Prude Offenders

by Lonny Eachus

Your community - your own neighborhood - is in serious danger. There is a predatory menace among us!

I am referring, of course, to "prude offenders". These are people who believe that anything related to sex is inherently offensive and therefore has no place in society, public or private.

Do not laugh ... some of them have been spotted in this area, perhaps even in your own neighborhood. Their predatory, destructive nature cannot be overemphasized.

This is a particularly insidious threat, because you cannot identify prude offenders by appearance or dress alone, yet they can cause lasting trauma to the minds of your children. Your own neighbor could be one of them!

We are publishing this guide to prude offenders as a community service. If it can help your neighborhood identify even one of these miscreants, our efforts will have been rewarded.

The Prude Offender "Profile"

You have seen them, even if only on television. They are offended by anything that could be interpreted as even vaguely sexual, and insist that you should be offended too. They are so incapacitated by their condition that they believe everyone else is or should be similarly afflicted. This often makes them willing - even eager - to assist in oppressing whole societies, by force if necessary.

The typical Prude Offender is consumed by an abject, quivering fear that someone else just might be having a good time, and believes that if they are, they should be punished for it.

It is not enough for them to avoid the things that offend them. They want to take those things from you, too, so they will not in turn be offended via osmosis (or something ... it makes no sense to me, either). They care nothing for your opinion; they "know" they are righteous, and they are sure the things that offend them must also rot your brain, because they are incapable of conceiving that other people do not share their cognitive rigor mortis. They have been known to push oppressive legislation that would force you to live according to their own narrow views. (Rather like trying to force a semi truck to drive on a tightrope.)

Prude offenders are classified into three categories, or levels. Listed below are typical offenses and the recommended sentences.

Level I

"Shirley! What DO you teach your children??? I just caught your 7-year-old Melissa behind the shed with my Bobby, doing something they called 'Playing Doctor'. After I recovered from my faint and hosed them both down, I took her over to the school and scheduled you both for counseling."

Be careful when restraining these people. Injuring them more than necessary is frowned upon. In this case, she simply did not realize that children do not, by nature, share her shock and feelings of disgust when confronted with anything having to do with the human body.

On a first offense, these people have a good chance of rehabilitation. With effort, it can be explained to them that while the "offending" behavior is discouraged, it was nothing more than normal childhood curiosity.

Level I is a misdemeanor. Sentence: 6 months behind bars + 2 years probation with mandatory remedial sex education counseling.

Level II

"We must force all 'adult' bookstores and businesses out of town. Concepts unsuitable for infants must not be allowed in our pristine City! Depictions of acts not shown regularly on Sesame Street, and paraphernalia intended to assist such acts, shall henceforth be outlawed!"

"Our plan should meet these criteria:

1) We must disguise it so it does not appear too blatantly discriminatory and otherwise illegal, and

2) we must not appear to have our noses too far up long-dead Queen Victoria's ass."

Level II Prude Offenders are also sometimes called "Former Spokane City Councilpeople".

Do not shoot these people on sight. First, you should find out if they can get you a good price on a new home in the middle of some huge development, or maybe on a new car.

Occasionally, Level IIs can be rehabilitated. The recommended method is to take away their money and make them live according to an arbitrary set of rigid and nonsensical rules. The rules are not constant but are changed every few months, in accordance with the orientation of the local political weather vane.

Level II is a Gross Misdemeanor. Sentence: 1 year of hard labor. Probation includes mandatory education in economics, basic legal principles, the Golden Rule, the American Revolution, and the Constitution, plus the "regulation therapy" described above. Duration: until they get the point.

Level III

"Damn, can you believe it, Sam? Turns out the word 'damn' is in a whole buncha books at that damned high school library! Damn it! What the @!%*&! are they puttin' in them kids' heads? A coupla books actually mention sex, and one even had the 'F' word!

"Let's see ... I made a list. Yeah, here's some of 'em:

"Of Mice and Men; The Catcher in the Rye; Flowers for Algernon; Slaughterhouse-Five; What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys; What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls; James and the Giant Peach; The Handmaid’s Tale; The Color Purple; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

"Disgustin'. You and Ethel come down to the PTA meetin' Friday and help us make them get rid of these here damned sex books. If they won't do it, we're gonna go over there Monday, just take the friggin' things, and have ourselves a bonfire!"

Just shoot these people. It is not possible to rehabilitate them and you would not want to anyway. Every generation seems to have a few and if the herd can be thinned a bit, so much the better.

Level III is a Capital Felony. Sentence: well ... with luck, maybe they won't get that far.

"Prude offenders" should be relocated far away to a retirement community (which our town is NOT) or some other facility, where they can regulate and legislate each other all they want without constantly disgusting the rest of us.

