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How old am I? I can clearly remember a time when we were taught that all life was sacred, every person mattered and that the painful decisions of life and death were left to those afflicted, grieving families, their doctors and whatever faith leaders they sought comfort from. When did this all change? When did we become so calloused, so cold, so detached from the plight of others that we could allow a faceless state to be the ultimate arbiter of the time, location and manner of our passing? And how do they determine what dignity, our dignity, actually means at the time of our death?

Is there dignity in hope?

I have no idea what “mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome” is. I really don’t much care to know. No one should be forced to know; least of all a ten-month old infant. But the UK government, in its infinite wisdom and compassion, has decided that the parents of little Charlie Gard have forty-eight hours to convince them that he is worth saving; that he has some chance, a realistic chance, or they, the benevolent state, will forcibly end his life. And don’t get confused over my wording here; they aren’t going to hold the little boy down and smother him. Although, it certainly appears as though they could if they wanted to, being all powerful and righteous and stuff like that. No, they’ll physically restrain his parents as the young boy is allowed to die; how? Slowly wither away? Will they flip some magical switch and instantly end all his pain and suffering, and that of his parents? Not at home, not in the arms of his mother or father? Let’s get some clarity here. Just how does the state intend to offer this child a death with “dignity?”

Let’s face it, we’ve come a long way as a civilization in the fifty years or so that I’ve cast my shadow on this planet. We’ve been treated to break-through after break though in medicine, although there are far too many scourges we’ve yet to conquer. And because of that reality, we’ve also grown intellectually; or so we think. No, we’ve had our brushes with eugenics along the way. Thought we’d put that ugly chapter to bed, didn’t we? But what is this if not a branch of that, the next logical extension of “for the good of all.” And don’t be confused here, for what else is the rationale behind denying a child and his parents an opportunity, a hope no matter how slim, to prolong the life of a child? What harm could there be in letting a grieving, desperate parent fly to some willing medical center that is offering a chance; without any expense to the citizenry or the state at all? What is at stake here? Simple; power. The power to decide which groups deserve to live, which don’t. A power thinly disguised by the state as compassion, acting in the best interest of the child as if the parents were flying him to some dark, remote location to perform untold medical experiments upon him. No, we can’t take that chance. Let’s kill him now.

Power. A power that the state has taken great pains to cultivate and one they would rather not give up. What group of unfortunates will be next? How about those with advanced cancer? Should the state decide at some point, sorry, your medical support is done? No chance for you, no matter how slim. We have determined that and we know what’s best for you. Alarmist? Hardly. What convincing argument does the state have to sentence this child to a certain death when there are others, doctors in other parts of the world possibly, who offer hope. Not a guarantee, but hope. And at no cost to them. Because at the end of it all, that’s all medicine can ever offer us is hope. No guarantees. Deciding to withhold services is one thing; forbidding someone from getting them elsewhere, even for a glimmer of that hope is nothing short of euthanasia. The “group” here is those determined by the state to be “hopeless;” hopeless, because the state is all about destroying the concept of hope. Hope leads to people taking back power from the state. And it won’t be long before other groups will be “hopeless” for some reason or another. Soon it will be age; or ability to produce for the state coffers.

So, as I watch the papers and read blogs and comments, I see a number of people expressing concern and dismay; let the child go somewhere, anywhere, while there is still hope. But I am troubled by the rather large numbers of those who are expressing disdain for the parents; they need to let go, they’re making the child suffer needlessly. I’ve even seen them called selfish for holding out hope where the commenter has determined there is none.  But only those who are truly hopeless themselves never see hope. And I doubt like hell that the parents want to see this child suffer. And of course, there are those who are begging the parents to let the poor child die with dignity, a phrase already used by the state. Odd juxtaposition; if the child wanted to mutilate themselves, we’d be cheering the parents for tolerance and understanding. And just twelve months ago, it would have been perfectly acceptable to tear this child limb from limb, without any concern for whether he felt pain, only to be sucked out of the womb by a tube so his parts could be sold to the highest bidder. What type of dignity is that? This is where we’ve traveled. To this point; where a parent, struggling to save the life of an infant is given forty-eight hours to prove beyond doubt that he can be saved, but waiting forty-eight hours before deciding to tear him from the womb is unacceptable.

No, this is all about the ultimate power of the state; and the right we have given them to determine for ourselves and for those we love, to dictate the reason, the manner and the time of our death; and the definition of our final dignity at the end of our lives.



