The Subtle Power of Media Abuse?

The media is powerful – you know it – I know it – we all know it.

We know their power is established in doing their work with honesty, integrity, and the highest degree of professionalism.  They’ve fought for the right to hold that esteemed position; and as a result, we (the viewers/readers/listeners) have come to expect the media to live up to their responsibilities that come with being a part of the industry.

Because of the acknowledged MAJOR role media plays in our lives, our societies have developed “checks and balances” consisting of agreements, guidelines, and laws that ensure the media honours the privilege of their position in society.  It gives us, the public peace of mind in believing “Big Brother” is being watched.

Sadly, it appears that over time, the public has come to unrealistically trust and believe the media’s commitment to “the truth”.  Sadder still, recent events in the last few months have had me wonder whether the public has been duped into this false belief.

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Below, I list 4 examples of recent Media releases in the Toronto Canada market (within the last 3 months) that are at the very least, in very bad taste.  When you group the incidents together according to what they do (according to the ELM Test of Integrity), it appears to me to be almost heinous in the powerful abuses they exercise in their actions.

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1 – TSN:  The Sports Network – a national cable sports channel

What happened:

There was a between-period segment where a number of commentators discuss issues and games based on their hockey expertise.  The bit was about supportive relationship between a budding young hockey star and the coach of an NHL team. It was an inspiring and positive report.

After the segment, the hockey panel went on to remark on inappropriate relationships with young athletes.  Because of what the NHL coach said, the panel made an inference of child abuse by an NHL coach by joking and commenting on the coach’s remarks that he had a good relationship with the young hockey star.

They further joked about it and laughed to give the impression that it was acceptable to laugh about child abuse.

Can you see the possible media abuse when I apply the “ELM Test”?

Ethical: They crossed the line when they brought in the issue of inappropriate relationships with young athletes when it wasn’t necessary.

Legal: They may have caused a legal issue by using the NHL coach as the butt of their jokes about having inappropriate relationships with young athletes.

Moral: They minimized the seriousness of the issue of inappropriate relationships with young athletes by making jokes about the issue.

As a victim and survivor of a sports coach abuse when I was a boy, I was very upset with the segment and how it was twisted.  I wrote an email to them (mid-May), but I did not receive a response. I then wrote to another news outlet – they did not respond either.

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2 – CP24: CityPulse24 – Toronto local 24-hr all-news channel

What happened?

A “breaking-news” story came on the TV about two missing women. As is the standard protocol with news releases by the Toronto Police Service, they included information that could help identify the person that is missing.

The second woman broadcast included a description that seemed a bit odd.  Along with the usual information (height, weight, hair, etc), it included that the person was Persian. I wondered how someone would know how to identify a Persian, and if there was still a country named Persia.

After I did some research, I found out the name of Persia is no longer in use.  I also found out something else that actually scares me:

There was no Toronto Police media report about the missing person.

Actually, the media release didn’t happen until a few days later.

I wrote an email to CP24 asking where they got the reference to Persian, how it was part of the description, and it could be considered racist. They thanked me for my writing to them.

Can you see the possible media abuse when I apply the “ELM Test”?

Ethical: They crossed the line by adding something to the description that was never included in the first place. They manipulated hard news from the police.

Legal: How did they get the information from the Toronto Police Service? The official release wasn’t listed until a few days after the news first broke.

Moral: Was morally wrong to believe they can get away with misinformation.  There was no police report (yet the inference was so), and they intentionally made up information.

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3 – CTV: CTV News Toronto of national media network

What happened?

There was a new news host on the program this particular evening. He was doing quite well until he got flustered.  When that happened, it only got worse.

After the break, the host introduced the weather person; and unfortunately got her name wrong.  After an embarrassing chatter to recover, the host then went on to compliment her on her beauty and the connection to her work.

The weather person handled it very well, and they moved on.

Can you see the possible media abuse when I apply the “ELM Test”?

Ethical: Is it unethical to use something in poor taste (in this day and age) such as referring to a (co-worker and) woman’s beauty to recover.  What the heck was on his mind – and how did the weather person feel?

I didn’t find any other questions regarding this incident.  I was wondering how they would apologize or even if they felt there was something for which to apologize to the viewers.