They are unbalanced, and vastly offensive. They must be watched 24 hours a day. I want them out of my neighborhood, lest they try to pass more laws or otherwise spread their diseased, obsessive need to control others. I do not want them around my family or the children; the atmosphere of fear and oppression they carry with them is a menace to healthy society. If they will not leave they should be put away, to keep them from sneaking around trying to infect normal people - even small children - with their loathsome inhibitions.

We are working on legislation requiring mandatory registration of all prude offenders living in our State. Citizens would be able to check the registry to see if any known offenders live in their neighborhood.

One of our congress critters has proposed a law eliminating the statute of limitations for ALL prude offenses, regardless of gravity. That way, every one of these vermin can carry the stigma of their offense around for eternity, especially if they have not been convicted! Yeah, that's the ticket! Let's hound 'em 'til they drop!

If they cannot be put into prisons or homes they should be made to wear those electronic ankle things, so that others who have the ability to think independently will know where they are at all times.

Oh, what the hell. Let's just get out the branding irons and put a big "PO" on each of their foreheads. After all, that's what they would do to you if they were allowed to decide the matter.

Postscript: The following is definitely NOT a joke.

On January 15, 2003, Washington State Rep. John Ahern sponsored House Bill 1089, along with Representatives Miloscia, Benson, O'Brien, McDonald, Sullivan, Sump, Pearson, Hunt, Schindler, Lovick, Chase, Cairnes, Anderson, Nixon, Schoesler, Skinner, Sehlin, Bailey, Upthegrove, and Haigh.

Quite a list.

This bill, according to public statements by Ahern and also his website, would eliminate the Statutes of Limitations for "all sex offenses". His (public) reasoning is thus: By the time a child who was abused becomes an adult, sometimes the statute of limitations has taken effect so the victim is not able to prosecute.

Most people I know would agree, as I do, that this is an issue that should be addressed.

I felt there was a problem with the proposal, though, so I sent an email to John to make this point:

"All sex offenses" paints with an over-broad brush; there are degrees of sex offense just as there are degrees of other crimes. An analogy: A child shoplifts a candy bar, and a convicted violent felon burglarizes a home while holding a child at gunpoint. There is theft in both cases, but it would be wrong to treat them the same!

Here is part of what I wrote: "I simply believe we should be rational and acknowledge that just as with most other crimes, there can be varying degrees of damage. We must look at this objectively rather than emotionally. Experience living in the United States the last couple of decades should have warned us pretty sharply that laws based mostly on emotional arguments have a very strong tendency to turn out to be bad laws. Second, not all 'sex crimes' even involve small children, or any children at all."

The point I was getting at is that in Washington State, "all sex crimes" includes predatory and violent molesters of small children, but it also includes the kind of case in which someone one minute short of her 16th birthday had sex with her older boyfriend.

Qualitatively, those issues are WORLDS apart. It is a gross understatement to say they do not deserve to be treated equally. Treating them as equal when they are so clearly not is so irresponsible, I feel that should be considered criminal.

Let us reflect for a moment on what this proposal would actually mean.

Statutes of Limitations were put in place for good reasons. One of their primary purposes is to eliminate situations such as depicted in the novel Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. If you have not read the book, a main theme is that a police inspector named Javert persistently haunts a man named Jean Valjean for many years - nearly to the end of his life - for what amounted to little more than stealing bread when he was starving.

A statute of limitations prevents the police or anyone else from persecuting you for life for (relatively speaking) minor offenses. In general, the more serious the offense, the longer the period before the time runs out. This prevents Les Miserables-type scenarios from happening in the United States.

There are crimes serious enough that they have no statute of limitations. I want to remind everyone, too, that there are serious crimes involved in this bill. Where the crime is serious enough to warrant changes, so that an adult has a chance to seek justice for their violent childhood rapist or abuser ... fine!

But those others! I could not in good conscience support removing the statute of limitations from anything less than an egregious felony. Some of these offenses are NOT. For example, some of the included "crimes" are quite legal in other states. That is hardly "dangerous felon" stuff. And that of course is the issue. These things should not all be lumped together and called equivalent. They are not.

Earlier I exaggerated just a bit to illustrate the point, but ask yourselves: why would someone want to pass a law that would (metaphorically) treat candy-bar thieves the same as violent, armed burglars? A law that would allow people not convicted of any crime to be pursued for their entire lives over suspected minor offenses? Hey, somebody get that Hugo fella to write another story!

I believe this bill is an attempt to exploit the recently popular issue of "sex offenders" for political purposes.

As I wrote to Rep. Ahern, basing legislation on the emotional issue of the day is an irresponsible thing to do. In my humble opinion, it is criminally irresponsible.

HB 1089 did not pass last year, but Ahern has said he will sponsor it again in 2004. Perhaps you will see fit to write to him, and the other representatives listed above, and tell them it is a BAD IDEA. There is a legitimate issue that needs addressing, but this is certainly not the way to do it.

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