Signs that civilization might be breaking down: (1) A man hits but does not run like the others but is beaten and robbed by a mob, even so (2) Second graders in a public school reportedly engage in sex acts in class and the teacher didn’t see a thing…

Weird and bad stuff can happen anywhere, in the big city, in small towns, and in the countryside. But today I address to incidents from the big city urban environment:

(My residence is in a relatively, I stress relatively, peaceful medium-sized town in the relatively rural north of California, but I spend most of my time driving to and through the big cities.)

Two seemingly unrelated recent incidents come to my attention as indications, only indications mind you, that civilization as we might have thought we knew it is breaking down.

No. 1:

In Los Angeles — technically Hawthorne, Ca., but it’s all LA to me — a man crosses the street, gets hit by two different cars whose drivers flee the scene (he later dies) and a woman who stops to help him is hit, and a man who accidentally hit that woman does the right thing and stops but is attacked by a mob and robbed. Local police say they’ve never seen anything like it.

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The story:http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/01/hit-and-run-accident-devolves-into-vigilante-beating.html

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This story caught my attention in particular because by eerie coincidence I was at or near the scene, I think, not when all this happened, but maybe on the same day (I’d have to check the story again). It was described as being on Crenshaw Boulevard near I-105. I was at that very intersection the other day in my job delivering freight. And like I always do in the threatening urban jungle environment, I worried about what would happen if I accidentally hit something or someone — of course I should worry, it is not cool to hit something or someone anywhere, but it could be fatal (to me) in that environment. I mean I don’t want to be Reginald Denny.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Denny_incident

I think the explanation for the bizarre behavior here might have been that low lifes prowl the streets looking for any excuse and opportunity to engage in their nefarious acts. The stories I read did not describe the racial makeup of the actors involved, but knowing the area I suspect race could have been a factor.

No. 2:

Now we get into, did this really happen? or is it all bogus? It’s kind of a journalistic conundrum or maybe paradox is the better word. I mean as a former working journalist I always felt strongly that my job was to report news, good or bad, not engage in covering it up. People have a right and need and a desire to know what is going on around them, well maybe except for this second grade teacher in an Oakland, Ca. public school. Its seems, if you can believe reports originating from some pupils, that some of his charges were engaging in sex acts in the classroom and parading around at least partially undressed without him knowing it. How exactly could this be? Not how could the kids have done this, really, but how could the teacher not know? I think he might get marked down on classroom control in his next evaluation.

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The story: http://www.modbee.com/2011/01/21/1521622/calif-2nd-graders-may-have-had.html

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Children have played doctor (the kind of euphemism for I’ll show you mine if you show me yours) since time immemorial (or at least since their were doctors, and probably before).

There were reports that some of the children engaged in oral sex — second graders mind you. I suspect that such behavior might not actually be all that unusual, if you really think about it, but in a classroom at a public school? Local parents were disturbed, reports said. They said they came to the realization that they did not know what was going on in the place where they send their children to each school day.

Back to the journalistic question. We have all heard several reports of child molestations described in detail by children and later found out that they were apparently not true (although, unfortunately they are all too often true), that the children were prompted by adults who had ulterior motives.

In the current Oakland case, it could be just a false rumor solely from the children or it could even be something concocted by someone out to tarnish the school or the teacher or the administration there, who knows?

One might say these stories should not be reported on until facts have been investigated thoroughly. But people have a right to know if such things are going on with their children. In news you can’t wait both because if you do your competition won’t, and if you waited every time until all the facts were thoroughly researched there would be no news to report or it would be so stale as to be useless.

But it would be a shame if this second-grader sex scandal turned out to be purely bogus after the local school and the local school districts and schools everywhere get such bad publicity over it.

UPDATE: And now before I even post this blog, I have to update it. I listened to a talk show on Bay Area radio station KGO last night and it seems to be that now it is believed by authorities that the reports of sex among the second graders is true (of course we do not know for sure, nonetheless). But worse, more than one Bay Area teacher called in to say that other such incidents have happened. One teacher said that she told a reporter about one such incident and later was reprimanded by her principal for talking. The principal reportedly tried to cover the whole thing up, telling everyone that nothing had happened. And that is why in journalism you report things as you get the info, verifying facts and information the best you can, of course. If you hold on to it, those who would be embarrassed or held liable will do their best to cover up and see that the story never sees the light of day, or that if it ever does it will be so long after the fact that no one will be interested and witnesses will forget.

In the discussion on that radio program it was noted that children are constantly bombarded these days with sexually explicit material in the media (primarily television and movies and music), even in offerings aimed particularly at younger people. You know that has to have some effect — wouldn’t you think?

But the real culprits here:

The parents.

P.s.

If you set the example at home, your children should be able to handle the world. Wickedness and debauchery have always been with us and always will be. The Bible tells us of these things, such as in the accounts of Sodom and Gomorrah. The more things change, the more things stay the same — but the foregoing seems disturbing to me even so.

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