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4 – Toronto Sun: local daily tabloid newspaper

What happened?

I was reading the local newspaper and came across a photograph that didn’t look right. After further research, I noticed the “photograph” (as it was credited) appeared to be manipulated by creating an image from several others.

What caught my interest in this particular issue is that I was under the understanding that publicly published images has certain royalties, required credits, and correct information of the image.  This image was listed as a photograph when it actually was not.

So, if they are willing to take liberties with something as minor as this; how many other instances has there been in the past?  Do they often pass of images as photographs (and thereby deceiving the reading public)?

Can you see the possible media abuse when I apply the “ELM Test”?

Ethical: It appears the image has bee manipulated and has falsely given the reader the impression the image was taken as a complete shot in one take.

Legal: Given the issues with royalties and credits, I have to wonder if the image was created from just his shots or did he use public domain issues?  How can the photographer claim any credit for something that isn’t an actual photograph?

Moral: I don’t know if there is a moral dilemma with this issue other than the photographer’s own feelings.  Knowing that he did not create a photograph and only created an “image”, how does he come to terms with himself with the appearance of a fraud he is perpetrating?

– – –

In all of these incidents (as subtle as they are),

the players are all professionals;

they know the media rules and guidelines;

and yet, it appears they still chose to put their integrity

in jeopardy by not responding when questioned.

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Values & Beliefs: The “ELM Test” of Integrity

Our integrity is all we’ve got.  It’s “our word”, a handshake”, a promise”, “showing up”, and many other acts we perform in our daily lives.

Because of this, our personal integrity is what we are measured against – and the most revealing of who we are being in that relationship.

We see it in the stories ordrama of our lives.  The Grey in our black and white world.

***

IntegrityWhenever I consider the actions of myself/others, I have this tendency to measure (judge) the motivations behind those decisions/actions.

Of course, I’m not talking about decisions to do everyday sort of things; rather, I’m talking about decisions/actions that make a relative difference in my life – especially when it comes to business with others.  I’ll explain further as we go along.

So, what is this “ELM Test” and how is it used, you ask?

ELM is an acronym for:

  • Ethical

  • Legal

  • Moral

Ethical:  working in accordance with fulfilling the principles of right or wrong (especially within a profession).

Legal:  a statutory obligation to exercising the principles of right or wrong.

Moral:  an individual conscious decision as a human being to live the principles of right or wrong.

***

The process when I use this is not only for my own behaviours, but also that of others in my ‘official’ or business relationships.

Personal relationships do not usually need the Test because they don’t involve legal or ethical questions, only the question of morality.  Of course, I wouldn’t want to chill with a Ponzi schemer or a wife-beater – that crosses the line for me.

The way in which I use this test is by questioning the motivation or logic behind my (our) decisions before I decide to take action.  By doing so, it keeps my integrity in check and lets me gauge my sincerity behind my actions.  (I am always learning about myself, too!  Ackkkkkkkk!)

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If I profess to love people,
I better be ‘walking the walk
instead of just ‘talking the talk, right?

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Now let me digress just a little (my little humanistic caveat).  I am by no means implying that I am this walking edifice of righteous indignation – not like I was 15 years ago when I was the top of my capitalist game.  Heck NO!  I am human too.

Like you, my dear reader, I make mistakes – and some of them intentionally.  That’s what we do sometimes.  Sometimes out of fear, sometimes out of ignorance, and sometimes out of spite.

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Yup, we are always stretching the boundaries
of our moral compass – right?

And stuff will happen.  But …

***

When I enter a relationship, I feel I have an obligation to follow the ELM Test in order to ensure the best outcomes can be reached.  In other words – to get what I want.  There are many benefits:

  • it maintains a measure of respect and dignity for each other,

  • it allows us to know the boundaries of acceptable decisions/actions, and

  • it fertilizes the trust that is required for each other to be effective in the decisions/actions.

***

Here’s an example of how I recently employed the ELM Test:

I was recently looking for a job, and I wanted to work in a community organization doing outreach and providing support services like resume writing.  I found several opportunities (at least for summer work) that piqued my interest, so I applied.  Most replied and I went on a few interviews.

