This article by Wendy McElroy was posted four years ago.
Killing the Good Samaritan
This Article Published October, 2003 Sierra Times.com
By Wendy McElroy
The pricetag for decades of gender warfare is usually expressed in general terms -- for example, through data-filled studies that reflect how "boys" are slighted in education. The ordeal of Michael Wright -- a student at Oklahoma University (OU) at Norman -- captures the human factor. And it leads me to a question: What does the devil look like?
On a recent Thursday, two police officers appeared at Michael's house, apparently to investigate his stalking of a female OU student. Stalking is a serious crime which is defined as "the willful, malicious and repeated following and harassing of another person". It can place a young man on a registry of sex offenders that could haunt his future and limit his options in life. Indeed, Oklahoma is a state in which convicted sex offenders must register his/her address, which is made available to the public. No wonder Michael suffered "a great deal of nerve-wracking anxiety" before being exonerated.
What mistake did Michael make?
On Saturday, September 27, 2003, he found the OU ID card of a female student. Looking up her number and e-ddress in the OU online directory, he dialed the no-longer-valid number then sent an email:
"I found your ID card today on a photocopy machine at the AVA copy center. I picked it up to return to you, since you might not have remembered where you left it. I usually go to the campus every day and often go to the library or the computer lab in the physical science building. I get a cup of coffee every morning from the yogurt stand in the union. You can email me or call me to arrange for me to return it to you."
Not hearing anything by Monday, he simply gave the card to an OUPD officer and emailed her: "You haven't replied to my email from Saturday so I gave your ID card to an OUPD officer I saw in the main library." (A police officer investigating Michael said the card had not been returned, which was later revealed to be an OU oversight.)
The female student bypassed the university and went straight to the local police with the "allegation" that Michael "had looked up her number" -- albeit in an open directory. The police were forced by law and policy to investigate. Michael was forced to endure a week-long ordeal before the bureaucracy offered him an apology ...or as close to it as bureaucracy ever comes.
The incident is not a breakdown in "the system." According to Michael, the police exercised both common sense and common decency, with one detective eventually thanking him for "making the extra effort to protect the members of our community" by returning lost property.
The incident reflects how paranoid our culture has become after decades of political correctness that defines and divides us into categories eternally at war: female against male, whites against minorities, heterosexual against gay.
I was once asked to describe the devil. (I interpreted the question to be about the general nature of evil in man rather than about religion.)
I replied: If the devil is the living flesh of evil, then here is who I think he is. Far from appearing as a hideous demon, he is the average-looking person who walks into a room and shakes your hand with a smile. By the time he leaves, the standards of decency of everyone within that room have been lowered ever so slightly.
Perhaps he offers general statistics on divorce or child abuse to convince you to suspect your husband of infidelity or your neighbor of molestation. No evidence of specific wrongdoing is offered, of course. But since such "crimes" do occur, you are advised to be vigilantly on guard against them in your personal life. And, so, you begin to view your spouse and neighbors with a bit more suspicion, a little less trust, and with the tendency to interpret every action as possible evidence of wrongdoing. The very possibility of an offense is taken as evidence of its presence.
Perhaps he spins a political theory that inches you toward viewing people, not as individuals to be judged on the basis of their merits, but as members of a class. And, so, your co-worker is no longer an individual; he becomes "black" or "male" or "gay" and his actions are interpreted according to his category.
Slowly, you come to view the world through the eyes of the devil. People are guilty until proven innocent. Acts of kindness and common decency are meticulously dissected for hidden motives and agendas. People are not individuals but categories. Those closest to you -- family, friends and neighbors -- do not receive the benefit of the doubt; they receive the "benefit" of your suspicion.
With no religious implication, I say: a devil is at large. He tells us that acts of kindness and common decency do not exist; the worst possible interpretation should be placed on acts that appear to embody those values. Individuals do not exist; only categories.
In real PC terms, this means that all men should be objects of suspicion. A man, such as Michael, should be subject to a criminal investigation that could damage the rest of his life for trying to return a lost ID card.
I hope he has not learned the devil's lesson. I hope the next time he can help another human being, he chooses to be a Good Samaritan.
Perhaps the next beneficiary will say "thank you" rather than dialing the police.
Unfortunately, it is not so simple. When a cloud of suspicion is present, the whole atmosphere is poisoned. A man who is intent on "not learning the devil's lesson", is a man who is headed for trouble - not of his own making, but that of society's. How does one walk the tight-rope of consensus mentality without noting that the devil's lesson has informed a large portion of the American populace?
Viz, the shameful "rape" case against the Duke Lacrosse team.
A wedge of suspicion has already been driven between men and women, between groups of people, and it is supported by society in innumerable ways. We are no longer human beings, but abstractions, almost a statistic. It is the work of socialists in government and our universities, our philanthropic organizations, who will do anything to tear down the fabric of this (former) patriotic, moral and spiritual nation.
Actually, we are doing to ourselves.
Is the devil still at work? You bet.
Savannah Morning news
Men: guilty until proven innocent
Anne Hart | Sunday, September 16, 2007
Child advocate John Walsh advises parents to never hire a male baby sitter.
The host of Fox's "America's Most Wanted" wants to help other parents protect their kids. He's advocated for missing children since 1981, after his son was killed by a stranger. So when the topic of male nannies - mannies - came up in a conversation with friends, I didn't think too long before voicing my take on the trend.
I actually said - aloud - something to the effect of: "Even if we could afford it, I'd never hire a mannie. Too risky that he'd turn out to be a predator." My fears sounded reasonable. After all, in the majority of reported sexual abuse cases, the predators are male. I was just being an informed and cautious parent. Right?
Not quite. Some argue, quite reasonably, that my response is male profiling, no worse than authorities pulling people over for DWH: "Driving While Hispanic." Or singling out Muslims on airplanes.
Is the no-mannies rule male profiling? Or is it just a precaution, no different than mothers dragging their sons into the women's room with them until the boys are old enough to protest? Or moms standing outside the men's room, yelling inside to their pre-teen sons "Are you OK in there?"
Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Zaslow wrote about how society teaches children to be fearful of men. And how men deal with being cast unfairly as predators. Zaslow gave example after example of perfectly harmless men who, fearing they'll be suspected of being a predator, give up on volunteering to mentor kids; coach a sports team; lead a scout troop; or even help a distraught child.
A doctor in Austin, Texas, Zaslow writes, came upon a lost child in tears in a mall. The man's impulse was to help, but he feared people might think him a predator. He walked away, Zaslow writes. "Being male," the man said, "I am guilty until proven innocent."
In San Diego, retiree Ralph Castro says he won't allow himself to be alone with a child -- even in an elevator. Last month, I [Laslow] wrote about how our culture teaches children to fear men. Hundreds of men responded, many lamenting that they've now become fearful of children. They said they avert their eyes when kids are around, or think twice before holding even their own children's hands in public.
The foundation and fabric of all societies is built upon trust. Strip away the trust and watch the society slowly go mad. It's all part of the plan.
John Taylor Gatto, Teacher of The Year (NYC, 1991) explains in a Harpers article (2003) how we have been set up.