Where the FBI and police forces need to look is at the strands they do know, in order to get clues as to strands they have not yet seen. Pay attention to behavior that hurts individuals (in this case, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife) in order to stop it and prevent future harm to groups. It’s the difference between a small pain footprint and one that’s huge, smashing scores of people.

 

This is no futuristic, Tom Cruise-ish, “Minority Report” suggestion. This is reliable policing and investigation. It’s paying attention to broken windows in order to prevent bigger crime. Anyone who abuses family members ought to be regarded as a person who might be hiding other crimes and misdemeanors, and is likely to accelerate that behavior much as a runaway car picks up speed downhill.

 

This may be hard for the FBI and police groups to get used to. Officers who abuse their own family members or romantic interests may not want to arrest or investigate someone who “just” hurls insults and furniture, someone who is a domestic terrorist “just” at home. Yet this is exactly what they must do. The same principle governs vaccinations: Impose a little pain now (the MMR jab) in order to prevent more harm later (measles, mumps and rubella, with their host of potential offshoot harms). It’s preventive medicine for the community’s health as well as that of the abused family members and friends.

 

Who in their right mind would insult his wife and throw chairs at her? No one. In their right mind.

 

But a future Boston Marathon bomber did it. Clues, people, clues.

 

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Filed under Abuse, Bomb, Boston, FBI, Islamist, Law, Pain, Pain footprint, Prostitution, Slut, Trafficking, Tsarnaev, Violence

Goodbye, North Dakota and Kansas

North Dakota and Kansas want to call this a human being.

 

Goodbye road repair. Goodbye police protection.

Goodbye fire fighters and robbery detection.

Goodbye schools, goodbye traffic rules.

Goodbye licensed cabs. Goodbye DNA labs.

And goodbye to preventive vaccine jabs . . ..

 

 

Why, you may ask. Why indeed.

 

North Dakota’s senate and Kansas’s house of representatives have voted to spend billions on unnecessary criminalization of normal, in fact, healthy and inevitable developmental processes. Which will leave them little money for road repair, etcetera. I’m not sure why the lawyers in their legislative bodies didn’t warn them.

 

What? You hear them squawk.

 

Well, didn’t you, ND and KS legislators? Didn’t you vote to make it law in your state that a fertilized egg is a person? You did, right? I have the articles about it right here and here.

 

Oh, that, you murmur. No big deal. Protection, yeah, that’s it, protection.

 

Whoa, hold on. If a fertilized egg is a person, and if it somehow fails to complete the nine-month journey to birth, that means – of course it does – homicide and potential murder. Right?

 

Follow me down this slippery slope you’ve created.

 

In order to determine that there is, in your view, a human in existence, you will need to test – on a daily if not hourly basis – every female child or adult of childbearing age in your state. Even those visiting for seminars and conferences, or celebrating Grandma’s 60th birthday. That means every female between . . . oh, let’s play safe and call it from eight years old to 60. Oops, that means Grandma, too, but of course in order to catch outliers, you need to be generous with your terms.

 

So somehow, every day, every female from third-grade to five-years-from-Medicare will need to take some sort of test (blood? saliva? pheromones?) to determine whether she’s carrying a human being within her.

 

If she is, you have to follow her. Medically, of course, unless you really want to pay officers to shadow tweens to determine whether they’re hitting that tennis ball just a tad too hard.

 

And if that fertilized egg – sorry, human being – fails to thrive? If a spontaneous abortion, AKA miscarriage, occurs, as it does in what reputable medical researchers estimate is at least one-third of pregnancies? Even though miscarriage is nature’s way of making sure fertilized eggs with faulty genetics don’t continue?

 

Well, hell. You’re going to have to use the rest of your taxes, beyond what you’ve already invested in surveillance and testing, to investigate the potential criminality of the erstwhile pregnant citizen. Was it a planned abortion? Was it “accidental”? I put that word in quotes because you will need to, as well. As every good 19th-century gynecologist knows, miscarriages happen for a variety of reasons: climbing stairs; riding a horse astride; sex with one’s husband, and so on. Add to those the possibility of miscarrying on a flight to ND/KS, or perhaps working long hours while teaching school. Wait, there will be no schools, you won’t be able to afford them. So much the better. That will force everyone to homeschool their children. Or, you know, not.

 

If the investigation determines that the pregnant citizen may have been at fault for taking a swim in a brisk lake?

 

Out comes the grand jury. The indictment. Incarceration (her children will just have to get along without their mom, her husband without his wife) and trial. With a guilty verdict, jail or prison. Again, the children will suffer, but what do you care?

 

You’ve just jailed a woman guilty of nothing but possessing a human body which God has designed to rid itself of some genetic errors.

 

Naturally, you’ll have to let violent criminals out of prison early in order to make room for citizens who have done nothing wrong.

