Chris Powell: Halt the sex-abuse hysteria: Distinguish between common boors and the real predators


Obsession with the sexual misconduct of celebrities and politicians has gotten so bad that maybe Inside Edition will report breathlessly tonight that 60 years ago young Howdy Doody was molested by old Mister Bluster.

Scandal it all may be but it is an awfully old one, from the rape of the Sabine women in ancient Rome to Cole Porter's "Well, Did You Evah?," which Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra sang so cleverly in the 1956 movie  High Society, which was meant to be seen as set in Newport.

Have you heard that Mimsie Starr,
She got pinched in the Astor bar?

Maybe the next Dead Sea scroll will reveal that before Adam settled down with Eve he was stalking her cousin Lilith.

Really, is there anyone on the planet who, when young, was not leered at, harassed, molested, seduced, exploited, or worse by someone older, bigger, stronger, or more powerful? A Quinnipiac University poll last week reported that 60 percent of women admit having been sexually harassed. The poll did not survey men, but boys and young men long have been harassed and molested too.

Indeed, lost in last week's hysteria over celebrities and politicians was the arrest of a woman teacher at a high school in Oklahoma who was caught carrying on with a male student.

The county sheriff observed, "I'm no longer surprised by the people who commit these crimes, because predators come from all walks of life."

That is, they're not all celebrities and politicians. They're everybody.

So other than distinguishing the predatory criminals from the mere boors and immediately calling the police about the former instead of being wrongly embarrassed and ashamed, what are we supposed to learn from this stuff?

Yes, the predatory criminals should be prosecuted, convicted, and locked up, but what about the mere boors?

Are even the butt pinchers to be not just rebuked and embarrassed but also driven into darkness forever, beyond redemption, prevented from making a living and supporting their families, forced to beg on the streets and sleep in boxes under bridges?

That seems to be the suggestion of the hysteria -- no "second-chance society" for them.

Meanwhile, the national government is bombing remote villages in the name of civilizing barbarians, destroying the medical insurance system, and normalizing financial and political corruption, and state government is degenerating into a pension and benefit scheme that incidentally if at great expense turns children into ignoramuses for life. Nothing sexy there.

Have you heard? It's in the stars:
Next July we collide with Mars.
Well, did you evah?
What a swell party this is.

P.C. TOPS HARTFORD'S AGENDA:Hartford city government is insolvent, the city's bonds have been reduced to junk status, and the city is about to come under the supervision of a state financial management board as the price of the extra financial aid needed to postpone the city's filing for bankruptcy.

But topping city government's agenda last week was an ordinance proposed by Mayor Luke Bronin to regulate agencies that try to dissuade women from having abortions.

It is said that employees of anti-abortion agencies sometimes impersonate abortion clinics by dressing their employees in white coats as if they are doctors or nurses, thereby misleading women. But this complaint is weak. If any impersonation is going on, it will not take a woman long to figure out that an agency that opposes abortion is not going to give her one. Women are not as dumb as the advocates of the ordinance pretend.

For the real objection is that these agencies have a First Amendment right to exist and to try to talk to women considering abortion. While abortion is never going to be outlawed in Connecticut, even mere criticism of it must be suppressed in the name of political correctness.

Hartford is riddled with crime and government corruption and incompetence. The city can't afford to spend a dollar or a minute enforcing political correctness or defending against the lawsuit that likely will result from enactment of the ordinance, any more than the city could afford $80 million and two years of controversy for its new minor-league baseball stadium, for which state government now is picking up the bill.

Being almost insolvent itself, state government can't afford more political correctness in Hartford either.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.