What’s the word I’m looking for? What word adequately describes the emotion one feels when viewing the image of the crumpled, poisoned body of an infant in another part of the word? The word needs to capture all the feelings, from the first breath-catching reaction to the overwhelming urge to “respond” or “react” in some manner. Is it revulsion? Would that lead to retribution? Helen supposedly had the face that launched a thousand ships; love was deemed to be the culprit. Which emotion launched a few dozen tomahawks? I don’t know; really, I’m not asking to be provocative, although this will end up that way. No, just looking for whatever word can explain why some feel the need to react to the slaying of children in another part of the globe; and apparently, a word for an emotion that’s obviously not universal. For if it was, would we, the United Sates, really have been the first and apparently the only country to react?

There, now he’ll finally stop…

What price did Bashar al-Assad pay for this crime? Is this a crime? It’s painful and argumentative to mention the reality of the situation, but there are people who would explain away the death of innocents as “collateral damage,” inadvertent casualties produced by the fog of war. You can like it or not; you can piss, moan and disagree. But it’s there. It’s true. Not everyone in the world feels that Trump had any reason or authority to strike another sovereign nation. Why? What does the list of those opposed to his response say about the value that those countries place on the lives of their children? What can we infer from their stance?

Is it the method only? Is gassing the children of your own people more horrific than strafing them with automatic weapons fire? Why? Is the method employed more important or repulsive than the ultimate outcome? Is the child any more or less limp in the arms of their grief-stricken parents? It must be. Why else would we laud our attempts, lead ourselves to believe either our own hype or wishful thinking when we declared that Syria had turned over 100% of it’s chemical weapons stockpile. What were we and the world actually saying to each other and to ourselves back in 2013? That as evil as this man is, that no matter how horrible it is for him to slaughter his own innocents to remain in power, that we’re comfortable knowing (or blissfully assuming) that he’ll no longer do it with gas? Our job here is done. Kill your children; just use any of the more acceptable methods.

No; I’m not making light of this situation at all. This bastard needs to go; he needed to go a long time ago. But again, here and now, today, what price did he pay? We knocked the shit out of some concrete bunkers, scarred a few runways; and the man ultimately responsible for intentionally killing civilians is not now, was not in the past, and probably will not in the foreseeable future, be held to account for these actions. The UN will condemn him; I’ll bet that leaves a bruise. He’ll get some crappy press in parts of the world. But rest assured, there is still a large part of the globe where he’ll be seen as a victim of the west, with the US in particular as the villain; flexing our oppressive military to enforce our will upon the less fortunate parts of the world. You know, those parts of the world we usually send endless streams of money and humanitarian supplies to so they can spit on our flag and chant “death to the US!” It’s all good as long as they don’t use gas.

When is the United States population at large finally going to realize that the minute we become so emotional about the faces of dead children in other parts of the world, it’s not long before we’re sending our own children there to die in the same place? Where are the other countries that are so horrified about Assad’s guilt? Do none of them have missile technology? More likely, none of them have any strength of their convictions. Or maybe, it’s more common sense; it all depends upon your view. As long as they can cheer us kicking someone else’s ass, they don’t have to accept any of the consequence that we do. You know; you break it, you bought it? What if we had inadvertently destroyed a children’s hospital? Would any of these brave western leaders applauding us now cover our asses in that scenario? Hardly. They’re too busy making sure they can continue to trade with countries that still support this monster, instead of the world at large and the UN in particular, ostracizing this bastard and all those who do business with him. To continue to make it possible for him to prop up his economy, to accept his currency, to supply him with food or other goods is for you to re-affirm that it’s alright to kill children in the acceptable fashions. But boy, once you cross that line we’re gonna say mean things about you in the security chamber in New York and cheer the good ol’ “US of A” when they ram an ordinance in your posterior. But until then, hey, what’s your price for a barrel of crude?

To be sure, I’m not making light of dead children. I just don’t feel that it’s a universal concern in various cultures around the world. So yes, I can hear your grumblings that “we’re more moral,” or “that makes us just as bad as them” or such. I always like the “well, we’re the only ones who can do it” line, as if the countries that we propped up and armed over the decades are really as helpless as they are feckless. As long as we’re willing to offer ourselves up as the world’s moral authority, to be the cop, judge, jury and executioner, the other Pontius Pilates will continue to wash their hands of our iniquities. We get to tweak all the bullies of the world and get jeered at by the victims of those very same bullies. That’s a neat trick right there. If, as many are concerned, this inflates and ends up igniting something bigger, they ‘ll turn their wretched little fingers towards us and tell us that we’re ultimately responsible; If only we didn’t have such an inflated view of ourselves, if we weren’t so racist and bigoted towards other people, other cultures; what makes us think we have the moral authority over the rest of the world.