Keeping in mind that interviews are a good place and time to find out more about the agency as well.  I always want to ensure the agency is a good fit for me as well.  I always come prepared with questions for the interviewer as well as have word prompts to help me remember to make and note specific observations within the agency as it operates day-to-day.

I didn’t get a job.

I guess I could have been a little easier on my judgment of the agencies; yet, I wanted to work somewhere that was actually making some kind of difference.

After employing the ELM Test when deciding on these job opportunities, this is what I saw and determined from one of most obvious failures:

This agency’s main focus is to offer daily meals and snacks to feed the hungry, have a space to drop-in, and have access to free computers and telephone. The typical user is homeless, poor, hungry, speaks another language, men, recently landed, and between 30 and 50 years old.  The programs they offer are creative writing, painting, resume writing, how to find work, and how to write a cover letter to name a few.

FAIL ELM TEST
_______________

They failed their Ethical obligation to know the needs of the services users and offer them the programs and services they need.

To walk into the agency – and even to the untrained eye, it is obvious the service users are not in a position of using the above-mentioned services offered.  Besides language barriers, literacy is an issue.  Many are homeless and less-skilled.  Most were older men.

They failed their Legal obligation to use public funding to provide services according to the requirements from official needs assessments.

To hire staff to fill an agency need for funding does not give us value for the money we invest in human potential.  I witnessed a lot of casual conversations between staff (not with service users – they watch TV – in Spanish).

When the time came to offer the services, an announcement is made, a sheet of paper is checked, and the facilitator then goes back to the conversation at the front desk.

They failed their Moral obligation to reach into the lives of their service users and find out what they need and want to develop themselves as “productive citizens”.

Again, even to the untrained eye, it is obvious they are employed by the agency just to have a job.

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Granted, government funding makes it impossible to find qualified staff because of funding restrictions; but at least those that do work at the agency must have some sense of compassion, integrity, or desire to help others genuinely in need The staff were just floating around looking busy, but really – they were not accomplishing much more than feeding the neighbourhood.

Given this is their main intention, they would be a better agency that address the main issues that confront the services so they indeed do make a difference – as intended!

Needless to say, I ran away from that agency.

***

I couldn’t honestly work for someone who is just playing the game of life.  I don’t want to just fill a hole – I want to make a difference in my little corner of the world.  From the results of their decisions and the actions the staff were taking, my observations compelled me to make a critical decision from this question:

Do I take the job and try to make changes from the inside,
or do I walk away and pick an issue where
I can invest my time and resources into something
that will actually achieve a difference?

I had to keep my personal goals in the social struggle in perspective – and I had to invest in my emotional balance, so I chose to walk away.

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Updated from 2009

Awareness: The Social Misjustice of Prostitution

“We say that slavery has vanished from European civilization, but this is not true.
Slavery still exists, but now it applies only to women and its name is prostitution.”

Victor Hugo (1802-1885)

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Drug abuse, violence, coercion, and disease.

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These are not exactly working conditions that summons one to aspire to a career in prostitution; yet, there is never a shortage of new candidates entering the “world’s oldest profession”.  This beckons the question:

  • Why does someone use their bodies to trade sex for money,

  • When all the evidence of this lifestyle proves it as being dangerous and life-threatening?

The pimp’s only aim is to make money off the sex trade of women.


***

In her book “The Prostitution of Sexuality, Kathleen Barry describes how the pimp targets women who are vulnerable enough to create an emotional dependency.  Once contact is made, the pimp must:

  • first ensure the woman is influenced by the enticement of substantial financial gain; and then,

  • she must learn to shed any moral objections to prostitution work.

Bill Shackleton in his book Protecting Prostitutes wrote,

“A pimp would use an effective and orderly method of gaining the services of women.  He would first display affection and generosity, and then carefully move to establish a sexual relationship”.

During this stage of recruitment, the woman has never been a prostitute prior to the relationship; and therefore, she needs to learn previous unknown behaviors.

***

In progressive steps, the pimp:

  1. rewards her by telling her she is special and beautiful,

  2. she has worth, and

  3. he can help her overcome her difficulties.

Until she becomes skilled and exhibits the changed behaviour he requires, he would increasingly reward her until he gains her trust and cooperation.

