The Internet Parent
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Friday, March 09, 2007

John Couey Guilty -- and Who Else?

Now the Choice: Hatred or Action?

By now, you've heard that John Couey has been convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford. And that Couey was a convicted sex offender, a repeat offender, and generally a menace to children. I happened to be tuned in to CNN and caught much of their coverage.

That John Couey's behavior is monstrous there can be no doubt. Horrible. Anyone with an ounce of humanity finds his behavior depraved and unconscionable. And the Lunsford family has suffered a grievous, soul-fracturing loss.

It's easy to hate John Couey. Our revulsion and disgust, rage and wrath come easily and naturally. A ready focus, a clear target, and an obvious consequence.

Go ahead and embrace it -- for five minutes.
Because that's all we have time for.

Now, turn your attention to the real problem. The harder problem. The one that is sitting in your home and in your community and across our culture right now.

"Where does the next John Couey come from, and how do we stop creating more?"

The solution to this problem is not going to come through the expression of rage or hatred, no matter how justified. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. And it's not an individual event -- it's a team game. Because the next John Couey isn't made over night. It takes repeated exposures to violence, abuse, and sexual distortion. And as an individual, you'll never stop the machine that churns out John Coueys. We have to work together, every day for as long as it takes, to change the way our culture raises our kids.

You think you're the parent? Think again. TV, video games and movies that glorify erotic violence. Violent, misogynistic music. The unlimited content available on the Internet. These are all powerful influences on your kids that are extraordinarily hard to remove from their lives. And the Internet in particular is completely unconstrained in what kind of content goes to whom.

To wait for some unassailable study; to deny the impact of these technologies on our kids is deliberate self-delusion. It flies in the face of hundreds of years of human experience and billions of dollars in advertising. What we perceive that others do and think undeniably influences us. The more vividly those impressions are made, the greater the influence. And don't take my word for it. Here's a story and survey from AOL News that asks a shockingly, sadly pertinent question: Should parents be more concerned about their teenage daughter having sex, or their teenage daughter posting a blatantly suggestive video of herself on YouTube? Read through the comments for an illuminating perspective on YOUR culture.

I'm not here to tell you I know all answers -- or even all the questions. But I can promise you this: If we don't get a handle on the media our kids have access to; if we don't fundamentally address the ubiquity of violence, extreme sexual content, and the two in combination; and if we don't raise the bar AS COMMUNITIES -- not just as individuals -- in demanding that technology serve OUR needs as families, we're going to be attending a lot more funerals, seeing a lot more shattered families, and feeling a lot more rage and hatred. Because there will be a lot more John Coueys.

Hatred and rage might be natural. Seeing a child rapist locked away or put to death might make you feel better. But it won't stop the next John Couey.

What are you doing in your community?


  • Sorry to be off topic, but if I found a site which has not been blocked (when it should be), what is the proccess for reporting it?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 19, 2007 1:39 PM  

  • No problem.

    Visit, and click "Check Site Rating" (look to the lower right). Enter the site, examine our response. You should be able to enter comments at that point, and tell us what category you think the site belongs in.

    You can also do this from within K9, under "Help".

    By Blogger John Carosella, at March 20, 2007 6:47 PM  

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