Do these questions make me seem heartless and indifferent? Really, I only want someone to look me in the eye and tell me “why these babies?” He’s been killing babies for years. And we need to admit to ourselves that this is a part of the world where the dominant culture does not value life above all else, even a child’s, the way we do here; where it’s all too common for them to use women and children as shields for their soldiers, where their dominant religion tells them that it’s acceptable to do so. Maybe I need to rephrase that; for we too kill our babies and we’re sure it’s a god given right to do so, set down right there in the constitution. Horror of horrors, I went and peed on the third rail. How dare I equate a woman’s right to chose with a dictator’s right to choose? Because the greater point is that we are willing to start a war, alone, against a criminal who chose to kill his innocent victims in a way of which we don’t approve. Yet, we’ll take our own children and dissect them in the womb, then go about our day smug in the belief that we’re morally right to do so. The escape clause here is, of course, that they’re not babies. Not at least until they can emerge from the breech, preferably on their own and fully functional, both physically and financially.

How dare I equate the two; I’m not. But to assume that people of other cultures in other parts of the world don’t see this as problematic to our claim of righteousness is folly and quite naïve. Throw the hate all you want, but that viewpoint is out there too. How can we as a culture dictate morals onto other cultures? And, we don’t seem to be too alarmed when we see their children in videos training to kill those who don’t follow their beliefs; In fact, just to point it out brings howls from the left; you know, hate speech codes and all. It is the left after all that takes great pains to point out that other cultures are no less moral than ours. So we scream, hyperventilate, and make grand speeches about the way they slaughter their innocents but never wish to point out that it’s in their culture to de-value life the way they do; we just have to accept it, even as we have to accept them into our midst’s lest we be called racist, bigoted or xenophobic.

No, as distracting as that part of the conversation may be, as insulted you may be for me conflating the two issues, the bigger point is clear. If you are willing to be the moral authority in the world, if you wish to impose those morals on other cultures, a little consistency goes a long way. And trust me, we will go this alone. We should make sure that we’re comfortable with the moral foundation we are building this position on; not only in the way we deal with the countries that commit these atrocities and the countries who openly support them; but also with those Janus countries who are willing to let us take the risks, blame and quite possibly future casualties so that they too can feel morally superior.

Ultimately, yes we should have done this. But if we are going to punish a dictator for crimes he commits against his people, we’d better make it stick; trashing a few runways doesn’t cut it. It should have been severe and decisive. And afterwards, we don’t need to rebuild; we don’t need to “change” regimes. We don’t need to apologize. We need to shake the dust from our boots, walk away and flip off the U.N. on the way by. Any other action with any other outcome just continues the charade. They commit an atrocity; we become indignant. The world makes heartfelt condemnations in august bodies that do nothing more than feed their own egos with the sounds of their own voices. And years later, it occurs again, maybe in the same region, maybe in some other part of the world. Another bunker, another runway and yet another tyrant who has been gassing, executing and starving his own women and children, pays the ultimate price of a few weeks of bad press. Our sense of moral righteousness is perverted at best.

I’m not a pacifist; I’m surely not a war hawk. There are shrill warnings about the possibility of World War Three, all because parts of the world see no need for swift and certain punishment for the murderer of children. Sorry, but we already have a world war. We’re just tallying the casualties at a slower pace; and sadly, the victims are not necessarily dying in greater numbers at the hands of adversarial forces as much as at the hands of their own leaders.

The destruction of a few bunkers and several yards of concrete will not stop this. Unfortunately, there is no universal “negative” emotion to the killing of the innocent. Therefore, the best we can do is ignore whatever fear or negative emotion we might feel for inflicting ultimate punishment upon those who do. If we feel we are right; if we feel we are truly, morally justified; can we do anything less?

I took a little breather from the Messy Desk over the past few months. Lots of changes in my life; new job(s), kids off to school, working on books three and four, trying to get my second through editing. Just a lot converging and frankly, I missed it quite a bit.

It's been fun.....

It’s been fun…..

I didn’t miss, however, the negativity that comes with putting yourself out there. Not everyone will share your opinion in the world and it takes skin much thicker than mine I guess. And frankly, I’m not into confrontation. So be it.