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Annette and Graham Scambler discovered that for the prostitute, the most pervasive form of enticement is financial gain.  When she is living the “lifestyle:

  • the payoff is immediate,

  • payday is every day she is willing to work, and Immediacy becomes a way of life.

When the pimp has the prostitute under this control, he ensures Positive Reinforcement is employed through the constant and immediate rewards of getting paid for services rendered.  Free from their poverty lifestyle, he understands she will like having money in her pocket at all times – and for so little effort.

As the relationship develops,
the pimp becomes the prostitute’s father, lover, and friend.

***

In her book Of Vice and Women: Shades of Prostitution” Margaretha Järvinen describes how she must work very hard to earn his respect, his love, and to keep him achieving the best in material possessions.

At this point, the pimp understands that he has her under his control. The pimp no longer needs to provide continuous immediate rewards using positive reinforcement because the prostitute is already performing; rather, he changes his tactics:

  • the pimp would reward her intermittently so she can then work even harder to achieve his financial goals, and

  • he rewards her just often enough continue the improving performance of developing into a productive object for him and to keep her satisfied.

The pimp reaches a point where he will use Punishment to maintain control over the prostitute.

He wants her to learn that he is the boss, and she is subservient to him.

He realizes that just punishing her will eventually not bring the desired result he wants (which is obedience) because she will just rebel and move on or become aggressive with him and cause him problems.  Instead, he will use punishment infrequently, and use it in conjunction with other types of rewarding reinforcement.

Prostitutes have to earn the respect of the pimp.

The pimp knows his success is dependent on fuelling two emotions in a woman:

  • love and

  • fear.

To many women,
the lifestyle can be socially fulfilling and psychologically addicting.

By the time women are ready to leave prostitution, they realize that what they have accumulated as a result of their financial dream amounted to little but:

  • a collection of arrest records,

  • a blur of experiences, and

  • a path of abandonment by those they cared about.

The woman has come to the realization there is no rewards left in the trade.

When this time comes, the woman has come to this realization: there are no rewards to be won; therefore, no reason to continue the behavior.

From the beginning to the end of a prostitute’s career,
it is clear the relationship of dependence between the woman and the pimp.

He is always in control, and for the most part is always the one with the power.  He uses every conditioning principle to manipulate the woman into changing her behavior so he can gain maximum benefit for himself alone.

Although the main goal for both parties is to make as much money as possible, his investment in the woman pales in comparison to the cost to her mind and body.

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Victor Hugo called prostitution slavery.
His words are no less valid today as they were two centuries ago.

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Benni’s Dirty Secret

From his darkened bedroom window in the attic, Benni poked his head out into the snowy and shadowy night of winter and wondered if he would survive falling three stories to the cold ground below.

His worst-case scenario would be to have him end up living through the sudden impact of hitting the concrete below rendering him helpless and crippled. The last thing Benni wanted was to possibly survive become further dependent upon the very person he had come to despise.

Not cognizant of the significance of yet another beating at the hands of his father, Benni felt a wave of desperation overtaking his thoughts. He could not understand why his father would beat him again; after all, he did nothing wrong – again. How could it possibly be wrong to just be a kid?

He would prefer to cry and get it out and over with; but he couldn’t – not any more.  It seemed like a hundred years ago when he last shed a tear. It seemed like there wasn’t a good enough reason to cry anymore.

Too young at thirteen years old to understand, little did he know that the life path he was unknowingly thrust upon would take him on a bipolar journey of constant crises that would take forty years from which to recover.  Worse still, while he continued to beat himself up, Benni didn’t know it was not he who was broken – it was the dysfunctional culture of his family; and it gave rise to a defining moment in Benni’s life that began his subconscious decision to break free and move towards a life reflecting the many he witnessed outside of his family.

***

Having moved to Toronto to raise a family and seek the promise of prosperity, the Smith’s were escaping a cycle of misery and disappointment that haunted generations before them.  Their hope was to free themselves from the memories of a village where ‘less’ was the accepted norm and a humiliating handout was the grudging practice.  Dad lived with anger, and Mom with fear.  Socially under-developed, they arrived in the big city with lowered eyes and all the expected baggage: poor, uneducated, authoritarian, and waging the constant battle for power and status.

