Saturday, April 2

APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

Comedian Jay Leno may think that pedophilia and child abuse are appropriate, topical fodder for his weeknight opening monologues on NBC's "Tonight Show," but I, for one, do not. Some subjects shouldn't be the source of jokes, unless those jokes are told within the confines of prisons or seedy, backstreet nightclubs. Leno ought to exercise better judgement. His late night rival, David Letterman, who has a young son, does.

Which brings me to the subject of "Child Abuse Prevention Month," here in April, which was brought to my attention through "Insane Troll Logic" and to her attention via "What Is And Never Should Be". Both bloggers deserve a Hat Tip!

Here in Texas, where I reside (as do Corie of "Insane Troll Logic" and Brian Psyguy of "What Is And Never Should Be"), you can access the Texas' "Sex Offender Database" here. If you have children, it is important that you do so and make yourself (and your children) aware of sex offenders who may reside in your neighborhood or within proximity to your home or the school(s) of your child or children. That's only prudent, and particularly given the well-publicized tragedies in recent weeks befalling two young girls -- Jessica Lunsford (age 9) and Jetseta Marrie Gage (age 10).

As information, I went into that database, entered the zip code in which my wife and I live, and found nineteen (19) sex offenders! And their various aliases run on for pages! Our children are grown, out of the house, and live elsewhere in the country, but our grandchildren visit from time to time.

I frankly don't know if Corie and Brian are prudent in publishing on their blogs the information they have found for their zip codes. The state of Texas publishes the following disclaimer on the referenced Web page.

The information provided through this Web site is open record. It may be used by anyone for any purpose. However, it is your responsibility to make sure the records you access through this site pertain to the person about whom you are seeking information. Extreme care should be exercised in using any information obtained from this Web site. Neither the DPS nor the State of Texas shall be responsible for any errors or omissions produced by secondary dissemination of this information.

But I don't impugn their motives or their legitimate concerns. Maybe the dramatic way in which they're making their respective points on this important, timely subject, is just what is needed to improve community awareness and disabuse parents of the hopeful, but altogether unrealistic notion: "Oh, not in our neighborhood -- that couldn't ever happen in our neighborhood!"

Accordingly, and with the impetus Corie and Brian have provided, I urge all parents and grandparents who read this blog to find out how they can access such databases in their own states. And if you're grandparents (or aunts and uncles) talk to other family members about the importance of doing so. Take responsibility to at least heighten your awareness of potential threats.

Lastly, I want to add, I received a "Comment" on my most recent post on Jay Leno telling me to simply switch channels if I find certain elements of Jay Leno's monologue offensive. That's hardly the point. The point is that a highly popular comedian and talk show host on a nationally televised show -- a show with a long, rich tradition of entertainment-- is making incessant jokes, night after night, about child sexual abuse in the context of the Michael Jackson trial, and there is not a thing amusing about what happened to Jessica or to Jetseta, to thousands like them, or, perhaps, as is alleged, to some young visitors at Michael Jackson's "Neverland Ranch." Grow up, Jay, and help youngsters in this land of ours grow up without becoming the victims of sexual predation. IT'S NOT FUNNY!