But the trend during this political season had me startled. And I’m going to take a serious pounding here and place the blame squarely on you of the liberal persuasion. Sorry, I know you get all pissy with the “broad brush” examples and all. And yes, there are fringe douche-nozzles on each side of the spectrum that make us all look bad. That kind of crap I expect. But I never, ever, expected the unbridled hate that was directed to me from people who I truly assumed were, and indeed, I called my friends. Some of you may recognize yourself here. I trust given your recent behaviors, quite a few of you will never admit to it. Again, so be it.

You can be one of those people who have thousands of followers on twitter; hundreds of friends on Facebook. I’m not quite sure how that works, not sure of the value other than that you have found some measure of validation, some way to massage a flagging ego. I look at friends differently. Emotionally. As a personal investment. If I call you my friend, you have had some measure of impact upon my life, brought some value to it in some way. I may not have impacted you one iota. That’s fine. But since I considered you my friend, you always had my respect, your opinion was valuable and sharing your experiences with me gave me a broader horizon than I would have ever been able to attain on my own.

In fairness, it really started well before this political season. Maybe it was just awareness on my part, an awakening perhaps. Or maybe, I was just finally getting fed up with your bullshit. I started to go over conversations we had had, over and over, trying to discover what inopportune thing I might have said, some thought poorly expressed that would cause you to go into personal-attack warrior mode. I never ascribed it to your political ideology. I always assumed some flaw on my part, even though I never attacked you the way you attacked me. And as always, I was the one who wanted to breach the impasse, allowing your insult to go by un-challenged, putting it off to a “bad day”, or maybe I caught you at the wrong time or some other rationale to cover for your boorish behavior. As a friend, you were more important to me than my ego. I must have said something that pissed you off. What was it?

Turns out, it wasn’t anything I said at all. It is, after all, my unwillingness to bow to your whims, to see it your way. If I wasn’t going to agree with you on every issue, you had absolutely no desire to have me as your friend. Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake. But thanks to your constant reminders and reinforcements of late, it has finally dawned on me that I’m not the kind of person you would ever wish to be associated with again. Clarity.

The first inkling was when Obama was running for the first time. I just couldn’t get you to understand that I didn’t think I was greedy for wanting the government to stop taking a larger and larger share of what I earned. Simple. I think I called it “government approved theft.” You on the other hand, felt that not only was I greedy, I hated people who were less fortunate than I was. First implication: I want to keep more of what I earn, ergo; I hate poor people. Yay for you, point scored.

It wasn’t long before I was discussing Obamacare, probably around the same time frame. I was warning about the dangers of a single-payer system, having friends and family who live under it in other parts of the world. No matter; again, I was informed that I hate poor people. I just can’t stand to see them get something I have. I was still trying to digest that statement when you told me what my real problem was; I just want to see Obama fail because it really drives me nuts to see a black man in the White House. You caught yourself when I sent daggers. Well, maybe not me specifically you relented, but a lot of people who think the way I do. Yeah, that really cleared it up for me. And you said it with no hesitation, no remorse and no apology.

And so on it went. When I would disagree over issues with friends who actually shared my values, we’d get heated and say something like, “man you just don’t get it! Somebody hit you with a stupid-stick?” Then we’d chuckle a little, agree to disagree, open a bottle of something cheap and talk about kids, our jobs or the Patriots. Not so with my friends on the opposite side of the political spectrum. With them, it was never about a common understanding, it was always about my penchant to hate, well, apparently everyone.

I had a chance to talk to another old liberal friend about abortion. It was just as disheartening. Coincidentally, I’m on the outs with my conservative readers over my stance on abortion. That’s okay, I’m not doing any better with those on the left. “Sorry,” I told my friend, “I just don’t see in the constitution where it says “A woman’s right to scrape her unborn child from her womb shall not be infringed.”” I believe its a states’ right, not a federal issue and at the end of the day, I have no desire to pay for a woman to do what I fundamentally believe is murdering her own child. Take me out of the equation, pay for your own abortions and you and I will be just fine.

Well, maybe not just fine. Her defense of her position had to do with how misogynistic my positon was, and something about how the need to control all women makes me feel superior while strong, independent women threaten my maleness. I think I drove her apoplectic when I told her that strong, independent women could find the money to kill their own children without involving me, thank you very much. I am heartless. I am dangerous to all women and all they have worked to achieve over the last thirty years. It’s men like me who want to push women back into the kitchens and then out into the back alleys. Really. That’s how she defended her position on abortion, how she was going to persuade me to see her view; by telling me how much I hate my wife, sisters, mother and daughters.