Christian leanings were strongly held and literally enforced, so it was only natural to soon begin a family with the belief that “He” will provide.  With steady jobs and a promising future, their salvation and rewards of happiness was only around the corner – or so they thought.  They didn’t realize their cultural patterns of thinking about life and living (behaviour, knowledge, and coping techniques) passed on from their parents were not left far behind in the past.

Before long, the Smith’s had babies popping up almost every second year.  They didn’t count on the incessant struggles increasing with each newborn; so by the time the final and eighth child was born, life was a living hell of diapers, debt, and desperation.

***

Benni was the firstborn son and much was expected from him.  Naturally bright and talented, he was seen as the great hope and source of pride for his parents early in life.  He was rewarded with choices not afforded his siblings as early as possible.  While somewhat lonely and isolated at times from being away from home so often, Benni was thankful for the opportunity to experience life away from the constant circus of sibling battles waged within the household.  Unfortunately, he did have to return to the home every day and he could not escape the toxic environment brewing of anger, frustration, and resentment.

Because of the poverty in the family, only basic needs were met.  Both parents had to work with he holding down two full-time union jobs and she working in factories not conducive to her chronic asthma.  Expected by everyone except themselves, family relationships snapped without repair, and the constant need of the children for attention always going unfulfilled.  Without the time or energy to cope, parental responses to the demands of the children became increasingly abusive psychologically, emotionally, and physically.

Fearful of his father’s wrath, Benni quickly accepted this way of life as the normal way of coping with life’s stressors.  It wasn’t long before the parental teachings of frustration management became the family norm and it profoundly affected how Benni perceived life and his behaviour towards it.

Given his extensive exposure to life at a private Christian school, Benni knew something was not right, but he chose to avoid thinking about it because it caused him much anxiety when doing so.  The only bright spot in his life was the love, inspiration, and nurturing he received at the choir school far from the asylum he called home.  This allowed him to detach himself from the stress of the family and focus on his own individual training and education goals with, of course, the demanding approval of his father.

From all his outside activities, Benni received guidance to become a healthy boy who flourished.  He grew into an academic scholar, as well as reaching a small level of virtuosity in music.  In spite of the evening crises at home, he was able to achieve a level of psychological competence and success in all of his endeavours by pretending he was just a visitor to the family home  – with the priests and church actually being his real parents and home.

In spite of the conflicting environments to which he was exposed, Benni was able to keep the daily troubles (and secrets) in the back of his mind even though he was constantly exposed to (and perceived) the ‘odd’ behaviours of love and affection he witnessed from his classmates and their families during social and school functions.  Sadly, when Benni reached thirteen years old, he was withdrawn from the school, and everything changed.  His private, secret world disappeared forever.

Living again at home “full-time”, Benni was beginning to experience the full force of his father’s brutality.  Having disappointed his father by wanting to pursue interests other than music and religion (Benni wanted to become a priest), the privileges of being ‘the one’ quickly vanished.  He was now subject to the same methods of disciplinary ‘correction’ as his siblings.  Daily beatings were expected to the point where any contact with his father automatically brought him to tears and wet pants even before he stood before that powerful force of authority.  Long-lived physical and mental scars were beginning to rupture.

Why, he wondered, does his dad never tell him he was proud of his achievements, or hug him, or smile when something was done to his strict level of satisfaction?

Benni was beginning to understand now why his siblings often lied; after all, when truthfulness was punished, “what was the point?”  Flurries of questions were soon to follow.  Was all the piety and goodness he modeled from the priests and other leaders nonsense?  “Was there really goodness, or were the priests lying to me all along?”  “Why was I being punished for laughing too loud?”  “Why, all of a sudden, was I beginning to wet my bed at night and chew my fingernails?”

Benni quickly re-learned the brutal social norms and values of the house (not home).  Along the way, stress, higher competitiveness, lower perception of control, and fewer feelings of ability to make choices were beginning to take hold of his consciousness.  It was no longer safe to invest his time or interest with his own family – and this concerned him greatly.  The only option available was to find some kind of escape from the madness because everything he knew was no longer valid, and the assimilation of new information was slowly changing his beliefs in ways in which he didn’t like.

