”And Babes Shall Rule Over Them”

”And Babes Shall Rule Over Them”
Vol: 32 Issue: 29 Saturday, May 29, 2004

“As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)

The California Supreme Court is deciding whether to throw out the conviction of a 15-year-old boy who served 100 days in juvenile hall for writing a poem that the government said constituted a threat to kill his classmates.

The case pits the right to free speech against the government’s responsibility for school security. A ruling is expected within 90 days.

The defendant wrote a poem that scared his teachers, who reported it to police, who were scared enough by it to lock him up in ‘juvey’ hall for three months.

In the poem, titled, “Faces,” George T. wrote: “I slap on my face of happiness but inside I am evil! For I can be the next kid to bring guns to kill students at school.”

Attorneys for the San Jose boy, identified as George T. in court records, described the poem Thursday as ‘youthful artistic expression’.

The justices wondered aloud whether the kid’s poem was protected speech. The prosecutor, California Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Laurence told the court: The First Amendment doesn t protect against criminal conduct.

The law in question, usually invoked in domestic violence cases, carries a maximum one-year term for criminal threats that convey an immediate prospect of execution. The lower courts found that the poem met that definition.

One justice suggested there was no immediacy to the threat and therefore no crime was committed. The poem doesn t say I will be the next kid to bring guns to school. It says, I can.

Another questioned whether a poem could constitute an unequivocal threat.

Justice Janice Rogers Brown won the “Most Hideously Tortured Logic” prize when she suggested a hypothetical situation in which bank robber handed a teller a note saying, “Roses are red, violets are blue, give me the money or I’ll shoot you.”

“Would hiding the intention in a poem make the robber immune from charges? this presumed graduate of a recognized law school wanted to know.

Huh? The boy didn’t write a poem and give it to a bank teller. He showed it to a couple of his friends. I am not arguing in favor of the boy, but it is kinda scary to hear California Supreme Court justices think out loud. It makes you wonder what they think to themselves.

The 15-year old poet WENT TO JAIL for a poem. But Quentin Tarantino got an Oscar for writing and directing ‘Pulp Fiction’ — one of Columbine killers Harris and Klebold’s favorite movies.

(This isn’t a rant against Quentin Tarantino, but it makes at least as much sense as Justice Brown’s comparison between a kid’s poem and bank robber’s note.)

To summarize the facts of the case, the kid was completing his first week at his new school. He handed a written work with the words dark poetry on the top line to a student in his honors English class and to another acquaintance.

According to a lower court of appeals Dissenting Justice Conrad Rushing, he reviewed the poem, “line by line.” He concluded the young poet was, “a new student at the school with few friends, gave the poems to the girls because he wished to share his feelings and possibly make new friends, not to threaten them.”

There are no reports that the boy had ever owned or showed any interest in weapons, or that he tried to acquire any.

Assessment:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,” observed Benjamin Franklin, “deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

I am not a lawyer, and I am less concerned with the legal arguments than I am with the fact a case like this could ever grace the docket of an American court. There is a valid case to be made for rigorous investigation and prosecution of terrorists, foreign or domestic.

But this is, by all accounts, a poem by a shy 15 year-old boy written during his first week in a new school, not a recent convert to Islam or a kid with a locker full of guns and a bad attitude.

Absent any other evidence, it means that this kid got expelled from school and did 100 days in kiddy jail for writing a poem.

It might have been a dark and sad poem, and it may be violent, and maybe the kid needs mental help — but absent a locker full of guns and a history of violence, 100 days in jail? Followed by months of electronic house arrest?

For a poem?

Here are just a few other examples of just how scared we are of our own kids:

A nine year old dressed up in his dad’s duck-hunting gear for his school’s ‘Camouflage Day’, showing up wearing his dad’s hat, mesh face mask, shirt, bib, pants and boots. And in a pocket of his dad’s bib was a shotgun shell that got the straight-A student suspended for a week and almost charged with bringing explosives to school.

The other day another kid was expelled from school after he completed a school project that required him to put together a camping kit. He included a knife in the kit and was sent home for a month.

An eighth-grader in Virginia prevented a suicidal friend from cutting her wrists by taking her knife and stowing it in his locker. He challenged his suspension to Virginia’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He lost.

A National Merit Scholar was prevented from attending her own high-school graduation last year in Fort Myers, Fla., because a table knife with a rounded tip was found on the floorboard of her car in the parking lot;

An 11-year-old fifth-grader was permanently banned from an elementary school in Oldsmar, Fla., for drawing pictures of a gun;

A 12-year-old honor student in Mount Airy, Md., was barred from extracurricular activities when she violated drug policy by sharing her inhaler with a fellow student having an asthma attack on the school bus; and, (drum roll, please),

A 5-year-old boy was suspended for dressing as a firefighter for his school’s Halloween party. (Part of his costume was a plastic ax). No, I am not making this up.

We are scared of our own kids. Scared to death of them. And, we have good reason, as Klebold & Harris, their mentors and their imitators have proved.

I opened with a quote from Isaiah 3:12; “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.”

The Apostle Paul confirms this prophecy, closing the circle with this letter-perfect description of this generation’s leading social characteristics:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2nd Timothy 3:2-5)

Paul describes exactly the kind of social decay that would produce a) kids that violent and dangerous, and b) a society so schizophrenic that we’d lock up our kids for thinking; (while simultaneously decrying ‘profiling’ of male Middle Eastern men between the ages of 17 and 34).

Paul’s description is mirrored in the pages of the evening newspapers around the globe.

You can’t sow apple seeds and expect a peach tree.

“He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.” (Proverbs 22:8)

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About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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