Fast forward. Having spent many years following the exploits of the Clintons, I wasn’t surprised by any of the email or Clinton foundation scandals. I wasn’t going to support her come hell or high-water anyway. And it made absolutely no difference who I would have named as my candidate, you had no desire to win me over; no, you were vested only in silencing me. Once you defined me as racist, bigoted, misogynist, a Nazi, homophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic, e-i-e-i-o, you never needed to defend your positon at all. And yet, I never even told you who I was supporting, only who I wasn’t.

Maybe I was going to vote for the republican candidate of color. Except, we know he’s really not a black man because, according to you and your party, color is subjective and one must subscribe to a certain orthodoxy to be legitimately considered black; you know, that specific set of beliefs that all black people must believe in. All blacks. Every. Single. One.

I may very well have been thinking about the republican Latino candidate. Maybe not authentic Latino enough for your taste? Too legal, too documented?

I really considered the female republican candidate. Of course, she’s not really female. I doubt she even has a vagina. She’s not down with the whole abortion thing so we know she’s not a real female. No, the left wouldn’t let her into the “strong, independent female club,” even if she stood in the middle of a ladies’ restroom at the local Target and said she identified as one. No; strong, independent women only come from the Liberal side of the aisle, where they complain about being given the same chance as the boys, but fall back to helpless damsels in distress to demand that the requirements be lowered for the sake of equality.

You based your hate filled diatribes only on the fact that I wasn’t going to support your candidate. No, not the old white male candidate your party offered up in its great diversity of choices; the old white female one. You know, the one who destroyed evidence that was under subpoena; who giggled about setting free the rapist of a 12-year old girl; who destroyed the lives and reputations of some strong, independent women, tramps and sluts one and all, who just happened to have been sexually assaulted by her husband; who worked with the DNC to make sure she would have no real challengers in her primary, selected not elected; and who lied to you, to your face, about every bit of it.

So here we are. The 45th president of this great experiment in self-governance is Mr. Trump. And you’ve made it abundantly clear that anyone who supported him, willingly or as the lessor of two evils, is racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, yaddi-yaddi-yadda. I went to bed early on election eve resigned to the fact that we would wake up with our first female president, a victory for vaginas everywhere. Apparently, Madonna didn’t have quite the appeal she imagined she had and lo and behold, I woke to the gnashing of teeth and claims of “whitelash.” And being the masochist I truly am, I fired up Facebook just to take a peek.

One acquaintance of mine posted that he was absolutely not going to continue a friendship with anyone who may have pulled the lever for the wishing troll. The responses he got were mixed; some were very supportive of his decision. Some were not. One individual, who apparently had been his friend for decades, was astounded that they would no longer be friends because he didn’t vote the way his tolerant friend had wished. He asked him, “are you seriously going to give up decade long friendships over this?” Sadly, the answer was yes. Well, a wishy-washy yes. It was okay if you didn’t pull the lever for the secretary of corruption, but if you voted for Donald Dump, well sorry; you’re not the kind of person with the kind of morals I can associate with. I stayed silent. You see, I’m fucking deplorable.

There are quite a few others posting similar things, people I know well and have for years; some I have known for shorter periods of time but are still people I find interesting. The common meme is if you voted for “him,” you’re a horrible person and they produce the same list of accusations defining just who you actually hate in case you may have forgotten.

So one would assume that I’m going to lose friends over this election. A shame really. In any event, I wish you and your loved ones a long, healthy, happy and prosperous life. I’ll miss what you brought to my life, the jokes, the difference of opinions and the other worldviews. But no, I won’t apologize; I won’t defend myself, for I have no reason to. And as you peel away the years of friendships and acquaintances you have gained over the years, you can settle back smugly into that safe little echo chamber where your definition of tolerance is everyone agreeing with you. Where you get to define freedom of speech as only speech you agree with, that doesn’t challenge you, force you to defend or rethink your positions. Where diversity means everyone is just like you and you get to dictate what it means to be black, female or moral. Where compromise means everyone gives into your beliefs and abandons their own.

One wonders; is discarding friends really that simple? Does it ever give you pause for introspection? After all, if you can disparage people without remorse, insult them that deeply and personally, what kind of friend have you really been to others? And when you’ve cleaned house, you do realize don’t you, that you’ll be left with people just like you; people who are willing to toss you from their lives if your opinion should deviate from theirs?