Gone was the joy of life.  His vitality was being sucked out of him and feelings of depression were beginning to creep into his mind.  The house was a constant war zone and Benni never won a battle.  There was never enough of anything from basic needs and security to affection and trust.  A culture of various abuses was accepted and internalized in this family of ten; and as a result, dysfunctional secrecy became the norm that was successfully thrust onto his generation.

One day, after spending the weekend at a friend’s house without his father’s knowledge or approval, Benni was banished to the attic – after a severe beating and a broken collarbone, of course.  His father said he didn’t want to look at him any more.  Benni was labeled a disgrace for asking his friend to have him over, and “that kind of behaviour (begging) was simply not tolerated”.

Benni knew this was just another reason for his father to beat him up.  His father was always angry now, and everyone disappeared like roaches in the light when even a hint of his presence was felt.  The mother was always sick and she was fearful herself, so any assistance from her was non-existent.

As for moving his bedroom to the attic, Benni actually felt relieved as he finally found his tiny respite from the pain.  He was already emotionally detached from his family and he had nothing in common with any of them.  All that interested him now was listening to hockey games on the radio under a small spotlight in the darkened room and exploring his newfound talent for painting.

Emotionally and psychologically, the attic was taking its toll.  Solitary living, although a choice at the time, was sucking the life out of Benni.  Loneliness was a constant companion and the isolation drove him to a world where his only joy was reading and re-reading motivational books by Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, and Norman Vincent Peale he stole from the local library.

***

Soon, Benni’s search for meaningful friendships outside of his bedroom walls was completely gone.  Endless days and nights brought lots of time to think and ponder about the meaning of life – his life; and somehow he felt this wasn’t something he should be concerned with at that stage in his life.  Not knowing it, but Benni was not developing normally as a young adolescent was supposed to become.

Everything was confusing and nothing seemed real as it appeared as if there were two alternative worlds in his same existence.  A part of him felt stuck and lost, yet the other felt as if he was going to become someone great and important.  A part of him wanted to meet new friends (but he didn’t even know how any more), and the other part didn’t want the emotional hassle with relationships.  Benni wanted to be a part of his family, but couldn’t bring himself to have anything to do with them.

He didn’t even know who he was anymore.  He wanted to believe in something positive again.  Breaching his teen years, he couldn’t quite articulate the feeling of a deep personal crisis forming in the base of his chest.

Benni went to the attic windows overlooking the street far below, opened them wide and invited the cold wind to choke back his first deep breath, and then fell to his knees.  Unable to cry, he looked to the sky and asked for help.  He then leaned over and exposed his head and shoulders to the frigid beast of fear.  With a long deep breath inhaled through his nose, he closed his eyes and wondered …

Values & Beliefs: The Evil of Graham James’ Criminal Sentence

With the sentencing of the pedophile Graham James, is this an indication of the Canadian justice system not understanding the true effects of sexual abuse against boys?

At least to me, there seems to be a huge void within the official government system in coming to grips with the true reality of the effect of this kind of abuse – against anybody!

How this act of ignorance by the justice system is still allowed to continue is beyond me.  In all their history and education, do they not truly hear and feel the effects on victims when their stories are shared?  Do they not have information from medical and psychological experts that worked with victims?  Do they not have access to cold statistics from agencies that show the cost to society?


The government of Canada is not short of information and resources
to know
the evil and life-long negative effects this can have on a victim.


It cannot be avoided in this day and age of wide open communication and personal expression to realize we are only now beginning to see the victims come forward with stories of heinous acts perpetrated against them.  What’s becoming more evident, is that we are only starting to see the “tip of the iceberg” on how wide-spread this epidemic will spill into the everyday walking public.  And how does the justice system deal with it?

I know one thing for sure, every organization that works, or have worked with young people going back 40 to 50 years ago are certainly shaking in their boots right now as they desperately re-visit their pasts.  And sadly, I have no doubt (given the conversations I’ve personally had with victims of pedophiles), that there will be a lot of shocking (or maybe not) news of organizations who have either made the complaints go away or turned a blind eye to the “quiet whispers” within the ranks.


Sadly still, this will not be limited to boys.
I’m sure we will hear about girls’ groups and organizations as well.

***

But back to the sentencing.