 

Also, you’ve bankrupted your state and made it unlikely to be selected as the destination for national and regional conferences and tourism.

 

So what! You’ve declared your interest. You’ve shown you support children. From conception to birth, anyway, the most important months, and that’s what counts.

 

Until a member of your family is pregnant, or hit by a driver running a red light. Oh, dear . . ..

 

Goodbye traffic light maintenance.

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Filed under Birth control, Conception, Contraceptive, Family, Harassment, Health, Law, Miscarriage, Misogyny, Personhood, Pregnancy, Prison, Surveillance, War against women

That Fly on the Wall May Save a Child

The current size of micro-drones

 

We’ve all heard of drones. Not the bee kind, but the type that, remotely controlled like your little brother’s plane, flies over long distances and attacks buildings and people.

 

There’s even a line of clothing that claims to disguise the wearer from drones. Stealth wear, it’s called.

 

Drones (and killer robots) are big these days. They’re visible. But drones are getting smaller. And smaller. Soon, very soon, several nations will have micro-drone capabilities, and attacks from the sky will be less obvious. Controlled from hundreds, thousands of miles away, a mass of new drones the size of pigeons will be able to suss out a city or building and sneak up on targets who won’t know what hit them. From the Guardian: “The only thing currently holding this stuff back is battery technology, although they’re reportedly already working on ways to let the flying deathbots leach power from electricity cables to recharge themselves mid-mission.”

 

You don’t think it will stop there, do you?

 

Miniaturization indicates that in a few years, micro-drones will be the size of cockroaches, perhaps flies.

 

At that point, they’ll be used for constant surveillance. For predicting where a suspect is heading, and why, for preventing attacks and crime.

 

Not solely overseas, silly. Here, too.

 

You don’t think so? Why not? Why not use technology to uncover and prevent crime?

 

Convicted sex offenders — who should never have been let out of prison — are currently disarming and removing the tracking devices that were to have prevented them from attacking innocent people. They’re making life hell for their new victims. One may argue whether their crimes deserve lifelong incarceration, but we cannot argue that the system of tracking devices is succeeding. It’s a horrible failure.

 

Suppose, though, that instead of a device attached to the ankle, each released offender knew he would be followed at all times by devices he would not be able to identify? Everywhere he went, every person he called or saw, everything he did would be filmed and taped. If he went to forbidden places, that would be seen, and he would be re-arrested. If he did anything to warrant re-arrest, it would happen. One can even imagine the tiny mechanical spies armed with spray sedatives to spritz in the offender’s face. Instant incapacity, making arrest much easier.

 

Think what this would do to parolees who re-offend. They would be stopped.

 

Parolees who kidnap and terrorize children, who rape and murder? No more.

 

Wait. It could get better.

 

If you’re a teacher, you know quite well that some of the children in your classroom are being abused by parents or other adults. Yet making a case is difficult, especially in areas with poorly trained child protection staff. If you could mention your concern, however, if micro-drones could be sent to the child’s house – they would pick up on abuse, and the child would be rescued from torture. Inflicting pain simply out of cruelty is torture.

 

Police vice squads could assign drones to follow people they suspect are being forced to prostitute themselves, essentially enslaved. Once they see the john or pimp, boom, sedative spray and arrest. Of the men controlling someone else’s body, not the person who has been grossly abused.

 

The anti-crime possibilities of the new technology are legion. People might even purchase them to protect against crime on the street. Rapes would be fewer if men knew they would be watched by drones somewhere near the person they intended to violate.

 

Will there be micro-drone abuse? Of course. The ACLU ought to be ratcheting up right now, insisting that law-abiding citizens be protected from intrusion.

 

Yet many people look law-abiding, who are not. Pillars of the community, supposedly. Quite a bit of crime, of terror, is hidden. Just look at the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal in the UK. Decades of sexual abuse and rape of children, all hidden – except that some people knew, and some suspected, and even more felt a twinge of “ewww” when they were around Savile.

 

How many children could have been saved from Savile and his friends, if only those adults’ crimes had come to general light? If children in pain could back up their stories of sexual abuse? If the police had photographic evidence? How many people with that pain in their past would still be alive, not dead due to suicide?

 

Like television, like the internet, like any new technology (even automobiles, originally considered enablers of sin because they gave courting couples license to stray off the front porch and away from chaperoning eyes), micro-drones may lead to wrongdoing.

 

They could also lead to putting things right, and preventing crime against innocents. They could make it impossible for a jackal to hide himself in sheep’s clothing, to masquerade as pillar of the community or caring parent or ethical human being.

 

Surely those are worthy aims?

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Filed under Abuse, ACLU, Britain, Cruelty, Domestic terrorism, Guardian, Health, Jimmy Savile, Law, Micro-drone, Misogyny, Pain, Prostitution, Rape, Rape is torture, Spycraft, Stealth, Surveillance