And so, I wish you the best. I’ll still be here, checking into Facebook every once in a while to see what your dog is doing, what flavor latte you had this morning, maybe chuckle at one of your jokes. I have no intention of un-friending anyone over this for two reasons; one, life is far too short and too random for me to assume I have all the answers. I rely on the viewpoints of my friends and acquaintances to help keep me grounded, educated and humble.

And secondly, I’m not quite sure how to un-friend anyone anyway and If I ask my daughter one more question about Facebook, she’ll un-friend me too.



Todd Nickerson would like you to know that he’s a pedophile. A non-practicing pedophile of course. There, now don’t you feel better? At least you know that he’s not a monster; he tells you so right up there in the title of his self-serving pity-piece. Why, you might wonder, would he be so cavalier in his announcement? He tells you that too, albeit farther down in his narrative; “Please repeat this mantra to yourself: a repressed, unhappy pedophile is a pedophile at risk.”

If only you had listened...

If only you had listened…

So there. It’s all pretty simple to me. Todd is a victim here. Read the piece through, and then read it again. Understand that your failure to sympathize with him puts him at risk. Quite telling really that he doesn’t come to terms with the fact that his being unhappy as a repressed pedophile puts children at risk. Screaming about your narcissistic personality disorder doesn’t endear you to anyone Todd. And as is usually the case with those of his disorder, he continues to see the world through how his affliction only affects him, not those around him, not society at large. He plaintively askes the reader questions he struggles with, questions he’s sure will invoke the sympathetic image he wants to portray; “What if we have children?  Will I be a threat to them?  Can I ever share this fact with my spouse?  Can I ever love and want her as much as I do a child?”  Interesting questions to be sure, but questions that society can no longer ask of those with this affliction, questions that come back to label the rest of us as haters or bigots or whatever phrase du-jour the accommodating left uses to marginalize those who may just find this disturbing. You see Todd; we wonder the same things about you.

I tried to read this several times with an open mind, hoping that Mr. Nickerson would give some insight into how we can accommodate those so afflicted, how we can assure ourselves that maybe they aren’t the monsters we envision them to be. Alas, all I could find was the same old tired obvious process that the left has used to normalize other such wretched behaviors, moving them from the realm of the hideous to the mainstream through sympathy, understanding, through to acceptance onto enforced support. He touches all the tear jerking moments; he lost his job at Lowes; he “retreated like a kicked dog” after failing to remake himself into a regular person; he couldn’t control his bladder when he was younger; he’s even got a prosthetic right hand.

What he doesn’t tell us is anything about the early formative years. What kind of upbringing did he have? The only clue he gives is that he often felt like an outsider; he was a shy boy, uncoordinated at sports. He speaks about insecurities in elementary school and low and behold, he’s a pedophile. How many other young boys, gangly and skinny, nerdy and bullied are now at risk for becoming pedophiles? Any other young men wish to recount beatings from their strict fathers, or having to work at thirteen to help support the family as the cause of their specific dysfunction? No need to be embarrassed, it’s liberating to exclaim to the world that you’re a non-practicing pedophile. It’s just a sympathetic short trip from being fired from Lowes, living below the poverty line and collecting welfare to ending up on the front page of Salon.

Non-practicing is the key here. Of course, he’s wondered at times why he’s bothered to stay legal. Interesting thought, that. He assures us that “I’m not the monster you think me to be.  I’ve never touched a child sexually in my life and never will, nor do I use child pornography;” a phrase likely uttered by every criminally convicted pedophile at least once in their lives.

Two things stand out the most in his memory; one episode involves Hans, a friend of his German relatives who came to visit when Nickerson was seven years old. Hans couldn’t speak English very well; he did manage however, to get his hands down the front of Nickerson’s knickers. But be careful here Todd; sexual proclivities aren’t supposed to be learned, they’re supposed to be innate, you’re born that way. He recounts the tale with Hans, seemingly out of place in the article, as just paragraphs before, he speaks of the “bubbling up” of his sexuality at thirteen, his “eureka moment.” The image still haunts him today of the seven year old child, angelic in stature with blue eyes and golden curls standing in front of him in his grandparent’s Living room. Nothing happened. He never approached her. But from Hans’s foray into Nickerson’s trousers at seven, searching for his pre-pubescent “peepee” to an event six years later where he momentarily came face to face with a child he crushed on, he was hooked. All horrifically sympathetic, the victim the whole time.