I’ve tried to look at it from different angles so I could firmly get a grip on my emotional rationale.  (Isn’t that a contradiction in terms, eh?)  Anyways, I was wondering how the public and the Justice System would react to such heinous and evil acts were perpetrated by Graham James if the boys were abused in a different way.

Now, I am just looking at the effects any particular crime would have on a victim.  I’ve considered the vulnerability of the victims and how they would relate to my following made-up scenario victims.  I’ve chosen that particular type of victim because I personally believe the same types of vulnerability relate.  They only differ in that James’ victims have an emotional/psychological disability, whereas the victims in the story below, they are physical.

***

Would the sentence be different if the boy’s lives were destroyed by James from a criminal misdeed such as this:

As a trusted community leader wielding enormous and unquestioned power (a dream coach), James promises success to blind boys who live by his every directive and hang on his every word as if he was a god. But after their work, James chooses specific vulnerable individuals who are told they must secretly drink a questionable and disgusting muscle-enhancing cocktail – or no more chances at fulfilling their dreams. They simply cannot say no. “Besides”, they think, “it’s not hurting me, and James would never hurt a blind boy trying to reach his dreams”.

After many years of increasing problems, the boys find out the cocktail was not healthy; rather, it was a poison that slowly eats away the brain. James deliberately gave it to them – on purpose – without their regard – with false promises – all for his personal and diabolical satisfaction while knowing that some day those boys would be physically broken, struggling, and never be the same again.

Some time later, James finally gets caught and admits his heinous crimes. As a serial offender with many other blind victims now living in the same shame, guilt, and pain, the epidemic of poisoning blind kids becomes more known to the public (80,000+ in Canada at some estimates).

When James go in front of the judge for sentencing, he tells the judge he’s sorry that he destroyed lives, and families, and CHILDREN who are now walking around quietly suffering without end.

***

This is what I HEARD IN MY HEAD (that other voice), what Her Honour had to say on passing sentence (interchange the real and made-up events):

“Mr. James, I believe you are truly sorry. I don’t believe you have any more now-adult blind victims out there (out of the thousands you were in contact with) who were forced to drink your poison when they were just boys.  So I’m going to be lenient.

Mr James, while statistics show otherwise, I believe someone who poisons blind boys for their own personal satisfaction usually only does it once or twice.  I believe that after attending that short program on how to stop poisoning blind boys, you have convinced me that you are honest in being cured of wanting to poison any more blind boys. Your truthfulness calls for leniency.

Mr James, I don’t see any physical issues your victims are currently facing. We can’t see how their minds are still slowly being eaten away after decades.  They are walking around and running their lives.  The issues they face can be fixed after a short program (something like yours).And finally Mr. James, forget about how their families suffered all those years as the poison quietly ate away at the victim’s brains. They don’t look like they have been or currently are suffering in trying to deal with the horrible effects and how they manifest in the victim’s actions.  Besides, all families fight, have secrets, and shame issues.  So, I will go easy on you.

Therefore Mr. James, I will only sentence you to 2 years for the following 10 reasons:

  1. admitting your actions (only after you’ve been caught),

  2. feeling sorry (only after you ran out of legal options),

  3. abusing your immense power (and getting away with it your decades),

  4. inflicting life-long pain on your victims (from which they would never recover),

  5. hiding in another country to avoid detection (hoping people will ignore or forget),

  6. being nice and coming back (to save you from a longer sentence),

  7. deceit, lying, coercion, destroying trust (on thousands of kids and adults who believed in you 100% without question),

  8. forcing the victims to risk their identity and shame by having to come forward publicly,

  9. allowing me the opportunity to totally disregard the severe and devastating impact on the his many victims, and

  10. I don’t think this crime is that much of a big deal. They were only blind kids and you only poisoned them a few times many years ago.

I trust this meets with your plea bargain.

***.

I know I am biased in my opinion when I compare these stories because I chose the scenario.  Personally, I believe vulnerable young people who are give their trust, innocence, power to an older and trusted individual, are ripe to sexual predators and pedophiles (whether against boys or girls).

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Would you accept James’ actions if it was for poisoning instead of this type of crime (and hidden epidemic)?


After all, they provide the same result.

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