Thursday, May 9, 2013

You know that story about that person held captive...?

I am not the most avid follower of current events.  Or maybe I am.  For example, when CNN announced in a Breaking Story that Queen Beatrix (the Netherlands) had stepped down on April 30th in favor of her son., the words they used were "unexpected" & "unprecedented".  I laughed because Queen Beatrix 1) announced she was stepping down in favor of her heir in January as 2) her mother & grandmother had both done the same.  Kind of the opposite of unexpected & unprecedented, but I have no doubt the majority of CNN viewers thought it was both.

So maybe I should say I am a follower of current events, just not the 24 hour news cycle.  Mostly because the primary focus of ALL the 24 hours news channels is to keep you watching through the commercials.  & to keep you sitting there, they pretend that all news is breaking news.

On the other hand yesterday, was a big breaking news day:  Jodi Arias was found guilty & Arial Castro was charged.  & yes, I watched, well....some of it.  OKay any watching I did of Jodi Arias was accidental.  I am just not interested in what she or her defense team or the prosecution or former prosecutors of similar cases (the fact that so many of those even EXIST is the best argument for news story about Jodi Arias not rising to the level it has I can possibly make) have to say.  That Arial Castro thing was a different story.  I admit I looked for & listened to Charles Ramsey's 911 call (& let me say, you know how so many calls have that recorded voice saying "this call may be recorded & used for training purposes"?  This one really SHOULD be used for training purposes). 

I don't think I need to go into any detail re: the Arial Castro case, the charges etc. except to say remember how it involved what looked to all the world like an ordinary citizen, who it turned out had people locked & chained inside his house...?  That's it, just let that sort of sit there while I tell you about a Not Breaking News Story.  This one should be a breaking news story, but to my knowledge no one is covering it as such.

Let us go now to the sleepy little burg of Prosser, Washington.    It looks adorable, annual hot air balloon rally, vineyard tours & all.  The video on the city website boasts about the city parks, their acreage & facilities.  All of it clearly designed to highlight a happy, healthy population eager for happy, healthy neighbors.  Who wouldn't want to live there?  & of course it is a very different place from Seymour Avenue in Cleveland.  But Tuesday night, Prosser took a step in Seymour Avenue's direction.  Specifically, they reviewed two books that had been available in the school libraries, The Popularity Papers & A Child Called It & removed one them pending further review. The Popularity Papers' vote ended in a deadlock & therefore the previous decision by the Superintendent to let the book remain could not be overruled.  A Child Called It however has been pulled pending further discussion. 

I want to be clear, I am not the biggest Dave Pelzer fan.  I think that a person who makes his living telling people they need to get over their pasts hurts while mining his own for profit & publicity is at best disingenuous.  I know he has a big following & I guess that is great for him, I am just not all hat interested.  BUT.  & this is a big BUT.  There is a world of difference between saying I am not likely to read his books & saying school children should not have access to his book.  Is it grizzly, gory & perverse?  Probably.  Given what I have heard about it & him, I am thinking Dave Pelzer might well agree that it is all three.  It also purports to be the true story of an individual kept captive right under a community's & even a family's nose.  To argue that there is no place for that book, given what has been on the 24/7 news the day it was pulled from library shelves & will dominate for days afterwards, I think maybe the Prosser Board of Education has taken their town's promotional videos a little too seriously. 

Because the best way to prevent this kind of thing from continuing (& if you think there is not another house just like the one on Seymour Avenue somewhere in this country right now, I think Elizabeth Smart & Jaycee Dugard would tell you that you are kidding yourself) is to make sure that everyone is crystal clear that this is not OKay.  Instead of banning the book, I almost feel like the School Board should get a list of the kids who HAVE checked the book out & maybe take a closer look at their home lives.  Prosser's decision to remove this book because it has no educational value implies that such a thing could not happen there.  Which is a great big red flag that it could.

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