I still cannot grasp what purpose he has for trumpeting his predilections so loudly. Although he assures us that, “it’s impossible to know how many non-offending pedophiles are out there, but signs indicate there are a lot of us, and too often we suffer in silence. That’s why I decided to speak up;”  this still tells me nothing about his motives. He certainly doesn’t see this as a warning to others; he still refuses to name the “unhealthy pedophile forum” that he says gave him a feeling of belonging somewhere; the very same forum on which he first publicly outed himself as a pedophile. Of course, it’s the public shame, his public outing that seems to bother him most of all. After he let the world know what he was, he was shocked and dismayed that he came to the attention of the public at large through the same outfit that started the “to catch a predator” series. It was this attention, after all, that caused him to lose his job at Lowes. He eventually found a support group called Virtuous Pedophiles that he credits with saving his life, a safe place that he can use his “pedo-powers” for good. He wants to be commended, not feared.

Still, he wants more than that. He may not come right out and say it as others with his particular desires have, but it’s there. He’s grooming his audience, much the same way other pedophiles groom their intended victims. He’s plying you with all sorts of reasons to sympathize with him; if you don’t forgive him for when he offends, at least you might go easy on him. He’s had such a hard life, the subject of scorn, a result of his desire to broadcast his affliction to anyone who would listen. If he didn’t tell you what he was, if he was suffering in silence, looking for cures and not acceptance, maybe I could feel the pity that he is pretending to ask of me. Unfortunately, he can’t stand in the checkout line next to you unnoticed and unremarkable; no, he has to show you his pedo-club membership card, needs to let you know that if he eventually offends, it’s because you’ve made his life a living hell by turning away; turning away from a concept which you find repulsive, one that you hadn’t brought up and wouldn’t have assigned to him without his insistence. No-one labeled him a pedophile other than himself. And he did so because he seeks the twisted notoriety that comes with it.

Of course, he only wants us to listen; it’s a great start he tells us. If he is going to make it in this world without offending, he needs our help. What kind of help that would be he never details. For good reason; if we offer no help, then it’s just as much our fault when he finally offends as it is his. The crux of his piece can be summed up in just one sentence; “unlike with most sexualities, there is no ethical way we can fully actualize our sexual longings.” The long term goal? Give it time Todd. The special rights of the victimized minorities take time to acquire. Before long, you’ll no longer be sympathetically asking us to listen; you’ll be demanding that we do.

Infamous molar-yanker, one Dr. Walter Palmer, DDS has returned to work. It’s been six weeks since our esteemed practitioner has dared to step foot into his place of business, probably to even show his face to the world. The sudden announcement of his return seemed to catch protestors off-guard, as they were far outnumbered by the media eager to push this story as far as they can. To what end? I’ve never quite understood the allure of hunting, from the ridiculous vermin that continue to build their frustrating nests in the corners of my garage, to the magnificent beasts that roam the wild fields of Africa. Killing for sport doesn’t quite seem, well, too human of us. Oh, I know quite a few hunters, had quite a few in the family. Even had the occasional deer or moose steak. Not sure what attracted my family to the sport but I never cared to find out. I never cared to ask either. There were no deer heads mounted in our home; no stuffed birds or the like. At least those I knew who enjoyed the sport, for whatever reason, made it a point to keep the freezers of their friends and families well stocked with wild meat. So it was when I was growing up.

Any chance you're going to take a bus to another location later?

Any chance you’re going to take a bus to another location later?

Even though the protests have dwindled some, I seriously doubt that Dr. sharpshooter will ever live this down. It may very well have been his boyhood dream, stalking the wild animals of Africa with his trusty bow; a dream that has now become a nightmare. I’m not sure how this plays out; hunting is still legal, although it’s unclear if this particular hunt was. Zimbabwe had requested extradition of the good dentist. And his guide will go on trial later this month. Fortunately for Dr. Robinhood of Bloomington, Zimbabwe has thought better of their demand for they fear it could jeopardize the very hunting industry that supports over 800,000 Zimbabwean families. There is, after all, a profit to be made in death. But I’m sure that given the beauty and majesty of the victim, this will not die down for Dr. Palmer. Animal rights activists have a long memory. How long will his patients be willing to cross their lines just to have their teeth cleaned? How long can these protests last?

All because this one human decided that it would be his right to kill.

