Monday, July 23, 2012

Most controversial

Colorado has had such a tragic summer this year. I'm taking a moment to acknowledge the survivors and the families and friends of those who were involved in the terrible shooting in Aurora.

A memorial for the victims of the shooting

Rather than go into detail about or discuss the shooting, I'm going to focus on other things, though my heart has been heavy for many days now.

There are several long lists of the most controversial blog topics circulating this year. Some themes are obvious and haven't changed over the years: capital punishment, sex education in schools, internet privacy, sexism, the right to die/suicide, global warming, same-sex marriages and legalizing prostitution. Some issues threw me a little bit though. One list included the titles: "should the government ban twitter permanently," "Joomla vs. Wordpress," "The ethics of Valentine's day," "Are girls too mean to each other," and "Does age matter in relationships?" I suppose there are countless arguments that stir up controversy. I just figured that the most controversial topics would be ones I have at least heard a little something about, but I guess not. One of the funniest issues on the list is the right to beer. I'm not sure why that makes me laugh. I'm also not sure who has a problem with beer, unless it's a vague title and is actually an attack on alcohol in general. I can't be sure. Many of the titles on the lists are broad and open to interpretation.

It has been suggested that all bloggers are controversial, simply because we state an opinion. I believe that some stir the shit more than others though. Just jump onto the blog of a political writer if you don't believe me. In general, I don't find posting about your daily activities all that eyebrow raising, unless you're documenting an affair with a senator or describing your life as a gangster. Telling people how many miles I ran today or what kinds of odd thoughts floated through my head probably doesn't land me on anyone's watch list. In reading through the hot blog topics, I'm trying to figure out what, exactly, it is that creates controversy. It seems to be more than the topic at hand generating opposite viewpoints that causes increased interest, though that's a big part of it. I have found that discussing eating disorders can lead to people getting agitated, especially when bringing up those awful pro-ana websites. Should that type of sick commentary be banned? Unfortunately, probably not, as much as I HATE the fact that something so damaging is allowed. Still, when it comes to free speech and freedom of expression, even idiots and the sick and twisted have the right to say what they like. Too bad there isn't a focus on responsible speech instead of free speech. I hate to say it, but train wrecks do cause people to take interest.

Wow my brain is a million miles away today. 

Rather than dwell too much on why certain subjects are more controversial than others, I'm going to randomly pick one off the list and see what happens. Actually, I might touch on several issues on the list while addressing one big topic here.

Melissa Dalton

"Teacher and Student Relationships"

I really want to leave it at, "Sex with children is bad, m'kay?" However, it's not quite that simply put. There seems to be a problem when it comes to defining what is right and wrong when people see becoming a mature adult differently. Can a single age be the measure of when each individual becomes an adult? Clearly this is a broad topic. Instinctively, most of us cringe at the thought of teacher-student relationships, because images of Melissa Dalton or Grady Brown come to mind. However, some cases are not as clear cut in terms of an adult taking advantage of a child, or are they? Take, for example, the case of James Hooker,  a 41-year-old man, falling for his 18-year-old student. Most U.S. laws regarding consensual sex specify that the age limit is 18. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered too young. While the majority of us might shudder at the thought of this 41-year-old teacher making a move on his student, one could also argue that this type of relationship is legal. That's not to say some rules weren't broken though. What I find inappropriate in this case is someone such as a teacher in a position of authority not putting the brakes on and, instead, pursuing a student. And does anyone really believe that this guy wasn't looking at his student before she turned 18? There's creepy written all over this guy, not because he eventually had a relationship with someone half his age, but because he took advantage of his position as a teacher. Until it came out that this teacher had sexually assaulted a teenager years before meeting his young lover, one might have believed his fling was on the innocent side. Yeah right. Apparently, he is no longer teaching, and, after first isolating the girl when the two were living together and then getting arrested for his previous crime, the two are no longer together.

I'm often confused by people. Isn't there some point at which a rational thought jumps into the mix when someone is doing something that clearly crosses all kinds of lines? Take Lisa Nowak, the lady who was driving in her diapers on a mission to kill a woman involved with her lover. During all those miles on the her diapers...there had to be a time or two that a rational thought jumped into her brain, no? I'm convinced there was at least one, "Hum, maybe 'm going a tad too far" thought. Then again, I'm probably thinking with a less frantic brain than this rejected woman. I guess people looking in on my odd world when I was struggling with an eating disorder might ask why the sensible thought to eat more hadn't occurred to me. I knew what I was doing was wacky though. I guess the big difference is the intentional or potential involvement of other people with the main characters in the headlines. Somehow they don't seem all that self-aware.

Getting back to teacher-student relationships, it seems that they go both ways, though I have read about more female teachers seducing boys recently. Oddly, in at least a few of the accounts I read for this blog post, the male perpetrator tried to blame the young girl, as if it's too difficult to resist the seduction of a 13-year-old child. That's a pretty disturbing thought. The more I write, the more I realize, it really does come down to my first sentence there, m'kay? It's quite simple. Having sex and pursuing a relationship after desiring one with a child is not OK. I guess when I look at my own situation, I'm pretty repulsed that a 26-year-old guy tried to have sex with me when I was 13. At age 26, there is no way I would have ever even considered any kind of flirtation or relationship with someone that young. It seems so wrong. Though there are some countries that allow child marriages, most have a rule about being at least 18. Obviously maturation beyond just the physical must take place in order to have a realistic connection with anyone. It's hard to imagine anyone, especially a teacher, thinking that a kid is ready for a relationship, no matter how "mature for her age" she happens to be.

Ick. I suddenly don't like writing about this. It's making me cringe.

Well, enough of that.  

I twisted my ankle, this time the right one, on Friday. It was fine Saturday, but yesterday and today it has been sore. The trails are a mess after all the hard rains, so running on them is a bit like running on cobblestone in heels, not that I have actually tried that. I'll make an assumption. One thing people may not know about me is that I taped my feet and ankles almost every cross-country race and mountain run all through high school. I had so many injuries and a few bad ankle sprains, so it was more of a preventative measure. Still, if you look for it, you can see the tape in most of my high school running shots. Unfortunately, I need to do this kind of tape job again right now, until my ankle is a bit less sore. Sigh. What an odd summer it has been!

My friend, Tape

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