Coincidentally, there is another medical office just sixteen minutes northeast of Dr. Palmer’s practice. No disturbances were reported there yesterday. It’s business as usual for the practitioners of this medical art. The compound bow has been replaced by the scalpel and the forceps. Just as deadly to be sure. But here, other magnificent creatures die daily to no alarm of anyone in the Minneapolis suburbs. Dr. Palmer had a guide; here, the hired hands cover their faces with surgical masks.

All because one human decided that it would be her right to kill.

For shame, conflating the death of the noble beast with that of a clump of pesky cells destined to be a human. But this is where we have come in our evolution. Death for sport, death for convenience; it all looks the same to me.

Sorry to be terse, but my patience is gone. I spent most of my life that odd conservative, one who was willing to look the other way to support a woman’s right to choose. I just couldn’t justify how I had the right to demand that a woman have a child against her wishes while claiming to support the rights of the individual. I struggled with my own shame, my own dilemma that yes, I believed a human life was being taken. But I had no right to interfere, no right or justification to intercede. Therefore, it was easier to just ignore it, go along with my life knowing that I wasn’t complicit, that someone else would have to live with the guilt or the shame or whatever moral disruption follows the event. Forcing a woman to deliver a baby was something I could never imagine as a free man, a man of conscience, a man dedicated to the free will of the individual.

But try as I might, I could get no sympathies or concessions from either entrenched side of the argument. To my conservative friends I was a traitor; to my liberal friends, I hate women. Pure and simple; I was wrong at either turn. That was okay; I never found myself having to make that decision, to be part of it. Too monumental to be made from outside of those actually involved. I was okay if I was left out of it; I would never put a woman in that position and would never let myself get into that position either. Period. Neat how being responsible works. Or so I thought.

There are many like me, believe it or not. But we are tired. We are being forced, against our wishes, to choose between two factions who wish to never close the divide. Compromise has been lost; so it has with me. If I were a willing expectant father, her right to kill my unborn child trumps my desire to be that father. Why? If I decide to walk away, her right to make me responsible until well into that child’s adulthood is enforced as well. Three people involved, only one has rights. Why?

I started to feel queasy knowing that I was paying for these procedures. Of course, I couldn’t make that argument known, lest I be labeled a racist, hater, misogynist et al. And of course, I wasn’t paying for the procedure I was told. Even though I’m not an idiot and like the majority of the population, I know damned well what’s going on with my tax dollars. Safe and rare was our mantra then. Same day service, best price in town is the new motto. How many children were murdered on the day Cecil was struck by the arrow on the African plain? Why none of course. These aren’t babies, they certainly aren’t human and besides, they’re not fully alive until they reach the crib in the nursery at home. So many ways to argue for death; so many reasons to justify giving up on our humanity.

You finally lost me with the Planned Dismemberment videos. I was watching a news show late one night and a supporter of Planned Infanticide had decided that she wasn’t going to speak on the subject at all because she was just going to be labeled a baby-killer. No one had called her that. Maybe it was a moment of clarity on her part, I don’t know. But I listened as she justified the existence of Planned Non-Parenthood and skirted the issue of partial birth abortion. How wonderful she posited, that something good could come from something so tragic like an abortion. She quickly caught herself; tragic. Indeed. If these children are being harvested, and they are, it is precisely because they are human. And for most of the tissue to be viable, the “donor” has to be alive our mere seconds dead. Of course, she hasn’t seen any of the videos, claiming they were heavily edited. Well, I saw them in their entirety. She’s not even a good liar, but what would one expect from someone who feels no pang of conscience knowing that children are indeed being left to die on the tables of the exam room or dissected while their “non-human” hearts are still beating. It wasn’t the videos themselves mind you; it was the mindless, unwavering mantra of “it’s her right” that finally pissed me off. If you can’t be disturbed by the sale of dismembered human children, we no longer need to have a discussion.

No, you had your chances. All I ever asked for was to keep the murder of your children to yourself. But you decided I need to pay; pay to have them killed or pay to have them fed until they’re twenty-eight. Mine or not. Somehow a woman’s right to choose leapt forward from the act of procreation to the consequences of it, and everyone but she is responsible for her actions. You only had to compromise with me, to be honest, to be introspective, to be moral. You failed.

It will be interesting to see how long Dr. Palmer has to hide his face for the killing of a wild creature on the plains of Africa. And for every day that the protestors make his life a living hell, another medical office, not twenty minutes away, will continue to churn out it’s product, whatever you want to call it, how ever you want to justify it, killing for the sake of killing because one more woman decided it was her right to do so.

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